Category Archives: Personal

Should Dallas Pass The Torch, or Turn Up The Heat?

Dallas has come a long way in our history; from a settlement that sits on a prairie in the middle of the country with no major natural resource or natural means of transportation, to a metropolis that has become one of the major logistical hubs in North America.  Our city does not only transport precious materials/cargo across the world and throughout the globe, but also catch the attention of major multi-national corporations, attracting global talent that will not only improve their company, but can impact our city through innovative and diverse problem-solving techniques.  Consequently, we are on track to being an international city, where we will serve as a destination place for all, similar to Paris, Hong Kong, London, etc.  These feats were attributed to the intellect, talent, and planning of our city’s forefathers, which then attracted young, ambitious, motivated individuals to pass the torch.

 

However, with all of our successes and ingenuity in the 20th century, we were still handicapped by a myopic cultural view; where societal prejudices of minorities, women, and sexual preferences caused not only Dallas, but many American cities, to not maximize on their potential in terms of inclusion in education, economic development, social interaction, and cultural formation.  In essence, though we were progressing at a rate that was better than the “norm”, we still were underachieving based on our capabilities.  

 

Dallas is standing at a crossroads; should we “Pass the Torch” to the next chosen ones, providing a blueprint of how Dallas became successful and consulting the groomed establishment not to deviate from the existing plan, or should we “Turn Up the Heat”, creating an analysis of our where we are, understanding how we got here, challenging one another to optimize our performance, and providing a new strategy that incorporates relevant factors that were not included in the original plan: culture, people, analytics, etc.  I argue the latter will maximize our talent pool to catapult Dallas to a realm where we are solving our challenges more effectively using all the talent that’s available.
I’m not that naive to think I can provide a solution to this question on one blog; my hope is that people read this, analyze where they are in the situation (age, status, professional, influence), and create an inclusive conversation so we can utilize the experiences and talents we’ve attracted to our great region.  Let’s move Dallas Forward, remembering (both the good and bad) of our past, creating a plan in the present, and providing a gift for our future by inclusive leadership.

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Small Business Owners, #GETCOVERED !!!!


This morning I met the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Sylvia M. Burwell, at a small business in Dallas, Salon Artist, in Deep Ellum.  Secretary Burwell is on a tour for the next couple of days imploring small business owners, entrepreneurs, and citizens to enroll in the ACA marketplace before the February 1 deadline (www.healthcare.gov).

I was honored to have the ability to ask a couple of questions and have a conversation with the Secretary (thanks @DFWBlackBloggers), as she has impacted my life in her past profession; she was a part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which funded it 100% of my college tuition at SMU- The place where I met my first business partners and started my companies (www.gmsp.org).  So to see her in such an important role regarding the quality of life of people doesn’t surprise me.

At the salon, there were are range of questions from individuals transitioning from their parents insurance, to the interaction between company health care and the marketplace, to the different improvements ACA have made since its launch October 2013. Burwell explained the importance in reaching all people through different communication mediums (snail mail, email, text messages, etc.) so all citizens can be covered, not only for emergency needs, but to receive information and tips for preventative care.

Obamacare directly affects me as I NEED this marketplace to have basic coverage while I figure my path as an entrepreneur; I don’t have the luxury to have a corporation to provide me healthcare, so I need a vehicle to guide me in selecting the best plans for my health.  I’m proud to say I enrolled for the 3rd time this month and my coverage begins February 1!

PLEASE, GO TO http://www.healthcare.gov to enroll for 2016 before the deadline on Sunday!  Even if you don’t think you’ll need it, it’s imperative to have the safety next “just in case” something happens!  #GetCovered #GetCoveredDallas

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The Mis-Education of the Millennial

This is a like to my IgniteDFW talk on the 4 ways both millennials, Baby Boomers, etc. can work together to build better relationships…

  1. Contemplate
  2. Communicate
  3. Cooperate
  4. Complete

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Even at SMU, Black Lives Matter!

This message serves as a reflection from an event I attended at my alma mater, Southern Methodist University (SMU), where they hosted Alicia Garza, the architect of #BlackLivesMatter….  I know, I was shocked!!!!  I’ll reserve my state for another post… this post is to share some of the takeaways I received from her from her VERY INTERESTING, WELL ATTENDED talk in the student center ballrooms:

 

You need a strategy, not just an emotion

Her plans for “Black Lives Matter” weren’t a knee-jerk reaction to some discrimination she encountered, there was a deliberate plan that was well thought out and executed to ensure sustainability.

 

“Hashtags does not make movements, people do”

This was a quote she stated that’s stuck with me.  Recently, I did a talk for Ignite DFW (post of the presentation coming soon) where I give advice to millennials on how to survive in leadership roles; the main point is to not stop once you state something on Facebook or twitter; go beyond that and act!

 

You NEED to have a broad reach/network

Her network did not just include her friends; but people she interacted with all over the country before the incident…  Which means she’s not only known but have positive relationships with individuals of all backgrounds, allowing her to be an influencer.

 

“Black Lives Matter” was a love letter to black people

This was beautifully said…  I know this seems weird or exclusive to non-blacks in the audience, but let me explain; Unlike MOST ethnicities, blacks are the most exploited type of people in current media, for better or worse.  Therefore, we are bombarded with information about “us” from everyone- the media, papers, strangers, aliens, etc.  So it’s endearing to me when someone from our own culture actually expels energy to positively communicate to us.  Thanks Alicia…

 

Both sexes need to work together in the strategy process

We’re facing an on-going battle of the sexes, where men and women are establishing footing for newly formed gender roles in our society.  This is a good thing, as we are going through “growing pains” as a society; dispelling our past misogynistic ways and working toward a more, equal partnership in leadership.  Consequently, there needs to be more black women at the planning table to dictate future strategy.

 

Black lives matter is not Anti-Police, it’s anti-violence movement

For people that say the line above either ignorant or purposely wants to be polarizing…  The solution for a systemic problem isn’t inflicting pain to the oppressors, it’s creating an environment where all can be pain-free.  #BlackLivesMatter is so popular because it resonates with SO MANY people’s feeling that Black Lives DONT Matter in our society…

 

“Pay attention to the culture we create”

This is applicable in so many facets of life.  You are what you eat, you are the company you keep, all of these sayings I’ve heard from my influencers come to life as I breathe each breath.  The same goes with the macro-systems we create/operate/exists in.  By creating a sociologic environment of discrimination and prejudice, we assist in poisoning our future generations…  The culture we create isn’t so important to us, but to the ones that follow; but if we don’t care about anyone now, how could we have the capacity to nurture an environment for people that don’t exist yet????

 

 

These are just some of the great things said by this influential sista.  I appreciate you sharing your words, experiences, and thoughts so we can analyze, ponder, and take action!

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Yes MLK, I’m Working On Your Day…

Martin-Luther-King-Jr-Memorial-washington-ftr

Without being cliche, I want thank Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for his vision (not dream) of equality, equity, and economic empowerment.  Most people don’t fully acknowledge his work and plan to help ALL people build leadership infrastructures to improve in education, employment, and policy so we can improve as a society, but I today I’m saying it!!  Without your initial work, we will not be where we are today.

So I’m working on MLK Day…. Initially frustrated as I was planning to participate at the parade and other festivities to “commemorate” what he has done…  It was “our” Federal Holiday, and how dare people disrespect his legacy by working!!!

As I angrily enter the office for our work session, I noticed the diverse people here; men, women, young and old, black, white, Latino, Asian… all to help poor children with their vision so they can succeed in school, and I felt grateful…  instead of sitting and eating and drinking to celebrate Dr. King, we are actively planning and implementing plans to correct a group of people MLK fought for so they can have a better future.

The parade is important (as we always need to commemorate people’s work), but let’s stay in the spirit of his work, sacrifice, and vision; let’s work together to help ALL people, which will improve mankind.

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Wow! I’ve Grown: My DBCC initial reflection

This morning, I participated in the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce (www.dallasblackchamber.org or @dalblkchamber) Leadership Retreat, and for the first time in three years, I was just a board member; not the leader.  I wasn’t the person who was stressed, the one who wants to ensure the logistics is handled appropriately.  Just Matt Houston, the DBCC Board Member who can (for at least a few months) chime in and provide context so the transition can run smoothly.  It was an AMAZING feeling.

About halfway in our meeting, I began reflecting on several things:

  • There is a lot of talent in this organization; both on the board as well as the staff
  • We have come A LONG WAY in terms of priorities, programming, and positions within the chamber.  Three years ago, we didn’t have effective online capabilities with a website that was 10 years old!
  • The chamber has a totally different staff then my election night September of 2012.  100% turnover.  Both a good and a bad thing, but I’ll talk about that some other time.
  • All the things that were frustrating DURING the storm actually helped our organization as we are more relevant to our members, partners, and the community.
  • I’ve learned SO MUCH about business, politics, management, and purpose as head of a 90-year old organization.  Not just because I received my MBA during this time, but because I’m able to help businesses that I weren’t directly affected by…
  • To grow into leadership, it’s so important for people to volunteer/contribute to an org outside of your job or family.  Volunteering truly makes you a vessel for the community, and it’s my belief that God wants us to experience that so we can be more like him…

Each one of these bullet points can be it’s own blog entry (and you may see them soon), but my main point for this piece is to complete the race; I see the importance of participating in the complete cycle of your leadership by willingly becoming a “regular” member again.

Most people believe the end of your leadership stint happens on the last day of office, but that’s not true.  One must transition back to the masses, and allow your experiences as a leader mold your current perspective of the org, assist in recruiting, and strengthen your advocacy work among your peers.  I have become a better DBCC member now that I’ve been Chair, and I’m so excited!

Now, I get to see all of the fruits of our work, while helping future leadership mold/develop their legacy for the org.

 

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Join me Jan. 26th at Ignite DFW Speakers Series!

http://us12.campaign-archive2.com/?u=9fee866701b8ad1f4a5aa67e2&id=04a7e65b16&e=1e1cab4737

 

Please join me as I make a presentation on how Millennials are pivotal to our future!  This is my first talk in a format like this and should be an exciting event!!!  There are great presenters, subject matters, and discussion afterwards…  See you all at January 26th at the Texas Theater!

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Setting the tone for a fresh 2016

Happy New Year!!!!  I hope everyone survived the festivities the last few days, and I pray all will have a great 2016!!!

Typically, at the end of each year, I spend some time planning my life for the next year; developing goals, creating budgets, writing out my needs/wants/desires assessment, and planning how I can work/volunteer/enjoy my next year in existence (Lord willing).  This December, however, I decided to take a “non-traditional” approach in clearing my mind and planning for 2016 by taking up a session w/ my friend Launa Kliever, an amazing woman who I had the pleasure of working with in 2015 through the Festival of Ideas’ “Political City Committee”.  Launa’s spirit and intellect on our committee propelled us to create a program that will potentially improve Dallas by educating our leaders (but I’ll leave that for another blog post).

Launa’s approach to focus on social healing and understanding your energy to channel your thoughts and actions is a different, yet refreshing, way for me to prepare for new tasks I desire to tackle.  This required me to do something I’m SUPER UNCOMFORTABLE with:  being quiet, meditating, studying/focusing on my body, and listen to it.  It’s something that, though foreign to me, was refreshing.  I also had amazing dialoges with Launa as she was a sounding board for anything I wanted to talk about.  This is very different from my “external” planning assessments, as I typically try to find external factors to dictate my internal feelings; this allows me to hear from inside so I can understand what to feed myself to be the best “Matt” I can be…

It was an amazing session and I wish everyone who has a desire to understand who to maximize your inner-being contact her.   Yes, this can be different… but will be well worth it!  You can visit her on website, and tell her I sent you!

I wish blessings and prosperity to all in 2016!

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MLH Discusses Mentoring

Matt Houston speaks about the importance of mentoring and community responsibility. The video was produced by Dallas Business Journal, who named Matt as one of the 2013 Minority Business Leader Award honorees.

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My Fraternal Reflection

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So in honor of Founder’s Day, I wore this pin today.  December 4th is a day that members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. celebrate as our founders at Cornell University established our organization to support, uplift, and advance the agenda of black scholars so we can impact the world.  This organization produced world leaders, policy makers, evangelist, activists, scientist, athletes, and many more focusing on Manly Deeds, Scholarship, and Love for All Mankind.

This pen was initially used as a campaign for a candidate running for our national president, and it symbolized doing things in remembrance of our fraternal founders; Callis, Chapman, Jones, Kelley, Murray, Ogle, and Tandy; not to focus on the glitz and glamor, the attention, the profile… just remember why you chose to invest your blood, sweat, and tears to our organization.

Though that campaign has come and gone, I appreciate this pin and what it stood for.  Not because of the candidate, but because it was a continuous reminder of why I joined this organization.  Most know, I don’t have a “traditional” history with A Phi A.  In fact, the decisions I made in college not only “black balled” me on my campus, but contributed to the demise of my chapter and the absence of strong leadership on SMU for 9 years; something that I have personally blamed myself…  I was not able to fully appreciate the benefits of having a vibrant chapter on my campus, fully exercising the college life experience, or even share my knowledge with people who wanted to pass the torch on SMU’s campus so they can hold the light.

Why am I saying this:  Today, the spirit led me to visit my alma mater, Southern Methodist University.  I walked the campus, felt the energy, saw the new buildings, reminding me that college days swiftly pass, and then ventured to the student affairs office where I interacted with current students, a.k.a. future world changers.  I became happy, as I realized there were members of my fraternity on campus, holding the light, and were open to hear from someone who cares about building them up, not tearing them down.

I remembered that was my motivation as an undergrad; finish college and spread the TRUE meaning of fraternity; to uplift, inspire, guide, build brothers so together we can uplift ALL Mankind.  This is my reflection, and my inspiration to continue to be the best person I can be…

 

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