Jerome UnderwoodDirector & Associate Consultant
- MBA, Finance, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)
- BSc., Accounting, St. John Fisher College
Jerome is the Senior Director of Youth Development & Family Services for the Rochester City School District (RCSD). The Rochester City School District is an urban district comprised of 28,000 students, 5,500 staff, and spread out across 55 buildings (schools and administrative buildings). His executive leadership position requires oversight for District’s Office of Parent Engagement, Attendance Improvement, Camp Good Days Leadership Camp, and Student Leadership Congress. In carrying out these functions, Cultural Responsiveness and Black Male Achievement are keen foci.
The scope of his role includes strategic planning, management, budgeting and ensuring that the necessary resources, services and continuing professional development are available to managers at all levels. Jerome’s first three years with the District were spent managing operations – Facilities, Food and Transportation. He was asked to transition to the student and family service aspect of the organization due to his unwavering commitment to youth development and deep community connections.
In 1998 after a successful career in banking, Jerome joined Datrose, Inc., as Vice President and CFO. He served in that capacity for 11 years. Headquartered in Webster, NY, Datrose is an award winning, nationally acclaimed business process outsourcing firm specializing in Human Resource, Finance and Administrative Outsourcing. At Datrose, responsibilities included all financial policies, controls, and timely reporting of data. Jerome was also accountable for strategic planning and management of overall company risk, such as information technology and business continuity.
Prior to his tenure at Datrose, Jerome spent 9 years in commercial banking with HSBC Bank. While serving as Vice President & Commercial Product Manager for Community Reinvestment, he represented HSBC in a consortium of banks that developed a multi- million economic development fund aimed at revitalizing small businesses in Western New York. The role encompassed developing and implementing strategies to ensure that the commercial credit and investment needs of all New York State communities were being met, with an emphasis on low-to-moderate income areas. As a Commercial Lending Officer, he managed a $100 million loan portfolio comprising a diverse array of private and non-profit businesses.
Born on the beautiful Caribbean island of Antigua, Jerome holds an MBA in Finance from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), and a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from St. John Fisher College. He is a graduate of the United Way’s African American Leadership Development Program (AALDP), and is now part of the program’s faculty. Jerome is the immediate past Board Chair of Action for a Better Community – Rochester’s leading self-sufficiency non-profit organization – a position he held for 7 years. He also sits on the board of the Greater Rochester Community Transportation Foundation, and is a former board member of the Rochester Joint Schools Construction Board, a seven member board selected by the Mayor and Superintendent of Schools to oversee the modernization of Rochester’s schools.
In September 2015, he was named RIT’s 2015-16 Minett Professor. The Minett Professorship is designed to bring distinguished Rochester-area multicultural professionals to the RIT campus to share their professional knowledge and experience with students, faculty and staff for one academic year. Minett Professors are selected by Minett alumni and appointed by the university’s president and vice president/associate provost for diversity & inclusion, An avid lover of soccer, Jerome is Director of Coaching for River Flow Soccer Club, and is past President of the Flower City Soccer League – both organizations use soccer as a tool to teach life skills to youth. He enjoys mentoring adolescents, and does motivational speaking in the subject areas of African History, Spirituality & Culture; Leadership, Education, and Personal Management.
Jerome is married to Lorna and they have three children, Nkosi, Damali and Shakir.