Bridging the gap, one Genius Champion at a time

Chureen Carter, Mandell Crawley, Sherette Constant, Brian Dixon…these names might not resonate with you right now, but after this blog post, you’re going to want to learn more about them.

You see, these are just a few successful African Americans who are making a difference in their community. How? Keep reading.

In the next couple of days, you’ll probably see a lot of posts regarding the Black Lives Matter movement as well as inspirational phrases about Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, poets, and a few other memorable people from history. And while that’s ok, it’s not how we do things around here.

As a tech ed company, we want to shed light upon matters that are near and dear to our hearts, to predominant characters like Booker T. Washington, to our champions, who not only excel in their professional lives but are also willing to give back to their communities.

Before I continue, it might be a good idea to highlight Booker T Washington, the trailblazer that, way back in the day (circa early 20th century), fought against the status quo for a shot at an education and even then, dreamt of entrepreneurship. He was a notable member of his community. He founded Tuskegee University, one of the historically black universities that later became the Alma Mater of so many minds that have had a positive impact throughout the years.

Booker T. Washington is a dominant figure in African American history.
Booker T. Washington

Celebrating Black History Month doesn’t mean you have to take a stance, march, or sign petitions against the establishment. It’s about acknowledging the brave people who came before us. Thanks to the fearless few, we live in a better world and enjoy more freedom. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t more work to be done. We need to work on bridging the gap when it comes to education, and we can do so by promoting STEAM careers, especially in underprivileged communities. In Genius Plaza, we’ve decided to highlight the silent vocation done by a few really cool people that we know.

They come from different backgrounds, they’ve pursued different careers, and much like Booker T. Washington, they feel passionate about different initiatives. So, what do they have in common? They’re Genius Champions, they’re part of the solution to underlying unrest in the country.

Mandell Crawley, head of Private Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley also volunteers in organizations to help eradicate youth homelessness.
Mandell Crawley, head of Private Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley.

For example, Mandell Crawley serves as the head of the Private Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley. It’s a high profile, fast-paced, stressful job that requires a lot of time, energy, and all of his focus, but when he’s not hands-on working for the investment firm, he dedicates his time to the National Boys and Girls Club as well as the Covenant House in New York, both organizations that strive to end youth homelessness. Another one of his co-workers, Sherette Constant, is the executive director in Information Technology, but she doesn’t forget where she came from. Sherette is an ex-alumni of Tuskegee University, and she’s the captain of her Parkinson’s Unity Walk team. She actively organizes blood drives and is a dynamic recruiter for Morgan Stanley’s Graduate Training Program.

Sherette Constant is an Executive Director in Information Technology. When she's not tracking hackers for Morgan Stanley, she's organizing blood drives, running in favor of her Parkinson's Unity Walk team, and being an active recruiter for the firm.
Sherette Constant is an Executive Director in Information Technology at Morgan Stanley

Chureen Carter is another example of success and empathy. She’s the Senior Director of the Real World Evidence (RWE) Alliance Strategy and Research Operations Group at Janssen Scientific Affairs. She leads a group of professionals who rely on her to make the final call when it comes to making decisions that affect the future of the pharmaceutical company. Aside from her responsibilities, Chureen is also an active member of the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (ASAP), a nonprofit global organization with members from Hi-Tech, BioPharma, Finance, Insurance, Retail, Consumer Services, and more.

Chureen Carter is the Senior Director of the Real World Evidence (RWE) Alliance Strategy and Research Operations Group at Janssen Scientific Affairs. Besides being a top executive calling the shots, she's an active member of the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (ASAP), a nonprofit global organization with members from +35 countries.
Chureen Carter is the Senior Director of the Real World Evidence (RWE) Alliance Strategy and Research Operations Group at Janssen Scientific Affairs.

Last but not least, Brian Dixon is a clear example of what it’s like to be hungry for success. He’s one of the youngest African American venture capitalist partners in the United States. He began his career as an entrepreneur when he was only 16 years old, customizing sneakers with designs he made on Photoshop and other editing software. As a partner for Kapor Capital, his team is trying to leave their mark when it comes to social impact. He ensures they’re on the path to closing gaps of access, especially in low-income communities of color while backing companies focused on education, tech, and health.

Brian Dixon is a venture capitalist partner at Kapor Capital. He makes sure his team invests in companies that are trying to close the gap in low income communities, that are focusing on education, tech, and health.
Brian Dixon is a venture capitalist partner at Kapor Capital.

These are just a few examples of African Americans who are pushing the envelope and why we here at Genius Plaza, think that what they’re doing is remarkable and we want to showcase their contribution and positive impact to their communities and societies in general.

That is why we’ve created MEET a Champion – a virtual way of bringing professionals to classrooms where students can interact with their selected Career Champion and ask as many questions as they want about their path to success, what drove them there, the trials and tribulations they’ve had to endure, and so much more, for over an hour.

Want to learn more about them? Sign up to invite one of the Genius Champions to your classroom to have him or her talk about the building blocks that defined their characters and made them who they are today. You’re not going to want to miss out, believe me!

Ana Ximena

Bilingual writer specialized in storytelling, journalism, creative writing, and corporate communications. I'm a daydreamer, fluent in sarcasm and irony with a penchant for details and romantic gestures. I've been working in the industry for over five years, writing in English and Spanish.

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