BE Modern Man: Meet "Mr. Advocacy" Keith Streicher
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

Name: Keith Streicher

Age: 27

Profession: Professional veterans advocate and veteranpreneur (or “veteran entrepreneur”)

One Word That Describes You: Principal

 

What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?

I am honored to be a part of such an esteemed and distinct group. Being recognized as a BE Modern Man means I’m doing my job in my career and in life. This list exemplifies black excellence. I am extremely humbled by this honor. BEMM 100 needs to exist for our young black men and other aspiring leaders. I’m happy to share my story, and hope it will inspire others to become men of distinction.

What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?

I never focus on failure, because I believe that even in failure is a lesson to help us achieve success. I use my struggles to help enrich the lives of others. I believe sharing my struggles help others navigate and avoid some of the pitfalls of life. The market for serving veterans is saturated and, unfortunately, filled with lots of organizations that take advantage of us. As a minority, disabled, veteran-owned and operated organization, I learned to pivot. In the inception stages of the Veterans Leadership Coalition (VLC), we had to re-brand and severe ties with partners that didn’t have our best interest at heart. However, those struggles have made us stronger, better, and more agile today.

What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?

Integrity.

What are some immediate projects you are working on?

I’m currently working to expand the membership and coalition partners nationally. The VLC is working on a summer awareness event with public and private partners, veteran service organizations, and the D.C. Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs. During this awareness summit, we will also provide medical, education, and employment assistance to the local 30 thousand plus veteran population of D.C. Our next immediate goal after the summit is providing scholarships to the children of disabled American veterans nationally.

What is the best advice you ever received?

I’ve received so many gems/jewels of advice over the years, but my top three would be the following:

  1. Stay curious.
  2. Strive to be whole, because perfection is a myth.
  3. “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt

What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?

Remain humble and loyal to your craft. Embrace hard work and build your network to influence as much as you can and as many as you can within your field. Start local, grow national, plan global.

How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?

I always start with prayer in an isolated and quiet space. I make sure my look for that day is aligned with my (BOSS) attitude and I go over a couple key notes from the night before. I try to be extemporaneous during important meetings, but planning and preparation makes for the best outcome. And no matter the event or meeting, logistics are paramount.

As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?

Jeju Island, South Korea was one of my best vacations. I enjoyed JeJu because it allowed me to unwind. In business and as a modern man, it can be hard to find a place that will allow you to get away from it all and truly relax without any stress. That was JeJu Island for me. I embraced the beautiful, green scenery, went hiking, and read a couple books. Each morning I would meditate by the falls, and every evening journal about my day and read a book. That was a great vacation for me, and that is how I unwind.

If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Although I’ve traveled to Germany before, I would like to go back and visit Neuschwanstein Castle. As a child, I loved history, and one day, I stumbled across this magnificent looking castle that resonated with me. It gave me hope and inspired me to dream big.

Anything else you’d like to say?

Do your research, learn your resources, and use them to build a better life not only for yourself, but your entire community. Take advantage of every opportunity presented to you and even the ones that are not. Wake up every morning and walk out your door with style, excellence, innovation, and grace. Always practice integrity.

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