The Forum for Youth Investment Welcomes Mishaela Durán as New President & CEO

Last week, the Forum was delighted to welcome Mishaela Durán as its new President & CEO. Durán, a recognized leader and champion in the youth development field, will continue to advance the mission of the Forum to change the odds that all young people are ready by 21 for college, work, and life.   

A native of Apache County, Arizona, one of the poorest counties in the nation, Durán credits her background and experiences with intergenerational poverty and as a youth in foster care to fueling a lifelong passion to help young people of color find their way in the world.   

“I am thrilled to join the Forum for Youth Investment as the President & CEO, building off of Karen Pittman’s incredible legacy and advancing a racial equity agenda to unleash the full potential of children and youth so they are ready for college, work, and life,” said Mishaela Durán. “As a Latina, with lived experience in the child welfare system and a leader in education and human services, I understand firsthand the importance of harnessing the power across sectors and systems to change the odds for children and youth. We have an unprecedented opportunity to reimagine youth-serving systems through a racial equity lens.”  

Durán brings with her extensive experience in youth development and youth policy issues in government and private organizations to lead that broad work. She previously served as a senior executive on the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Administration for Children and Families’ leadership team, where she led initiatives on issues including preventing and ending youth and family homelessness and advancing economic recovery and mobility.  

“We are at a critical time in our nation’s history where great challenges and opportunities to serve youth exist,” said Steve Fleischman, chairperson of the Forum’s Board of Directors. “I am so excited to welcome Mishaela and look forward to her working with our board to lead the Forum towards ever greater mission impact.” 

Prior to working at HHS, Durán was the Chief of Staff at the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation where she provided leadership on strategic plan development and implementation, federal policy, governance, and communications. There, she established a 40-member commission of state superintendents, leaders from higher education, unions, and national associations, teachers, parents, and even critics of teacher preparation and accreditation. Durán also brings with her experience as the Interim Executive Director at the National Parent Teacher Association. Durán has worked on a broad range of youth policy issues with the National Network for Youth and the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and has served on the Forum’s Board of Directors. Durán graduated cum laude from Yale University and earned a Master’s degree in social policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.