Keisha Mabry Joins Gateway to the Future posted 10/19/16

By Emily Gavilsky

Keisha Mabry is an author, connector, entrepreneur, humanitarian and speaker. She spends her days helping students successfully matriculate to college via text, and her nights traveling the world teaching people how to connect. Those that know her well sum her up in seven words: Olivia Pope, Dora the Explorer and Curious George. Why? Because she likes to solve problems, ask why and dress fly.

What’s your most memorable experience as a leader in the community?

When people stopped looking at me as emerging and finally gave me the opportunity to lead, which probably happened at the same time I gave myself permission to lead. Often times we as younger professionals — myself included — think we need permission to be great so we wait. We wait on older professionals to give us a seat at the table instead of just bringing our own chair. If we can lead, we should lead. We should stay humble, be coachable and lead. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to do just that in this community…we just have to raise our hand before being asked and put in the work to prepare for the task.

Pick 3 people, living or deceased, to have a meal with. Who are they, and where in St. Louis would you take them?

I once heard someone say people need a sense of their past, a hope for their future and hugs meant to last – – – and that’s what grandparents are for. Unfortunately, I did not grow up with any of my grandparents – – – they are all deceased but if I had the opportunity I would take all of them out to eat. We would feast and talk about traditions, memories, stories and their favorite things. We would laugh, cry, joke and sigh. I see us doing the progressive thing: coffee at Northwest, brunch in the Central West End, tea in Tower Grove and dessert somewhere up the road.

What inspires you to do the work that you do?

I am moved by the momentum of my dream to change the world one connection at a time. I wake up every day like the Brain from Pinky and the Brain but instead of trying to take over the world I try to connect it. By connecting people to people and people to resources I believe we can increase movements, access, communication and progress to get the right people in the right seats to end inequality.

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