Karim Camara is a Spiritual Teacher, Author, Coach and Marketer. It is annoying for him to try and squeeze all his gifts and passions into a one-sentence branding statement. Still, he is emphatic that helping individuals, organizations, and communities reach their potential is what inspires and drives him more than anything else. 

He currently serves in many capacities: Chief Marketing Officer, MayByrd Media, LLC (a digital marketing company); Chief Executive Officer, Camara Strategies International (personal and organizational leadership); and Founding/Lead Pastor, Abundant Life Church, Brooklyn.  

Karim Camara served as an elected Member of the New York State Legislature from 2005 until 2015, representing over 120,000 citizens of the 43rd Assembly District. In February 2015, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo appointed him as the founding Executive Director of the Office of Faith-Based Community Development Services, where he served until June 2022. 

Amid the COVID pandemic, he served as a member of the New York State Vaccine Equity Task Force. The Task Force was a dynamic group of community, policy, and health experts who helped to reduce barriers to vaccination and ensure an equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Camara was amongst a group of prominent New York State leaders who used their expertise in reducing disparities in various systems (education, health care, etc.) for people of color and the economically disadvantaged to reduce disparities related to COVID-19 vaccination promotion, distribution, engagement, and administration. 

He used the same leadership and organizational skills during the pandemic to plan and lead an innovative program, “FoodLink,” to produce economic relief for farmers impacted by the pandemic who were left with surplus agricultural products while providing food relief to families in need.  The program purchased over 3.6 million pounds of surplus food from New York State farmers (including apples, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and dairy products). It is then distributed to families in need. The program was tremendously successful in providing a market for farmers to sell their products and ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to fresh, local foods.

Camara served as the New York State Faith Director during President Barack Obama’s historic campaign to become the President. Camara has received much recognition for his work in government and the community by being named amongst the Top 40 under 40 in the New York State Government and among the Top 100 Most Powerful People in New York State.

Camara graduated from Brooklyn Friends High School, Xavier University of Louisiana, with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature (Minor: Chemistry) and earned the Master of Divinity (MDiv) from the New York Theological Seminary. He has also studied at Alfred University, Fordham University, and Wesley Theological Seminary.

As a student at Xavier University, Karim was also very active in community service. He became a leader in Xavier’s nationally recognized community service organization MAX (Mobilization at Xavier). As part of MAX, he founded and led a program called “Project RISE” (Reducing Illiteracy Scars through Education), a literacy program at a New Orleans public school with some of the lowest reading scores in the city. Because of the success of this program, President Bill Clinton invited Camara to stand with him at the news conference to announce AmeriCorps, his National Community Service Program.

Camara is a student, advocate, and practitioner of servant leadership.  He first became intrigued with the concept of servant leadership as a student at Brooklyn Friends when he was exposed to the teachings of the founder of the Society of FriendsGeorge Fox. In retrospect, he realized he had witnessed servant leadership in practice from his mother in her role as a school teacher and principal. The concept and practice of servant leadership were reinforced further when he studied the life and teachings of Saint Katherine Drexel– the founder of Xavier University of LA. His knowledge of it has expanded tremendously through the teaching of Robert K. Greenleaf in his book “Servant Leadership: A Journey Into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness.” Karim’s focus as a leader is always to exemplify and teach the concept of servant leadership to the best of his ability.

During his tenure as an Assemblyman, Camara served two terms as Chairman of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus (the largest coalition of elected officials of color in the country) served as the chair of the Sub-Committee on Retention of Homeownership and Stabilization of Affordable Housing and member of the Committees for Banks; Children and Families; Consumer Affairs and Protection; Education; Housing; and Mental Health. 

Prior to his election to the Assembly, Camara was the Director of Institutional Advancement for the Cush Campus Schools, a pre-K – 8th-grade independent school in Crown Heights, Brooklyn (a school founded by his parents to serve the needs of children of color trapped in perennially failing urban public schools). He also helped lead an American Red Cross of Greater New York transitional housing shelter (“Emergency Family Center”) for displaced and abused women and their children. Camara also participated in the National Capital Seminarians for a semester-long program.  During this program, he studied Legislation and Ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary, interned with the Children’s Defense Fund, and served as a Congressional Intern for former Congressman Major R. Owens (D-NY). He has also served on the Community Advisory Board of the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, on the Faith Leader Advisory Committee of New Visions for Public Schools, and as a member of the Board of Managers of the Bedford YMCA, Brooklyn, New York.

Camara, widely known as a dynamic speaker, has spoken at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, New York University School of Medicine, Verizon, American Red Cross of Greater NY, and numerous other companies, churches, colleges, schools, and community organizations. He has also received numerous awards and distinctions from schools, faith-based institutions, and community organizations.

He was born, raised, spent most of his life in, and is a resident of Brooklyn.