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Interviews with Change Makers: Meet The Posse Foundation

Author: Apeel Team

Fact: The U.S. is becoming more multicultural by the day. And the key to a promising future depends on the ability of strong leaders from this diverse range of backgrounds to come together and develop solutions to our complex social problems. 

And with organizations like The Posse Foundation, that promising future feels possible. We’re super proud to support their current goals. And to share more about those as well as more about the overall organization, we chatted with Miyelle Aiken, a Career Program Manager at Posse. 

Can you tell us about the overall mission and goals of your organization?

Miyelle: The Posse model benefits both students and college campuses, and is rooted in the belief that a small, diverse group of talented students ─ a posse ─ carefully selected and trained, can serve as a catalyst for enhanced individual and community development. Our primary aim is to develop these leaders of tomorrow, working toward three goals. One, expanding the pool from which top colleges and universities can recruit outstanding young leaders from diverse backgrounds. Two, helping these institutions build more interactive campus environments so they can become more welcoming institutions for students from all backgrounds. And three, ensuring that Posse Scholars persist in their academic studies and graduate, so they can take on leadership positions in the workforce.

And how did Posse get started?
Miyelle: The Posse Foundation began in 1989 because of one student who said, “I never would have dropped out of college if I had my posse with me.” This simple idea became the basis for an innovative national program to identify urban public high school students with exceptional leadership talents who are capable of academic success at a highly selective college or university.

How has it been growing from the ground up since the organization’s beginnings in 1989? What have you learned throughout its growth?
Miyelle: For the first 10 years, from 1989 to 1999, Posse conducted, evaluated, and revised the program model at the New York program site into one that is flexible and able to be scaled nationwide. The Board of Directors and senior staff developed a strategic plan of action to expand the program to new cities that has proven to be successful. From 1999 to 2015, Posse established a new program location approximately every two years. Specialized programs—the STEM Program, Veterans Program, Virtual Program and Arts Program—adapt the Posse program model to serve the needs of specific student populations.  Posse’s growth goal is to have 100 partnerships with top colleges and universities which, each year, will allow us to select and train 1,000 new Scholars and support 4,000 Scholars on campus, for a total of 5,000 Scholars in the higher education pipeline.

Can you share how Posse is working with Apeel to further your goals?
Miyelle: We are working with Apeel in various formats, but specifically with:

  1. Internships, career development workshops, and career coaching.
  2. Career Development workshops educate Scholars about potential careers and provide them with critical professional development. Often run in collaboration with Career Partners, these workshops may feature panels with professionals from various industries or may focus on skill-building such as resume writing and interviewing. Workshops are offered during the Pre-Collegiate Training program, summer and winter breaks.
  3. Posse Career Coaching provides Scholars and alumni with an opportunity to receive personalized career guidance from accomplished professionals.

Finally, our carefully selected and trained career coaches offer critical support to Scholars and alumni as they transition from being leaders on campus to being leaders in the workforce.

This support is tailored to the needs and interests of each Scholar or alum and can include career exploration, resume writing, interview preparation, networking, and other assistance.

Lastly, do you have any recommended resources to share with anyone looking to learn more about Posse? 

Miyelle: Of course! You can find out more about us on our website, our LinkedIn page, or just follow us on Instagram