Tag Archives: leaders

Calling All Black Men…It’s Conference Time!!!

Lucinda Cross, Cheryl Wood, Tiana Von Johnson, Camara Aunique, Kela Walker, Renae Bluitt, Tonya Rapley, Tiffany O Aliche, Janvieve Naemani Fogle, Kimberly Ferguson, Regina Robinson, Shaniece Wise Armstrong, Tricia Lee, Cameeka Smith, Dr. Tamarrah Tarver

You may say, your topic is about men so why are you listing all these women. Simply because these women are killing, and killing it big time. And this is just some of the women that I either know personally or follow who are making a tremendous impact in their respective fields. Not only are they doing it individually but corporately as well. Among them you have conferences like Tiana’s WOMEN DOING IT BIG, Lucinda’s ACTIVATE 2016, Dr. T’s PRETTY GIRL WEEKEND, Cameeka’s BOSS NETWORK and Cheryl’s PLAY TIME IS OVER 2016 to name a few. I have found that very admirable about women, how they group together and have events and pack the house. That is awesome as it displays unity, support, teamwork and dedication. Now I am quite sure that they have issues, challenges and setbacks in putting these events on but nonetheless they go forward with them and bless so many individuals.


I have only found only a few of these events for men and not nearly at the rate the women have them. One of the reasons is that black women are growing at the fastest rate in reference to entrepreneurship, which is amazing. Even with that being true, we still should be seeing more of these events involving our black men.  With have some awesome black men doing some great work and conferences would be a great way to share that information and to inspire more black males. Women are coming away from those women conferences I mentioned on fire, and determined to build their dreams and vision. That is what can happen for the next generation of men once we start having our own conferences. The knowledge and wisdom that is gained from sitting under today’s great leaders and having that up close and intimate time of dialogue is simply priceless. I appreciate the efforts BLACK ENTERPRISE have put forth with their BE MODERN MAN campaign, that I am fortunate to be a part of. They have taken the opportunity to change today’s narrative and have highlighted the accomplishments of black men across the country. We need more of that.


I was having this discussion with another gentlemen and his reasons that there aren’t as many conferences for black men as there are for black women are financial and lack of support. He basically felt that unlike women, men will not flock to see great black entrepreneurial leaders, so events will not be packed out. Also while women go to their events 3, 4 and even 10 deep with their girlfriends, men may go alone or maybe with 1 additional person. While women will travel from across the country to come to conferences men will not. And lastly most men believe that they do not need to hear what they can learn on their own. Basically putting the crib together without reading the instructions, I can wing it. Now while some points may be valid I believe that based on the success of these women’s conferences we can learn to cater to what men need to put on some real successful events. If you have the right speakers, in the right venue it can be a great opportunity. I have decided to speak to some great brothers here in NYC to do some great events. I believe the time is now and we have to take advantage of it. I have also started a Facebook group BLACK PROFESSIONAL MENtors to celebrate and highlight black men so have all the guys you know join us and let’s get busy. Come on guys we can’t let the ladies have all the fun!!!

How To USE People!

In this day and age the importance of building relationships is more important than ever.  As more and more people are becoming entrepreneurs the need to partner with individuals increases. Linking yourself and your brand to others can be a key in whether or not your business succeeds or fails. Or maybe you don’t necessarily want to partner with them but you want to make an inquiry to get some wisdom and direction. Better yet this particular individual has tons of followers or connections and you just need them to give you a SHARE on Facebook, or a reTWEET on Twitter, that shouldn’t be too much trouble. As innocent as that request or expectation may seem there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to connect with individuals to make these request known.


Two businessmen smiling and shaking hands. Shot in studio over white.

Here are 4 keys to USING people….


  1. Don’t be so aggressive– Aggression is a key characteristic for most entrepreneurs which helps them to be effective in what they do. Taking charge, taking risk and being pushy helps them achieve plenty of their goals. However when trying to build relationships and connecting with new individuals being too aggressive can be a major no-no. Remember most of the people that you are trying to reach are business owners like yourself. Aggression can be taken as rude, which is a characteristic most people do not want to deal with.
  2. Don’t be selfish– I have people that I have never met  in person (only social media) or have just recently met, ask me:  How did I get on ABC? How did you get in Black Enterprise? How do you get a vendors license? How do you get your 501c3? Now I am all for sharing information and helping people to make solid connections and build relationships. However, I am not for people selfishly taking everything they can from me and not reciprocating the effort. Before I generally ask someone for their information I make sure that I am prepared to do the same. In no bank can you make withdrawals without first making some deposits!
  3. Don’t be a bug-If you have reached out to someone and they said they would get back to you, give them that opportunity. No one likes a person constantly bugging them about anything. Give them some space. If they haven’t gotten back to you after the initial contact,  reach out at a later time, (as sometimes people forget) and say I am just following up on our previous email. That is it, if they still don’t respond, then drop it and move on to someone else.
  4. Nurture the connection–If I give someone some excellent information or solid connection and I never hear anything at all from that person again then that speaks volumes about their motive. When people assist me I make sure to let them know that I truly appreciated it. Hey, Thanks for that information, it was really great and helped me alot. That makes a world of difference. Also later on I would follow up and ask them how they are doing? It is small talk but people remember little things like that.                                                                                                                                                                             It is nothing wrong with using people if you use them the right way. However it is everything wrong with abusing people. Use these keys to make connections and to build solid relationships and grow your brand!



When I was out of work and trying to get back into the workforce someone reached out to me and helped me tremendously. A mentor of mine who saw that I was beginning to make positive changes in my life took me to a suit store in Brooklyn and purchased me a brand new suit, shirt and a tie. I will never forget that moment, I practically cried from the emotions of another man buying me these items without wanting anything in return. That moment was etched in my heart until this day. It is that moment that I think about constantly when we give back to the men we serve today. It is that moment that got me started and keeps me going.

While cleaning out my closet of older suits I decided now was the time to make this dream of assisting men with professional attire a reality so I started That Suits You, a nonprofit organization that provides suits to men looking to get back into the workforce.


The journey of starting the organization involved collecting suits from family and friends. I was amazed at the results I was received. My wife and brother joined the team and we began holding suit drives and reaching out to churches, businesses and individuals all over. I have found that people don’t mind giving these items if they know it will be helping people. The idea of men who have completed training and are ready to work but do not have anything to wear to their interview is heart wrenching and very sad to see. However when we see their face when we present them with a suit, tie, shirt and occasionally shoes, all at no cost to them, it is priceless. That same emotion I felt when I received my suit is what we strive to do to these men. When I received that first suit I felt empowered, I felt important, and I felt like I could take on the world. We want the men we assist to feel the same way and we have seen it time and time again.

There is something about a man in a suit. There is something empowering about it. Women love to see them, and men love to wear them. A man in a suit, says he is working, he is making things happen, he is successful. That may not be the reality but it gives that perception. When people see young men saggin their pants, that statement speaks volumes to the world. That look says they are not working, they are not being positive and they are not being successful. Although that may not be true, that is the image it portrays. A lot of times men dress that way because they haven’t been taught better or they don’t have the means to obtain better. We want to be a part of changing the culture, look, dress and perception of men all over. We want to be a part of teaching men to dress better. We want them to have that look of a well dressed man. Once I had my first suit, I wanted to wear them more and more. I believe once we get a man in his first suit, he will have that same feeling.


We recently did a job conference workshop with NYC College of Technology, where we donated ties to some of the young men who came. We also taught men how to tie a tie and did mock interviews with the young adults. However to me, the most powerful part of the day was the time we spent speaking and sharing to everyone there. Having the opportunity to pour my heart into these young people was priceless. I shared with them about starting a business and seeing a dream become a reality. I also expressed the importance of dressing appropriately and being professional in everything you do. That Suits You places us in position to give back to teens and young adults and hopefully steer them in a positive direction to being a success story.