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 CALVIN MILLS JR.
Profession: Information Technology
One Word That Describes You: Determined
What does being one of the BE Modern Man 100 Honorees mean to you?
It means the world to me. It means that the day I decided to step out on faith and trust God was and still is worth it. It means that the hard work and passion I put behind my work is paying huge dividends in changing lives!
What is your “Extraordinary Impact?”
My extraordinary impact is to help truly break the digital divide in our community. I have worked tirelessly to change the landscape of access to technology in our state by helping to create the State of Louisiana’s first apprenticeship program for information technology allowing individuals to gain access to critical training and certification. Also, through mentoring our youth and being an example of what it means to stay committed to your dreams. My background is something they can truly relate to.
What are you doing as a BEMM to help support black male achievement now or in the future?
I have created a nonprofit organization called C.L.I.M.B (Changing Lives Is My Business) to help young men in our community become successful in their dreams by first surrounding them with familiar faces like them that are successful so they can see that it’s not hard to achieve your goals. Sharing my story with them really helps them to know that they are not alone and that the circumstances they may be going through are the same that I have had to experience in my early childhood.
What are some examples of how you have turned struggle into success?
This is an easy one. During our last recession, I went through a very devastating chain of events. My company took a huge loss and at the same time, I went through a very bad divorce. I moved into my office and slept on an air mattress for almost two years while I was trying to regroup and refocus. I had a lot of doubt about continuing to follow my path but I soon recognized that I served a powerful God. On the other side of the turmoil, I came back with a vengeance. Not only did I regain the success I had but I met my wife and landed some major contracts and partnership. Sometimes going through what we think is horrible is actually a blessing in disguise.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
We are currently working with the State of Louisiana’s Workforce Development Agency on developing a critical training curriculum to help build the technology workforce to fulfill the demand of available jobs in the state. We are also working on a program that would put laptops and iPads in the hands of all our students in the parish school system.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
No matter how successful you become always stay humble and patient.
What advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Find your passion and stay committed to seeing it through. No matter how tough it may seem, trust God’s path and you’ll do just fine.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
After I have done my research I pray for guidance and understanding and go to sleep!
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
The best vacation I took was this past April. My wife and I took a trip to Italy. It was one of the most exciting trips I have been on. Walking into the Vatican and being able to pray in the same church as the pope was mind-blowing. We had the chance to cruise on the Amalfi Coast and that was amazing.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Rome. After visiting there this past April I really felt at home there. Plus, I can get my suits made faster.
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.