It’s not too often you meet someone who gets it. Not only does author, speaker and mentorship specialist Shawn Blanchard get it, he’s created a life out of helping other young men through mentorship.
Looking at him you’d think he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth (not that anything is wrong with that), but that’s far from the truth. He was born with drugs in his system, his mom was a “professional shoplifter”, his dad wasn’t the ideal role model, and one of his brothers was allegedly one of Detroit’s top drug lords. He could have chosen the same lifestyle as his family, but he chose to do something different. The turning point came from words spoken by his grandmother and school counselor who always told him how intelligent he was. It’s amazing how powerful words are.
Shawn has managed to evolve into an upstanding gentleman and inspirational leader to many. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematical Economics from the University of Michigan in 2005, earned a master’s in education and ran a math department at a school in the Bronx that was recognized for being among the top 5 percent of schools in the country that were succeeding in closing the achievement gap with poor and minority students.
Shawn also adopted a youth (who went on to earn scholarships to attend any college he wanted to), co-created mentorship programs, and has held positions in school, community and city leadership. In 2014, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan appointed Blanchard as Director of Youth Services. He spearheaded an initiative that provided 5,600 summer jobs to teens in the area.
As a result of his leadership, Blanchard was selected as the 2015 University of Michigan Emerging Leader, and awarded the Michigan Chronicle 40 Under 40 award. He was also featured as Essence Magazine’s “Man of the Month” and by CNN’s “Impact Your World” in 2015. In addition, Shawn serves as the My Brother’s Keeper Liaison between the White House & Detroit Mayor’s Office. To top all of that, he’s been on conference calls with President Barack Obama and was recently invited to the White House to receive an award for community service.
It’s no wonder why Mr. Blanchard has written a book about his life of going from being a crack baby to achieving the list of accolades mentioned. In his book – which debuted May 16th – ‘How Bout That For A Crack Baby: Keys to Mentorship & Success’, Shawn gives his readers the inside scoop of his daunting past and the keys he personally used to beat the odds and become the prestigious and respectable gentleman he is today. Shawn has already sold over 2K copies of his book within the first week, with 1K book sales on the release date.
And let’s not overlook the obvious, this brother is handsome! So you know I definitely brought up relationships during our interview. Not only is Mr. Blanchard easy on the eyes, but he’s an avid man of faith. Pretty just won’t do for him.
Listen below as he talks to me about his childhood, career, faith, relationships and more in our exclusive interview.