Name: Rashad Howard
One Word That Describes You: Unapologetic
What is your “Extraordinary Impact?”
At the root of the many problems that face oppressed Afrikans throughout the diaspora is poverty. I’m making an extraordinary impact by finding more and more opportunities that allow me to hire more black people. I wake up every day knowing that the opportunities I chase down help more black kids grow up in houses where their parents can pay the mortgage, send them to great schools, and expose them to greater opportunities. Business is my activism.
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
It means there’s some recognition for spending each day of my life trying to become a better husband, entrepreneur, and freedom fighter.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
For years my wife and I lived in a one-bedroom apartment in a depressed neighborhood in Virginia with no furniture. We’d try to impress people with our ambition and our dream, but didn’t have furniture on which to sit and tell them. I also had my Honda Accord repossessed three times while trying to turn hobbies into legitimate businesses. The point is, our current circumstances have nothing to do with where we will end up when we’re committed to our dreams, and working toward them each day as if we’re already living our dreams.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
Loyalty and mutual commitment to something bigger than ourselves. I tend to trust people until they give me a reason not to, so I judge their commitment and loyalty to things that are bigger than both of us. When I see that, I know I can put my whole self into the relationship, understanding we’re on the same team.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
Through my company Butterfli Holdings, I am currently working on disrupting the debt collections industry with new approaches to evaluating and managing portfolio and collection agency performance, as well as looking for ways to cancel more debt for more people. Through my company Codicast Interactive, we’re building multiple gaming platforms for entrepreneurs, entertainers, and athletes to better engage their followers and fan bases, while optimizing their relationships with sponsors and advertisers.
What is the best advice you ever received?
Slow down to speed up. When things are going crazy around me, I have a tendency to get busy busy busy attempting to fix things. That’s working like a hamster on a wheel. The best thing to do in those moments is to slow down, clear the mind, and think about what’s most important to solve and why I’m doing all that I’m doing. In those moments of “slowing down,” I come up with the answers and approaches that allow me and my teams to accomplish much more, make a bigger impact, and all in much quicker timelines.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Make sure your heart is in whatever it is you’re setting out to do. That means it’s important to take time to understand what your purpose in life is. It must be something bigger than you, or you’ll burn out and get rather depressed. Also, recognize that those committed to making a difference often walk a lonely road, or walk on crowded roads all by themselves. That said, build in time for yourself and your health and don’t let anything infringe on it. Not your family. Not your employees or employers. Not your friends. No one.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
The more work you do, and the more contracts you win, the less “important” any one individual meeting or event is. I find if I keep a lot of business in the pipeline, the sheer amount of preparation and work I have to do to manage it will perpetually keep me prepared for those “important” moments. Before walking into most meetings, however, I have a ritual of reminding myself to simply be myself. I tell myself “I’m already enough, I’m happy with me, and I have nothing to prove.” That works for me.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation? Share a story about your best vacation.
It generally takes me two to three days to begin a “vacation.” As an entrepreneur, I live and work wherever I am in the moment, so I rarely take what others would call a traditional vacation. I find that if I wake up and work for few hours while sipping a strong “vacation beverage” before my family wakes up, my mind is more at ease to unwind the rest of the vacation. The best vacation I ever had was in 2016 when I pulled together my best friend’s bachelor excursion in Europe. We went to Munich to catch up with a close friend from school for a few days, before driving the Audubon to Prague to party for one night. We left Prague and flew to Dubrovnik, Croatia, where we went on our own self-guided Game of Thrones tour of the old city (we all traced the steps of the “Walk of Shame”). While there we shared some drinks with cast members from the upcoming Star Wars film (they were filming in Old Dubrovnik while we were there). We ended our trip in Barcelona, Spain, watching Barca beat Arsenal in a Champions League match. While there we reflected on where we’d all come from, and how much further we look to go together. It was easily the greatest 10-day stretch of my life.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I really don’t have any more bucket list travel locations in my head. I guess I’d love to go back to Cape Town, South Africa, and stay in a villa in Camps Bay again. This time I’d stay for at least a full month, particularly during kaapse klopse (the new year celebration) at the height of South Africa’s summer.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I appreciate being listed in this year’s class of 100. I mostly appreciate the recognition because I know it comes with the responsibility of continuing this journey to continue to impact my community. Being amongst these 99 other great men is going to hold me accountable to my duty to them, and all those whom they serve as well.
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