MLT Blog

Increasing the Diversity of Education Reform Leaders

By: John Rice, MLT Founder & CEO

Today I was honored to participate in a Department of Education conference called Our Students, Our Leaders: Increasing the Diversity of Education Reform Leaders. I was invited to address the conference to share MLT’s proven model for creating more diverse leaders.  We have had tremendous success partnering for more than a decade with private and social sector organizations to broaden their diverse leadership pipelines, and for the last few years we have been helping to develop educational sector leaders as well.  I shared how we can take our strong early results in the educational sector and help scale those efforts to have a truly meaningful impact over time. My fellow presenters included several prominent social sector leaders, including Founder and CEO of Beyond Z Aimee Eubanks Davis, Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder of New Leaders Ben Fenton, Chief Academic Officer for Denver Public Schools Susana Cordova, and Executive Director of Professional Development for Denver Public Schools Debbie Hearty.

MLT’s two-pronged approach focuses on both individuals and institutions.

First, for individuals, providing more high potential minorities with a winning professional playbook and personal coaching throughout their careers will enable more diverse individuals to grow into high impact leadership roles. Too many talented minorities lack a clear understanding of what it takes to get hired, to be considered a high performer, and to get promoted within the education sector. This stems from a lack of access to senior professionals who have been down this same path and can provide insight into hiring, evaluation, and promotion practices. Without an understanding of what success looks like at each career stage, individuals are not able to develop an actionable plan to ensure they hit the bar for high performance.

Second, we have developed an institutional playbook that organizations can follow to build their diverse talent pipelines that has two primary components:

  1. The playbook provides organizations with a clear understanding of the core problems at the individual level and focuses on activities that address the problems, not just the symptoms.
  2. We emphasize not lowering the bar on strategic rigor when it comes to diversity initiatives.

Organizations need to understand the underlying obstacles so they can proactively communicate their hiring and promotion “bar” and decision-making process.  Organizations can also provide coaching resources to more diverse candidates, who have less access to informal guidance than their majority counterparts, to help their minority employees better meet the bar of excellence.  Additionally, the roadmap to securing diverse leadership needs to have the same level of strategic rigor that these organizations apply to their core operations. We have observed that most organizations in the private and social sectors focus on short-term tactical measures that have little chance of transforming their talent pipelines.

The MLT Approach

MLT provides talented, under-represented minorities – African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans – with a personalized professional playbook and rigorous coaching throughout their careers.  MLT provides institutional partners with a comprehensive recruiting, retention, and advancement solution for transforming their talent pipelines and ensuring that their leadership better reflects the communities they serve.

MLT’s Impact

  • MLT is the leading source of diverse talent for many top employers including Google, Goldman Sachs, and Procter & Gamble.
  • 40% of the minority MBAs at Harvard, Wharton, and Kellogg business schools are MLT fellows.
  • 70% of individuals who have participated in our mid-career advancement program have been promoted within 1 year of completing the program.
  • Over 15% of our 4,000+ Rising Leaders are working in the social sector, while 80% intend to play a leadership role in the social sector at some point in their careers.

Programs that Support Diverse Rising Leaders

MLT’s acclaimed programs help individuals accelerate through key career transition points:

  • College to early career
  • Early career to graduate school
  • Mid to senior leadership

Over the course of each of our 12-18 month programs, Rising Leaders:

  • Work 1-on-1 with a MLT coach
  • Form an individualized career roadmap
  • Advance through MLT’s proprietary curriculum that addresses both hard and soft skills

Through our programs, we have shaped the career trajectories and had life-changing impact on more than 4,000 individuals, almost half of whom are first generation college graduates and over 90% of whom are first generation graduate students.

We are proud to partner with renowned education organizations including Teach for America, The Broad Residency, Bellwether Education Partners, Curriculum Associates, and Education Resource Strategies.  We look forward to expanding our involvement in this sector.  Together, we can create more inclusive educational institutions that better align with their communities – and that strengthen opportunities for all our children.