Urban Male Network is a nationally recognized professional networking organization for young men who reside in urban areas. Through mentorship, community development, and promotion of a positive urban male image, we seek to empower young men to become leaders in their community. As a result we can change the landscape of communities by providing service and resources to individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Urban Male Network’s mission is to overcome barriers that inhibit success for minority men and to present positive male role models that have achieved personal, professional and academic success.
By providing service to the community through self-empowerment, community engagement and mentorship, we seek to redefine what it means to be an “urban” male.
An urban male is not about being hood. It is not about being a thug. It is not about being poor. Being an urban male is about being an upstanding citizen that contributes to positive change in their community.
Board of Directors
Executive Director - Dr. Marlon Haywood
Dr. Marlon Haywood was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago in the Englewood area. Never one to let his environment dictate his future, he received his Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Roosevelt University. He has a Master’s Degree in Adult & Higher Education and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Liberal Studies from Northern Illinois University (NIU).
Dr. Haywood’s life’s mission is to be a positive source of change in the lives of young people, in particular young minority men. His professional resume is one deeply rooted in service. While serving as a Transition Specialist, he noticed the completion rate for African American males that receives their GED was low. To serve as an intervention, he developed the male mentoring program Urban Male Initiative, a program that provided academic support to first generation male students at Malcolm-X college. Dr. Haywood has expanded his work to include elementary and high schools, where he started Urban Male Network, a non-profit organization to work with teenage male youth in Chicago.
Moreover, Dr. Haywood served as a Health Disparities Research Fellow for three years at Rush University Medical Center working on the BMO Harris Bank grant project in partnership with Malcolm X College and the Medical Home Network. There he did research, designed curriculum and other initiatives to address the socioeconomic and health disparity issues in low-income communities of Chicago. Marlon served as Program Manager for the Office of Community Engagement at Rush University Medical Center. Currently, Marlon serves as Director for Neighborhood and Community Impact at Volunteers of America Illinois.
Still, even with all the work he does with the aforementioned organizations, Dr. Haywood felt there was more he could do. He founded Marlon Speaks, LLC, a platform that allows him to use his voice and experiences to promote social change as a motivational speaker.
Mr. Layfield is a Chicago native that graduated from Hyde Park Career Academy. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Northern Illinois University in 2013 and received his Master’s in education with an emphasis in student affairs in 2016. His event planning background derives from serving as the President of the Campus Activities Board at NIU, where he was tasked with leading 12 event planners in the execution of 24 events per semester, with a budget of $364,000. Mr. Layfield was able to assist in the planning of several diverse events from 2009-2013. His marketing and branding skills derived from co creating Campus Live Radio, Liberated Minds Organization and serving as the social media intern for Northern Illinois University. His student development background emerged while serving as a Graduate assistant for Trio Student Support Services, Residential counselor for Upward Bound, Program Intern for Chicago Cares One Summer Chicago Program a. Mr. Layfield currently serves as the VP of Programming of the Urban Male Network, Brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, Curriculum Specialist for Becoming a man Program and Youth Advisor for Gary Comer Youth Center .
Marques J. Clark is a grant writer, researcher, and co-founder of Think Amazing, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to helping low-income individuals achieve economic mobility. Marques writes and publishes lookbooks to educate audiences on topics related to mental health and personal development. Marques received his Master of Science in Counseling and Higher Education, and his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. He has over 10 years of experience in higher education, workforce development, counseling, grant writing and grant management—including managing state and federal grant programs.
Robert Moses was born and raised on the south side of Chicago in the Bronzeville area. He received his master’s degree in Youth Development and a bachelor's in Human Development and Learning from University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Moses is an experienced youth practitioner; driven by student development he takes pride in providing the best advising possible. As a curriculum instruction manager serving six high schools, he believes that providing academic, professional, and most importantly emotional support is the key for anyone to be successful. Moses is proud to serve UMN because of its understanding of community value and commitment to enriching lives.our own text and edit me. It's easy.
Mr. Derrick M. Fleming, Jr.
When you think of style and class; organization and structure; education and empowerment; equity and advocacy, Derrick Marcell Fleming, Jr., also known as “Derrick The Gent”, is the man to make it happen. As a former White House Staff Member under the Obama Administration and currently serving as the Managing Director of Strategic Engagement with Chicago Scholars – Derrick leads with a heart to serve and a passion for youth and system change, Derrick brings electrifying energy to any atmosphere. With over 10 years of experience in the nonprofit and government sectors focusing on youth development and education and over 8 years of project management and coaching experience; Derrick brings a level of problem-solving skills that sets everyone at ease and makes solutions-focused work feel like fun.