Meet Google's newest Digital Coach: Johnny Bailey

By Bill Reeve | Senior Writer | Business Inclusion

Johnny Bailey is Google’s newest Digital Coach. Based in Washington, D.C., he's a social entrepreneur and marketing strategist with over 10 years of corporate, agency, and entrepreneurial experience.

While growing up in his home town of Petersburg, Virginia, Johnny was a four-sport high school athlete, winning two state championships and many all-state awards. He was recently inducted into the Colonial Heights High School Hall of Fame. Johnny attended Hampton University, where he won a championship ring with the men’s Track & Field Team and broke the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference record in the 60 meter dash. Academically, Johnny earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Management and then a Master's Degree in Marketing from Virginia State University.

Currently, in addition to being a Digital Coach, Johnny is the Executive Director of The ShineHard Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization based in Washington DC with a mission to close the racial wealth gap. His fundraising efforts have helped facilitate the foundation's annual ShineHard Summit, which has supported more than 5,000 young entrepreneurs. The TVone web series produced on this work, ‘ShineHard Conversations,’ has reached half a million views.

Johnny has been recognized by the Washington Wizards and Travel Noire for outstanding leadership, was named a Top 30 under 30 by HBCU Buzz, and partnered with the Mayor’s Office on the #FlipTheScript campaign highlighting minority fathers in Washington, D.C. I met up with Johnny soon after he started his work coaching small business owners as part of the Digital Coaches program to learn more about his work supporting his community and his journey to Google. Here's our conversation.


The Coaches program works with trusted entrepreneurs and digital business experts who are dedicated to their communities. What was your journey to becoming a Google Digital Coach?

Before working with Google, I have been working in my community for over ten years. I started my career at an NFL sports agency, helping professional athletes create community organizations for young people.

I also spent four years working at Nike as a brand manager—learning in depth about storytelling, culture building and consumer marketing. Those organizations taught me a lot, but what submerged me into this role was working as director of my own nonprofit, the ShineHard Foundation. Our mission is to close the racial wealth gap. Over 6 years, we have been able to recognize over 100 minority leaders. We host annual conferences, and we have engaged over 5,000 young entrepreneurs and students.


What is your role and mission?

A Google Digital Coach’s role is to be an educator, a connector and an advocate for small-business owners. Specifically, I provide digital training and resources to small-business owners in the District. My personal mission is to close the racial wealth gap, and I believe that bridging the digital divide is a fast track to reaching that goal.


Can you share what digital inclusion means to you?

Studies have shown that women and minorities make up over 70 percent of small- and medium-sized businesses in the United States, and that number is growing. Yet, more than half of that community feel that they do not understand, and don't have access to, digital technology.

My concept of digital inclusion is providing whatever is needed, whether it's hardware or software, to that community, and providing the education and relationships they need to flourish.


What inspires you most about this work?

I am inspired by the opportunity to do work that is greater than myself. I want to be the person whom I needed when I was younger.

I am motivated to help others take control of the narrative for their community and create financial freedom for themselves and others. This platform allows me to work with talented, ambitious and driven people. People who will impact their community and ultimately change the world. That inspires me.


What advice can you give to people who want to get involved in Google’s Digital Coaches program?

Reach out and stay connected. We [the Google Digital Coaches] are now working in 11 cities nationwide [in the U.S.], providing free workshops, networking opportunities and one-on-one office hours.

If you are a community leader, and you have an organization looking for resources and training workshops, you can contact your nearest Google Digital Coach. We can help bring training to your community.

If you are a small-business owner and you want to attend a workshop, go to the our website, and find a coach that is in your area to see what programs they have planned. You can also check out videos from Coaches on our YouTube Playlist.

And if you want to connect with me personally you can find me on Linkedin, or on Instagram.

Photo credit: Shane Redman, Cornerstone Captures

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