Neighborhood Awards: Meet Omar Barlow

Every day this week, JET introduces you to a nominee from the Steve Harvey Neighborhood Awards “Best Community Leader” category. Come back tomorrow to learn about another individual dedicated to improving the lives of those in their city and beyond.

Omar Barlow has a resume that speaks for itself, but he’s made a name for himself by speaking for others.

His knack for motivational speaking started at a young age, and carried him through his college years at Westchester University. As president of the Black Student Union and pretty much the voice of the Black population, Barlow had a dream of “giving people an enriching life, giving people a vision and showing them the possibilities.” Upon graduating, Barlow says he told his colleagues, “Whatever this is we’ve done for the last five years, I wanna do this for the rest of my life.”

And he’s been doing just that. For the last 12 years, Barlow and his wife, Jeneen, have been on a mission to help people live a life of excellence through their motivational speaking company, Barlow Enterprises. With individual coaching, the Barlows hope to help others discover their sense of purpose, identify their gifts and talents, set goals for their lives and ultimately fulfill their destinies. These practices have become a staple in their organization and gained them worldwide acclaim.

As a result of his company’s success, Barlow went on to co-found, as well as become the CEO and principal of a “passion-based” early college in Philadelphia, called Eastern University Academy Charter School. The curriculum allows students in grades 7 through 12 to take college courses.

Barlow says that although being nominated for a Neighborhood Award is a highlight of his life, if he wins, “the reward is truly for the students at EUACS.” He says he will use the $30,000 grant to fund the school’s “passion projects,” while affording his students the opportunity to study abroad and continue to earn college credit while still in high school.

Barlow leaves us with this word of advice: “The key to success is discovering who you are through your own purpose and doing something about it. Be disciplined enough to follow through with your purpose.”

The winner of the Community Leader award will be announced during the Neighborhood Awards ceremony on Aug. 11 in Las Vegas. JET magazine, the official media sponsor, will be on hand for the festivities. Check back here every day this week to meet the other leadership nominees.