100 Features

BE Modern Man: Meet the Democracy Disruptor Cornell Belcher

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Name: Cornell Belcher

Age: 48

Profession: Pollster

Social Media: Twitter: @cornellbelcher | Instagram: @cornell_belcher | Facebook: @cornellbelcher

One Word That Describes You: Black

 

What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?

It means that perhaps I have done something with my life up to this point that helps improve the conditions of my community and country.

What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?

Political organizations that I had been working for, frankly, were too often part of the problem—protecting the status quo. The status quo has little interest in expanding the voice of those historically at the margins of our society.  Out of this struggle to disrupt I started my own company. 

What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others? 

Compassion.

What are some immediate projects you are working on?

Trying to save our Democracy from the darkness of racism and tribalism.

What is the best advice you ever received?

If you don’t know the answer, simply say you don’t know the answer. 

What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?

Do not get comfortable. And your job isn’t to make other people comfortable. All change comes out of conflict, from making the comfortable uncomfortable. You must be a disrupter.

How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?

Confident people can do anything. Confidence for me comes from knowing my subject matter well—so I study like it’s a finals exam. Know your stuff and own it. 

As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation? Share a story about your best vacation. 

Unfortunately I don’t really know how to unwind, and I struggle with this concept. It’s all very tragic actually. I don’t know how to turn it off, which is a benefit from the standpoint of my career, but it can destroy all other parts of your life. I’m deeply flawed. Sad (Trump voice)! Men who are reading this, please learn how and really focus on being able to turn it off because it’s important to your overall health.

If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I want to spend a month sailing the Pacific and island hopping. I’m a restless explorer at heart, and at some point I want to go into space. 

What is your “Extraordinary Impact?” 

Polling is an important part of Democracy. At its best, it’s basically telling the story of the people, their hopes, fears, concerns, and desires. Democracy works best when it more accurately reflects the voices of the people in all its beautiful diverse forms. I’m trying to expand voice, and expand and strengthen our democracy. I’ve worked on two historic presidential races in 2008 and 2012 which expanded our electorate and brought the voices of a more diverse America to bear politically, and because of that we broke a profound racial, social, and political barrier. So today when that African American father says to his child, “you can be anything you want to be,” it has a little more truth to it than when my grandfather said it to my father and when my father said it to me. We keep bending the arc toward equality and justice with our labor. I stay in the fields laboring. 

Anything else you’d like to say?

I’m honored to be recognized in this way, thank you.  

 

 

It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow @BEModernMan and join the conversation using #BEModernMan.

Come celebrate the BE Modern Man 100 Men of Distinction at the first-ever Black Men XCEL Summit, Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

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