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Cleveland County Minority
Business Development Center, Inc.
Helping Small Businesses Succeed!
John Tillman, MBA
John Tillman has been called a social entrepreneur. Armed with a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) from The University of Texas and a Certification as an Economic Development Finance Professional, John has always sought to apply his knowledge and expertise in ways that address social needs and enhance the quality of life for others.
In 1998, John read a newspaper article which stated that 55% of African American males in the county where he grew up were performing below grade level on standardized, End of Grade tests, putting them at significant risk of failing and dropping out of school. Appalled and unwilling to sit idly by, John developed a tutoring company to offer professional educational services in a supportive environment. Services included comprehensive academic assessments to pinpoint skill gaps and to identify learning preferences, study skills training, one-on-one and small group tutoring, innovative computer-assisted learning, courses for credit, and SAT prep classes. By partnering with schools and other social services agencies, John found a way to make high quality, individualized services available and affordable for students with the highest needs and least resources. The results were that more than 90% of participants in his programs achieved passing scores on End of Grade exams.
Upon discovering that a number of communities were not receiving much needed mental health services, John founded what grew to become one of the largest and most respected, community-based mental health companies in the state. Using a franchise model, John established offices in 13 cities and employed approximately 400 mental health professionals including psychiatrists, therapists, counselors, case managers and paraprofessionals.
In addition to founding four companies, John’s professional experience includes serving as Chief Executive Officer for a management consulting firm, executive director of a community development corporation, counselor and program manager for a career and leadership development company, business and marketing instructor, coach and consultant for small and mid-sized businesses, and mentor to dozens of entrepreneurs.
John has served on numerous state and local boards and committees including the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Health, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Cultural Competency Committee, North Carolina Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council, United Way Board of Directors, Union County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, South Piedmont Community College Board, and Union Academy Charter School Board.
In 1992 John had the distinguished honor of representing the United States of America at the Olympic Games held in Barcelona, Spain. He competed in the Triple Jump of Track and Field. John volunteers as a youth coach and mentor and to-date has helped more than a dozen athletes win State Championships and earn college scholarships. John is married to Dawn Tillman. They have 3 children.