Name: Derrius Quarles
Profession: Entrepreneur and Web Designer
One Word That Describes You: Catalyst
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
Reginald Lewis held his head high on the cover of the November 1987 issue of Black Enterprise. For me, this in and of itself makes being a Black Enterprise Modern Man of Distinction an honor. I had the opportunity to visit the museum in Baltimore dedicated to Reginald Lewis’s legacy, and it was life changing as a black entrepreneur. To be recognized as one carrying the torch of ancestors such as him is amazing.
What are you doing as a BEMM to help support black male achievement now or in the future?
Myself and two of my Morehouse College brothers founded BREAUX Capital, the first financial technology company increasing the financial health of black male millennials through a software platform fused with a cultural tribe. Since launching in October 2016, BREAUX Capital has grown to serve black males across the country from NYC to Oakland, and we are growing. Our model represents an innovation that is long overdue in our modern community.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
Conjuring struggle into success has been the centerpiece of my entire life narrative up until this point. Overcoming the numerous trials and tribulation of 13 years of foster care and being born poor on the South Side of Chicago presented continuous situations where I had to create fires even when the starting materials I had to work with seemed impossibly doomed to fail.
What is your Extraordinary Impact?
By living my life in a way that would make my late grandmother proud. I once asked her, “Granny, what would you like to see me do with my life?” and she replied, “Do good!” My grandmother was a woman of few words but when she spoke, she spoke. The work that I do helping students increase their financial access to higher education through my company Million Dollar Scholar as well as the knowledge I am able to share alongside words of inspiration and encouragement via speaking to audiences across the country are all different ways I impact lives daily.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
A combination of shared vision and general positive vibes. Being in the presence of folks who are striving for excellence, while still understanding that life is for living and letting joy emerge from within themselves as opposed to stumbling upon it, is energizing for me.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
Besides continuing to build my two companies and website design agency, DQ and Partners, I am writing a follow up to my first book, Million Dollar Scholar: Winning The Scholarship Race and composing lyrical poetry for an EP I am going to release next year.
What is the best advice you ever received?
I had just turned 16 and was full of goals. My mentor asked me to tell him about these goals and I started to just go down this vast list one by one. After listening he then gave me some advice in the form of a question that stopped me in my tracks. He asked, “So what are you doing today, to make sure you can achieve all those goals tomorrow?”
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Three things: The first being that the most impactful thing a man can do in today’s world is educate himself on how to advocate and be a more effective supporter of women, especially women of color. Second, I would advise men ready to make an impact to constantly seek to create change from within and allow this change to flow into the outer. Third, I would encourage them to stop focusing so much on how to create change as a single individual and shift their focus to galvanizing other people who want to make a difference and leveraging the synergy that naturally emerges from a collective mindset.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
I talk to myself—both internally and externally. I literally hype myself up and use meditation or the mindfulness technique of visualization to see the outcome I would ideally like to emerge.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
Waking up right next to the beach for three days in the Maldives on a trip I had last year to Thailand was dope. It was a whole lot of sun and fun. I was able to meditate everyday on the trip and truly reflect on how I arrived at that remarkable moment in time. Those reflections set me up to have an amazing year of growth in 2017.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
A life goal of mine is to traverse all seven continents, and I only have Australia and Antarctica left. So, with no barriers, Antarctica—the hardest place to get to on Earth—would be my destination.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I want to give a shout-out to any and everyone who supports my work in some way, especially the black women surrounding me. I also want to show love to my BREAUX Capital co-founder, Ras Asan, and the rest of BREAUXS in the BREAUX Capital network who are aspiring to live lives of consequence. If you want to learn more about the work I am doing to advance education access and increase the financial health of black millennials, please visit www.derriusquarles.com.
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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.