By Katrice L. Mines
Leaders build leaders. It’s the ethos that has made Atlanta ground central for some of the world’s most noted African-American influencers over the last 50 years. And so it is only natural to always be looking to the horizon for who is next. It’s a question I’ve asked in casual conversation and interviews with the many Atlanta Tribune subjects that I’ve encountered since 2006 … namely, who they — specifically — are grooming.
Yes, leaders are born. But, more essentially, they are cultivated; a reality that is increasingly urgent as we see the gradual changing of the guard in many segments of our community from our business circles to our religious and civic ones. Even as I write this, I wonder to myself: who’s grooming who?
I learned early as a young professional that I must pursue sound tutelage, a lesson that came directly from unsolicited mentoring by people who noted my potential at different stages up to my first professional post. As a fledgling newspaper reporter, my editor would call me to sit across from her at the end of my shift each afternoon and discuss either what I had written for that day’s deadline or what stories I was developing on my beat. In the beginning, I’d duck out — on occasion — at the end of my shift believing that our conferencing was taking up more time than I wanted to commit. One day, I told her, “I don’t even want to be a reporter … I want to be an editor.” I don’t remember her exact response but I do recall that an extensive conversation followed about levels. The message was received.
By the time I left newspaper reporting, not only had that assistant managing editor taught me the fundamentals of exceptional journalism, she had pressed into me a transformative ideology that excellence separates. She groomed me.
And so this month, instead of merely looking back in our history, we decided to look ahead at who is next in Atlanta. And like me, Courtney English, Katerina Taylor and Howard Franklin are talking not just about what got them where they are today, but also who; and a little history making of their own. AT