Business Man Aims to Transform Boys to Men
Hawthorne Welcher Jr., an award-winning community leader and businessman, has committed the last 20 years of his life to empowering, educating and creating opportunities for residents and small businesses. Now, he is looking to expand his impact to a national and international level through Left-Handed Principles, his non-profit organization that instills in young people the character and career building tools necessary for success.
Born and raised in Augusta, GA, Welcher is known as the “Czar of Housing Development,” in large part due to his work as the Director of the Housing and Community Development Department in Augusta, GA. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing the planning and implementation of federal, state and local funds benefitting the underserved, business and nonprofit communities in the Augusta-Richmond County area of GA. His work is critical, especially considering the barriers to access and opportunity that many black and brown people in urban and rural communities face. Still, that is only a fraction of the work he does.
Welcher’s belief is that a major key to elevating underserved communities is pouring into young men – teaching them fundamental skills they are lacking so they are equipped to face a rapidly changing world that threatens to leave them behind. That is why he started Left Handed Principles in 2022.
“I created this organization to fill a gap. There are a lot of support services out there, but there are still gaps in our communities that are not really being addressed, especially from an etiquette and communication standpoint,” he said. “This is not just with our young guys, but with men in general. Many of them don’t understand how to dress professionally, how to tie a tie, proper posture, business etiquette, elevator talk, or any of these things. They are canceling themselves out before they even have a chance to show what they can do. I want to change this.”
Welcher, who is left-handed, considers the lack of support in the aforementioned areas to be parallel to some of his experiences growing up as someone who was “different”. That is how he came up with the name for his non-profit.
“All of my life as a left-hander I have had to look at things differently. Even if I go back to grade school, there were only two left-handed desks. All of them were shaped for right-handers. If you look at a car, the stick is always on the right, or the mouse on the computer. I had to become ambidextrous. Left-handed people are sometimes forgotten about,” he said.
In 2023, Welcher is putting his program in full swing, appearing at schools, non-profits, churches, fraternal organizations and civic groups that are promoting self-sufficiency. Left-Handed Principles will provide services for youth all the way up to non-profit and business support spanning infrastructure, hiring and team building, leadership, finances and other areas.
As things change in the tech world, such as AI (Artificial Intelligence) and the increasingly talked about ChatGPT, many career options will likely become closed off to those who fail to keep up. Although the overall future impact of AI on professionals at all levels remains unknown, a recent ABC News report indicated “the shift in demand to higher-paid, better skilled jobs could result in inequality.”
“There is a tsunami of urgency. We are already behind the 8-ball in technology. Across the board there is a broken foundation, and the world is evolving,” Welcher said. “The quicker our young men can learn skills to get from job to career to lifestyle, the quicker we can win. I am looking forward to working with anyone who wants to turn the tide in a positive direction.”
For more information and updates on Hawthorne Welcher Jr. and Left Handed Principles, visit http://hewenterprise.org or follow him on Instagram at @hawkgonfly.
Founder of Left Handed Principles, is Determined to Turn Boys to Men and Low-Skilled to High-Skilled