Christian/Black Man/Family Focused/Philanthropist/Media Guru/Continuous Learner
At my core, I’m a believer and lover of Christ. I see myself as a guy that loves my family, friends, supporters and my dog, Max. People I have relationships with are very important to me. I enjoy seeing them grow and help in any way I can. My mom, grandmother and pops have influenced me in different ways. My mom has always been an emotional safety net when things go wrong personally or professionally. I’m a person that holds a lot in so she helps calm me down more than she will ever know. For example, when I went through a break-up a few years back my mom cooked a lot for me and that really helped get my engine back up and running better than ever. My grandmother’s biggest impact on me overall is that I can help our community out no matter how much money I make. She’s an incredible, loving woman that is retired and living on a small fixed income. But that has never stopped her from helping others in the family or outside the family when they are in need. She doesn’t have much money but with what she did have, she still started a feeding program 14 years ago, which has served over 10,000 meals to the homeless, low income families and supporters of the city of Long Beach.
Nobody understands me better than my pops. He’s actually my step-dad but has been in my life since I was 3-years-old. That’s huge, especially when the stereotype is that not a lot of Black fathers step up to the plate. When I was a kid, he would help me with my math homework, teach me lessons about respect, make me read Black history books, and tell me often that I would go to college. It was that instilling of confidence that has helped me think I can accomplish tasks no matter how large they seem. One moment that always sticks out to me was at my high school graduation. When we were taking photos after the ceremony he told my family and friends that we’d be doing this again in four years. I don’t think anyone ever believed it because in my immediate family such as my aunts, uncles and cousins, no one had ever made it through the community college level. But he was right. We were back four years later at Cal State Long Beach. To sum it up, my pops has always served as counsel to me. He didn’t attend college, but is one of the smartest individuals I know. I think just coaching me to do right, how to deal with racist police officers, teaching the importance of having a strong mind and strong body, and other essential things to be a well rounded Black man are the main things that stick out.
From the support, love, and guidance of my mom, grandmother, and pops, I realized what I was powerful and capable when I was a kid. But I just needed to see the results. There isn’t one moment that stands out. I think realizing your true power is a continuous process. Some of the milestones that helped me start to see how I can make change was when I started getting accepted to colleges for undergrad, graduating college and earning my MBA as an African American. Seeing that power build into gaining access to other influential people like working with celebs/brands on campaigns whether it was Puff Daddy or Tiger Woods and even being able to shake President Obama’s hand because I was knowledgeable about what was going on in the world. Most recently, that access expanded to global markets, when I was asked to go to Asia for two weeks and run digital marketing workshops across Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo. That was huge for me. From a power standpoint, this let me know that I can and will synthesize my power to have a global impact.
Professionally I have a passion for digital marketing. I enjoy helping brands achieve goals they didn’t think possible, starting with strategy. Helping them learn about their audiences, how to measure goals with proper KPIs and understanding how to provide audiences with the right message through the right channels. I can be hard on myself and thank God my pops serves as a venting outlet. I try to set new goals each quarter of the year. Sometimes I accomplish them and sometimes I don’t. But I like to self-reflect and figure out why I was or wasn’t successful. I think overall, after each year I ask myself if I’m better than I was the previous year. So far things are trending positive even when I don’t always achieve my goals. In my mind, I still have so much that I want to overcome and thus, achieve. My short terms goals are to start my own digital marketing freelance/consulting firm, Media Dean. I’m curious about the challenge and want to see if I can land clients and have results doing things with my approach.
I also want to be a better Christian. I want to continue to grow my relationship with God. I want to be a better person overall and help as many people as I can. I take pride in giving back to my community, especially to those with marginalized backgrounds. Over the years I’ve been humbled to talk to students at my alma maters including Mayfair High School and Cal State Long Beach. I’ve done some projects with LA Job Corps, Foothill High School, the Tiger Woods Foundation and with Friends of Alice Robinson, a feeding program my grandmother started 14-years ago. So in addition to developing my own brand, I also want to establish a scholarship program in my grandmother’s feeding program name. To me legacy is important. By taking that step, I get to help young people of color and make sure my grandmother’s legacy goes on longer than she lives. Lastly, I want to travel more. Europe, South America and Africa would be fun continents to explore. I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied though. I enjoy the process of learning and testing what I’m made of. We either get better or worst.
As people of color, we should always know who we are. Expect to have challenges and having to work harder than others. Life isn’t fair and we have to make do with the variables. Just remember you are the entrepreneur of yourself and nobody can be you better than you. I think you need to fight back on this. Voting, reading and learning about your local government, as well as the more broader state government. Voting inspires change and teaching the youth about this does as well. At the end of the day when you get discouraged just think about how old Dr. Martin Luther King was when he was fighting back and getting hosed and beat with batons by police. Think about all the racism President Obama had to endure during his eight-years as the leader of the free world. If they can do it and maintain their pride, poise and optimism so can you.
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