When Careshia Moore stopped practicing law, she didn’t know where she would land. She started volunteering at Usher’s New Look, the youth empowerment foundation founded by Grammy-winning artist Usher Raymond IV, which has served over 50K students and is celebrating its 20th anniversary by hosting the 2019 Disruptivator Summit July 24-26, 2019, at Emory University.
Today the organization’s CEO and president, Moore continues to travel along her path to purpose.
What thoughtful or encouraging piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell myself that the path to success is not straight. Don’t be defined by boxes that people create. There is more than one way to accomplish a goal. Be open to exploring the unknown. I could have definitely benefitted from this advice. Some of these lessons I learned later in life and am still learning as I continue along my journey. I am grateful I get to share these lessons with the young people I work with in hopes that they will learn them much sooner.
Who is your biggest inspiration in the field? Why?
My biggest inspiration is the students in Immokalee, Florida, the city where I took my first teaching assignment. When I first began teaching, I had the pleasure of teaching in Naples, Florida, as well as in Immokalee, Florida. Although the cities were in the same school district, the resources and environments could not have been farther apart. Although the circumstances of my students were drastically different, all of my students were high IQ and therefore had the ability to excel not just in school but in life. The
students were talented, passionate and had dreams and aspirations. Despite their natural abilities, I knew that my students were going to face huge hurdles, just because of the class structure that exists and lack of resources. This created a burden for me that I turned into inspiration for the work I do today with Usher’s New Look. I often say that Usher’s New Look is the program my students in Immokalee needed to provide the access, exposure and opportunity that would ensure their success.
Why is it important for women of color to work in STEM fields?
When I speak to colleagues and friends who are women of color working in the STEM fields, they share how even in 2019 they find themselves in situations where they are the only woman of color in the room. When you talk about creating opportunities for youth and the next generation of leaders, a major factor in achieving that goal is young people seeing people who look like them in leadership roles. There is something magical that happens when students find common ground with successful people. It creates
a point of relatability [and] presents an opportunity for students to learn from them and visualize themselves in the same position.