Name: Reuben Canada
Profession: CEO, Canada Enterprises and Creator of Jin+Ja
One Word That Describes You: Visionary
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
Representing men who chose to be on the right side of history with deliberate focus and action. Traveling the hard road that is beset on all sides willingly with grace and vigor. Trailblazing to inspire all of those around us.
What are you doing as a BEMM to help support black male achievement now or in the future?
I share everything I have learned about entrepreneurship and digital marketing that has made my company a successful enterprise. I developed a curriculum to teach entrepreneurship and digital marketing to the children in the L.A. Central Juvenile Hall. Also, I tutor at the Boys and Girls Club.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
I grew up with an addict throughout my childhood with very little stability and no concept of unconditional self love or love of others. I refused to settle for the small, compromised life that I was all but guaranteed. I spent 19 years searching for the way to heal the traumas that are a natural result of being the child of an addict. My commitment took me to the depths of the Amazon, where those traumas were healed on a spiritual level leaving me with a cleansed soul, an intimate relationship with God, and a reverence for humanity and the sacred nature of life.
What is your “Extraordinary Impact?”
Constantly challenging the orthodox thinking by marrying seemingly unrelated industries to create true value. For four years my company used a traditional route to market for beverages, losing money every year. On the brink of bankruptcy I directed the last of our capital to a digital marketing/direct to consumer model. We became profitable within fours months. Companies throughout the food and beverage industry now use our model and engage me for consulting engagements to transform their companies. In addition to my business, I am on the diversity council for the specialty food association and am working closely with the president to evolve the organization.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
Strong spiritual foundation, which is obvious by their relationship with the world around them, how they perceive challenges, and if they are occupied with themselves or improving the world around them.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
Expanding my beverage company into a health and wellness company that offers a full range of physically healing and supporting products as well as information to support emotional, mental, and spiritual health.
What is the best advice you ever received?
“A man who cuts his own firewood warms himself twice.”
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Never consider if you are strong enough to do it. Find the righteous goal and be convicted to the reality that it is God’s strength that will accomplish your seemingly impossible task.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
I quiet my heart and mind in order to listen with clarity to what God wants me to do and say.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
I woke up at 4 a.m. in Paris the day after my birthday and walked up the Champs-Élysées and for 90 minutes did a Facebook Live broadcast for the 11,000 members of our private group. I shared my thoughts on Esprit de Corps that I witnessed in Parisians of all cultures, the significance of art to change how we feel inside and inspire the passion that gives the texture of life we are all blessed with.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
The Vatican. Opinions aside, they are the stewards of documents and artifacts taken from cultures throughout the world. There is a huge amount of collected wisdom that very few have access to and I would want to explore as much of these secured writings and artifacts to better understand the nature of humanity and how it has evolved; to understand with better clarity the path that manifests the inherent love we are all born with; and avoid the inevitable destruction we all face as we continue to manifest our deepest fears with the abuse of science and technology to oppress and extinguish life.
Anything else you’d like to say?
For people I care about and admire I begin conversations with a single question: what are you doing these days to change the world? I learned this from a judge in New York who requires attorneys, who actually do the work, to present it in court to give women and people of color an equal opportunity. This was in response to him noticing only young Caucasian lawyers would present in court while most of the preparation work was done by women and people of color. The larger impact is to normalize the conception of the general public that women and people of color are competent advocates that can be trusted with matters of the utmost importance: presenting your case to the impartial scales of justice.
It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow @BEModernMan and join the conversation using #BEModernMan.