For the second straight year, Urban Resource Institute CEO Nathaniel Fields, GSS ‘96, has been named to Crain’s annual list of Notable Black Leaders. Fields appears alongside 105 New York Black Leaders and Executives on the list, selected from over 11,300 Black-owned businesses in the state.
Crain’s curates the list to “identify talented and accomplished Black individuals whose professional and communal achievements enhance New York City and the lives of its inhabitants.” Selectees work in various industries—including law, medicine, engineering, finance, construction and entertainment.
“I am deeply honored to be included once again on the Crain’s New York list of Notable Black Leaders, a list that includes incredible peers across the public and private sectors who are improving our city and driving positive change,” Fields said in a press release. “It is especially meaningful this year as 2022 marks my 10-year anniversary spearheading URI and leading our mission to transform the lives of vulnerable populations impacted by domestic violence and homelessness. This achievement is possible only through the passion, dedication, and excellence of the entire URI team who continues to remain focused on our mission.”
We sat down with Fields for a phone call to discuss his accomplishment, and this theme of teamwork and dedication to the people of the organization was, in his words, a major key for his success.
“It will always be about the people,” Fields said. “URI has given me the ability to bring in resources to the team so they can engage and work with clients so that the clients can thrive.”
And while organizational growth is paramount to a CEO’s success, Fields clarified that his goal at URI is not strictly to operate under exponential expansion, but focused, meaningful growth.
“We have excellent expertise in certain areas,” Fields said. “We have scaled and deepened our work based on that expertise to drive innovation and thought leadership.”
According to its website, URI is the “largest provider of domestic violence shelter services in the US,” and its mission is to “empower individuals, families, and communities, particularly communities of color and other disenfranchised populations, to end cycles of violence, homelessness, poverty, and trauma by increasing safety and resiliency.”
Impact of an MSW
Fields started working in the social services field in the 1980s. Eventually, he wanted to marry his practice experience with a deeper knowledge of the profession. As a result, he searched out MSW programs.
“Fordham had a good program for the working adult professional,” he said. “The program allowed me the flexibility to continue to work while in school.”
When asked what advice he has for aspiring professionals, Fields revisited the importance of passion and people.
“Follow your passion, equip yourself with the knowledge and skills to do well, and surround yourself with the right people,” he said.
In addition to this accomplishment, Fields was recently named to City & State New York’s 2021 Responsible 100 list, and he is actively engaged in leadership roles for numerous organizations and councils, including the Human Services Committee of the transition team for NYC Mayor Eric Adams, alongside Fordham alumna and GSS community member Anne Williams-Isom, D.Min.