Skip to main content

The Norman Bobins Leadership Award

There are no road maps in community development. It takes leaders who can plan while doing – who can build common ground and move forward in the face of uncertainty – to make neighborhoods better. It takes leaders like Bernita Johnson-Gabriel.

Bernita came to the Quad Communities Development orporation (QCDC) in 2003 as a founding board member to help start this unique organization, serving the four community areas of Douglas, Grand Boulevard and North Kenwood-Oakland. Armed with her commitment to the community and a good amount of Southern charm, she stepped into the role of New Communities Program director during the 18-month planning process, stewarding a diverse group of resident, business, institutional, City and religious leaders to complete the Quad Communities Quality-of-Life Plan.

Bernita wasted no time in leveraging new resources to implement the Plan, and her leadership earned her the role of executive director of QCDC in 2007. From the Bronzeville Community Market to the designation of Special Service Area #47, Bernita has demonstrated what can be accomplished when, as she says, “failure is not an option.”

Just as important, she has built an organization ith talented staff and an active board to continue reviving the Cottage Grove Commercial Corridor, beautifying the neighborhood to support economic development, and turning schools into centers of community life through education, youth and family programs.

For her extraordinary leadership, her tireless commitment to her community and her promise as a rising leader in the field of community development, Bernita Johnson- Gabriel is this year’s winner of the Norman Bobins Leadership Award.