Meet the 2017 BE Modern Men of Distinction: Week 3

Meet the 2017 BE Modern Men: Week 3

Did you miss any of our third week of BE Modern Men for 2017? 

This year’s 100 Men of Distinction prove their perseverance, sharing how they’ve turned struggle into success. Our third set of 10 honorees starts with digital guru Rae Holliday and also includes a band director, a sports agent, a Hollywood executive, and a wealth manager.

BE Modern Man Rae Holliday
Rae Holliday (Photo by James Anthony)


Meet ‘The Content Genius’ Rae Holliday

Digital Producer & Editor

“About five years ago I found myself at an awful crossroad. Because of the mismanagement of my personal funds and after being laid off from my last corporate job (ever), I found myself broke and on the brink of homelessness. Weeks away from eviction, I needed to turn things around pretty quickly. With prayer and determination, I used my struggle to propel my motivation to not only never be in that position again, but to inspire others who may be in the midst of a struggle they need help getting out of mentally.”

Read his full profile here.


BE Modern Man Ishbah Cox
Dr. Ishbah Cox (Photo by Tom Fogerty)


Meet ‘The Band Man’ Dr. Ishbah Cox

Bands Director & Music Educator

“I grew up in a poor, rural, county school in South Central Alabama. Although my school system lacked educational resources, my community displayed an abundance of love and care for its students. Unfortunately, by my high school graduation, I was not as prepared as I needed to be for my undergraduate experience at Auburn University. My first year of college would have been a disaster if I had not learned how to put my pride aside and ask for help, particularly from others who did not look like me. As a result, I have been empowered by countless advocates and mentors who motivated me to pay it forward with my mentoring and teaching efforts as well.”

Read his full profile here.


BE Modern Man Quentin Vennie
Quentin Vennie (Photo by Daryl Taylor of D. Taylor Images)


Meet ‘Mr. Meditation’ Quentin Vennie

Wellness Expert

“I was born and raised in a single-parent household on the west side of Baltimore. My father was a heroin addict, and by the time I was 12 I had been shot at and spent more time visiting prisons than most of the people I was close to. Despite spending a lot of time in my old neighborhood in West Baltimore, I went to predominantly white schools in the suburbs of Baltimore County. I experienced racism, discrimination, prejudice, you name it. I was diagnosed with acute anxiety and mild depression when I was 14, and then diagnosed with severe generalized anxiety and panic disorder, and mild to severe major depressive disorder, at 26. I endured a two-year addiction to my anxiety medication, survived an accidental overdose and two failed suicide attempts, but was fortunate to discover a wellness system that saved my life.”

Read his full profile here.


BE Modern Man Ian V. Rowe
Ian V. Rowe


Meet ‘Mr. Head of Class’ Ian V. Rowe

Chief Executive Officer, Public Prep

“In elementary school, my family moved from Brooklyn to Queens. Our junior high school, which had historically been mostly white, was rapidly becoming mixed. And so a number of the white parents from my school pushed for an annex school to be opened in a nearby neighborhood. My parents presumed the education would be better in that other school, so they were going to send me, too. I remember one Sunday crying and crying to my parents and begging them to keep me in my current school. They ultimately relented. And it was so meaningful. I now had a duty, a responsibility, to do good things in that school. I also remember thinking to myself, “Why should the other school be better? Why should the education suddenly go down in my school just because most of the kids who are going to be left are black?” There’s no doubt that struggle influenced me for the rest of my life—professionally and personally—to create equal opportunity, regardless of the school that one enters, no matter race, income level, or zip code.”

Read his full profile here.


BE Modern Man D.J. Fisher
D.J. Fisher


Meet ‘The Agent’ D.J. Fisher

Sports Agent

“What stands out the most is overcoming [when] those that you believe are for you, the ones you expect to support and encourage you, are your worst enemy. I had a select few distant kindred. They weren’t close or even around enough to know who I truly am but always had the most to say. It really took a toll on me. I became distant, quiet, didn’t talk much. I felt as if I didn’t belong. I would skip school to go to the library at the local university. I failed to graduate high school on time. I would find my comfort in reading books on sports and business. In those quiet times, I got to know myself, who I am and my purpose and begin to apply myself and fulfill my purpose from the knowledge I gained. I used all of the negative energy, business knowledge and combined it with my passion for sports. It doesn’t matter who is for you or who is against you. If you trust God and apply yourself, there is nothing in this life that you cannot accomplish.”

Read his full profile here.


BE Modern Man Terrance Stroud
Terrance Stroud


Meet ‘Mr. Public Servant’ Terrance Stroud

Director of the Continued Occupancy Unit, NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation & Development

“When I entered the workforce, like many people I struggled to find my footing. I was not sure of the type of role that would suit me. In the end, mentorship and sponsorship helped me enhance my strengths and reduce my weaknesses. I’ve had great mentors that have empowered me to challenge myself as well as sponsors who’ve played a crucial role in vouching for my talent and abilities, and this has fast-tracked my career and encouraged me to consider and accept new challenges.”

Read his full profile here.


BE Modern Man John Gibson
John Gibson (Photo by Wood D)


Meet ‘Mr. Hollywood’ John Gibson

Advisor for Inclusion and Multicultural Outreach, Motion Picture Association of America

“Overcoming bureaucracy and inertia by persuasion and joining with like-minded allies. Asking for forgiveness instead of permission; however, if you’re successful you rarely have to ask for forgiveness.”

Read his full profile here.


BE Modern Man Hayling Price
Hayling Price


Meet ‘Mr. Social Impact’ Hayling Price

Social Impact Consultant

“Early on I struggled to chart my path as a professional. As a young man of color pursuing a mission-aligned career, I didn’t see many people who looked like me doing the work and was often advised to pursue more lucrative jobs in the private sector. At times I felt like I could have used more encouragement and support for navigating the nonprofit space, but my pursuit of the road less traveled pushed me to cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit. That independent streak has led to opportunities I couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago.”

Read his full profile here.


BE Modern Man Justin Binion
Justin Binion


Meet ‘Mr. Wealth Management’ Justin Binion

Wealth Management, Wells Fargo

“Growing up, my parents were young, hardworking people. Because of the hours they worked I was raised by a ‘village’ that truly cared about my well-being. Although my family wasn’t able to lace me up with the latest pair of Jordans, or always buy me the latest toys when they came out, they gave me the tools for survival and success. They taught me hard work, dedication, humility, and respect—which is the foundation of how I approach life on a daily basis. A major plight in the black community is the lack of financial education, and unfortunately I witnessed this time and time again throughout my life. While working in the sports industry I saw a special on television that highlighted the financial difficulties that athletes have, and it was at that point I decided to switch career paths. I saw an opportunity to be something greater. I didn’t know anything about the wealth management industry, but I knew if I dedicated my time to understanding it, that I could really have a lasting effect on people’s lives.”

Read his full profile here.


BE Modern Man Andre McDonnell
Andre McDonnell


Meet ‘Mr. Footwear’ Andre McDonnell

Founder, It’s From the Sole

“When I began It’s From the Sole, my biggest struggle was having sneakers to provide for the homeless. I began to ask friends and family for their old sneakers. Eventually word spread and  I was overwhelmed with the outreach from the community.”

Read his full profile here.


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.