Last November, our founding CEO Jerry Hauser shared the news that he was ready to step down from his role 15 years after launching The Management Center. Today we’re thrilled to share that starting on April 12, we’ll have a new leader: our own Jakada Imani.
Jakada steps in after a nationwide search involving more than 100 candidates. He knows The Management Center’s culture deeply, having worked as a senior coach on our team for the past four years and serving as a member of our leadership team. Jakada’s clients rave about his work with them; as Essie Justice Group Executive Director Gina Clayton-Johnson put it, “Jakada is undeniably the field standard-bearer when it comes to integrity-filled management. Working with him is a game changer.”
Jakada brings to this new role more than 30 years’ experience fighting for racial, economic, and social justice. Jakada served for six years as ED of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, succeeding founder Van Jones. During his 13 years at Ella Baker, Jakada was the lead strategist on winning campaigns for criminal justice reform and green jobs, and he helped expand both the staff and funding base significantly. After leaving the Ella Baker Center, Jakada studied at the Pacific School of Religion, where he was recruited to launch a new center called the Ignite Institute as a home for wisdom-based leadership and social innovation (which those of us who work with Jakada believe sums up a lot about Jakada himself).
In his spare time (hah!), Jakada is the board chair of Greenpeace USA and the OneLife Institute and a board member of the Compton Foundation; in his spare spare time, he has become an avid cyclist during the pandemic. He is blessed to share his life with his partner Laura and their blended family of 6 powerful and creative children.
“In the work toward freedom, I see management as a sacred calling,” Jakada says. “It is one of the highest honors in our movements to shepherd the energies and talents of others to advance the cause of justice. I feel blessed that I get to play a special role in sustaining what makes The Management Center exceptional while helping to chart the next phase of our journey. We are becoming an increasingly equitable and impactful organization as we continue to help our clients do the same.”
After being recommended for the CEO role by a joint board-staff search committee, Jakada was unanimously selected by The Management Center’s board. Anne Marie Burgoyne, who chaired the search committee and who helps lead the Emerson Collective when she’s not dabbling as a cabaret singer, says that, “We had a pool of incredibly strong candidates, and in Jakada we have found the ideal leader with both the skills and commitment to preserve what has been great about The Management Center and to change what needs to improve in the years ahead.” Our board chair, Dan Lewis, shares Anne Marie’s enthusiasm, adding that, “Jakada’s experiences—from growing up and being an effective activist in Oakland, California, to being a social entrepreneur, a coach, a team player, and a leader—make him a great and clearly the best choice to evolve The Management Center’s practices, understanding, and composition in the years ahead.”
Jerry Hauser, our outgoing CEO, will remain involved with The Management Center as a part-time advisor and coach in the months ahead. “I couldn’t have hoped for a better successor than Jakada,” says Jerry, “and I am thrilled—for The Management Center and for our clients—that he has agreed to take on this role.”