We had the pleasure to sit down with Kevin Seawright, CFO and Executive Vice President of Newark Community Economic Development Corporation (Newark CEDC) to learn more about his philosophy and outlook on career and family life.
Seawright has an interesting work life , spanning both the public and private sectors. He began his noteworthy, finance career with a government position in Baltimore, Maryland. Eleven years later, after earning several key awards, he leveraged his financial management and construction expertise to make the move to private industry.
A year ago, he became the Executive Vice President and CFO of Newark CEDC and his enthusiasm shows, “ is reaching a critical stage, where our efforts are having an exponential effect on the growth of the city of Newark. I am honored to be part of this positive change. Under Mayor Ras Baraka, Newark is developing an economic model using capital for small business development, Wi-Fi access, our diverse communities, our port, highways and railroad lines, and a summer employment program that employed 3,000 Newark students to encourage economic growth so vital to Newark’s future.”
Seawright devotes his life to helping urban cities grow and to changing the lives of city residents. H and always willing to transform his attitude and thought processes to adapt to difficult situations that need a creative solution. This adaptation and positive attitude are the principal contributing factors to his numerous wins thus far.
Mr. Seawright, how did it all start?
“My parents introduced me to financial stewardship at a very early age. At the age of 12, I was working in youth programs, changing lives in Philadelphia’s inner city.”
Kevin also commented that his diligence and dedication later served to inspire him to continue to make changes in the lives of children and adults in Philadelphia, Baltimore and now in Newark, NJ. He feels his contributions are a direct result of his parent’s upbringing, and he considers them to be his greatest role models.
Kevin, what do you think about formal college education?
“I think formal college education is a great teaching and training tool. I benefited from both formal and online education, so I am open to any form of education that helps one be productive and to contribute at work . . . online education is increasing in popularity, with 32 percent of higher education students taking at least one online course in 2013. The total number of online students in 2013 was 6.7 million! **
I am involved with organizations that are designed to strengthen and empower communities. I just finished a three-part course in executive leadership at the University of Notre Dame – Mendoza College of Business. The program teaches the principles of leading transformational organizations, techniques to keep up with today’s competitive landscape, gaining and maintaining consensus on boards, and grant/fundraising strategies.”
What is success to you?
“To me, success revolves around family. I consider myself successful because I have a great relationship with my family, both immediate and extended. My daughter is the closest and most important relationship to me. I also view my daughter’s excellent relationship with her grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles as an extension of my own accomplishments.”
Seawright believes contributing in a meaningful way to a community is another true mark of success, “I was gratified to help a credit-worthy Newark entrepreneur by providing a loan to her, after she was turned away by local banks. This is one of the services we provide at Newark CEDC. We provide loans to small and to mid-sized business owners, who would otherwise not have access to needed capital. Supplying loans to entrepreneurs is one way Newark CEDC reinvigorates Newark’s economy.”
What has contributed most to your success?
“All my life experiences culminate to help me in my day-to-day work . . . I contribute my data driven analysis, flexibility and straight-forward management approach to my success. Working on improving the economy, and people’s lives in Newark, is what motivates me every day.”
What makes you happy, Kevin?
“My 12-year-old daughter, Tia. I love watching her play basketball and softball, as she develops into a fine young lady and excels in her studies. She is the most important thing to me, and I am grateful to be her father.”
What is your favorite sport?
“I enjoy coaching and playing basketball. Since I was raised in Philadelphia and am an avid basketball fan, I support the 76ers. I appreciate football, as well, and support the Redskins. I wish the Redskins luck and hope they can get to a divisional playoff game this year. However, I do not watch the games as much as I would like because of my busy travel schedules. ”
Is there anything left for you to achieve?
“There is still work to do in Newark, from making capital available for small to mid-sized businesses, to contributing to construction and real estate projects.”
The Newark Community Economic Development Corporation , is the primary economic development catalyst for the city of Newark, who is its sole client. It retains, attracts and help businesses to grow by enhancing small, mid-size and minority capacity, as well as spurring real estate development throughout the city’s 20 diverse neighborhoods. By collaborating with the city’s Department of Economic & Housing Development, they initiate and execute economic development activities to produce and sustain economic growth, generate jobs and create wealth for all the citizens of Newark.
** BABSON Survey Research Group: Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States, January 2013