By Kelci Sleeper
The Board of Directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta (BBBSMA), long respected for leveraging the power of mentors on behalf of Metro Atlanta’s youth, is pleased to announce the appointment of Kwame Johnson as Chief Executive Officer. Currently Executive Director of the Greater Atlanta Region forPowerMyLearning, Johnson succeeds Janice McKenzie-Crayton, who retired last fall after more than a quarter century as CEO.
“This is truly an exciting development for the young people of our region,” noted board chair David Clark, General Manager (EVP) in charge of FreeWheel, a Comcast Company specializing in advanced advertising technology for the TV & video industry.
Gerard Gibbons, co-chair of the search committee and President of Enterprise Sales for UPS, added, “Kwame Johnson prevailed over an exceptionally strong slate of contenders. His record of growth and impact on behalf of Atlanta area youth was most persuasive, as was his experience with creative collaborations with a variety of business, academic and nonprofit partners.” Added Duriya Farooqui, search co-chair and Executive Director, Atlanta Committee for Progress, “Kwame’s energy is infectious, and his career-long passion for helping young people reach their full potential is exactly what BBBS Atlanta needs in a leader. It’s a great day for powering mentorship!”
A native of Syracuse, NY, Kwame Johnson is the son of two educators; his mother was the first African-American elected to the local school board. He left college to work under his first professional mentor, the founder and CEO of The Woodson Center, an organization committed to “transforming lives, schools and troubled neighborhoods.” A condition of hire was that he complete his college studies while working full-time; during his seven years at Woodson, Johnson earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration at the University of Maryland.
“Becoming CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta feels like the role I have been preparing for my entire life,” said Johnson of his appointment. “I know first-hand the power of mentorship and how relationships change lives.” Continued Johnson, “BBBS Atlanta is already well known for its impact on thousands of area youth. It’s an honor indeed to be asked to help extend that impact to the thousands more whose lives could be enriched by a sustained relationship with an adult mentor.”
Under Johnson’s leadership, the Atlanta region of PowerMyLearning doubled its revenues and in-kind computer and software donations in less than three years, in part by narrowing its focus and partnering with over a dozen leading foundations and corporations to increase the impact on youth being served. PML now operates in 15 area schools, up from five three years ago, and currently serves some 1500 students. It is regularly cited as a top program partner by Atlanta Public Schools.
Johnson’s appointment at BBBSMA follows an extensive executive search conducted in partnership with BoardWalk Consulting, a national search firm committed to “finding leaders that matter for missions that matter.”® In addition to Clark, Gibbons and Farooqui, the search committee included BBBSMA board members Amy Agami and Mark Tipton as well as partners Penelope McPhee (The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation) and Curley Dossman (Georgia-Pacific Foundation).
Kwame Johnson received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Maryland. Subsequently, he was Senior Director of Donor Advised Services with Charities Aid Foundation of America and Director of Corporate Relations with Communities in Schools, both based in Washington, DC, before moving to Atlanta in 2015.
Johnson and his wife reside in Alpharetta, GA, with their four-year-old son. He begins his tenure with BBBSMA in mid-March 2018.