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This firm is doing something special for HBCUs

TM2 Education Search is helping to build sustainable leadership for the future

Call them the Search Four.

Three former presidents from historically black colleges and a search-firm expert have teamed up to form TM2 Education Search. It is a search firm designed to help historically black colleges fill top-flight positions at the dean level and above.

The players: John Garland, former president of Central State University; Sidney Ribeau, former president of Howard University; Dorothy Cowser Yancy, former president of Shaw University and Johnson C. Smith University; and Chris Braswell, the president of TM2.

“It’s the idea of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the four of us,” Braswell told The Undefeated. Braswell, who graduated from North Carolina A&T University, began his career in public accounting with PricewaterhouseCoopers and has more than 20 years of experience in the search-firm industry.

The company’s vision is to build sustainable institutions by identifying and supporting creative and competent leadership. Although a number of search firms have assisted both predominantly white and historically black colleges, Braswell said TM2’s mission is to “focus on the black-college community.” He said in the future the firm would consider helping predominantly white schools in the search process as long as the goal included a diversity initiative or component.

“Right now,” he said, “our goal is to help our schools. This resource was designated to address needs in our community.”

The firm also hopes to eventually expand its core of former presidents. One division of former presidents would serve as consultants for mentoring as well as engage in the candidates search process. Another division would feature former presidents, especially those with time constraints, to essentially serve as part of an advisory committee.

“We could use their influence,” Braswell said, “in ways to help with the direction of the company, and help the company grow.”

Several historically black colleges have been plagued by high turnover at top-level positions, with some even changing presidents every couple of years. TM2 is hoping to offer solutions that will help reverse that trend and foster stability.

The company also plans to offer an extended coaching and mentorship program among its services for new hires. Part of its business model calls for TM2 to provide executive coaching for newly hired presidents and new board members during their first year on the job.

For a new president’s cabinet members, such as deans, vice presidents, provosts, etc., the period of engagement is six months.

Braswell said he hopes this will help create an administrative network that will endure.

“We want to help build sustainable leadership.”

Gregory Clay is an editor, writer and television/podcast commentator focusing on current news events. Based in Washington D.C., he has worked at Newsday and McClatchy and once gave a speech at a convention for the Texas State Bar Association.