Michael Coleman II – 20 Under 40

32 | University of Texas at Arlington and Louisiana State University

Michael Coleman II debuted his nonprofit, Crowned Scholars, at Benjamin Franklin Middle School in 2019.

The organization works to holistically develop Black middle school boys by teaching STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) academic readiness, building healthy habits, and fostering mentorship.

“We will always be grateful to Benjamin Franklin Middle School for trusting and allowing us to not only develop their students but to grow and enhance our organization’s programming through experience,” Coleman said.

Since its start, Crowned Scholars has expanded to have representation at 10 Dallas-area schools.

Coleman works for McKesson as the senior talent programs strategist, managing the enterprise’s early talent initiatives, such as summer internships and development programs.

“I have been in the talent acquisition/campus recruiting space for the past five years and consider it a blessing to be in a corporate position that allows me to provide career opportunities to emerging talent,” he said.

He previously worked in the education sector as a full-time substitute teacher, graduate coordinator, and scholarship program manager: “Developing students has always been a passion of mine, and I truly appreciate the opportunity to be involved in the growth of our youth.”

Coleman also volunteers with the Richardson-Plano Alumni Chapter for Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity on the social media team and with the All Stars Project’s Afterschool Development Group.

What (or who) motivated you to get involved in the community?

The mentors that I had growing up inspired me to be the community leader and mentor that I have become today. From having basketball coaches who pushed me to become a vocal leader to community members who saw something in me that I could not see myself, I was blessed to have amazing people remind me how much good I can do in my community.

What’s on your bucket list?

Traveling to at least three different countries that have beautiful scenery, clear waters, and rich culture that I can immerse myself in. My most immediate desired trip is to Bali.

Who’s your biggest inspiration and why?

God, my family, and my mentees are my daily reminders that I am still here for a purpose. They remind me of my power, my influence, and my why. Living the life of a corporate employee and a nonprofit leader simultaneously is not always easy, but the people around me constantly pour love and light into my space.

What was your first job and what did you learn from it?

My first job was working at Johnny Brusco’s in Flower Mound as a cook. This not only was my first job, but my first time being in the food industry. I learned so much about nutrition, cleanliness, proper preparation, as well as how to work with difficult clients/customers. There were days where I did not perform my best, and it translated into a bad dining experience for our restaurant goers. I learned to give myself grace, practice patience, and care for others in a meaningful way.

For anyone who works in the food industry — my hat is off to you! It’s a thankless industry and most people do not know the inner workings of what happens in those kitchens.

Where do you see yourself and/or your career 10 years from now?

If I haven’t hit the lottery by then, I see myself continuing to serve my community 10 years from now. I will still be heavily involved with my nonprofit, Crowned Scholars, advising and leading our organization to keep positively developing Black boys in DFW.

I also see myself serving as a consultant for a few different functions: nonprofit startups, small businesses, building mentorship programs, and early talent and career programming and recruitment.

My previous and current experiences have afforded me the opportunity to become a subject matter expert in these areas, and I would love to help others to become experts in these field as well.

Who’s your biggest inspiration and why?

God, my family, close friends, and mentees are my daily reminder that I am still here for a purpose. They remind me of my power, my influence, and my why. Living a life of a corporate employee and a nonprofit leader simultaneously is not always easy, but the people around me constantly our love and light into my space.

There’s also something special about seeing youth that I used to mentor become young adults who are also deciding to give back to their communities in whichever ways serve them best. Although I was a small part of their larger story and journey, it’s an indescribable feeling to know that I’ve had positive influence in someone’s life that has stood the test of time.

What was your “lightbulb moment” that led you to your career?

Transitioning into my current career was a moment created by Lesley Regalado, one of my former bosses. Lesley owns her own recruiting/staffing company (career resource services), which was my first opportunity to learn HR, recruiting, and talent acquisition. She took a chance on me, knowing that I was looking for a career shift that would still allow me to help people in a sincere way — this was my lightbulb moment. The way that this company found me, saw something special, and decided to allow me to grow and flourish. Ever since this moment in 2019, I’ve remained in this industry, creating strategic change, and providing opportunities to job seekers within every role I’ve taken on.

How do you motivate yourself and others?

Prayer, journaling, self-care hobbies, (and) spending time with people I love.

What’s a fun fact that someone wouldn’t know about you?

I am a huge Power Rangers fan! I reached out to Saban Productions many times to see if I could audition to be on one of the series — clearly, to no avail.

What would you tell an 18-year-old you?

You are running your own race, in your own lane, at your own pace. Block out the outside noise and focus on what you want for your life. Anyone who is meant to be in your life along the journey will be there — no matter what.

What advice do you have for other young professionals?

I’ll break it down into some simple statements:

  • Take risks. You never know when something may work in your favor.
  • Don’t be afraid to start over! It’s your professional journey to live.
  • Be yourself! Anything else is truly exhausting and hard to maintain.

If someone made a movie about your life, what would it be called and who would play you?

Finding My Voice — played by Sterling K. Brown.

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