BE Modern Man is an integrative program that honors the essence, image, and accomplishments of today’s man of color. With features of today’s leaders, executives, creatives, students, politicians, entrepreneurs, professionals, and agents of change—these men share the common thread of creating a new normal while setting the bar in tech, art, philanthropy, business, and beyond. The BE Modern Man is making a positive impact, his way, and has a story to tell.
BE MODERN MAN ARRON MULLER
Occupation: Licensed Social Worker/Therapist
One Word That Describes You: Reliable
What does being one of the BE Modern Man 100 Honorees mean to you?
It is an honor and privilege to be one of the BE Modern Man 100 Honorees. Growing up and seeing Black Enterprise magazine, I would see someone who looked like me on the cover who had achieved success and was a leader in their field. At the age of 34, to be featured shows that with focus and hard work that anything is possible. As a man of color, it is important that there is a platform to show that black men are powerful leaders and making a positive impact in society.
What is your “Extraordinary Impact?”
In my work with Black Men in Therapy, I can identify with microaggressions and being stereotyped. I can align with how trauma in our communities attributes to anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders. Providing a culture where it is OK to say that I am a black man that struggles with anxiety and depression and that being OK. I make an impact when working with black families by understanding the nuances, norms, and customs and can use that to empower and uplift them. I also use social media to provide information and statistics to fight mental health stigma.
What are you doing as a BEMM to help support black male achievement now or in the future?
I recognized the need for black men to engage in therapy. My daily focus is to empower, uplift, and educate black men on mental health. One of my latest projects is my t-shirt to promote black men seeking therapy “Black Kings Need Therapy Too.” My goal is to continue to support and create a larger platform for black men to engage in therapy.
What are some examples of how you have turned struggle into success?
I struggled with anxiety and not feeling confident in public settings. Throughout my career, I have been called to conduct workshops, speaking engagements, and participate in panel discussions on mental health. Being able to work through my fears and anxieties, I did not allow it to disable me but as fuel to push myself.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
In my relationship with others, I look for consistency and mutuality. What I give to others I want that back in return.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
My wife and I own a private practice that provides mental health services and psychological testing, so continuing to build the practice is a constant project. Also, working in a predominantly female field, there is noticeable a shortage of male therapists, especially black males. I developed a network of over 300 black male therapists from around the country. My goal is to create a conference for black male therapists to meet, collaborate, develop relationships, and provide support to one another.
What is the best advice you ever received?
The best advice I received was to take the time and smell the roses. Oftentimes, it may feel like things are not happening fast enough. I had to learn to enjoy the process no matter how painful it was.
What advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
My advice to other men who want to make a difference is to pray and plan. Seek help from someone you trust and follow through with your plan. Be a man of your word and maintain integrity.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
I prep by staying organized, having things written down, and creating checklists. When participating in an event, having something dope to wear is critical. I also prepare by having my PowerPoint and note cards ready to ensure I am on point with my information.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
Being a busy Modern Man, I look forward to vacations with my wife and 1-year-old son. Last year we took a road trip to Virginia Beach. It felt good not having to look at my watch or schedule book. We spent my birthday on the beach under a cabana and all three of us fell asleep.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I would want to travel to Bora Bora and stay in the overwater bungalows. It looks so peaceful and relaxing.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I would like to thank my wife Trudy-Ann for her constant support, encouragement in supporting my endeavors and my son Hudson for being an inspiration. My mother and grandmother for nurturing and providing me with the tools to be a good person, husband, and father. My father for reinforcing the importance of hard work and extended family for their encouragement and influence.
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 2nd Annual Black Men XCEL, Aug. 29–Sept. 2, 2018, at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.