August 28, 2017
BE Modern Man: Meet ‘The Credit Guru’ Shaun Lynda
Name: Shaun Lynda
Profession: Entrepreneur; CEO of Financially CLEAN
One Word That Describes You: Determined
What is your “Extraordinary Impact?”
My extraordinary impact is witnessing the “wealth mindset” that we are able to instill in the young kids that complete our financially literacy workshop that I launched in 2015 with my partner, Dionne Nicholls. We conducted a 12-week workshop at Jefferson High school, in the spring semester of 2017 ,to over 300 senior students. During the program I had guest speakers from executive producers at BET, Harvard graduates, lawyers, real estate brokers, traders, restaurant owners, and small business owners. They were all a mixture of races and sexual orientation. I ensured that every child could see someone of their likeness that is successful in their respective field. The guest speakers spoke about how to achieve success and tied it into financial literacy. The results were amazing; the kids loved it and you could see how inspired they were. To date, we have taught over 1,000 youth and adults throughout the U.S. and Canada. Creating that bridge providing inner city kids with a direct link to successful professionals whilst instilling financial discipline is my greatest achievement.
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
It’s an absolute honor and privilege to be recognized for something that I feel is my duty, my calling. Teaching financial literacy and generational wealth building is the key ingredient needed to uplift our community. I always say imagine how different Brownsville, Brooklyn, or the South Side of Chicago would look if everyone in that community had good credit. It’s important for me to pass on my life teachings that helped take me out of the projects to real estate investor and successful business owner.
What are you doing as a BEMM to help support black male achievement now or in the future?
I will continue my journey to ensure that every black male, especially the youth, are taught the importance of credit and how to leverage credit to achieve wealth. I am a true advocate of a collective movement and the fist throws a harder punch than a single finger.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
I worked at American Express in the World Financial Center on the 41st floor. I was coming off the train in the World Trade Center when the first plane hit on 9-11. A few months later American Express began to offer employees packages to resign. I took the package and decide to pursue my life goals. I decided to buy end-of-season stock from the clothing store my sister managed in Canada. I packed up two barrels and shipped them to Barbados. Initially, the plan was to retail them but after a week of doing that and people wanting to purchase items from me on credit, I said this is not the right business model. I packed up a suitcase with samples of my stock and went from store to store in 90 degree-weather trying to build clients. Initially they thought I must be stealing the clothes and trying to sell them. I was known as the tall Yankee boy pulling a suitcase through town. No one cared that I’d worked on Wall Street. In three years I built up to wholesaling to 60 stores throughout the Caribbean and was able to purchase my first Caribbean home from my profits.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
The key essentials are commitment, purpose, forward thinkers, and a positive attitude. Life is short and it’s a wonderful journey if you open your mind and choose to surround yourself with positive energy and people, people that have the outlook that success is inevitable.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
We are currently revising our 4th edition in class workbook and creating a teachers manual to complement. Also, we are creating new content for our 3rd season of our finance podcast, “Two Black Guys with Good Credit.” Our goal is to have larger workshops and our podcast evolve to a weekly radio or television show so we can have a live active audience. Lastly, I plan to publish a memoir of my life journey wrapped around financial literacy in 2018. The outline and proposal are complete, our goal is to have it published and it becomes the new Rich Dad Poor Dad.
What is the best advice you ever received?
As an African American we have to work twice as hard but don’t let that discourage, let it encourage you to achieve greatness and know that when you do achieve success no one has prepared as well as you!
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
We all have a special gift or talent that makes us exceptional. Find yours, recognize it, share it, and let that special skill or talent help you to achieve greatness. It is very important to pass your special talent on to the next generation so your life purpose will continue. Real change can sometimes take more than a lifetime. My dad’s only gift in life was that he was a very talented musician and that talent died with him. He had nine children and over 30 grand children and he never took the time to teach any of his children or grandchildren. My grandmother was an excellent baker and cook and we would always tell her to create a cookbook and now she suffers from Alzheimer’s.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
I meditate and envision what will take place in the meeting. I anticipate what questions will be asked and what my responses will be. Also it’s important to “know your business” make sure you have a full comprehension of the topic.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
My best vacation was travelling to Thailand in search of coconut shell bags. About 10 years ago, Dionne and I bought exotic women’s bags in New York to sell. The bags sold quickly and we decided to find the source and buy them directly from the manufacturer. It turns out the bags were made in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in a small family-owned factory. It was an amazing journey and experience.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I love Barbados. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world and I appreciate the laid-back lifestyle. However, I am a New Yorker and I love NYC, especially Brooklyn. I don’t believe in today’s world we have to commit to one place. I bought a property in Barbados and rent it short term (one of my financial teachings) with the plan that when my kids go to college I will spend January-May in Barbados and June- December in NYC. However we have been presented with an opportunity to teach financial literacy in South Africa and Uganda, so I would say I am hoping everything works out. That would be awesome!! So Africa would be the place I would love to travel to help empower people.
Anything else you’d like to say?
My mission is to ensure that our community, more specifically the youth, instill a wealth mindset and they manage and protect their credit. I hope that after reading this article people will assist me on this journey or find their own special talent and use it to make positive change!
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.