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Franklin Wilkerson leading Morehouse alumni into the future

franklin wilkerson

Photo courtesy of Franklin Wilkerson

Please describe your role as CEO.
My role as president of the Detroit Morehouse College Alumni Association is to manage the recruiting, fundraising and community service initiatives of the organization while fostering strong alumni support and building relationships across the network.

What is the mission of your organization?
The Detroit Morehouse College Alumni Association supports the goals and objectives of the Morehouse College National Alumni Association and the values, ideals and legacy of Morehouse College.

Describe your leadership style.
I utilize an inspirational style of leadership with the goal of getting people to own their task. I like self-motivated and emotionally invested people who embrace our goals and objectives.
I encourage teamwork and the leveraging of resources toward goal attainment. I also lead by example.

How do you approach business challenges.
I approach business challenges by assessing and utilizing resources effectively, delegating responsibilities to the correct people and by incorporating a continuous improvement process to fortify the organizational structure.

How do you evaluate talent you are hiring and what skills are you looking for in this marketplace?
As a nonprofit organization, we operate with what I call a “volunteer army.” I evaluate the talent based on the skill set and interests of the alumni who are open to supporting the organization. I look for specialized skills in alumni geared at making it easy for them to play a role in supporting the organization. I also look for leaders in their own right who need little direction but understand the larger vision of my goals and objectives. Our core philosophy is to work smarter, not harder.

What are the top three benefits of being a member of your organization?
The first benefit of being a member of our organization is the relationships and networking that come from engaging alumni.

The second benefit of membership is that it helps alumni fulfill their commitment to support Morehouse College and the efforts of the alumni organization which was instilled in us while we were students at Morehouse.

The third membership benefit revolves around the support that the organization provides to individual alumni and their initiatives. We want to lift up our members utilizing the value and scale of our integrated network.

How do you utilize technology to give yourself business advantages?
I utilize various electronic templates to help establish common processes that improve the organization over time. In addition we utilize an echeck system that allows us to efficiently manage payables without having to use handwritten checks or manage a physical check book. We also use Quicken to help us download and manage our financial information.

What technological tools have you used to communicate with your membership?
We have embraced social media and other communication tools like Constant Contact to streamline the flow of information. The next phase we are moving into is incorporating a video conference feature into our physical meetings for alumni who live outside the metro Detroit area or are unable to attend a meeting in person.

What are three most important processes and documents used to become a member?
Members must be financial with the local chapter by paying annual dues.
They must complete an alumni profile.
Members are encouraged to participate in one of three committees:
Recruiting
Fundraising
Community Service

What are the two key factors for business success?
The first key business success factor is having an effective project leader who is able to develop a strategic plan to reach the objective.
The second key business success factor is surrounding the project leader with the resources and team members to help reach the desired goal.

Name your three favorite business books for insight and inspiration.
The Power of Consistency, by Weldon Long
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, by John C. Maxwell
100 Verses & Prayers For Successful Leaders

If you were giving a speech about the skills that would be needed the in future, what would the of title of your speech be and why?
The title of my speech would be “The Continuous Improvement Mindset.” I live by the understanding that the way we do things can always be improved and/or done differently. Embracing change through self-improvement and process efficiency makes the discomfort of change less difficult. This also allows the people affected by change to be empowered through the process.