Kendra Brim ’11 is on the front lines, fighting to empower young professionals in Buffalo, N.Y. When she’s not climbing her own ladder at Blue Cross Blue Shield, leading projects and tracking finances, she helps guide young adults through challenges like getting an education and unemployment.

Brim moved back to her hometown after graduating from Colgate. A high-scoring forward for the women’s basketball team, it was the first time since childhood that she stepped away from the court. “It was an interesting transition time for me because, playing basketball my whole life, I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” she says. “I knew I wanted to get involved in the community, I just didn’t know in what capacity.” She attended a few events at the Buffalo Urban League, an organization that works to empower minorities. A year later, she was president.

Now national programs chair, the Colgate political science major oversees Urban League chapters across the country, but she still strives to serve her old stomping ground. Learn more about her key initiatives:

“We’re a very small chapter in Buffalo, but we’re part of a movement that’s 10,000 members-wide across the country.”

“We do a lot for our communities in terms of professional development and advocacy work. We also focus on health and wellness. You can’t give back if you can’t take care of yourself.”

“This year, we’re focusing on the census and the presidential election. We have a lot of zip codes in our city where people don’t respond to the census. Here in Buffalo, we have a huge immigrant population and one of the highest poverty rates in the country, so it’s important to make sure that we get funds allocated to our city. One of the biggest things we’re doing is pushing the neighbor-to-neighbor philosophy, so more people respond to the census.”

“We make sure we have people who are on the front lines who are prepared to fight for their city and understand that they have a voice and they can make a change. We empower our young professionals to go out in the world and understand that they matter.” 

“I organized a National Day of Service with a STEAM-focused event for children to let them know STEAM opportunities are available to them throughout their lives and careers.”

“I always say that I’m the voice for the voiceless, and I allow people to have a seat at the table. Buffalo is one of the poorest cities in the country, but we have a lot to give.”