Sadiqa Reynolds (SUH DEE QUA) is the CEO of Perception Institute, where she leads a consortium of researchers and strategists to implement mind science solutions to reduce inequities affecting people of marginalized races, genders, ethnicities and other groups.
Reynolds, an attorney and former judge, has spent most of her life advocating for access for all. She
is recognized for her ability to manage crises, solve problems, and build unlikely coalitions. Because of her work, she has twice addressed the NGOs of the United Nations on the subjects of global poverty and racism.
Before joining Perception Institute, Reynolds served as president and CEO of the Louisville Urban League (LUL), where her appointment made her the first woman to hold this title in the affiliate’s 102-year history. During her seven-year tenure, she built partnerships with diverse groups of stakeholders across political, racial and religious lines, increased the budget from $2.6 million to $17 million and became recognized as a national civil rights leader. She visioned and spearheaded a capital development that turned 24 acres of contaminated land into a $53 million state-of-the-art sports and learning center. In addition to cleaning the contamination, the project spurred unprecedented economic growth in one of the most underinvested zip codes in Louisville, garnered national recognition, with SportsTravel Magazine ranking the venue #2 among world-wide venues to “keep an eye on,” and was named Project of the Year by Business First Magazine.
Reynolds’ proven experience advancing initiatives from the boardroom to the streets or vice versa equips her with a perspective that allows her to boldly lead with compassion, courage and cultural competence.
She has earned recognition as Person of the Year by Louisville Magazine, a Woman of Power by the National Urban League, Community Leader of the Year by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Most Admired CEO by Louisville Business First, Small Business Leader of the Year by Greater Louisville Inc. and an Enterprising Woman to Watch by Louisville Business First. She’s also received the Fannie Lou Hamer Award; the Joan E. Thomas, M.D. Lifetime Achievement Award for Peacemaking by The Center for Women and Families; and honorary doctorates of public service from Spalding University and Simmons College.
Reynolds’ expertise on building teams that bridge important gaps in communities has earned several media features in the The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NPR, CBS News, FOX News, BBC, Al Jazeera and other international news outlets.
A tireless advocate for justice, Reynolds served as Chief for Community Building in the Office of the Louisville Mayor, and prior to that, served two years as district judge for the 30th Judicial Court. She was also the first African American woman to clerk for the Kentucky Supreme Court. Her life as a public servant also includes being the first African American to serve as Inspector General for the commonwealth of Kentucky. The Louisville Bar Association has recognized her for providing pro bono hours in which she represented domestic violence victims and other disadvantaged citizens.
Prior to entering the public sector, Reynolds owned a private legal practice that included criminal litigation, employment law, death penalty litigation and serving as guardian ad litem representing abused, neglected and dependent children.