Welcome to No More Reasonable Doubt, the show focuses on helping young professionals of color have more impact at work and helping companies retain and develop their diverse employees.
This is a special message to young professionals of color. You can listen to the audio or read the information down below:
You don’t need another speech, you need support. You need a long term investment in you and your future. You don’t get that from a speech or a one-time program.
How do I know? I’ve been a professional speaker for nearly a decade. Most of that time spent speaking in front of college students and young professionals. Some of color but not always.
My speaking evolved over time. I went from, “This is the speech I have for you,” to “I’d like to survey the crowd before I speak,” to now, “How can I help them build a community of support?”
After every speech especially if it was in front of people who look like me I would extend the invitation to stay connected. My email was on the screen, but out of all the talks I’ve given only ONE person (Lavar Thomas) really stayed in touch and took me up on the offer to be of service, to serve as a sounding board for him, to help him move his mission forward.
You want to know where he is at the time of this recording? He is spending two years in the Peace Corps; something you don’t see many Black males doing.
Nope, I can’t take credit for his hunger, all I can do is provide a spotlight, a platform to say way to go Lavar.
You see, I was Lavar.
Driven By My Own Pain
I was this dude who was hungry but didn’t always know where to go or who to talk to or who I could trust. Where I grew up didn’t necessarily reflect where I wanted to go.
I was fortunate to run into (and refuse to let them go) people like Andre Taylor who was the first Black CEO I met. Not only a CEO but someone who actually created a startup. How did I meet him you asked? I was interested in sports while in college and wanted to explore the industry so I asked the career center if we had any alum who worked in sports. No, Andre wasn’t an alum of my college, but someone who worked for him was.
Then there was / is Leo Smith who is a gent from the South who showed up at my college to work in admissions during the summer of my senior year. I happened to stay and work in the town where my college was so our paths crossed. He was the first person who I ever officially asked to be my mentor. It sounded something like this, “Hey Leo I don’t know how this thing works but would you be my mentor?” He said, “yes,” and we hugged it out.
These gentlemen to name a few provided me with support, they were vested in my growth, in my success. And to be very honest with you, there were many times when I thought they would just run away because I didn’t follow through on something I said I would do or because I thought I had failed. Each time they helped me to see my way through.
Just one example is when I was working in my first corporate job. I was already about 5 years out of undergrad and 3 years out of graduate school. I ran into someone at this job who felt it was their job to embarrass me and make me feel small. I ran into people who told my boss they felt I was threatening because I stayed quiet during meetings (little did they know that I was just trying to take in the culture and learn how to be successful in that environment). It was Andre who helped me see my way through.
When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior it was Leo that I shared it with first. His response, “You didn’t accept him; he accepted you.” Wiseass.
When I was feeling my way out and reading books like, “The Purpose Driven Life,” and found myself feeling confused and frankly a little sad about statements like, “Your treasure is in heave and not on earth,” it was Leo who I had the conversations with about wanting to do good, be a good person and still get the BMW 325i.
This is real talk and real issues that need real support. Really tough to teach the skills necessary or even anticipate what young professionals of color will encounter….unless you are always there.
The thing is this thought has been with me for a while but I ran from serving my people for fear of a couple of things.
1. I didn’t want to be labeled a motivational speaker. To me it was a joke, it was hype and I didn’t want to be that.
2. I didn’t want to be a cliché, “Black man working with Black people,” or pigeon hole myself.
Then it hit me. All I’ve learned and all I’ve done was for this idea of creating a community for young professionals of color. What I “DID” want to do thrumped what I “didn’t” want to do or be. I did want to serve people who look like me and I did want to share what I’ve learned so more people can have more impact. It’s my way of scaling.
So there you have it, a man who has found the people he was meant to serve by looking in the mirror. In the words of my homie Ouigi Theodore, “You have to dip your bucket where you stand.”
Thank you for listening. I’ll provide solo episodes like this at least once a week. Sometimes they will be filled with tips and tricks and other times they will be a story that hopefully you can find yourself in and pull out what you need.
I’d love it if you would subscribe to the podcast and leave a rating and review. It matters and helps more people to find us.
Do you know of a young professional of color who needs a community and is looking to take their career to the next level?
Do you know a company that is serious about supporting their diverse employees?
Send them to No More Reasonable Doubt dot com.
We are helping young professionals of color have more impact at work and go from invisible to invincible.
Mike Ambassador Bruny