Russell Westbrook, LeadersUp Team Up To Equip South LA Youth With Career Resources To Succeed
Photo Credit: Why Not Foundation

Russell Westbrook, LeadersUp Team Up To Equip South LA Youth With Career Resources To Succeed

This organization teamed up with NBA superstar Russell Westbrook to help bring hundreds of jobs to the community in South LA.

LeadersUp has always been on a mission to empower and uplift the community which made them a match made in heaven during Westbrook’s Why Not? Foundation’s (WNF) Coming Home Event last month.

During the single-day activation, the event celebrated Westbrook’s return to Los Angeles as a Laker while also providing community members with immediate on-the-spot health services, educational services, and job training.

“Being from the inner city, I understand the resources, access, and opportunities that are needed for young people,” said Westbrook, according to a press release. “It’s a privilege to be able to help the South LA community and beyond, whether it’s through education or job creation.” 

Jeffery Wallace, LeadersUp President and CEO, also shared the same sentiments in a statement: 

“I applaud Russell Westbrook’s leadership and strategic philanthropic investment into his community through coaching, careers, and the social capital needed to help BIPOC young adults win. He is a true champion of the next generation of talent. Education and access to career opportunities are critical to advancing an antiracist economy that works for all.”

For The Community

Events like the WNF Home Event barely touch the surface when it comes to all of the work LeadersUp does with the community at the forefront.

For Wallace, it’s much more than being the “exception,” but the actual “standard” for the next generation of changemakers.

“We shouldn’t be the exceptions of our community, we should be the actual standard where young adults of color have the space, the social capital, and the access points to maximize their potential,” he said in an exclusive interview with AfroTech. “It’s our vision being LeadersUp in order for young people of color to do this in America. We really fundamentally have built an antiracist economy.” 

He continued: “This is an economy where racial disparities across education are in alignment with the future of work like electric vehicles, like the technology behind blockchain and NFT and other forms of cryptocurrency.”

It is a world where access points to employment aren’t blocked by racial disparities and go beyond just entry-level and mid-management positions and provides Black people with access to positions in upper management and governance opportunities.

Better Together

Wallace and his team understand that the term “stronger together” really does hold weight when it comes to changing the narrative for Black youth in underserved areas.

“We partner with corporations like Starbucks, Twitter,  Russell Westbrook’s Why Not Foundation, and more to create pathways that take young adults from starting their career all the way through growing into the management of their career and we recognize that this might be across multiple companies, but it’s still focused on building career pathways that connect young adults to the future of the economy and quite frankly, that’s anchored in technology. It’s anchored in a lot of the professional services that are driving growth across the economy as well.”

Strategic Partnerships

At LeadersUp, it’s not just about partnering with big, flashy brands who just say that they are committed to Black and brown communities, it’s about a true connection.

“We realize that these brands are businesses so the work that we’re doing needs to impact their interests, improve the culture and climate from an inclusive standpoint and it needs to improve performance as well as value for shareholders,” Wallace explained. “So we walk in and lead with that business language and then from there we operationalize those commitments which means a huge part of the work that we do is really all about training managers and leaders within corporations that engage our talent around how to be an inclusive coach themselves.”

The partnerships are not just about training young adults to get certificates and then be left to find a job that will hire them into an entry or mid-level career. They focus on ensuring that wherever they land has a leader that is not only inclusive but also has access to benefits like first-time homebuyers programs or student debt alleviation programs that help to truly level the playing field. 

Click here to learn more about LeadersUp.