How have you been able to navigate corporate America as an African American male?
Navigating in corporate America for me has been a bit of a rollercoaster; however, I believe my ability to be reliable, dependable, and resilient has carried myself along in the journey. Not being afraid to take on difficult tasks and learn new things has assisted in my success in business. Helping others develop has always been a focus in each of my roles. Within each position, I would ask myself what can I do to improve the process, budget, moral, or vision. This attitude has help myself excel in corporate American.
Tell us about your experience in having a mentor.
Unfortunately, I have not had a professional mentor to help guide or push myself in the direction of success. Fortunately, I’ve been able to research successful people and read about their pitfalls and lessons learned to form a similar path for myself. As a result, I strive to be a positive influence and mentor others in need of direction.
What has your experience been as a member of the National Black MBA Association?
I joined the National Black MBA Association in 2022, attended my first conference in Atlanta. It was an exciting experience to see so many black educated professionals together. My experience with NBMBAA has inspired me to keep striving in both my personal and professional goals. Being around other “achievers” drowns out the self-defeating negative beliefs. I have made new friends that continue to inspire me to reach new heights.
What does success look like to you?
Success for me is truly achieving what ever it is that you plan for. A few descriptive words that stand out for me are as follows: educated, career oriented, well planned, organized, results driven, the ability to recognize when changes must be made, architecting a plan and executing.
Tell us about your health reality and how you have been able to live with it.
At 19 yr old, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes just 1 year after the loss of my mother who died from complications induced by type 2 diabetes. Dealing with the trauma and the loss of close diabetic family members, watching limbs severed, heart attacks, strokes, and grueling dialysis sessions; I was now left to deal with the disease myself. I chose not to accept the life of diabetic complications by first accepting, then studying the condition. I found other type 2 diabetics that were successful with managing daily blood sugar levels and living an active life. I then began to life a healthier lifestyle by changing what I eat, drink and then developed an exercise routine that worked for me. I found keeping a detailed log between quarterly doctors visits and labs have been helpful with singling out what works and does not work for my body.
Why do you feel it is difficult to get African American men to advocate for their health?
Generally, yes. African American men typically will not visit the doctor until something has already gone wrong. I am a big believer in preventative care and daily maintenance. My fight against diabetic complications is also a fight against all other bodily complications that come with aging as a man. Doctors visits quarterly with a full metabolic panel will greatly reveal the condition of your body. You then use the results from your labs to praise your routine or make necessary adjustments. Think of it as a report card for your bodily maintenance plan. Most black men are afraid of what their report card may look like. I say, treat you body and your maintenance routine like a business and take inventory, benchmark where your are, plan ahead, trust the progress and praise your hard work along the way.
Given your lived experiences, what advice would you give a young African American male?
Young African American men today are living in a completely different world than I was raised. The possibilities are endless! Take your physical and mental heath seriously by developing a routine that works for your own body because “everybody” is different. Educate yourself, obtain your degree in your 20’s so you don’t have to do it in your 40’s. Chose a life partner with vision, resilience, direction and determination. Travel the globe and bring back new prospectives from yours travels to incorporate new experiences in your life. Lastly, take the time to love yourself and the body that you’ve been given. It is impossible to love others if you cannot love yourself…