Tavari Turner, our first alumni spotlight for April, is the Director of Grants and Special Initiatives at Boys & Girls Clubs of Chattahoochee Valley. Tavari serves on the inaugural 21CL Junior Board of Directors and says that serving there will be a great first step for him to giving back to an organization that provided him a dynamic opportunity to learn new leadership skills and interact with different professionals in the community.

Paint a brief picture of what you are doing now.

I am currently serving as the Director of Grants & Special Initiatives for Boys & Girls Clubs of the Chattahoochee Valley. In this role I support the organization in raising funds via cultivation of public and private foundations who support our programs and services. In this role, I also support the management and compliance of over 1.5 million dollars in federal funds. In addition to my fundraising role, I also support the organization in several special initiatives including our Youth of the Year program which recognizes the Clubs’ shining stars and culminates in a huge awards night and fundraiser.

How did participating in 21CL transform you and lead you to where you are now?

Participating in 21CL transformed me because it taught me some very critical leadership skills at an early age. One critical skill was the importance of teamwork when trying to meet a goal. I am sold on the importance of utilizing a team when working toward goals and it has guided me well in the early stages of my career.

And how did 21CL prepare you for your next steps? Going into college and taking on leadership roles, heading into a new era of professionalism, etc. What skills/tools/perspectives have helped you along the way?

21CL prepared me for my next steps in college because I was prepared with the Leadership skills needed for college such as collaboration and communication. I learned a lot about myself and my personal leadership style which allowed me to work in a groups and to voice my opinion and not force my opinion.

Which programs did you participate in, and when? What skills did you gain or improve through those programs?

21st Century Leaders – Leadership Unplugged 2012 ; I learned a lot about collaboration and communication skill building. I have implemented several of these skills and ideals in my personal and professional life. I continue to be amazed at the growth and opportunities that have come to me because of my involvement in 21CL.

What was a memorable or ‘aha’ moment in 21CL? (Particular program, meeting a professional and diverse peers, speaking in public for the first time, etc.?)

The dinner held at CNN was an ‘aha’ moment for me. I was so fascinated with the opportunity to speak with professionals from different industries and discuss how leadership and the skills we learned during the program have played a practical role in their careers. There were many fun and engaging opportunities like this during the program experience.

Did 21CL assist you in developing a leadership style that makes you an effective leader, if so how? And have you recently learned something else about leadership? Please share!

21CL helped me develop leadership style that has guided me through my career thus far. I have learned to be a servant leader whether leading or being a participant in a project. I understand the true power of collaboration and serving others in a positive manner.