Earlier this month, a JBHE post announced the establishment of TM2 Education Search, a new executive search firm based in Washington, D.C., that will focus on filling positions at historically Black colleges and universities and other colleges and universities where Blacks make up a large percentage of the student body. Four former HBCU presidents are founding members of the firm.
JBHE conducted an interview with Christopher Braswell, president of TM2 Education Search to get a better idea of the plans for the new venture. Braswell, a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, believes that despite the difficult times that many HBCUs are facing due to declining enrollments and budget shortfalls, the time is right for a new search firm that will focus on these institutions.
“There are several firms that provide leadership searches in higher education but none with the experience of leading our schools during challenging times,” Braswell told JBHE. “We believe services for talent identification and leadership development can be critical in the selection and success of a leader.” Therefore, according to Braswell, the timing couldn’t be better for the creation of his new firm.
Braswell sees opportunities for substantial growth. “The quality of TM2’s initial placements will drive greater use of our services,” he said. “When schools see leaders we have placed and coached thriving, that will factor into decisions on whether to use our services.”
And Braswell hopes that initial success will open up opportunities for his firms with predominantly White institutions. “Each of our consultants has served in senior roles at a majority institution prior to leading a Black college,” he reports. “Diverse experiences can provide a strong foundation to a future president. Additionally, we are looking to build minority leadership capacity in general. Working with majority institutions can help develop a stronger leadership pipeline for the Black college community.”
Braswell says his firm’s fees are competitive with those of other executive search firms in the higher education arena. But he voices a higher calling. “TM2 was started out of our interest in the vitality and success of our schools. We have experienced the challenges of leading schools and want to make a difference more than just a dollar.”