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 JUSTIN REESE
Profession: Attorney, Sports Agent, Official Cast Member of Bravo’s Southern Charm New Orleans
One Word That Describes You: Driven
What does being one of the BE Modern Man 100 Honorees mean to you?
First and foremost, I am truly honored and humbled to be a BE Modern Man 100 honoree. I grew up reading Black Enterprise and saw the amazing things that black people were doing across the country and world who were featured in the magazine for their work and I aspired to continue that legacy. And to now be here, to share my story, is a dream come true. I sincerely hope that a young person who reads my story will aspire to do great things, and strive for excellence as I have done by my predecessors.
What is your “Extraordinary Impact?”
As a personal injury attorney and sports agent, I take pride in representing my clients. Even though both titles differ in responsibility they carry the same weight of responsibility with regards to the type of representation that I provide. My clients heavily rely on me to navigate their lives. In my personal injury practice, my clients truly rely on me to help recover damages for injuries they have sustained that has affected their life to where they are not able to work and care for their families as they once were. They rely on me to put them in a position to where my client can support their family. Additionally, my NFL clients heavily rely on my expertise to maximize their opportunity, whose lifespan can be over in the blink of an eye, to secure their future for their family. More recently, as a cast member of Southern Charm, I feel as if my role on TV is bigger than me. I have a platform to be a true inspiration for many young people, which is something I take to heart.
What are you doing as a BEMM to help support black male achievement now or in the future?
I feel it is our responsibility to pay it forward. I was taught the importance of philanthropy and mentorship. I have made it a point to get involved in a few nonprofits in the New Orleans area. I am a board member of Elevate New Orleans, which provides academic and basketball training to middle school and high school boys and girls. We stress the importance of academic importance first, then basketball. Our students have a cumulative GPA of 3.2, which is something I find phenomenal in these young student-athletes. In addition to Elevate, I am apart of Educare, which is a national jump-start program for small children from pre-K. I find giving back to our youth is an investment in this community’s future.
What are some examples of how you have turned struggle into success?
When I first began practicing law, I struggled to learn the business and develop business. I was at a point where I even seriously considered a career change, however, I had a close friend and mentor who is also a personal injury attorney that truly cared about me and wouldn’t let me quit. He helped me find a renewed confidence in myself and my abilities. Now, seven years later, I have tried million-dollar cases and I am a partner at my law firm.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
I look for relationships with people who are genuine and have integrity. Also, I look for relationships with people that bring out the best in me and in some situations help make me a better me.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
Currently, I am focusing on expanding my legal practice, and now venturing into real estate. Regarding my legal practice, it is my goal to grow the business more to where I will need more associates and staff. It is my goal to be the face of personal injury law across the country. As a newbie in real estate, I looking to take it one step at a time to truly learn the nuts and bolts and use that as a source to continue to rebuild my community in New Orleans.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
If you give a man fish he will eat for a day, but if you teach a man how to fish he will eat for a lifetime.
(Photo Credit: Justen Wiliams with 343 Media)
What advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
No matter how tough things may get or how bad you may want to quit, take a moment to realize what your purpose is, fight through it, weather the storm because, in the end, the sun will always come out.
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.