Name: Frank E. Brady
Profession: Hope Dealer/Dream Director/Speaker/Poet
One Word That Describes You: Dynamic
What is your “Extraordinary Impact?”
I have spent the last 12 years inspiring youth in my city. I’m currently one of the longest tenured Dream Directors at The Future Project working with teenagers to build projects based on their passions that create an impact in their schools and communities. Through my company, Driven2Inspire, I provide leadership training and development to college students. As a performance poet and teacher, I’ve provided arts workshops to help youth process life experiences while building confidence and literacy skills.
I make sure that I am visible not only in the school system, but in the neighborhoods. I come from a similar background and have faced some of the same challenges the youth I work with face. I use my pain to show an example of someone that persevered through all the obstacles. I often speak to groups of youth—whether in a school auditorium or a street corner—and freely share my story. Most importantly though, I listen to their voice and experience, and have them co-create solutions and plans of action with me to help them succeed.
I look at myself as a “HOPE dealer,” a play on the moniker of dope dealer. Instead of drugs, I push dreams and sling hope. It’s kind of like in the Bible when Saul was transformed to Paul; I show that what was meant for bad could become a force for good.
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
Truly a blessing and an honor to be among so many black men making a powerful impact on the world around them. I’m thankful and humbled that my hard work has been noticed. Being a BEMM means to be a man of integrity and dedication to progressively uplift and empower the image of the black man.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
Due to my anger issues, in high school, I was placed in a class for students labeled “at risk.” I struggled with feeling ostracized from my peers as I stayed in one room the whole day. There came a point when I decided that I didn’t belong in the class, and that I wanted more for myself. I advocated for a chance to be in regular classes and have a regular schedule. Through hard work and action (and no behavioral issues) I showed teachers, guidance counselors, and myself that I could handle being in a regular population and even took on college-level courses.
In 2013, I had come off of a very emotionally draining year; I was tired and burned out. For the first time in my adult life, I had come up against a series of challenges in which I had felt like I failed miserably. After years of overcoming obstacles and succeeding, I felt stuck and almost depressed. I had a meeting with my pastor, Todd Foster, where he heard my heart and helped walk me through my pain. I remember him saying to me “will the real Frank Brady please stand up.” That was a turning point in our conversation and in my life. I was instantly reminded of all I went through to even be at that moment. I’ve used it as a reminder over the last few years whenever things have gotten rough. I took that moment and used it to push me to elevate my work with youth.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
Respect. I look for this in all my relationships. It shows me that whomever is in my life will value my connection and treat me as they’d like to be treated. It shows me that they will respect my boundaries and values as I do theirs.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
I co-founded a student training and development company called Driven2Inspire L.L.C., where I focus on developing our college leadership programming and regional tour. This summer I am hosting a series of events in New Haven, Connecticut, with a goal of fostering community engagement and awareness of social issues. Lastly, I am writing and recording tracks for a Spoken Word Project and working on restructuring my personal brand at FrankEBrady.com.
What is the best advice you ever received?
“Your gift will make room for you and bring you before great men, keep allowing the Lord to order your steps” – Raymond T. Cash
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Find your passion: Find your passion, align it with your purpose, and then cast your vision for what you want out of your life. Once you’ve done this, teach others how to do so; replicate your impact through passing on your skills and experience to others. As men, we need to be visual, tangible examples of success and integrity that empower those around us, especially the next generation.
Have a relationship with God: This has been the catalyst of any success I’ve had over the last 10 years. Faith is so powerful, and having a relationship with your creator is foundational.
Find your purpose: Purpose is the reason you get out of bed in the morning, your life’s mission. Find that one thing that makes your spirit burn when you think of it. Your purpose can be closely connected with what you love to do, it can be the “why” behind it. That is the fuel that refills you when you want to give up. Your purpose should remind you that you are working for something greater then yourself.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
I thank God for the opportunity to live out my purpose. I reflect on the road it took for me to get to my upcoming moment. I visualize the outcome I want, and then I focus in on preparing every single detail I need in order make success happen.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation? Share a story about your best vacation.
I prefer to go to a nice resort and relax. I spend a lot of vacations by myself as it gives me an opportunity to reflect and recharge. My best vacation would have to be when I visited the beautiful island of Puerto Rico in 2014. I was able to explore the rich history of the island, enjoy the beach (I love the beach), and connect with different people. I believe that when you work hard, you play hard to catch up to how hard you worked.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
It’s a tie between two places. Jerusalem; I would love to see where Jesus walked and where Christianity, Islam & Judaism converge. Also Africa; I’d love to be in the motherland and learn and experience the rich history of my roots firsthand. I’ve seen Africa’s beauty through images, but I’ve been told that it is a life-changing experience in person.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I believe we are all placed on this earth to be a blessing to one another, if we focus on this, and focus on sharpening our own special talents and skills, the world would be a better place. God is everything; my life is a testimony that through faith your life can change the world around you.
Lastly, I’d like to show appreciation to my mentor Mr. Andre Farr. Meeting this man changed the course of my life and showed me that you can be larger than life yet still be an accessible example to your community.
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.