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 TORRENCE REED
Profession: Co-Founder of HBCU Wall Street | Software Engineer Entrepreneur | Author
One Word That Describes You: Relentless
What does being one of the BE Modern Man 100 Honorees mean to you?
To be selected to as a BE Modern Man is an amazing and noteworthy honor. With Black Enterprise being the pinnacle of black business, to be featured in the magazine that I read as a young entrepreneur is a great feeling and a humbling experience. Furthermore, knowing that others are seeing, and recognizing, the work we are doing and the positive impact we are making in the community makes it that much sweeter.
What is your “Extraordinary Impact?”
The value that you set out to create for others when you start a company is ultimately what you want to scale. What you don’t want to scale is the real, genuine interaction that you give people. Living a life of service daily, while in the pursuit to put others in a position to help themselves, is my Extraordinary Impact. At HBCU Wall Street we have created a platform, community, and ecosystem that not only educates but also makes a difference for others by providing practical economic opportunities to implement what we constantly teach and preach.
What are you doing as a BEMM to help support black male achievement now or in the future?
One thing I make sure that I personally do, and that we, as a company do, is reach back to work with, not only our alma mater, North Carolina A&T State University, but other HBCUs and universities as well. A couple of members from our leadership team are current HBCU students. We not only want to introduce students to the idea of a different financial life while in school but also make sure they are practicing the things we are educating them on. We want the students to live the experiences we are teaching them about.
What are some examples of how you have turned struggle into success?
We created our company because of struggle. We saw two struggles that weren’t being addressed in our community and felt something had to be done about it. One, we recognized that no one was highlighting the business success stories of HBCU graduates. We knew that the legacy of past successful businessmen and women, entrepreneurs, and financial experts was important to educate the next generation. We felt like there wasn’t a space to inspire the next generation of HBCU entrepreneurs and business professionals. Second, many black families have problems with financial literacy. So that struggle is manifested, and oftentimes perpetuated, through our community not talking about their experiences. Not having discussions about the wealth gap, wage disparities, unemployment, legacy building, etc. We want to make sure people don’t fall victim to the same financial perils that we did growing up. We turned our personal financial struggles into a platform for others.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Someone once told me “If they don’t think you’re crazy, then you’re vision isn’t big enough.”
What advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Find out what you do faster and better than anybody else. That is going to be how you give your talents to the world and how you make a difference. That is going to be what keeps you up at night and is going to be what pulls you out of bed in the morning. For me, that thing is technology. That is how I help others. That is how I make a difference. Fail and fail fast. If you learn from every misstep along the way—no matter how large or small that step may be—and never perceive those missteps as failures, but as small daily opportunities to learn, then you will always progress. You’ll never feel like your business isn’t growing or moving forward. You’ll never be chasing that ultimate win. You’ll win every day.
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.