Influential Leader

William Goodloe

President and CEO, Sponsors for Educational Opportunity
Recognition Year(s): 2022
School: Kogod School of Business, American University
Location: United States

William Goodloe is the president and CEO of Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO). SEO’s mission is to create a more equitable society, and Goodloe’s passions clearly align with that mission. His efforts support over 5,000 underrepresented high school students, college students, and young professionals nationwide each year. 

All endeavors on Goodloe’s résumé strive to provide the same thing: a presence of Black and underrepresented voices in education and in businesses and organizations that serve disadvantaged and/or low-income individuals. Prior to working with SEO, Goodloe was the executive director of the Inner-City Scholarship Fund, which helps New York City Catholic schools serve low-income families. He helped raise more than 100 million USD in annual and endowment funds for the program. Goodloe is also an active member of Black Agency Executives (BAE), which supports the professional development of Black nonprofit senior executives.

In 2020, Goodloe joined dean John Delaney for a Kogod School of Business webinar about how his education there helped him gain foundational business skills. By learning public speaking in his business courses, he gained the charisma necessary to become president of his fraternity and represented his fraternity’s chapter to campus administration. Now, he represents and advocates for thousands of students and young professionals nationwide. He strives to eliminate racial disparities in income by providing Saturday and summer classes for the SEO Scholars program, which ensures that students are academically and socially prepared for college by grade 12.

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Goodloe led SEO in providing over 500,000 USD in direct grants for the families of students in the organization. Many parents of students SEO supports are healthcare or service industry workers, and the grants provided went toward noise-canceling headphones, laptops, portable WiFi, the cost of travel home from college, and other everyday needs that would support safe virtual work and school. 

As a recently elected member of Kogod’s advisory council, Goodloe inspires Kogod students and his fellow alumni to think about social responsibility when they make business decisions, citing the social aspects of preparation necessary for the underrepresented students and young adults that SEO supports. “We work with students on psycho-social adjustments and the feeling of belonging—understanding that they’ve earned their place in college,” says Goodloe. “The things these students may see as a deficit are advantages. They have more determination than some of those other students there.”

As these students and young adults all live through a triple threat—a health crisis, economic crisis, and political divisions—Goodloe uses his leadership to inspire resilience in them, whether through adjustment to virtual connections or by leading conversations with students about microaggressions and systemic racism that were prompted by the devastating deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Goodloe uses his background in business to create meaningful change in the world and to inspire other future business leaders to do the same.