Yes MLK, I’m Working On Your Day…

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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.

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.

 

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!

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.

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…

 

MLH Workout Chronicles, Day 22: Cheat Days

Lessons From the State of Black Business Event Last Week

The Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce (www.dallasblackchamber.org) had our 2nd annual State Of Black Business (SOBB) Forum last week.  A lot of people are confused, or apathetic to the mission of the organization I love, both inside and out.  There are a lot of misperceptions and ill-truths that have evolved during the 89 year history of this organization.I would like to show the Chambers “true mission” in this blog; it’s about education, support, and advocacy.

Most people ask me, “What does the Dallas Black Chamber offer to me?” or “Why do y’all exist?” or “Why does it have to be called the ‘Black’ Chamber?” or event still, “Why do you isolate yourselves and only accept black members?”.  This can easily frustrate any human being that exerts their personal and professional time to do volunteer work for an advocacy group, but I gladly entertain the questions.  Why?  Because, where there are questions, there’s curiosity, and where there’s curiosity, there’s an opportunity for me to share the lessons I’ve learned from my father and his colleagues, and contribute to the improvement of the American Economy (no, not Black economy solely, but American economy).

Some clarification, the Dallas Black Chamber is not just an organization where we can provide free marketing to your organization.  Our mission is to advocate and support entrepreneurs, business owners, and corporations that want to support the African-American community, therefore, you don’t have to be black in order to be a part of this organization, you just need to be a cheerleader or stakeholder for improving the situation (with blacks contributing $1 Trillion to the US Economy, there needs to be an organization(s) that can assist with the education and distribution of black wealth).

I can go on and on about this… This is not the purpose of this post (for more info, go to our website or reach out to me).  I’m posting this to show how the Black Chamber helps a community; by being an objective organization that helps all businesses tread the waters of capitalism.

In this clip (that’s difficult to hear) I am interviewing Hiawatha Williams, Founder and CEO of Williams Chicken.  Though inaudible, he thanks the Dallas Black Chamber for providing:

  1. Events like SOBB to provide entrepreneurs/professionals the opportunity to network and build relationships with larger businesses.
  2. To provide advice and strategy for building and growing your business, and
  3. To defend the smaller businesses, encouraging big entities to use smaller businesses to stimulate our micro-economies.

After talking to Mr. Williams, my spirit was renewed about the aims of the organization; as Chair, it’s easy to get bogged down in the politics of the organization, or the status you receive once you participate in outside programs, representing the organization.  Hearing him thank my father (who was ED of the Chamber in the 1980’s) for giving him sound advice when he was an employee at Church’s Chicken illuminated the importance in having a third-party advocate strategize to assist all people to build wealth; someone whose intent is to help all who ask for help.

This was a wake-up call; we, as an organization, need to do a better job at marketing to the masses what we do at the chamber.  I know A NUMBER of businesses who benefited from advice from our organization or ones like it (other ethnic/cultural/geographic chambers), so those business owners need to speak up as well.  Without an advocate organization, we will not be able to defend the small business, killing what we know as the American Dream.

Setting The Tone Dictates Your Destiny