Shawn M. Graham is Interim Chief Executive Officer for the National Black MBA Association, Inc and is bringing a plethora of knowledge, wisdom, and leadership to the office. Graham has 30 years of experience leading global and national corporations in several industries. She was selected to the Atlanta Business League’s 100 Women of Influence in 2021 and received the League Leadership Award in 2022.
Why should people join the NBMBAA?
The National Black MBA Association is a huge professional network. We have an annual conference coming up in September. Our mission is to lead the creation of educational wealth building growth opportunities for those who are historically underrepresented and systemically excluded, because I believe it’s intentional. We focus on these individuals throughout their careers, whether they’re students, entrepreneurs, young professionals, seasoned professionals, we provide programs throughout the year.
We have 41 chapters throughout the country and an annual conference with more than 250 corporate partners to provide you with access to resources and jobs. We have competitions for entrepreneurs and we award up to $50,000. We have Impact Awards where we recognize those in the community, who are deserving of a variety of awards. We just like to acknowledge and give people their flowers while they can still smell them.
As a CEO, how do you set your annual goals and your goals for leadership and increase the knowledge base and intellectual capital inside your organization?
The goals that I have to set come in different buckets. There’s the budget and cash flow projections. You set your budget a year in advance, but what happens when five months later looks different from what you budgeted? You have to be clear on the financial direction and the financial stability of your organization. That’s one of the goals. Also, see where the gaps are and try to diversify revenue, especially in a nonprofit space. It’s critical that we diversify our revenue streams. In addition, you look at the different areas. For the NBMBAA, we have our members and programs. Every pocket of our organization is going to require goals.
I look at how we can increase the memberships we have to have richer benefits for our members. We have to make sure that we have a valuable proposition for our members. So, we look at the program and what’s relevant today, what’s relevant 10 years ago, and we see that what was relevant 10 years ago was not necessarily relevant today. Going forward, technology is key. We have to make sure that our program is capturing that and staying relevant. Our Board of Trustees have their vision for the direction of the organization, so I have to also make sure that I’m in alignment with them and delivering to the board and all of our stakeholders.