A New Name for a New Generation of Leaders

By Aimée Eubanks Davis

As of today, Beyond Z will be known as Braven. Our new name was inspired by all of you, our remarkable Fellows. You represent the best of this country: hard-working, diverse, driven. You are the good news. You are bold and you are brave; and you are on a mission to change our country’s trajectory and prove that the American Dream is attainable. Many will say that’s audacious – even brazen. But that’s who you are. When we sing about “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” we’re talking about YOU. Together, you are Braven; together, we are Braven.

Many members of the Braven team—myself included—are from underrepresented backgrounds in the professional workforce, were the first in their families to go to college, and/or are the sons and daughters of immigrants. Amongst our team there are also people from the most privileged backgrounds. We are all united by a common belief that our nation is better in the short- and long-term when the door of economic opportunity is open to all. We know from hard data and from our own experience that working hard in school doesn’t always lead to college completion, and a college degree doesn’t always lead to a strong first job.

Regardless of our diverse starting points, our team members all feel so passionately about working with you to identify and empower a generation of leaders as diverse as our future demands. Right now our country is missing out on its greatest untapped resource – students like you. So we’re building a new talent strategy for America – a strategy that empowers students like you to complete college and launch into strong first jobs that set them up for meaningful careers, economic opportunity, and lives of impact.

Often young professionals I’ve mentored ask me how I feel about my career success. I always respond that I am just a kid who grew up on the South Side of Chicago. I benefitted from having others who were from backgrounds often different from mine develop me. As a result, I always felt I had a responsibility to “pull as I climbed” and to pay it forward for others.

Today we are changing our name, just as you are changing the story about what young people from underrepresented backgrounds in the professional workforce are capable of accomplishing. We won’t let others define us. You will shape the future of our organization, our communities, and our nation. And we want you to start right here. This new blog was created to be a space where you can find inspiration and where Fellows’ voices, and others’ in our network, like Leadership Coaches’ and college and employer partners’, will be prominent.

Being in a network together we know we will go further in ensuring that every diligent, diverse, ambitious student lands a strong first job post-graduation. This will be the expectation rather than the exception. We’re already off to a great start. We finished out a fantastic 2014-2015 school year, and we could not be more excited to kick off the new school year with The Braven Accelerator at San José State University and Rutgers University – Newark.

As we go forward, I know you will continue to make us proud. Be Bold. Be Fearless. Be Braven.