In 2005, U.S. News and World Report named CEO Geoffrey Canada one of “America’s Best Leaders” for his ambitious, unwavering vision, effective use of innovative strategies, and inspiring leadership.
Seeing his work at the Harlem Children’s Zone as not just a job, but a “higher calling,” Canada offered valuable insight into how the organization became such “a success story in a field starved for them”: “You have to have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish. Then you have to be able to articulate that vision so others can see it as clearly as you . . . You must simply never give up—even if you doubt at times.” Moreover, “You have to have great people. And you can’t be afraid of being with folk who are more talented than you. You have got to allow people who are really good to do what they do without micromanaging them.”
In the end, as Canada memorably claimed of HCZ’s mission to save a whole a community of kids, “It’s not rocket science we’re doing here. It’s harder than rocket science.”