Tag Archives: mentor

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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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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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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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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MLH Workout Chronicles, Day 22: Cheat Days

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How A Recharge is SO CRUCIAL!

I just got back from Washington D.C., initially for a conference (where I learned a lot and became reinvigorated in economic development) but stayed a couple of days to enjoy the city, reflect, and recharge before the consistent grind I will have in Dallas this fall.  It’s probably one of the best choices I made this year.  I was starting to flame out, and was starting to get discouraged.  Though I couldn’t afford a vacation (timing’s bad), I was able to hang out with friends and see new sights in a different land, where I’m just one of many, so I can refuel for Dallas.

I want to share a few points I thought of on my flight home:

It’s important to have a different environment for reflection/reset

I’ve tried to have stay-cations, or relax in Dallas, but it doesn’t work for me.  I’m involved in too many things that can pull my attention from resting, therefore not being productive.  For me, I have to physically remove myself from my day-to-day tasks in order to disconnect from it entirely.  This doesn’t have to be the case for everyone, as people can lock themselves in their house and watch Netflix, or turn off their phone to do the same thing.  Me going to another city (or somewhere that’s not Dallas) is very therapeutic; I’m able to hit the “reset” button while observing things that may be able to work in Dallas to improve the city.

Enjoy where you are fully; let go of stresses/burdens from other situations

The one thing I tried not to do, was to take Dallas with me during my R and R time.  I was responsive during the conference, as I was working, but during the weekend, it was my time.  I didn’t respond to emails, I didn’t worry about what was going on in Dallas, I just enjoyed DC.  By doing this, I was able to feel good about where I was Sunday night, and was able to work Monday morning (I was still in DC, but letting everything go for two days showed me a couple of opportunities I can do up there).

Once your back in your normal environment, GO HARD!

This morning, I woke up, and started SPRINTING!  There’s a lot of things I need to catch up on, and new stresses that appeared, but I’m able to have a fresh perspective and rejuvenated spirit to take them on.  I advise people to go all in when you first arrive from vacation so you can set a tone of intensity and purpose.

The one thing that’s starting to sink in from advice numerous people have told me in the past is to take time for myself…  I get it now. I’m not taking weeks off, or going to the moon, it was an extra two days after a conference I attended, but those two days positively affected me!  I’m ready to take on the World!!!

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Black Or White: Who Cares, just be true to yourself…

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Since early Friday morning, I’ve read the articles concerning Rachel Dolezal, the comedic memes questioning her true “blackness”, and the MANY texts/debates on her choice of action in the civil rights movement.  While I have no issue of her, a caucasian woman, heading a chapter of the NAACP (if you know your history, this organization was not only founded bi-racially but had a mission of something that is much larger than what we are actually practicing today), I do have an issue that she disregarded her cultural background and totally “reinvented” herself, not for a person who supports blacks (White Chocolate) but a person who pretended to be black (A Macaroni Nigga…)

*Start at 5:00 mark

Though funny to some (and offensive to many), Paul Mooney makes a valid point; black people are one of the most replicated, exploited, unappreciated, and underestimated group of people on this Earth.  This is not from happenstance.  Black intellectuals, scholars, and leaders have to fight harder than their Euro-centered counterparts to make their points legitimate to American Culture because of our historic preconceived notions that blacks are ignorant and primitive, and should be confined to athletic and entertainment avenues to exercise our “expressions”, ones that can also be controlled and monitored by someone whose more capable to control (sounds familiar?…).  In order for us to “conform”, several things can happen:  we can disown our culture (as Dolezal did), and not acknowledge our past and assimilate to mainstream society, be an “Uncle Tom” to ensure the safety of our families and loved ones at the sacrifice of our self-respect, “shuck and jive” to entertain and distract our oppressors, which will provide comfort and stability to a struggling black family (an outlet that was necessary in MANY cases, but not sustainable in the long run), or we can rebel (which will DEFINITELY) oust us from society, either through media suicide, discreditation, or death.

SOME progress has been made the last several decades; but we (ALL Americans) still have a long road to travel before people are not only equal, but society will judge people on the content of their character, and not the color of their skin. Dolezal’s deception not only discredits a successful (and necessary Civil Rights organization), but it forces people to stop working on the improvement of race relations in America…  and when we stop working on an incomplete project, we will digress and go back to square one.  Rachael Dolezal, for her to be more impactful, should fully recognize, embrace, and articulate her past, continue to fight for people she wants to, and show that other ethnicities can enhance different cultures.  It’ll be MLK’s dream realized and will allow our country to make a step forward.  For her to disown her past, illustrates a denial of a piece of her life that needs to be addressed.

Again, I don’t have an issue with Rachel, but I am concerned for her mental health.  It’s not healthy to disregard your heritage, create a new identity, and misdirect/misrepresent people on your history, your culture, or your intentions.  Some blacks have tried that already…  mission failed.

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