speaker :



Design for Social Change

Using design for social change through mentorship, promoting entrepreneurship skills, and guiding youth into becoming smart creatives.


Main Stage: SATURDAY
9:30 to 10:10 a.m.


Growing up in the inner city of East Cleveland, Ohio, I was considered an at-risk youth. I faced a lot of challenges and stumbling blocks along the way. I was always a creative kid with a big imagination, but something was missing. I always yearned for help from a mentor or an advisor to encourage my creative tenacity.

Prior to the completion of high school, I really didn’t have an outlook on plans post-high school, but I was sure I didn’t want to follow in the footsteps of some of the kids in my neighborhood who had fallen to a lifestyle consumed of drugs, and crime. After visiting a local university, I was motivated to apply; I got accepted to Akron University, and graduated with a Bachelor in Fine Arts in 1997.

Upon graduation, I began my career as a graphic designer in the corporate field in which I remained for 9 years. I always felt incomplete. There I was, pursuing my career in the field of graphic design, but there was no passion!

In 2014, I started working for The Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland as an Art Instructor. BGCC changed my life, literally. My second day at work, my car was stolen by a kid from the club, but I didn’t lose hope. I wanted to reach out to the kids who were maybe living in single-parent homes or living in an environment of drug, or alcohol abuse, poverty, and most of all, education disparity. Many kids in our society need more than a mother and father; they need a community. I’m a part of that community.
After 7 months as an art instructor, I really wanted to expose the kids to something they didn’t know existed. I presented the idea of providing graphic design classes and began traveling to various club locations as a consultant. Using iMacs, the kids began learning about the latest design technology such as Adobe Creative Cloud, photography, and video editing. I influenced the children, ages 9-19, to realize their ability to transform the world through design; to imagine new possibilities. I help point children in the right direction by using graphic design. Teaching children has become my ultimate passion. I’ve become their mentor.

Learn more about Jamal

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