BE Modern Man is an integrative program that honors the essence, image, and accomplishments of today’s man of color. With features of today’s leaders, executives, creatives, students, politicians, entrepreneurs, professionals, and agents of change—these men share the common thread of creating a new normal while setting the bar in tech, art, philanthropy, business, and beyond. The BE Modern Man is making a positive impact, his way, and has a story to tell.
BE MODERN MAN CHIKE UZOKA
Name: Chike Uzoka
Profession: Commercial Realtor, Entrepreneur, and Author
One Word that Describes you: Multifaceted
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
It means knowing that all the work I’ve done is only because of those before me who sacrificed life and liberty for future generations. It means doing my part in building and preserving my village, by any means necessary. It means knowing when to be as gentle as a leaf and when to be as strong as a lion.
What are some examples of how you have turned struggle into success?
One example would be of me being 14 years old in high school and having to present an essay in front of my Oral Communications class. When I stood up to start talking, nothing but some stuttering came out and I could feel sweat dripping down the sides of my face. It was so bad, the teacher had to turn on the fan and face it at me! Now, 15 years later, after being tenacious enough and willing to fall flat on my face, people request for me to speak at their galas, summits, and in their organizations, fully entrusting that whatever topic I’m speaking on will leave a mark on the audience.
Another example is how my business partner Drew and myself spent a whole lot of money on our first business idea. How did we know we were supposed to have a fully flushed out revenue model BEFORE we spent thousands on a website?? The initial idea we started with morphed and mutated into something amazing, however, we didn’t know where it would go at first. All the mistakes we made starting our first company were transformed into the tips I share in my first book, The Young Man’s Guide to Entrepreneurship: 16 Things You Need to Know. It’s almost like an autobiography of that experience written as a guidebook. I mean, I’m not a former president or in a scandal, so who would want to read my regular-schmegular autobiography? The book has been on Amazon’s Best Seller list and my hope is that is has helped whoever has read its pages to move forward with their inventions, products, services, innovations, ideas, and organizations a bit more planned and a bit less worried.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
Synergies. In which ways can this person and I enhance each others’ lives, businesses, ideas, and/or just whatever is happening at the time? I believe in win-win-win situations where that person wins, I win, and both of our respective clients, customers, or constituents win.
What are some of the immediate projects you are working on?
We are working on some Proptech applications and innovations to positively impact the commercial real estate world, especially here in Newark, New Jersey. I am also working on my first children’s book set to be published in early 2019.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
If you don’t create ways to get paid while you sleep, you’ll work until you die.
What advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Start wherever you are, because you are more than enough. Start with what you have, because it is more than enough. Be passionate and be persistent.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
1. By praying about it/on it.
2. If it’s a business meeting, making sure I know the agenda beforehand and what the goal of the meeting is; if it’s an event, ensuring that whatever role I’m playing is done well.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation? Share a story about your best vacation.
Relaxation and food. Spending two weeks in Negril, Jamaica, staying in a small bed and breakfast on 7 Mile Beach. Walking up the beach in the morning for the freshest ackee, saltfish, and callaloo in the world; then walking down the beach at night for the drumming sounds, music, and nightlife. Ev’ryting Irie!
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I’d go to Zanzibar and relax on the beach in front of extremely clear blue waters. No Wi-Fi, no emails, just nature and peace.
What is your “Extraordinary Impact?”
I believe my extraordinary impact is the mentoring I’ve been doing with young men of color. I’ve been working with young(er) people for 22 years now, but really focusing on this population in the last 10 years after meeting mentors who have impacted my way of thinking like Alfred Edmond Jr., Stephen Powell, Thomas Owens, Rev. David Jefferson Jr., Sean Dove, Zach Husser Sr., Rev. Dr. Alfonso Wyatt, and countless others. They instilled in me how important it is for young men to see someone like me empowering, educating, and sometimes, just entertaining them. “Each One, Reach One, Teach One” is something I believe; when each brother in our community embraces [it] and lives by [it], our villages will come back to life.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I’m extremely honored and humbled to be a part of this initiative!