2019 MODERN MEN
For the last 10 years, I have run a nonprofit called the Adonai Center, soon to be called FORGE12 (Forge One Two), that has worked to advance boys and men of color socially, educationally, and economically since 2009. Our work has better positioned more than 1,400 young men for academic and career success. Additionally, I have been serving as a global ambassador for the One Young World Summit, working directly with organizers to recruit delegates from 22 states across the U.S. and Washington, D.C.
I take advantage of people analytics to drive action and insights by leveraging a customer-centric, evidence-based approach to align talent strategy with business strategy and linking talent with value creation by enabling cutting-edge techniques, modeling and technology, and advanced consulting skills, to drive better business outcomes regarding talent and the future of work.
As president of E.E. Ward Moving and Storage, Brooks leads the nation’s oldest running black-owned business, founded in 1881.
My primary office is on the south side of Chicago, where many of our clients are from under-served communities. Our goal is to eliminate racism and empower women, and what better way than through the power of entrepreneurship. The impact it has on the communities that we serve is outstanding as it enables men, women and youth to see the power of drive, education and economic empowerment through business. Providing resources is a key element of empowerment.
One of my mottos is to do everything I can while I can. This drives me to be committed to my career success and community in various ways.
Primarily, my life’s work has been turnaround work in schools. Most schools I’ve worked for and/or districts I’ve worked within have been in literal struggle circumstances relative to academic achievement, institutional health, and well-being, etc. Therefore, I have tried to align systemic practice with earnest humanity to collaborate with others for the purpose of rapid transformation.
As both a radio personality and an entrepreneur, Sam Sylk uses his influence to provide resources, opportunities, advice and mentorship to others.
Once a professional track runner, and now a sports performance coach (and a member of Central Michigan University’s Hall of Fame), I share my time, talent, and experience to develop an athlete’s athletic ability, leadership and cognitive skills, and self-esteem. Moreover, I have the opportunity to teach athletes how to handle the physical and psychological demands of sport and life.
Two weeks after graduating from college, I was sentenced to 15 years in prison for selling drugs. I served seven-and-a-half-years of that sentence. Instead of allowing it to define me, I completely turned my life around. I’ve spent the last two decades trying to build my community through the art that I create and the lives I impact through lectures, workshops and now, a community art center.
I’ve enjoyed over 25 years of radio programming and management. I’ve been blessed to serve mass audiences some of the greatest radio stations in America with stops in Detroit, Buffalo, San Francisco, Washington DC and New York City, where I’ve programmed the legendary WBLS-FM for the past 11 years.
As a fashion entrepreneur, I have always hired young men who want to be in fashion and shown them aspects that they’d never be able to see at another company. And it does change their lives. They have all gone on to do great things for their own brands, and those are moments they’ll never forget.
In 2004, I founded One Vision Productions, an award-winning multimedia production agency specializing in corporate and government video production, aerial drone services, branding and marketing, photography, and graphic design. It is a recipient of the Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Customer Service and has been named one of Atlanta’s “Best & Brightest Companies to Work For” (2015-2018).
As a creative executive and professional, I have the privilege of getting paid to do what I love while making an impact. A career in art can be a parent’s worst nightmare, but I beat the odds and followed my dreams despite the clear obstacles. Art, in return, saved my life and gave me a platform for change. Today, I get the opportunity to help others see that you can be successful in the competitive entertainment field.
I’ve been doing community work since the age of five. As I grew older, I continued to have a passion for leading and serving others, so I continued to volunteer via community service in many different capacities. Most recently, I released my children’s book There’s A Creature In My Belly, which teaches young children about the greatness within them.
In 2017, I was appointed as the NGO United Nations Ambassador to Vienna in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, (ECOSOC). This is the highest level of accreditation that is awarded internationally to all designates.
I am the co-founder of The Hustlers Guild, an organization that uses hip hop to dismantle the inequities in technology by building black/Latinx pipelines within the tech ecosystem. Through strategic partnerships, capacity building, and diversity equity and inclusion consulting, we help companies and organizations recruit and elevate black/Latinx talent.
I am a food artist and the co-founder of EatGoodNYC, a speciality food art company in New York City. We are known for our unique dessert gifts and our even more unique style incorporating pop culture, art, and fashion in the mix. In 2014, we created the selfie cookie and five years later, its a trend in the culinary world, including a show involving creating selfie cookies on the Food Network.
As a scholar-practitioner and a critical race theorist, I rely heavily on articles and books that speak to the experiences of minority students at colleges and universities (i.e. Minority Serving Institutions or Predominately White Institutions). In addition, I rely on the advice of mentors and sponsors who push me to be the best that I can be.
It’s my hope that forging and strengthening relationships between law enforcement and the community they serve will positively impact the quality of life for city residents.
I tell stories and I represent people who tell stories. As a filmmaker, my goal is always to make movies that have a social justice focus, but that are also funny and entertaining.
I’ve created an entrepreneurial career curriculum that has led to the mentorship of the young and brilliant minds of The Women’s Housing And Economic Development Corporation (WHEDCo), The Boys & Girls Club of America and Brooklyn Community Services (BCS). The program is designed to introduce practical entrepreneurial career steps, including business creation, marketing and monetization of the ideas, to those in elementary school all the way up to college. To date, we’ve served over 900 students.
I created a space where annually we spotlight a dozen men of color from around the country who are not only successful in their careers but pursue philanthropy in their communities. Since its inception, we’ve been able to honor entrepreneurs, magazine editors, LGBTQ activists, youth sports coaches, and Fortune 500 executives. Even though the event is a one-night awards program, I can tell that relationships are built, lives are changed, and partnerships are formed as evident by the feedback I receive from participants and attendees.
My latest startup is the Gerald Moore Online Technology School for Black Boys. I have a goal of educating 10,000 young black men and boys ages 8-16 per year online.
As a startup exec, I’ve been working to better the outcomes of stroke patients worldwide. At Forest Devices, a Pittsburgh-based medical device startup, we have developed a device called Alpha Stroke that can detect strokes in the prehospital setting, enabling the correct and swift triaging of stroke patients.
By serving as a volunteer with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, I’ve had the honor of leading several workshops with groups of young men who look just like me. It’s been a rewarding experience. Additionally, as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., one of our initiatives is Go to High School, Go to College, which concentrates on the importance of completing secondary and collegiate education as a road to advancement.
Steel Smiling bridges the gap between community members and mental health support through education, advocacy, and awareness. We’re planning to expose 100% of black adults in Pittsburgh to at least one mental health engagement that improves their quality of life by 2030.
I am proud of the opportunities I have been afforded to make a difference in the lives of boys and the support I have gained over the years from doing this work. I am most proud of being able to see so many boys develop a greater sense of purpose and learn to live authentically, pushing themselves each day to become more creative.
People often think that creativity is limited to the arts. However, at NEITH we believe that the same ingenuity and spirit of innovation used to make an awesome movie or music video or photo could be employed to inspire the youth, revamp public school curricula or find an effective solution to homelessness.
By day I work in county government, but my passion is the mentoring program I founded 11 years ago, The Omega Lamplighters, Inc. Our mission is to light a path to success, to empower secondary-school aged youth with the academic and social skills, community connections, and progressive opportunities necessary to ensure their roles as active, educated, and responsible citizens.
Our purpose on earth is to help each other in one way or another. If there is an opportunity to make some money, great; however, that should never be the driving factor.
I focus on four things 1) God, 2) being a father, 3) being a future husband, and 4) being someone who has an impact on my community, in that order. I make it a practice that if it doesn’t have to do with those four things, then I don’t do it.
As the founder of a tech and design business, I have a passion for collaborating with innovative people to identify solutions at both a strategic and functional level, ultimately enhancing companies and products for front-facing consumers.
In 2009, I was weeks away from graduating from college with honors and receiving a bachelor’s degree in business management, when I was falsely accused of a crime, arrested, and sent to jail. While I was in jail, I prayed about the situation and promised God that if my case was dismissed, I would take it as a sign that I am supposed to practice law. After my case was dismissed, I kept my promise and after passing the bar exam, I had the judge that presided over my case swear me into the profession.
After earning a degree in sociology, tax attorney Andre Barnett took a career risk that changed his life; now he mentors others in the profession.
In my role as a financial planner, I have the awesome opportunity to help first-generation wealth builders, a lot of whom are black Americans, create generational wealth and legacies for their families. I truly feel that the work I’m doing is helping to close the racial wealth gap.
BE Modern Man Charles “Chazz” Scott teaches youth about positive thinking, meditation, emotional intelligence, and other principles to achieve success.
I was always told that your education and experience is worthless unless you go back home and share it. That is something that still resonates with me and, because of it, I do my best to do just that. I am forever grateful for my experience at an HBCU and I try to integrate it in any project I may be working on.
As the director of strategic planning and performance management for Palm Beach County, I have had the awesome opportunity to work with the Board of County Commissioners, the County Administrator and over 30 departments to establish the strategic priorities, direction, and performance management and improvement that impacts over the 1.4 million residents of Palm Beach County.
I run the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), which represents the largest group of black film critics and journalists in the world. We are best known for producing the AAFCA Awards Gala that recognizes the best in film each year.
Tech company manager Phil Terrill’s definition of what manhood is is framed by a passion for brotherhood and being a source of support for young black men.
With a foundation of faith and family values, George Cleveland strives to be the best version of himself as a husband, father, and telecommunications exec.
In four years, Robert M. Gordon IV has led Paul Robeson High School from the brink of closure to recognition as the “2017 Most Improved High School” in the City of Philadelphia.
Evin Robinson is a co-founder and president of an award-winning, early-pipeline technology talent accelerator on a mission to prepare the next generation of leaders by creating pathways into degrees and careers in technology.
Tony Lynn, a small business program manager at Facebook, says small businesses serve an important role in empowering black communities.
Sheldon Smith founded The Dovetail Project to help young, black fathers understand their roles, rights, and responsibilities of being a parent.
The social responsibility manager of the Orlando Magic created a network of gentlemen driven to promote growth in their community and among each other.
I’ve dedicated my career as an impact investor to educational access and supporting those who have the desire to become entrepreneurs, because I believe there is far too much genius that goes untapped, which is unfair for young people and bad for our economy.
Over the past 13 years, Jason Watts has grown The Urban Professionals Network from a local endeavor in his home state of Connecticut to a networking enterprise with far-reaching brand presence and impact.
Former football star Maurice Clarett overcame his own personal challenges with mental illness and substance abuse to become a mental health champion.
Jeff Shuford, one of the youngest nationally syndicated columnists in the nation, is syndicated to 44 regional business publications.
Over the last decade, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to help build stronger and more inclusive local entrepreneurship ecosystems across the country and around the globe. I find great value in working with leaders to identify and connect the various components to create stronger, more inclusive startup communities.
The Lives of Men Founder Jason Rosario motivates men to do the work necessary to become the best versions of themselves and achieve healthy manhood
What we’ve accomplished was unimaginable. I never thought that I would ever teach at Harvard University—let alone create an unprecedented pipeline and platform for a group of Black kids to make history on its campus. I’ve been blessed to now open doors of opportunity for others that I never had as a kid.
JOURNi co-founder Richard Grundy helps to lead a nonprofit focused on empowering young Detroiters in underserved communities through tech education, design thinking, and entrepreneurship.
Since battling illiteracy in his own childhood, Donald Barnett III has become a co-founder of a nonprofit that delivers free books to low-income children.
Actor, author, entrepreneur and speaker Justin Key elevates himself and impacts others with a limitless mindset of servant leadership.
Photographer and filmmaker Marcell Pickens provides the “filmmarketing” exposures that small business owners need to prosper.
Founder and CEO of The Yunion, Jason Wilson is a proven champion of healthy masculinity, with over 14 years of experience in training and developing young black men. Under his leadership, The Yunion has effectively reached more than 10,000 youth and young adults in Metro Detroit.
BE Modern Man 2019 cohort and leadership coach Rahshib Thomas moves through life with authenticity while helping other professionals of color build successful relationships.
2019 BE Modern Man cohort and social media pro Alex Bryant brings new meaning to the term “influencer” as a transformational voice.
2019 BE Modern Man Louis Macarthur is focused on serving Los Angeles communities as he practices his philosophy of mentoring for impact.
2019 BE Modern Man of Distinction Daniel Jean wants to inspire one thousand people of color to earn Ph.D.s before he retires.