By Taroue Brooks
Careshia Moore Esq. is the president and CEO of Usher’s New Look (UNL), a 20-year-old youth empowerment organization committed to transforming the lives of underserved youth into passion-driven leaders founded by Grammy Award-winning artist Usher Raymond.
Here, Moore shares why she became an educator and why mentoring and foundation work is her passion.
Why did you want to become an educator?
I became an educator by accident. Initially, I wanted to become a child psychologist because I knew I wanted to help children having issues that hindered them from being the best version of themselves. I became an educator because at the time it was a way to stay on track for graduation but also gave me the opportunity to impact youth. Little did I know, I didn’t choose this career field, but it chose me. Becoming involved in education is a vehicle to receive an up close and personal view into circumstances that may affect a child’s ability to reach his or her full potential. It is also a field that allows you to see the transformative affects of access, exposure and opportunity.
What has been the most rewarding part?
The most rewarding part of my career has been observing youth who changed the trajectory of their life by developing an authentic and genuine relationship with a caring adult. There have been youth who never thought they could break the cycle of poverty in their family who are now working at Fortune 500 companies and have earned a college degree. We have worked in schools where 20 percent of the graduating class were first generation high school students. When you see the mindset shifting in children and you know they are now on a path to success, that is the most rewarding part of this work.
What attracted you to want to lead the foundation?
After I left law practice in 2012, I knew I wanted to do more work in the education space. I was introduced to Usher’s New Look and became a volunteer. I knew from my first engagement that my connection with the organization was not by happenstance. In fact, it was divine. I did not know how long I would be with the organization but I knew that I found a group of people with a vision for youth that aligned with my own. Exposing youth, helping them craft a path that set them up for success and providing them with knowledge that would build confidence and competencies and skills to level the playing field are tenets that UNL values. Maintaining work in line with our mission are what have kept me connected to the organization. As VP of Programs, I was focused on building partnerships and opportunities for our youth. When the opportunity presented itself to lead UNL, I prayed about it and knew that this was the next step in this journey. Since that time, I have been able to lead a dedicated and passionate team, implement my vision for the future of the organization and continue to see the impact of the work we have been doing for 20 years.
Why are mentors important?
Every successful person can attribute their achievement to lessons they have learned along the way. Many times these lessons are taught by people who are instrumental in your life. I am a firm believer in learning from those who have experienced life. Learning from others can be a great way to avoid potholes, make wise decisions and understand how to navigate this journey called life.
Who is your mentor?
This is a great way to pay homage to a very important mentor in my life who just recently passed away. Mr. Walter Robinson was a college admissions executive for over 40 years. He helped thousands of young people access higher education. I worked for him during both undergraduate and graduate school and learned so much from him about helping young people. I did not know that the work I was doing would inform the work I do today. He travelled the country helping minority students learn the power of education and made it possible for them to attend and succeed in colleges and universities. For me personally and several of my colleagues, he was a shoulder to lean on, a voice of reason and a guiding force in our lives. I knew he was special but seeing so many people share their stories about the impact he left on their lives showed me just how much of a legacy he is leaving and just how special of a person he was.
What is the biggest impact having a mentor has left with you?
Having a mentor has shown me the importance of giving of myself to others. Regardless of position, impact or status, we should always take advantage of opportunities to pour into at least one person’s life. A piece of advice or even just a listening ear can instill just enough hope or direction to change their life. I have experienced this as a mentee and I keep this lesson in the forefront as I mentor others.
Why should one want to attend the Disruptivator Youth Summit taking place this July in Atlanta at Emory University?
I tell people if I was 17-22 years of age, I would not miss this Summit. This convening of young people is a truly impactful event that changes the lives of young people. The people they are exposed to, opportunities and the experiences are unlike any other summit I have experienced. Not only are they learning from others but it is also an opportunity to collaborate with their peers, hear from our wonderful speakers like our founder, Usher Raymond IV, gain insights on various industries and have a great time. There are many companies and entities who will be represented like Southwest Airlines, Travelers Insurance, the City of Atlanta and many others that are supporting this Summit. Students will have the opportunity to engage and leave with potential job and internship connections. This Summit is special because we will also be celebrating our 20th anniversary.