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Honoree Headshot

Kwame Johnson Sr

President & CEO
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta

Location: Greater Atlanta, Georgia
Founded: 1940
Industry: Nonprofit

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Kwame Johnson Sr. found his life’s passion in the most unlikely place: while incarcerated during his senior year of high school. It was there that he decided to change his life and made history by becoming the first youth to ever take his SAT in jail.

Today, Johnson serves as the president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta, overseeing the largest and most effective youth mentoring agency in the state. The group’s mission is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Johnson has transformed the organization’s operations, programs and fundraising, increasing the nonprofit’s revenue by 190%.

Johnson was accepted into Hampton University, then left college at the age of 19 to become a social entrepreneur and dedicate his life to service. His passion led him to Washington, D.C., where he served as the national program director for the Woodson Center, focused on helping residents of low-income neighborhoods address their communities’ problems.

Johnson also served as the director of corporate relations for the national office of Communities In Schools, the nation’s largest drop-out prevention organization. He moved to Atlanta in 2015 to serve as the CEO of PowerMyLearning in Atlanta, focused on improving educational outcomes for students, where he increased the organization’s revenue by 65% and program reach by 115% within three years.

Johnson has received national recognition for his work, including the Social Entrepreneur Program of the Year Award from the Manhattan Institute. He received the Atlanta Business Chronicle Most Admired CEO Award and the Atlanta Business League Men of Influence Award. Johnson has been named to both the Atlanta Business Chronicle and the Georgia Trends 40 Under 40 lists and was recently named one of Atlanta’s Top 500 Most Powerful Leaders by Atlanta Magazine.

Johnson is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta and holds a degree in business administration from the University of Maryland and an Executive Education Certificate in Nonprofit Strategy from Harvard University. He is also the award-winning author of “The Hope Inside: Harnessing the Power of Mentorship in Life and Career.”

“The research shows that 90% of our daily decision-making is subconscious,” Johnson said. “Therefore, I spend a lot of time strengthening my subconscious mind. This includes many things such as reading, traveling the world, meeting different people and learning new things. The list goes on.”

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Kwame found his passion while incarcerated during his senior year of high school. During this challenging time, he decided to change his life and made history by becoming the first youth to ever take his SATs in jail.

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