Mario Jovan Shaw and Jason Terrell have been concerned with the lack of black teachers in the United States since they began working together in the Teach for America Corps, and their dedication to the issue recently earned them top honors. Both have been named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, which is considered one of highest business achievements.
Their commitment to building opportunities for minorities led to the creation of the organization known as Profound Gentlemen. Their specific mission is to increase the number of black male teachers who can in turn exert a positive influence on African-American youths. The long-term goal of 26-year-old Shaw and 27-year-old Terrell is to transform what is so often a “cradle to prison” trip for minorities into a trip that begins in the cradle and ends in a meaningful career.
Based in Charlotte, N.C., Profound Gentlemen employs so-called “impact cohorts,” which involves the pairing of African-American educators with students of color. This pairing system is intended to stimulate character development, professional growth and community involvement. In the first two years of the program, beginning in 2015, Profound Gentlemen attracted some 150 teachers, 90 percent of whom remained in the educational profession. In addition to retaining 90 percent of the educators, Shaw and Terrell have this year set as their goals the graduation from high school of 90 percent of the participating students and the exposure of the same percentage to career activities. An estimated 3,000 minority youths have already benefited from the mentoring services that are part of the the Profound Gentlemen program.
The Forbes 30 Under 30 list was created in 2011 by Forbes magazine to highlight the services of 30 Americans, all under the age of 30, who are considered the top innovators in 20 different industries and thus the “rising stars” in the field of business.