President and CEO
Knoxville Area Urban League
Phyllis Young Nichols is president and chief executive officer of the Knoxville Area Urban League. She joined the Urban League as a curriculum and education specialist in l994 after many years in public education and private business. As CEO since 2000, she has expanded the Urban League’s impact to serve over 10,000 individuals and families each year through its 24 programs to provide a skilled and diverse workforce; to increase and retain homeownership; to support economic and small business development; to gain certification of the affiliate as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI); and to advocate for equity and excellence in education for students of color.
A graduate of East Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and a self-proclaimed lifelong learner, Nichols has completed continuing education and leadership courses at the University of Tennessee; Whitney M. Young, Jr. Center for Urban Leadership; and the Duke University Center for Executive Leadership. She is a 2003 graduate of Leadership Knoxville and the TBI and FBI citizens academies and a member of Class V of Leadership Tennessee.
Recognized as a senior fellow by the National Urban League, her expertise in board and affiliate development has facilitated her work with the Urban League and other non-profit organizations throughout the country.