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 Kenneth Worles Jr.
Profession: Principal & Chief Creative Director, Three(i) Creative Communications
One Word That Describes You: Ambitious
What does being one of the BE Modern Man 100 Honorees mean to you?
As an avid supporter of the amazing work of Black Enterprise for the past 10 years, receiving this type of recognition alongside men with extraordinary backgrounds is not only humbling and motivating, but somewhat freaking me out at this very moment.
What is your “Extraordinary Impact?”
My Extraordinary Impact is pushing the political communications world forward. There’s a lack of diversity in this industry, and my job is to uplift minority communication specialists and prove to the industry that it’s not only missing out, but taking a loss without our creative contribution and leadership.
What are you doing as a BEMM to help support black male achievement now or in the future?
I bring young black male creatives into the fold of my organization to give them a platform to leverage their own entrepreneurship and advance their skill. With that, I am intentional about introducing them into an industry that many people in low-income communities are blind to. I see it as a personal responsibility to not only be a liaison between my industry and folks who look like me, but to also engage them in it.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
I remember three years ago, I was sitting at home with a -$1,000 in the bank, no rent money, and no sense of direction of success as a freelancer. At the same time, I was being recognized as a successful graphic designer throughout the city. You know that’s the worst: when everyone sees you as successful, and you’re not even sure if you’re going to have a roof over your head the next day. At that moment, I realized I needed to put myself in an environment that was conducive to my success in this industry. So, I packed my bag, moved 13 hours away from home, and enrolled in the School of Hard Knocks. I’ve recently moved back home, bringing back a communications firm that has supported political campaigns and organizations from Washington, D.C., to Oakland, California. God is the real MVP, I tell you.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
Authenticity, Positivity, Hunger, and Confidence.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
I’m currently working on several campaigns during the mid-term elections. This includes a congressional race in California, a mayoral race in Tennessee, and a county council race in Maryland. We’ve already had some great success with our candidates during their primary elections, and we plan on being the sidekick to these races up until the finish line on Nov. 2. [Also] I’m working with a few nonprofit organizations and political PACs. We’re preparing to launch a website redesign for one of the leading Latino political organizations in the country. We’re really excited about this project.
[Additionally] I’m in the process of expanding our team and opening a new office. We’re closing a few deals to make this possible (fingers crossed). It’s exciting and scary at the same time, but I believe as a leader, I’ve prepared all of my life for this.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
It’s not about what you know, or who you know. It’s more about who knows you. And to be honest, sometimes it’s who likes you.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Paulo Coelho once said, “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” The more you put it out there, the more everything falls in line for it to happen. Trust the process.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
I have a four-part prepping strategy: Research, Strategize, Rehearse, Pray or Meditate. It hasn’t failed me yet.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
Honestly, I unwind much more than I go on vacation. But when I do travel, I enjoy going places I’ve never been before, around cultures I don’t know much about. Recently, I took a trip to Paris, and I was like, “wow, everything is much smaller here.” From the cars to the meal portions, I felt this sense of only needing “just enough.” It’s helping me reshape my thinking on how much is needed to be genuinely happy as I drive down this road of success.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
You know, I think there’s a lot of uniqueness in our own backyard, so one day I look forward to traveling to all 50 states here in the U.S. I believe we let media or society stir us away from some areas, and I believe exposure is the most powerful way toward progress. So, whether it’s food in Alaska or music in New Mexico, I want to experience it all.
Anything else you’d like to say?
As a black man in America striving to push our community forward, I’d like to say thank you to the women who help make this possible. They are the backbone of my success, and the support needed for great change in this country. Thank you to my fiancée, mother, sisters, aunts, colleagues, and friends.
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.