Name: Nelson Boyce
Profession: Director, Agency Business Development with Google
One Word That Describes You: Blessed
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
I am humbled and honored. The distinction means that I have the opportunity to honor the efforts and teachings of those who have come before me and shown me the importance of actions speaking louder than words and that my legacy will ultimately be judged by the measure of what I did for others. It is also a challenge to continue to live up to the distinction by being even more committed to the work I do.
What are you doing as a BEMM to help support black male achievement now or in the future?
I currently serve as the president of the Foundation of Westchester Clubmen. Established in 1959, it is an organization of African American men in Westchester County, New York, dedicated to educating, supporting, and inspiring young African American and Latino men to fulfill their dreams. Higher Aims is the Clubmen’s after-school program that provides educational and life enrichment for young men in middle and high schools. We help make the dream of getting into college a reality. We show them that they can beat the odds and reach new levels of success, that they can become valued members of their communities who will “pay it forward” to the next generation of young men with big dreams. And it works. For the last seven years 100% of our graduates have attended college and most of our students make the honor roll on a regular basis.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
I have always chosen to see obstacles as an opportunity. I suppose that it one of the reasons I wound up in a sales career. I perceive every “no” as getting closer to a “yes.”
What is your extraordinary impact?
By learning from my mistakes, analyzing the data at hand, appreciating and incorporating the perspective of others, and making calculated decisions that I believe will result in the best outcome.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
There are several: trust, forgiveness, humor, and curiosity. If I had to chose only one though, it would be trust.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
As mentioned earlier, I am working diligently with other brothers within the Clubmen to evolve Higher Aims even further to broaden the positive impact that we are having on young black and Latino brothers in our community.
I am also working as a board member with the New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence on continuing to raise money for the funding of programs that supplement the educations of the youth in our school system, seeking to give all of them equal footing and an equal chance to succeed.
What is the best advice you ever received?
If you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t do it. And whatever it is you’re doing at the moment, intend to be the best at it … opportunity will come to you as a function of it.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
There are two types of people in the world: those who say “they can” and those who say “they can’t.” Interesting thing about the two of them is that they are both right. Ninety percent of the battle is choosing and committing to the path we want to walk along. Choose wisely as the decision will be self-fulfilling. Finally, be empathetic. There are many people who have various challenges and struggles. Making the effort to walk in their shoes will go a long way.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
I always start by setting a desired outcome. I then start the meeting with a compelling open—something relevant to their interests or business. I follow by asking the right questions to gain clarity and insight, followed by making a provocative recommendation. Finally I seek to end with a strong close that will result in action.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
Vacations for me are not about the destinations, but about the company I keep when I’m on them. Being away with family and very close friends is how I best unwind as they are folks who accept me as I am, allow me to be me, and give me unconditional love. Being able to keep the checking of emails to just once a day in the morning doesn’t hurt either.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I have never been to Africa. There are many areas and countries that I’d like to visit, but simply to be able to place my bare feet in the dirt of where civilization began would be unbelievably humbling and grounding for me.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I’d simply like to congratulate all of the other brothers who have been recognized as 2017 BE Modern Men of Distinction. It’s humbling to see the great work that is being done by so many in our communities and it serves as a reminder that there is still so much to be done.
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.