Category Archives: healthcare

Top 5 things ordinary people can do to make a GREAT impact…

I heard from a person last week that the difference between extraordinary and and ordinary (or just regular) is the “extra”…   It’s not much; there’s no quantum jump of intelligence or an abundance of resources needed, it’s just a little extra effort.

So I just want to state my opinion of the 5 things needed to make GREAT impact.
1. Know Yourself

2. Have a Plan

3. Educate Yourself on the topic

4. Surround Yourself with people that reinenforces your plan

5. Share your plan/vision with others

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We’ve lost A Legend…

The great Muhammad Ali passed away. Many people viewed him as one of the greatest fighters in the ring, but I see him as the greatest individuals who of impacted a social justice movement.  Ali was the apitome of courage, strength, and love for his people.  He was the voice of a people, the man amongst men, the guy who not only talked, but walked the walk. 

I did not agree with everything he believed in, but without him, I will not be able to voice my opinion on anything in America. He was a great example of a black man expressing his viewpoint, speaking his truth, and influencing people of all races to come together as one.

His physical prowess show us his God-given superiority, his wit impressed us as he illuminated his intellect, and his devotion to his religion showed us the power of walking by faith.  Every human being could take one aspect of his life to improve their own.

Mr. Clay, thank you for being one of my father’s favorite athlete, thank you for showing me not to give up as you face a battle physically throughout your adult life, and thank you for being an influence on American Culture; not just for the brothas and sistas, but to everyone, proving to them we are not just equal, but superior. 

You will be missed, but your impact will carry on forever. 

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Women ROCK! Seriously… Y’all Do!

Though March 8th is touted as International Women’s Day, I want to make it clear that I won’t use this day only to celebrate women, or verbally praise or acknowledge, or even go above and beyond my education to “learn” of the contributions women have done in my culture, society, or the world.  I will not trivialize this day like many do Black History Month (yes, I took a jab at all of the ignorant people who don’t care about black people outside of February…), because I somewhat understand the importance of this day; it’s not to force-feed people into feminism, nor is it a mandate that today people have to consider everything woman says is true out of guilt from the past transgressions men (and other women) have put on talented women who approached a glass ceiling, preventing them to achieve their personal, professional, or aspirational goals.  No, that’s not the reason of the declaration of International Women’s Day.

We acknowledge International Women’s Day because you ROCK, and having a designated day to reflect on how women impact our lives provides food for the soul (pun was intended) as we (myself included) in all of daily lives can improve how we interact, consider, or treat women throughout the rest of the year.  That’s the spirit of this day (similar to Black History Month, or Small Business Week that was last week, or National Hispanic Heritage Month that we will celebrate in the fall).  It’s a day to say “thank you” and ensure we remain conscious, as human beings, that we shall move forward, and not fall backward…

There were (and are) numerous women who’ve impacted my life…  First, my mother, who without her I will not exist, is a remarkably strong women with a kind heart; the real backbone of the Houston family.  My sister, Natalie, whose spirit, strength, and intellect is so contagious that I can’t help but smile and do the right thing because she laid the appropriate blueprint for success out.  My girlfriend, who is so smart and cares for her students so much, that she will directly be the cause of a better society, not only through her work, but her influence in college students.  I’ve grown up with friends, peers, and mentors who have motivated me to be a man; physically so I can protect them, intellectually, so I can teach them (I KNOW they don’t want to hear that, lol) , and spiritually, so I can lead them, and vice versa.

Without saying too much more, and for me to spread out this appreciation throughout days outside of March 8th, I just want to say “Thank You” to all the women in my life (and abroad) for your presence, your contributions, and being awesome teammates.  You all ROCK!

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Support National Lemonade Day!

I am an entrepreneur.  I absolutely LOVE IT.  Most people think that people who “run their own business”  are ones who refuse to have bosses, or they want to create their own schedule, or even worse, can’t work with anyone else in a corporate setting or organization.  Those are SO FAR FROM THE TRUTH!  In fact, successful entrepreneurs often need high level of organization, customer service, and product satisfaction to be successful, and a great way to learn these things is the participate in Lemonade Day May 7th!

I was introduced to business ownership through my family; both my paternal and maternal grandparents had businesses that supported their families  and served their communities.  My mother’s father owned the country grocery store while my dad’s grandfather ran the town’s pool hall and convenience store.  Though these aren’t the “sexy” jobs that we see popularized by television or business school case studies, these businesses provided foundation on a quality of life that allowed my parents to not only survive, but to gain a quality education and meet/network with people from all over the region.  Being owner of businesses like these also afforded opportunities to stay engaged civically, politically, and allowed those owners to have the flexibility to contribute to society, even during work hours.  As I grew up I gravitated toward this life style as I see the importance of not only “getting a paycheck” but having the flexibility to contribute to society through volunteerism and outreach.

One example of a great outreach is Lemonade Day (www.lemonadeday.org); this day allows adults to educate all types of children the essentials in earning a profit by selling a product everyone loves and can’t get enough of; Delicious Lemonade!  Participating in this day not only allows you to create this great product, but gives people a chance to build relationships with our future; informing our youth of the importance of their schoolwork and how that relates to “the real world”.  You build a rapport with kids who thirst for your attention, as they will soak up every bit of information you give them.  It’s vital for the future health of our economy and culture.

So how do I sign up?:

  1. Go online to dallas.lemonadeday.org and register for the FREE materials
  2. Work through the program-learn to set goals and plan your business
  3. Open your business (or help someone) on Lemonade Day, May 7th ,2016
  4. If you have any other questions, please contact Tiffany Rubi, the City Director, at tiffany@lemonadeday.org

There are a plethora of ways you can give back to enhance this day.  Select how you desire to contribute and help a life.  Trust me, as a product of a group of people that supported me as a youth, they’ll never forget it!

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Love is MUCH Deeper than this Day…

Before I get started, I DO want to wish a Happy Valentine’s Day to each and every one of you!   This is not a pagan holiday bashing, as I’ve participated in these festivities in various ways (texts, calls, cards, flowers). I believe there needs to be a day to observe and recognize love.  Unfortunately, similar to Black History Month, some people only want to exercise acts of love on this day ONLY and not use this symbolic gesture to perpetuate this thought/feeling/recognition throughout the year, or even worse, use this symbolic act to protest love and not recognize any aspect of this day, its importance, or how observing this holiday can positively impact society as a whole (now thats going into my beef with the naysayers of Black History Month).

  

Getting back on topic, on Friday, I participated in “Love Unscripted”, hosted by Dr. Sheron Patterson (www.drsheron.com) where 4 men gave our perspective of what love is, and how women can “find” love in a healthy way. Though none of us are love doctors (ESPECIALLY ME), there were some good takeaways and upon further reflection/interaction w/ family and loved ones on Saturday, felt the need to write on this day three things we should strive for:

  1. Communication
  2. Empathy
  3. Trust

If these things are realized in a relationship, I feel we can not only have healthy relationships, but can push the needle to improve society as a whole. I’ll write more about those things later, as I want to spend time practicing these things on this day. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Adding Millennials To Your Team Can Innovate Your Organization

For over 10 years, I have been involved in numerous organizations; including student activities, a fraternity life, young professional groups, established institutions, organizations that serve my community, national organizations, start-up companies, and start-up nonprofits. I’ve even been head of a 90-year old established organization (www.dallasblackchamber.org).  I have peers who are younger, my same page, and who are considered elder statesmen (women) in our society.  My takeaway from my experiences (and advice to existing companies/orgs) is to infuse more millennials to your decision-making processes; don’t just hire them, empower them.  If there’s a combination of young horsepower and strategic thinking from individuals who’ve been in the organization, we can effectively innovate ANY organization or company.  

 

One thing that frustrates me is the lack of cross-communication between age groups in an organization, as this leads to ineffectiveness.  Organizations are either too young, with not enough experience or depth, or it’s archaic and rigid, where outdated processes suffocates innovation and productivity.  A simple cross-pollination of vitality and expertise may assist in preserving companies who have been successful for generations, but are striving to maintain relevance in today’s society.  

 

We allow petty arguments and mis-characterizations stunt our development of ideas, service, and achievement, prohibiting us to make the best decisions possible.  It is the stereotype that millennials are narcissistic, entitled, and rash decision-makers.  In actuality, millennials are most comfortable with technology as we are the first generation to fully incorporate computers with our way of life (education, work, leisure, etc.); similar to Steph Curry’s comfortable nature with the basketball, he was practically born with the basketball in his hand, and with all of his practice, is able to perfect all aspects of the game…  It’s also believed that once you’re old, you are useless, stubborn, and slow to change anything.  The truth is, veterans in organization carry institutional knowledge on how the current process was derived that is invaluable to all members;  the former descriptors will start conflict (leading to an adversarial relationship), while the latter shows understanding and cooperation, making everyone happy.

 

In order for avoid this, there needs to be actions done with BOTH parties.  Young people, slow down.  Process information more and communicate with tenured people so you can receive the full context, allowing you to provide the best solution to the problem.  Also, withstand the initial criticism of veterans in organizations; they are intimidated by the amount of change in technology, and may not be able (or do not choose) to articulate with you their vulnerabilities.  Building a rapport will help bring the walls down.  In their words, you can analyze their frustration and provide a solution.  

 

Older/more tenured professionals, don’t get intimidated.  Embrace a new perspective and ACTIVELY engage with younger individuals, building a relationship (which we millennials typically appreciate).  Transition to the mentor role.  Allow your organization vibrancy by having a younger person create new ways of solving problems.  Sure, there will be some dissonance initially, but once a foundation of trust is set we can proceed with completing our projects.  

 

Both age groups need each other to survive.  Let’s actively work with each other so we can continue to build organizations that promote productivity and positive impact.

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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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