“If you already have a full time career, do you really wish to accept a second one simultaneously? Oh, by the way, it is a volunteer position.” This is thePaula Pro Shot implied question Paula Morgan answered with an enthusiastic “Yes!” a year ago when she became Board President of San Francisco Achievers. As someone who has already served on multiple boards and is a seasoned healthcare executive, one must ask Paula, “Why?” “I believe in the mission,” she answers as she recites the SFA mission of reducing the achievement gap by providing support,mentors, and scholarship funds.
Originally trained as a nurse, Paula applies her compassionate nature, administrative expertise, professional recruiting talent and entrepreneurial skills to effectively lead SFA. It was Dr. Henry Safrit, Founder of Meritus College Fund who recruited the recruiter because she had already provided valuable leadership during her time as a Meritus board member. As an instrument rated pilot, it is fitting that Paula drive SFA, established in 2008 as a pilot project of Meritus. She has watched as SFA tailored the Meritus structure to create a supportive path for young African-American men to succeed in college.
As the Founder and Principal of Morgan Consulting Resources, a healthcare recruiting firm with a presence in six states, Paula knows intimately the crucial role a college education has on one’s ability to pursue a successful career. Building upon her initial career in nursing, Paula also mastered courses at Harvard and Wharton. Not only is she committed to Dr. Henry Safrit’s goal of being able to offer a scholarship to every African-American male in SF high schools who qualifies for the program; she knows what it takes. Prior to taking over as President, she lead the recruitment effort for SFA’s first staff member, hiring Catherine Bradshaw as the Program Director. A year later, Paula again lead a recruitment effort that lead to the hiring of Gregory Collins, the first Executive Director.
Currently, SFA provides a $12,000 college scholarship to each Achiever in the program and will award 34 scholarships in May 2015. Paula’s first priority is fundraising, with the goal to ensure SFA will be able to keep pace with college pricing and the volume of demand by candidate students.
Paula explains the Mentor Program as our “secret sauce” and is currently recruiting to add a third staff member; the Mentor Program Coordinator.The mentors clearly make the difference between a “just a scholarship” and a supportive family. Another priority Paula emphasizes is a better connection with the school district’s counselors and teachers to facilitate SFA connection with potential scholars. Getting the boys excited and introduced to a broad world of possibilities is critical to expanding their life experience. When asked what she likes to do best, Paula answered “succession planning.” We wish her luck because when the time comes, Paula will indeed be a tough act to follow