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 Sidney Minter
Name: Sidney O. Minter
One Word That Describes You: Ambitious
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
Black men are educators, thought-leaders, entrepreneurs, and entertainers. I am honored and humbled to be celebrated for my contributions to the culture. Black men also face unique challenges on a daily basis. Despite these challenges, we have always found ways to achieve at the highest levels. This is not by accident. This is by plan. We stand on the shoulders of giants who sacrificed life and limb to enable us to have the opportunities we have today.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
I grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which is a very traditional Southern city. I knew I wanted to become a lawyer from the time I was in the second grade. However, there were times in middle school and high school when I questioned whether I would be able to accomplish this goal. I did not know any black lawyers, and I did not know how to even attempt to become a strong law school applicant. But one thing I learned from watching my mother was that working hard cannot be taught and will not be ignored.
Although I did not immediately gain admittance into law school, I outworked many people while being a full-time graduate student and a full-time employee at a national bank. I used this time to learn how to study, and these skills helped me get accepted into law school four years after graduating with my bachelor’s degree.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
Maintaining strong relationships has been an integral part of my career progression. The one quality I look for in any relationship is integrity. I believe we are all born with integrity. However, through life experiences, people either maintain it or lose it. I am not willing to sacrifice my integrity and I will not build relationships with people who decide to do so.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
I am currently working on a robust business development plan that will help me take my law practice to the next level. I have been working on this specific plan for the last two years, but I am now transitioning to the second phase of my plan. I am also working on a relaunch of my blog (thegentreport.blogspot.com), which I started in August 2011 while I was waiting to receive my bar examination results.
What is the best advice you ever received?
My mother told me to “pick and choose my battles.” At the time, I did not realize just how profound those five words truly are. Now that I am older, I can appreciate the depth of this phrase and apply it to my life. When I am on the verge of reacting, I often think about this phrase, which causes me to reflect. It functions very much like a speed bump in a parking lot.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Follow your passion. This sounds like a relatively easy thing to do. For some people, I imagine that it is easy. But for many other people, the process of finding a passion could take 20 years, or longer. I found my passion during a period of self-reflection. When I sat silently for any period of time, certain ideas emerged in my mind. When this happened on multiple occasions, I knew I could not ignore the signs. Once you determine your passion, figuring out how to make a difference is simple.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
This reminds me of a lesson I learned when I became a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. That lesson is that prior proper planning prevents poor performance. That said, before presenting at an important meeting, I want to learn the landscape. I will learn: (1) Who will be attending the meeting; (2) Why I have been asked to present at the meeting; (3) When I will be presenting; (4) What topic I will be presenting; and (5) Where I will be presenting. Once I learn the landscape, I think about personal grooming. I always schedule an appointment with my barber and make sure I have my suit of choice pressed. I truly believe people receive messages better when the person delivering the message looks polished and professional.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation? Share a story about your best vacation.
I have enjoyed many great vacations and memories. Therefore, I will speak generally about the things I enjoy doing on vacation. I really enjoy finding restaurants that are well-known in the location I am visiting. At times, this has been a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, and other times, it has been more formal locations. I also really enjoy doing activities that natives to the location enjoy and recommend. I think the saying goes “when in Rome act like the Romans.” I also like to capture parts of my vacation on my iPhone because you can never relive a moment in time.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I plan to travel to Bora Bora one day. The pictures I have seen of the private island are absolutely breathtaking. It looks like heaven on earth; nestled in the heart of French Polynesia, I would be able to unplug from the world for a while. I am sure I would enjoy great company and great food. I would also plan to do some leisurely reading and writing. I actually need to make this a reality sooner rather than later.
What is your “Extraordinary Impact”?
I often think about my legacy and what I want that to be. As Damon Dash once said, “You have to hustle for your last name.” This is a profound statement, indeed. The moment you are born, you start to shape your legacy. In the end, I want people to think of me as a person who has invested in people. As a person with a strong moral compass. And as a person who “does no harm.”
To that end, I have dedicated myself to investing in others. As a child, I did not know any black attorneys. I remember telling my mother at an early age that I would someday become a lawyer. I also told her that I would never be too busy to help a student or aspiring professional on their journey. During my time in law school, and the seven years of practice thereafter, I have never rejected a student who has called on me for advice. As men of color, we have an obligation to pass along information and wisdom to those coming behind us. This is the only way the culture will thrive for centuries to come. I have vowed to do my part.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I hope the brothers included in the 2018 BEMM 100 Men of Distinction have encouraged some young brother or sister to keep pushing for their dreams. Thank you for the opportunity to share some of my story.
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.