Kwame Owusu-Kesse ensures the programming, financial and administrative functions of the Harlem Children's Zone and acts as a mentor and counsel to students and staff.

Why you should listen

Kwame Owusu-Kesse is chief executive officer of Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ). He grew up against a backdrop of poverty, single parenthood and family struggles but was fortunate to have opportunities as a young boy to receive a high-quality education and reach his academic potential. He went on to get his bachelor's degree in Economics from Harvard University and then begin his career at Morgan Stanley as an analyst. During his third year with the bank, he was chosen for an externship at HCZ. After completing this externship, he returned to Harvard to receive a master's in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School and a master's in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.

As CEO of Harlem Children's Zone, Owusu-Kesse oversees HCZ's comprehensive programming, ranging from life-shaping early development and education programs to community health and wellness and outreach initiatives. He is also responsible for leading the implementation of a multifaceted five-year strategic plan that leverages HCZ's program data to refine its strategies; pursue innovative solutions to further improve participant outcomes; create efficiencies to reduce costs without reducing effectiveness; and improve operations and procedures in several key areas.

Kwame Owusu-Kesse’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Kwame Owusu-Kesse

Live from TED2020

Hope, action, change: Notes from Session 5 of TED2020

June 19, 2020

Daring, bold, systems-disrupting change requires big dreams and an even bigger vision. For Session 5 of TED2020, the Audacious Project, a collaborative funding initiative housed at TED, highlighted bold plans for social change from Southern New Hampshire University, SIRUM, BRAC, Harlem Children’s Zone, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), Project CETI and One Acre Fund. From aiding […]

Continue reading