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Sadiqa Reynolds is president and CEO of the Louisville Urban League.

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2021 Most Admired Woman — Community/Non-Profit

President and CEO, Louisville Urban League
Family: Daughters Sydney and Wynter
Neighborhood: Downtown Louisville

Once individuals reach a certain age, they often come to understand that it wasn’t just their successes that have made them who they are. The struggles and the challenges have shaped and molded them, too. Sadiqa Reynolds sees both the hills and valleys of her life as critical to imbuing her with the strength to serve as a judge, to work in government, to fight for justice, to mentor middle and high school girls as they become young adults, and to be a mother to her daughters.

What skills did you develop as a result of experiencing both “hills and valleys?”

I have a real ability to read people and situations, and to meet people where they are. I think I’m pretty resilient. I am a good problem solver. I know how to fix things, and that comes from having things be broken.

What might a work day look like for you?

Most of my days are so busy that even the [professional] people physically closest to me don’t have access to me. A lot of meetings are external meetings because there are so many things happening in our city. Then there is the time you should spend with your team. We usually have staff meetings twice a week. There are board meetings, and then there are the fires. Those emergencies can be someone who is homeless and in danger; someone who is suicidal, any number of things.

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Is there anything typical about your days?

There is no typical day. What’s standard is I have one daughter who needs to get to track practice Monday through Thursday.

What is a challenge of your position?

My life/work balance isn’t the best. I run a civil rights organization. My goal is to help change the world for people who look like me, so I am my own client. There’s no boundary. There’s no cut-off.

Who were some of your mentors?

First of all, the best, the strongest, the longest was my mother. She was extremely committed to helping other people advance and extremely committed to fairness and what was right. I have some really strong aunts, my mom’s sisters. I had a law professor who helped my career so much. A former [Kentucky] Supreme Court justice I worked for in law school, Mary Noble, taught me some things that were vital. Betty Baye is a really good friend of mine; we’re very close although there is a significant age difference. I have [contemporary] friends who are mentors [Sheri Riley and Hope Ayers]; we help each other be better.

What matters most to you?

Justice. I would love to see a world created where everyone, regardless of race, and socioeconomic status, had access to the same things in the same way. Affordable housing. A quality education.

What has been your most memorable trip and why?

To San Antonio, Texas, because I went skydiving. I jumped out of an airplane with the Golden Knights when I turned 40. I wouldn’t do it again even though I loved it. It was beautiful, but jumping out of a perfectly fine airplane was very hard to do.

Do you have a show you’ve binge-watched in the last year?

I’m so ashamed to say this. I’ve been binging Nashville on Hulu.

Are you a mountain person or a beach person and why?

Beach. I don’t want to get in [the ocean]. I want to sit there and look. Being on the beach reminds me how small I am, how small my problems are, how much bigger the world is, and how little I’m in control of. That water is healing. A week on the beach adds years to my life.

Who is your favorite empowered female character in a book?

Winter. It’s from a book written by Sister Souljah years ago [The Coldest Winter Ever]. She is just strong. She is resilient. [It’s who inspired her daughter’s name.]

What is the most unusual item in your car?

A hard hat. When we were doing the construction on the Sports and Learning Complex, I would stop down there and I had to wear a hard hat, so I kept one in the car, and it’s still in there.

P.S. Purchase your tickets for the revamped Most Admired Woman event, being held at The Gillespie. Be a part of history as former Today’s Woman owners Cathy Zion and Anita Oldham pass the baton to new owner Tawana Bain. You won’t want to miss this night of sisterhood!

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