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Next Up Columbus 2021: A Jay Pullen

A Jay Pullen
A Jay Pullen

Photo by Matt Reese / CityPulse Columbus

Interview by Derek Grosso

Name: A Jay Pullen
Pronouns: he/him/his
Age: 33
Profession: President and CEO of People Like Me Project (formerly A Tribute to African Americans Committee)
Neighborhood: Polaris
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Colorado Christian University, and Project Management Professional ( PMP)
Community Involvement: IMPACT Safety Advisory Board, Ohio Community Recovery Support Planning Council, Columbus Young Professionals Leadership Council and Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Advisory Board.
Personal Quote: “Stay encouraged and keep looking up.”
Connect: LinkedIn | Facebook

Give us a snapshot of your path:
Growing up I saw my mother and her staff do a lot of work with at-risk youth and community outreach projects. This grew my passion to be a servant of the community. So, at age 11 I would go around to various schools with my mother’s staff to do Drug & Alcohol Prevention and Like Skills presentations. In June of 2009, after the murder of my cousin, I started to work with youth in the community as a profession. I just wanted to reach out and educate young African American males on the effects of drug abuse and violence. I just wanted to save a family for going through what my family had to deal with.

I started a mentoring program called The Outlet which was in a local charter school at the time. It was Black History month and the youth did not know a lot of African Americans leaders. So when asking them what they wanted to be when they grew up, they would say they wanted to be a football player or entertainer. I thought that it would be good for them to meet and see successful African Americans in the community be recognized for their achievements. It was so successful that it birthed my nonprofit, A Tribute to African Americans Committee.

What gets you up in the morning and what keeps you going through the workweek?
My son Kaleb gets me up in the morning. God and constant prayer gets me through the workweek.

What advice or mentors have helped guide you along the way?
My mentors that have helped me along this journey have been Dr. Patricia Lyons, Coach Tim Brown, Greg Edwards, and Antione Tucker. Also, my parents helped guide me.

What do you do to unwind?
Listen to music and lots of reading.

What are a few of your favorite local spots in Columbus?
Polaris Mall, What The Waffle, Brio, COSI and Franklin Park.

When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
News anchor and a businessman.

What books or podcasts are you reading/listening to right now?
I listen to Steve Harvey Morning Show and currently reading Stamped from The Beginning by: Ibram X. Kendi.

What does it mean to you to be chosen for the Next Up Columbus award?
I am truly honored and humbled to be receiving this award. To be recognized by my peers is truly amazing.

If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
The arts and entertainment in the city.


The Next Up Columbus Awards highlight emerging leaders who are connectors and ambassadors in central Ohio and who are making a positive impact on the future of Columbus. The Columbus Young Professionals Club would like to offer special thanks to our 2021 co-presenters, Discover Financial, Future Possibilities and Zipline Logistics for their support of this awards program. Meet the entire “Class of 2021” »

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