Visit the Human First Blog   |   click here   

Leadership Team


Cheryelle Cruickshank

Chief Executive Officer

 As a recognized leader in the field of mental health, Cheryelle Cruickshank was appointed by UCP of NYC Board of Directors to lead Human First as the new Chief Executive Officer. With over 25 years of experience in non-profit executive management and mental health services, Cruickshank will oversee the strategy and direction of the future of Human First; focusing on the organization leadership and the professional development of both the staff and individuals. She will be a strong advocate for ensuring the well-being of the individuals with an active concentration on expanding and creating job opportunities for them.

Under Cruickshank’s leadership, Human First’s programming is guaranteed to grow and prosper due to her judicious use of resources, cost effective strategies and her successful experience in budget appropriation.

Throughout her career, she built an extensive network of strategic alliances with government officials and agencies.

Cheryelle Cruickshank graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Sociology from SUNY Albany. While attending college, she worked at a center for individuals with developmental disabilities. She believes that the early exposure to working with people with special needs began her passion and sculpted her career path. She went to the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University Institute with a concentration in Nonprofit Management for Middle Managers in Community Development Organizations. In 2011, she graduated with distinction from a year long leadership program sponsored by the National Urban Fellows, America’s Leaders of Change. In 2013, she graduated with high distinctions with a Master’s degree in Non-Profit Management and Leadership.

During the first 20 years of her career, Cruickshank worked with Services for the Underserved, where she successfully trained, developed, and managed over 250 healthcare service professionals. She also developed nearly 30 programs for developmental disability services including Adult Day Services, Residential Homes, Medicaid Service Coordination, After-School Programs, Family Reimbursement, Home Grant Access and more.

In 2008, she accepted a position as the Associate Executive Director at Unique People Services. She provided her expertise and leadership qualities to provide oversight for 22 programs and 230 employees that provide support to people with special needs.

Cheryelle Cruickshank has led initiatives in various associations and committees whose focus is advocating for the rights of people with special needs. She was most served as the President of the Bronx Developmental Disabilities Council, and sits on the boards of the NYS Association of Community Residential Agencies, the Inter Agency Council and the NY Association of Emerging Multicultural Agencies. She has participated in local government planning for the Bronx over the past 4 years and frequently meets with legislators to provide input on the effects of proposed budget changes. She has also been recognized as a Woman of Excellence by Strathmore’s Who’s Who Worldwide.

Cruickshank has successfully become a strong voice for the special needs community and Human First is proud to have her as our new CEO. We look forward to her bringing us her exceptional experience and undeniable passion and leading us to a promising path ahead.