Make Diversity Central to the Mission: This and Other Lessons from Shawn Robinson

As much as we enjoy coaching and supporting change leaders, we equally love learning from them. We’re excited to introduce you to several inspiring change leaders in our community and share some of the lessons we’ve learned from them.

A Series Spotlighting Change Leaders and the Lessons They’ve Taught Us

Shawn Robinson, Founder and President or Orange Arrow

Vision, charisma, and connection define Shawn Robinson\’s change leadership style. He\’s one of the most magnetic leaders we\’ve met, and his compelling personality is attracting interest in his non-profit start-up, Orange Arrow.

Orange Arrow (OA) trains college student-athletes to support middle-school-age athletes off the field, helping them grow as people. It’s an innovative model that ends up having a deep impact on both the college athlete “coach” and the young athletes they engage through a year-round, competition-based curriculum unique in the field.

One feature of OA that is extremely relevant to the times is the creation of purposefully diverse cohorts of young athletes. This is one way the organization achieves its goal of creating expanded social connections, and building relationships that contribute to off-the-field success. In an op-ed published by Pittsburgh Business Times, Shawn wrote about the importance of centering diversity and funding programs that promote cross-cultural understanding:

“If we want our youth to grow up and be more empathetic, well-rounded people, we need to put them in situations early on where they learn about others’ unique experiences, where they can challenge others’ thinking and where they will not be judged as they learn.”

Shawn has a unique capacity to pull people in, and make them feel like they truly matter—from middle school athletes to college athletes and CEOs. This is helping him build the coalition of support any change leader needs to succeed. Shout out to Shawn and his team for centering diversity in a way that builds bridges and opportunities.