By Ellen McGirt
December 15, 2016

The final My Brother’s Keeper National Summit at the Obama White House took place yesterday, a lively and at times, emotional meeting of business executives, community organizers, government staffers, elected officials, and the young men of color who have benefited from their collective hard work.

Front and center was Blair Taylor, the charismatic CEO of MBKA Alliance, the independent, nonprofit arm of President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative. It’s his job to make sure that potential employers, like Starbucks, Sprint and others are finding the talent they need in communities that are easily overlooked. “We help recruiters, who don’t usually know people like the young men here today, to ‘shift their prisms’ from the deficit model,” seeing only what is missing from resumes, “to the asset model,” he told raceAhead at a recent MBKA job fair.

It was also a poignant goodbye. The Summit was one of the last meetings to celebrate the work being done on behalf of young men of color by the country’s first black president. “Obama wasn’t scheduled to appear at the summit until four and a half hours after it started, but people stood packed in the aisles for its entire six-hour run time,” says Fortune’s Stacy Jones.

But it also sounds like Obama isn’t leaving the work when he leaves the office. His remarks were one part rallying cry for inclusion and two parts pep talk for ruthless, rigorous measurement.

From Jones’s story:

When he did take the stage, Obama pledged to continue working with MBK after he leaves office in January, calling it his life’s work. But he was careful to note that being passionate about something isn’t an excuse to ignore objective measures of what does and doesn’t work.

“We have to be rigorous in measuring what works. We can’t hang onto programs just because they’ve been around a long time,” he said yesterday. “We can’t be protective of programs that haven’t produced results for young people, even if they’ve produced jobs for some folks running them.”

For Jones, the takeaway was clear. “Use data to analyze corporate diversity and inclusion efforts. Ditch what doesn’t work. Reallocate that money to new, proven programs. And maintain momentum by continuing to collect and share data.”

The love thy neighbor part was implied. Click through for her story.


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