Name: Kevin Y. Brown
Profession: Motivational Speaker, Author and Host of the “Create Your Life Series” Radio Show & Podcast
One Word That Describes You: Ambition
What is your extraordinary impact?
I make an impact daily through Legacy Thinking Labs, the multimedia company that umbrellas my motivational speaking, leadership, authoring, and radio show/podcast. Such impact comes through the varied presentations that I deliver that are also available online, through my weekly radio show and podcast. In my inspirational social media posts and in my everyday conversations, my aim is to uplift and empower others to find ways to create the best versions of themselves while creating their lives.
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
I have been a reader of Black Enterprise for years and to be recognized for the work that I do is a humbling honor. I am excited to be among a cohort of men of color who represent excellence and advance the narrative that we evolve from kings and should reflect that in every aspect of our personal and professional lives.
What are you doing as a BEMM to help support black male achievement now or in the future?
As a motivational speaker, I continue to offer life changing empowerment presentations and workshops, nationally and internationally. As a youth advocate and leader, I facilitate young men’s leadership programs in New York City high schools, where I teach life skills, dressing for success, and expose young men to life options beyond their current environment. As an author and educational program creator, I offer free workshops that teach parents and students how to graduate from college debt-free. Finally, as the creator and host of my “Create Your Life Series” radio program and podcast, I offer young men internship opportunities where I serve as mentor teaching them viable skills and mentoring on how to effectively achieve their dreams.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
After graduating college debt-free and in the top 10% of my class, I moved to New York one year after college and for two months I could not find a job. As a result I ended up homeless, sleeping outside, and floor/couch surfing for months. Being a janitor at a public primary school was the only job that I could find. Still, I worked as a janitor from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. and worked as an intern in the fashion industry from 2 p.m. until for over a year. This character-building time made me rely on the resiliency skills that I developed over the almost 18 years I was in the foster care system. Not only did this period build my character and work ethic, but it also gave me greater insight into the rewards of humility and respect of a person, instead of their title. It was after this experience that I began writing my first book and speaking professionally around the world, and today, I am the CEO of a cutting edge multimedia company that positively impacts people’s lives globally.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
Honesty. I listen to what people say but I also observe what they do. The proof is always in the details and action. Without honesty and ownership of one’s words and actions, a relationship will not be productive nor last.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
My immediate projects include the Create Your Life Series radio show and podcast, which is downloaded in the thousands monthly and in over 50 countries. We have recently branched out and started doing live interactive panel events in the New York City area which have been receiving an amazing response from listeners and audience members.
I also have an online course and in-classroom curriculum that teaches parents and students how to graduate from college debt-free: Debt-Free College Academy.
What is the best advice you ever received?
“Believe with a period, not a comma.” This amazing piece of advice is quoted from my radio show interview with Dr. Raphael X. Moffett and it resonates because whenever I have achieved anything great in life it has been because I was 100% committed to the success of it and was willing to do any and everything to make it happen. Even as I continue to evolve, everything I look to achieve is guided by this principle.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Create your life! On the path to achieving your purpose sometimes there is a blueprint but oftentimes there is not. We all must follow what’s in our hearts, no matter who else believes. There comes a point where you have to be bold and be OK with being uncomfortable and you will have to push forward no matter what. The option of a plan B must be destroyed in order to create the life that you have always dreamed of. It’s all in or nothing. Find a way or make one. And the standard is excellence as a bare minimum, no excuses.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
I prepare for important business meetings or events by first outlining what my goals are and what I want the outcome to be. Using that projected outline I conduct thorough research about the event and who will be in attendance to ensure that I can execute conversations of substance and relevance. If it is a meeting that I am leading, there is always a written agenda so that the meeting is as productive and efficient as possible with room left for feedback and collaborative efforts to improve and grow.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
I usually unwind on vacation by going somewhere in the world that I haven’t had the opportunity to explore in-depth. Once there I make an effort to meet new people from other places, as well as the people who live there, and through conversations with them, gain insight and an understanding of their culture, philosophies on life, and way of living.
My best vacation was a visit to South Africa. I traveled to Johannesburg (so far my favorite in the world), Durban, and Capetown and while there I had the opportunity to eat, party, and converse with the natives in the townships and made some really good friends. I gained an immense amount of knowledge about life in South Africa. The most memorable highlights were visiting Nelson Mandela’s home, Robbins Island, going shark diving, and climbing Table Mountain. By far South Africa has been my favorite vacation because I felt connected to the people, I felt at home, and I felt equal.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Right now I am focused on the continent of Africa. Though Johannesburg is my favorite city, I want to visit the slave castles in Ghana and the African Renaissance Monument in Senegal. Seeing more of Africa matters to me because the media portrays it in a negative light, and as someone who has traveled there and read of and discovered much of its untold history, I feel there is so much more to be discovered. The more I learn of my roots and the impact of the African people who are indigenous to so many places in the world, my sense of pride and understanding of responsibility as a black man increases. I believe visiting and connecting with with one’s roots is essential in the development of a man who can lead in any realm.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Thank you for the honor and opportunity to be a Black Enterprise Modern Man. I accept the responsibility and promise to uphold the distinction.
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 first-ever Black Men XCEL Summit, Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.