School was a special place for Chaka Booker. It provided opportunities for him to succeed as well as provided refuge from otherwise difficult circumstances. Finding and supporting people to help all kids have the same opportunities is what drives his work.
A product of public schools, Chaka has dedicated his career to helping students achieve their dreams. For the first seven years of his career, he worked directly with students. As he puts it, “that enjoyment of seeing light bulbs go on and helping someone learn” has stayed with him, and it’s informed his professional choices.
After graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles with bachelor’s degrees in economics and psychology, he founded A+ Services, offering math and reading tutoring for K-12 students. From there he joined a company that offered supplemental educational services for students in various districts across Los Angeles.
Chaka first joined The Broad Center as a member of The Broad Residency recruitment and selection team. Over the years he’s been an integral part of the team, creating and honing the strategies used to reach more potential candidates and identify those who would be a good fit for the Residency. As managing director of the Residency, Chaka oversaw the full program and continued to help Residents grow. Under his leadership, the Residency has doubled its annual cohort size as it continues to train dynamic leaders to be agents of positive change in public education.
Later, as managing director of the Alumni and Network Impact team, Chaka worked to ensure that alumni remain inspired, continue to develop as leaders and are prepared for the future. In addition, he supported the team in their work to help alumni feel connected to the organization, connected to each other, and most importantly, connected to the mission of ensuring access and equity for all students.
Currently, Chaka leads the Launch Team, responsible for the transition of the organization to its new home at The Broad Center at Yale SOM.
Chaka has written about leadership and entrepreneurship for the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Success magazine, Forbes and is the author of two books.
What do you like most about working at TBC?
The people, the focus on leadership and the mindset that we work in public education with the sole mission of strengthening it is what I like most about working at TBC.
What project/s and/or results are you most proud of from your work at TBC?
I am proud of every single Resident, some who enter this work not sure where they are headed, and by the end they are all so much stronger, more informed, connected, and aware of what is going on in the lives of young people.
What others say about Chaka:
“Chaka achieves a balance between being an understanding servant-leader without compromising his expectations for strong results and constant improvement at every level.”
“This may seem minor, but his celebrations of the team, especially those involving breakfast burritos, are a great addition to our culture!”
Articles by Chaka
Can Being Smart Hurt Your Ability To Lead?, The Broad Center Blog, May 29, 2019
You’re right that leaders need to be smart, work hard and get results. But I’ve seen many leaders demonstrate those characteristics and still stumble. The irony is sometimes they stumble for the same reason they’ve been successful – because they are smart. Read more.
What Makes High Performers Shine So Bright? You Do., The Broad Center Blog, April 17, 2019
What is a high performer? A high performer is a person who’s been given the opportunity to become better. Your job is not to retain high performers. Your job is to give opportunity and build a high performing team. Read more.
Military Experience: 6 Ways To Translate Talent, The Broad Center Blog, March 21, 2019
It is important for those who have served to know how to tell their stories. But those of us who sit on the hiring side of the interview table are the gatekeepers of opportunity. It is our duty to make sure their talent and access to opportunity doesn’t get lost in translation. Read more.
Are Diversity, Equity And Inclusion Created Equal? Three Ways To Ensure One Doesn’t Trump the Other., The Broad Center Blog, September 20, 2018
How your employees feel about their place in society, impacts how they feel about their place in your organization. In these times, your ability to navigate this intersection of identity and work will determine your success as a leader. Read more.
Magnificence, The Broad Center Blog, January 20, 2018
“You don’t have to believe I am magnificent. You just can’t run an organization that tells me I’m not.” Read Chaka Booker’s blog post introducing our Diversity In Progress brief documenting our journey. Read more.