BE Modern Man: Johnie Drake
Sports performance coach, entrepreneur; 36; USATF Level 1 Certified Coach, Stunner Elite Training; Owner, 1st of the Day L.L.C.
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. In addition, as a sports performance coach, I share many experiences as an entrepreneur, father, and former collegiate and professional athlete.
Its impact has been trust, belief, and hope in their dreams and aspirations. When they hear my story it inspires them to consistently work toward their goals and be stubborn dreamers.
I am also an entrepreneur. I like to unwind with a cocktail which I refer to as my “1st of the Day.” 1st of the Day®” is a toast to acknowledge the moment. After a long workday or week, there’s nothing like that first drink. I trademarked it in 2015 and have been inspiring friends, families, and neighbors to create, celebrate, and cherish more moments with novelty drinkware, glassware, and apparel.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN LIFE?
I’m most proud of never sacrificing my morals and values for personal or professional gain. I was raised a certain way and I refuse to disappoint my family or God to progress in life.
HOW HAVE YOU TURNED STRUGGLE INTO SUCCESS?
During my freshman year at Central Michigan University, I struggled with poor performances on the track as a college sprinter. I had dreams and aspirations of being the fastest man in the world, but could not compete at a collegiate level. With the backing of coaches, teammates, and friends I eventually reached my goal of being the fastest man in the world posting, the fastest time in the world in the 60 meter dash in 2006. It only held for one week, but I did finish the season ranked 3rd in the world.
WHO WAS YOUR GREATEST MALE ROLE MODEL AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM HIM?
My father is my greatest role model. I learned hard work, discipline, and sacrifice. He worked at Chrysler for over 35 years progressing from a line worker to a supervisor. My dad made sure I understood there were direct consequences if I chose not to obey his rules and live up to his standards. He taught me when you set goals personally or professionally, it requires sacrifice.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
Be thankful for every blessing because there is someone with less than you praying for the things you take for granted.
HOW ARE YOU PAYING IT FORWARD TO SUPPORT OTHER BLACK MALES?
Listening and advising as a true friend/neighbor is how I help support other black males. Times have changed drastically for my generation. The things we grew up being taught are now morally wrong or obsolete. Our conversations are about self-improvement so we can be better role models for today’s generation of black males.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE MANHOOD?
Discipline. A man must be disciplined to attain the things he wants in life. It requires discipline to wake up and attack your workday. It requires discipline to maintain a positive relationship with your God, your spouse, family, and neighbors. It also requires discipline to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Once you grow into manhood you understand the importance of discipline.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT BEING A BLACK MAN?
The pride that I display every day being a black man is what I love most. We have endured so much and still we rise. No matter the obstacle, there is a sense of pride that I hold to stand up, fight, and never give up.
BE Modern Man is an online and social media campaign designed to celebrate black men making valuable contributions in every profession, industry, community, and area of endeavor. Each year, we solicit nominations in order to select men of color for inclusion in the 100 Black Enterprise Modern Men of Distinction. Our goal is to recognize men who epitomize the BEMM credo “Extraordinary is our normal” in their day-to-day lives, presenting authentic examples of the typical black man rarely seen in mainstream media. The BE Modern Men of Distinction are celebrated annually at Black Men XCEL (www.blackenterprise.com/blackmenxcel/). Click this link to submit a nomination for BE Modern Man: https://www.blackenterprise.com/nominate/. Follow BE Modern Man on Twitter: @bemodernman and Instagram: @be_modernman.