Rolling Out

Celebrating Aisha Dennis: Empowering change and resilience in leadership

As chief operating officer at OIC of America, she sets a powerful precedent for women of color to thrive, inspire, and lead with purpose
Aisha Dennis, the Chief Operating Officer at OIC of America. (Photo courtesy of #mrwesleybrown)

In the realm of non-profit management, Aisha Dennis stands as a symbol of empowerment and resilient leadership, shaping pathways toward equitable outcomes and transformative change. With a distinguished 16-year career journey, Dennis serves as the Chief Operating Officer at OIC of America, steering impactful initiatives aimed at addressing systemic inequalities and empowering individuals across the nation. Her role encompasses overseeing internal operational functions in alignment with OIC of America’s mission to build economic power for underserved communities in America.

Dennis’s choice to engage with an organization dedicated to economic justice stems from her core values of inclusivity and a deep-seated desire to contribute positively to society. By championing economic justice, she embodies a commitment to eliminating systemic inequalities and fostering a fairer, more equitable world, illustrating her unwavering dedication to making a tangible difference in the lives of others.

As an agent of change, Dennis embodies resilience, leadership, and empowerment, setting a powerful precedent for women of color to thrive, inspire, and lead with purpose in every sphere of influence.

Rolling out recognized Dennis as a Sisters with Superpowers Philadelphia Honoree on Thursday, April 18, 2024, at The W Hotel Philadelphia. We spoke more with this dynamic woman about her career, her superpowers, and more.

Rolling out: What are your responsibilities, and why did you select your career?

Aisha Dennis:  I am the Chief Operating Officer at OIC of America, where I oversee the internal operational functions of the organization in alignment with the policies, goals, and directives set forth by the President/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Board of Directors. OIC of America (OICA) is a national nonprofit building economic power for poor people in America. Choosing an organization with a mission of economic justice aligns with my personal values and aspirations to contribute positively to society. I believe that everyone deserves equal opportunities and access to resources, and by working towards economic justice, I can play a part in creating a fairer and more equitable world. This position allows me to actively work towards eliminating systemic inequalities and making a difference in people’s lives.

RO: As a Black woman, what do you consider your superpower to be?

AD:  My superpowers include resilience in the face of adversity, the ability to inspire and uplift others with my strength and wisdom, and a unique perspective that enriches conversations and drives positive change. I possess empathy, compassion, and a fierce determination to break barriers and pave the way for future generations.

RO: What key skills or qualities make you unique as an African American female leader?

AD: As an African American female leader, my unique combination of skills and qualities includes resilience forged through overcoming societal challenges, strong emotional intelligence, and self-awareness. These qualities make me an empathetic leader who fosters inclusive and positive work experiences for others.

Advice for younger self, others

RO: What thoughtful or encouraging piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

AD:  I would advise my younger self to embrace every aspect of who she is unapologetically, to trust her instincts, and to never let anyone else define her worth or limit her dreams. You should lead from the seat you sit in today (titles don’t make you a leader). Above all, I would remind her to prioritize self-care, self-love, and the pursuit of her passions, knowing that she can achieve anything she sets her mind to.

RO: Why is it important for women of color to work in leadership roles and decision-making capacities?

AD:  Representation matters. Representation ensures that diverse perspectives are considered in decision-making processes, leading to more comprehensive and equitable outcomes. Also, seeing women of color in leadership positions serves as inspiration and encouragement for younger generations, showing them that success is achievable regardless of gender or ethnicity. We are the examples for others to follow. Overall, the presence in leadership positions is instrumental in driving positive change and creating a more equitable and diverse world.

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