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Chicago Woman Living King’s ‘Dream’

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Ava Youngblood. (Credit: CBS)

Ava Youngblood. (Credit: CBS)

Jim Williams (CBS) Jim Williams
Jim Williams, a native Chicagoan, co-anchors the CBS 2 Chicago Wee...
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CHICAGO (CBS) — You’ve undoubtedly heard excerpts from Dr. King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech, but what does it mean to truly live the dream?

CBS 2’s Jim Williams set out to find the answer and found one woman “living the dream.”

Ava Youngblood was six years old in 1963 when Dr. King made his speech. She grew up to know she is the beneficiary of Dr. King’s courage and the timing of his moral crusade.

“That Dr. King did what he did when he did it during our lifetime,” said Youngblood, CEO of Youngblood Executive Search.

Among the thousands in Washington 50 years ago was a young white executive named Frank Carr, who was moved by what he had seen.

“Came home, told his wife that he was going to quit his job and start an organization to help talented, under-served youth,” said Youngblood.

That organization was called In Roads. Through it, Youngblood got an internship at Amoco, then a job at the oil giant when she graduated from Northwestern with a degree in chemical engineering. Amoco had competition.

“I had 11 job offers from Fortune 500 companies from around the country,” said Youngblood.

Youngblood spent 20 years at Amoco and earned an MBA from the University of Chicago, living a motto she’s stressed with her sons, now grown and thriving.

“I am responsible for the things that I do. I am responsibility for the things I let happen to me,” said Youngblood.

Today, Ava Youngblood is CEO of an executive search firm and has a dream of her own.

“We really get to the place where we don’t look at a person as a group but we look at each other as individuals,” said Youngblood. “I grew up with that and I believe that.”

Ava Youngblood is an example of the ripple effect that can happen when one person gets an opportunity and takes advantage of it.

She’s recruited minorities to companies and been involved in many charities, including “Communities in Schools,” an organization that helps kids stay in school.

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