Invest in Yourself. Invest in Your Leadership

by Ebonie Johnson Cooper

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This weekend I learned that the new Nike Foamposites came out. A friend I was volunteering with on Saturday morning saw them on the feet of a kid from the local neighborhood and asked him if he’d gotten them that morning. The kid smiled with pride said yes and rode away on his bike. I asked my friend what those sneakers retail for. He said about $125, maybe $200- BUT starting today if you put them on eBay you can resell them for at least $500. I. Was. Floored.

After having this conversation, the teacher and community leader in me immediately wondered if the young man who rode off on his bike could equate the value of those sneakers the same way he valued his education? I know I just threw out a stereotype there, but the reality is many of our kids in urban neighborhoods can’t see past the four corners of their block. Not because they don’t want to but possibly because no one has ever taken the time to show them.

And what about us? We’re so quick to invest in material things, eating out and brunches, but when it comes to professional development we drag our feet.

What’s your point Ebonie? Your 90-seconds is waning. I know. My point is, as degree holding, young, black professionals and emerging leaders, it is our responsibility to be the change we wish to see within our communities. Being that change means that we have to be equipped to actually BE THE CHANGE. We have to invest in our leadership. We have to take the time to revisit the basics and learn some new best practices on how to be a good mentor, how to fundraise on a board and yes, even how to create a small business or nonprofit that works in today’s society – and economy.

That ALL being said; I am personally inviting you to fill one of the 50 seats we have at this year’s Changing the Face of Philanthropy Summit. Over the course of two days we will learn; we’ll laugh and we’ll get to nitty gritty about community leadership for us as young, black professionals.

Watch last year’s video to see what the Summit is all about.

The work ain’t easy, but we’ve got to do it! Invest in yourself. Hope to see you all in June!


Ebonie aka EJC

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