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 Rodney Jacobs
Profession: Law | Health | Military Intelligence
One Word That Describes You: Persistent. Persistency is derived form a grounded internal mechanism of grit. My internal grit is my North Star. It is what makes being persistent evident and real.
Social Media: Facebook: facebook.com/rwjacobsjr | Twitter: @rwjacobs7 | Instagram: @rwjacobsjr | LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/jacobsrw/
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
This is a tremendous honor. I have always been a follower of Black Enterprise and the work it does on behalf of the Black community. Therefore, to be recognized by a world-class organization shows that I’m on the right path to make a difference in my community as well as the world.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
My life has been a constant battle with wins and losses. My perseverance and determination come from my steadfast belief in God, and knowing that if one door closes, another one full of more success and opportunity is right around the corner. From taking the bar exam, undergraduate studies, commissioning as an Army officer, and my master’s degrees in public health and public administration, nothing came easy! Truthfully, I have lost more than I have won, but with every failure I gained insight that is vital to who I am now. By learning to “champion the process” of life, my struggle to success became more reflective and tolerant.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
An important quality is being down to earth, which encompasses numerous characteristics. Yet, the main quality is having a circle of people who can relate to your struggles while being able to articulate rational and practical solutions.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
Currently, I’m working on two major projects that intersect. My day-to-day job is as the assistant director for the City of Miami Civilian Investigative Panel. Our panel is tasked with investigating police officers within the Miami Police Department that are engaged in various levels of misconduct. From talking with complainants and community leaders to long, in-depth meetings with the City Commission, police chief, city manager and panel members, there is no such thing as a typical day. Police misconduct is not new to our society, therefore I have a continual project to investigate police, foster public safety, and bridge the gap between police officers and communities. Further, I am also working with Jackson Memorial Hospital at the University of Miami to better understand/collect data on social health issues. This data will be used to create policy/legal solutions to many criminal justice issues surrounding gun violence, emergency room visits, and displaced populations.
What is the best advice you ever received?
To always reflect the grace and mercy of God, so that when people see me, they want to get closer to him. Oftentimes, in our society, we look for complex solutions to basic problems. We are quick to categorize issues in subjects, while isolating them into their own group of problems. Many of the issues that our nation faces can be solved if we all love a lot more. I recognize from my vantage that may be easy to say. Yet, I’m a firm believer that we all can “combine by circumstance” to overcome many of our nation’s hardships.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
“Winning” is more important than being “right,” and to do the work even if you don’t get the microphone. For people who are making a difference we sometimes get caught in the distraction of being right. It can become circular and make us defend situations that need no defense. Wasting time on “being right” takes away from the ultimate goal and gets you on a path of arguing senseless views. Equally important, we have to be willing to be the glue within a team. With many factors designed against progress, splintering into factions simply for notoriety, that can serve as a detriment. Real leaders that make a difference understand the value of being the glue that manages personalities, gets the maximum effort out of every person on the team, balances egos, and highlights the strengths while making up for the weaknesses in order for the goal to be accomplished. Therefore, I would encourage getting behind a cause that you’re passionate about, even if you don’t get the shine.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
“Perfect practice makes perfect.” Preparing for important business meetings is about prepping early and often. It can be as easy as going over your notes and anticipating questions. However, in the event that you stumble over a question, it is best to respond with “I’ll get back to you on that, on (date).” Or if you’re unprepared to reschedule for a different day. There is nothing worse then wasting the time of others. Therefore, a rain check may be warranted; however, do not make it a habit.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation? Share a story about your best vacation.
The best vacation I have attended is with my fiancée, Ramona Moore. A couple years back we went on a date to Niagara Falls, and the rest is history. It was a short trip, but beholding some of nature’s greatest landscapes is breathtaking.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Wakanda, how long? Forever. Just kidding. To be honest, I love Miami! The city and the people here are amazing. Miami truly offers a microcosm to what America may become in the next 20 years.
What is your “Extraordinary Impact”? (Describe how you are making a major difference for others, in a way that distinguishes you as extraordinary in your profession and/or day-to-day life).
I have always been a proponent of public service, especially in the legal component. Considering all of the matters concerning police misconduct in our society, police oversight provided the catalyst for me to get directly involved in helping to provide positive change for the citizens in the City of Miami. To this end, I hope to continue to learn and listen to provide practical, positive impact to those who need it the most, and uphold my unequivocal responsibility to justice.
It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow @BEModernMan and join the conversation using #BEModernMan.