Shawn Dove serves as the CEO of the Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA), a national membership organization dedicated to ensuring the growth, sustainability and impact of leaders and organizations focused on improving the life outcomes of America’s Black men and boys.


In this episode, we discussed:

  • Shawn's dream as a young black child 
  • Who Shawn describes as his most valuable mentor growing up in New York 
  • CBMA's back story and what he does in his day to day role
  • The biggest lessons he learned about himself in the process of growing CBMA
  • How great leaders can continue to have vision and be successful
  • Shawn's blind spots as a leader
  • Why it's so important to lead with generosity in your relationships
  • What to do when speaking publicly, to make ourselves unforgettable
  • What he'd do if he were the head of our nation's educational system
  • The effects of being a husband and father of 4 children on his career journey
  • Shawn's inspiring poem: “Discover your G-Spot and Become a Gold Digger”

Resources mentioned:

Shawn's Bio

Shawn Dove serves as the CEO of the Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA), a national membership organization dedicated to ensuring the growth, sustainability and impact of leaders and organizations focused on improving the life outcomes of America’s Black men and boys. Started by the Open Society Foundations in 2008 as the nation’s largest philanthropic initiative on this issue, Dove’s leadership has propelled CBMA into becoming an independent entity, growing its membership to more than 4,000 leaders representing over 2,000 organizations nation-wide.

For more than a decade, Dove has demonstrated catalytic leadership in helping to establish and develop the field of Black Male Achievement. He has served as a lead organizer of the Executives’ Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys & Young Men of Color; brokered a partnership between Open Society Foundations, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the City of New York to launch the NYC Young Men’s Initiative; and helped seed the launch of the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative. Under Dove’s direction, CBMA’s efforts led to the creation of the nation’s first-ever Black Male Achievement fellowship for social entrepreneurs in partnership with Echoing Green, and he played a key role in the formation of Cities United, a national strategy that facilitates partnerships between mayors, municipal leaders and community-based organizations to eliminate violent deaths of Black men and boys in over 70 cities.

Prior to heading up the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, Dove held over 20 years of leadership experience as a youth development professional, community-builder and advocate for children and families. He began his professional career as Executive Director of The DOME Project, a NYC-based youth development organization, then went on to become Director of Youth Ministries for First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, NJ, where he managed the 7,000-member institution’s youth development initiatives, strategic partnerships and cross-ministry collaborations. Dove also served as the New York Vice President for MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership, during which time he successfully doubled the organization’s membership of mentoring programs and created The Male Mentoring Project, a city-wide public awareness and recruitment strategy to grow more African American and Latino male mentors in New York City.

As Creative Communities Director for the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts, Dove led and managed the technical assistance, training and grant-making activities for the Creative Communities initiatives, which represented the first ever partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He was also Program Director of the Harlem Children Zone-operated Countee Cullen Community Center (one of New York City's first Beacon Schools) and helped spearhead the launch of HCZ’s Fitness & Nutrition Center.

Throughout his career, Dove has continued to leverage his passion for writing and publishing to create a platform for voices otherwise not heard. During his decade of service at the Harlem Children's Zone, Dove became the founding editor-in-chief of Harlem Overheard, an award-winning youth-produced newspaper. He is also the founding publisher and editor-in-chief of Proud Poppa, a quarterly community-empowerment publication launched in 2006 to celebrate, elevate and replicate fatherhood success principles in the Black community. Dove is a recipient of the Charles H. Revson Fellowship at Columbia University and was awarded a 2014 Prime Movers Fellowship for social movement leaders. He earned a BA in English from Wesleyan University and is a graduate of Columbia University Business School's Institute for Not-for-Profit Management. Dove currently lives in New Jersey with his wonderful wife and four amazing children.

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