At a ceremony this summer in New York City, Kareem Harper ’00 was named to The Network Journal‘s list of “40 Under 40.”
Compiled by TNJ, the quarterly magazine for black professionals and business owners, the list acknowledges men and women younger than 40, like Harper, whose professional accomplishments have significantly impacted their industry or profession, and who also have made an important contribution to their community.
A digital marketing specialist, Harper is vice president of measurement and analytics at Weber Shandwick, a leading global public relations firm. He and his team work with clients on search engine marketing, concept marketing, search engine optimization, visibility, and how to apply metrics to business outcomes.
“My role is to draw the dots or lay out a path of breadcrumbs to show how our clients’ PR efforts are going to funnel down and bring in consumers,” he explains.
In addition to delivering these solutions and training his team in New York, Harper travels regularly to assist clients across the globe, in the U.S., Canada, South America, East Asia, Western Europe and Africa, where he works with local partners to increase awareness about the polio vaccine.
Harper is also an active volunteer with the Democratic National Conference Committee and in his community. Soon after the “40 Under 40” ceremony, he delivered a speech at the Ron Brown Leadership Summit, a partnership between Google and the Ron Brown Scholar Fund. The summit’s mission is to “put kids on track and to give them real world skills to bring to the business world,” Harper says. “It was really rewarding for me to be honest with these kids, to tell them that even when you get hit with curveballs, it’s about getting up and moving forward.”
As a law school student, Harper worked as a freelance writer for the entertainment website UGO and was given an opportunity to interview actor Vin Diesel. That was the point when Harper decided to leave law school, join UGO fulltime and “see what happens,” he says. “I was in the right place at the right time but had my eyes open to the opportunities that were there and kept my eyes on my goal — doing something I love.”
During his first years at the company, Harper worked during the day and studied code and digital marketing at night. Eventually he helped UGO turn profitable enough to sell to Hearst. While at UGO, Harper became one of the youngest individuals to join the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (formerly IAVIS) and to this day retains membership and serves as a judge for their annual W3 and Davey Awards.
Later joining Time, Inc., and then Weber Shandwick, Harper says it has been “reassuring that my skillset has been able to transfer wherever I wanted to go.”
Launched in June 1998, the TNJ‘s “40 Under 40” honorees are business owners and management executives in the corporate, nonprofit (including academia and medicine), or government sector. Harper and the other awardees are featured in the June “Awards” issue of the magazine.