About-Us-EricJohnson

Dr. Eric Anthony Johnson has been described by his colleagues and peers as a transformative leader energized by challenging opportunities that inspire people to achieve higher levels of success. As a seasoned urban development professional that has experienced both success and failure, Dr. Johnson knows firsthand the commitment and sacrifice required to assist communities in developing strategies in support of economic and urban regeneration success. Dr. Johnson is a proven difference-maker and change agent who knows how to deliver solutions by crafting vision and executing strategy that leads to concrete results.

 

Dr. Johnson believes the key to great communities lies in the capacity and ability of local communities and its citizens to recognize and solve their problems. Whether it’s a singular individual or a coalition of the willing, taking risk, not being afraid to go against the grain, applying transformative leadership strategies and reframing the value of economically challenged communities is critical to regenerating both social and economic progress in distressed communities, both urban and rural. Within this context, Dr. Johnson also understands that failure in and of itself is not a bad thing. Not trying is the failure.

 

While Dr. Johnson has traveled extensively and worked in different parts of the country, he was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana and is a product of the public school system having graduated from Walter L. Cohen Sr. High School. During his high school years, he was Vice President of his class, captain of the basketball team, and selected as a member of the Times Picayune All District and All-Metro Basketball Teams. Growing up as a product of a single mother in a challenging urban environment, his informative years were shaped in large part by the many cultural and civic treasures of New Orleans but specifically credits his experiences of attending Kingsley House, Holy Ghost Church (Now St. Catherine Drexel), the open doors of the New Orleans Library System which he passed through frequently and the encouragement received by the teachers of the New Orleans Public School system, New Orleans Recreation Department programs  and Loyola University of New Orleans Upward Bound Program as key to shaping his life’s direction.

 

Like many growing up in the inner city, his path was not one easily figured out with stumbles along the way. He eventually realized that there was a great deal to the world outside the boundaries of the city and that there was a lot of learning and catching up to do. After attending junior college in Florida on a basketball scholarship and serving in the United States Army, he proceeded to attend Washburn University on Basketball Scholarship while finishing his military commitment in the Army National Guard. After graduating, he returned home to New Orleans to work as a Community Development Organizer where he went on to form several community development corporations to address pressing community redevelopment issues.

 

This experience combined with a desire to understand the causes of physical blight and social and economic inequality within cities led to a career focusing on urban regeneration. To this end, there is not much separation between Dr. Johnson’s personal and professional interests in that they are linked to understanding the forces that prohibit communities from realizing their full social and economic potential.

 

Dr. Johnson strongly believes that there is a need to rethink how we approach urban regeneration with an acute emphasis on shared value strategies that foster aligned partnerships in which there is no separation between developing progressive environments for the private sector, maximizing the limited resources of the public while simultaneously generating resources which support mitigating the social and economic challenges at the community level that prevent communities from reaching their full potential. However, he further recognizes that this requires “Change”. With change comes fear of the unknown and resistance. Navigating this and getting to a new paradigm can lead to great success for those communities open to change and failure for those that are not ready to change. You have to be willing to fail. Not trying is the biggest failure of all regardless of the outcome.

 

Dr. Johnson hobbies include participating and attending sporting events, movies, traveling, youth mentoring programs, camping and reading current events.

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