The Innovation Mission: Bill Leamon

The Cleveland Leadership Center was proud to partner with the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland on The Innovation Mission, a fellowship that supports local experts with groundbreaking ideas to break the cycle of poverty. Since Fall 2017, five fellows have developed their ideas and created programs to implement in Cleveland and potentially scale nationwide. Each day this week we are sharing their stories.

Bill Leamon
College and Career Coach, Notre Dame college

Bill’s idea started with the desire to introduce “micro-mentoring” to Cleveland high schoolers.

Through his Innovation Mission fellowship, Bill launched, a social enterprise that helps Greater Cleveland’s low-income, first-generation students achieve college and career success through college preparation, college mentoring, and career coaching.

U.S. Department of Education study found that students who received mentoring regularly during their freshman year of college had a 170 percent greater chance of completing their bachelor’s degree than those who did not. Additionally, students with mentors that help make the connection between a degree and career goals are six times more likely to get a degree.

“I want to make sure every student goes off to college with a caring, committed mentor,” Bill says. But it’s not just about the mentoring, offers help with college prep exams, career readiness, and much more.

“My ultimate dream for this project would be that I am able to speak with every student who is college bound,” he says. “I want to be able to share with them how to be successful from the perspective of a college professor.”

Since the start of the fellowship, Bill has visited more than 100 high schools across greater Cleveland and spoken with more than 20,000 students to help them get off to a strong start at college. He has established pilot programs with a handful of schools in the area, with 200 mentors registered and paired with mentees. His goals are 400 mentors by 2020 and to double college graduation rates.

Celebrate their success

The Sisters of Charity Foundation will celebrate the conclusion of The Innovation Mission with A Celebration of Innovation. All are welcome to attend this free event but registration is required.

June 12, 2019  |  4:30 – 7:00 p.m.  |  Global Center for Health Innovation.

Learn more + register >