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 CHRISTIAN A. MITCHELL
Name: Christian A. Mitchell Mr. #NEWLA
Profession: Marketing and Partnership Specialist -The Recording Academy / The GRAMMYs
One Word that Describes you: Resilient
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
Being one of the 100 BEMM is not only an honor but also a full circle moment for me. Growing up and seeing varying black faces on the cover of Black Enterprise provided encouragement and inspiration to know that I too could one day lead a business. Today, my triumphs and tribulations can serve as lessons and teachable moments for other Modern Men on the rise. Modern Men who are not only navigating through their current and or future workplace but more importantly, through life.
What are some examples of how you have turned struggle into success?
There are two key moments of struggle that have molded me into the man I am today.
The first was during my undergraduate years at Xavier University where I began as a pre-medicine candidate following in the footsteps of family members who pursued science. My family and mentors expected me to be in medicine and were convinced that I would study pediatrics. Unfortunately, that was not in my future as the advanced Biology coursework resulted in a blow to both my GPA and ego. It took Hurricane Katrina and a semester away from my alma mater to realize I needed to reset my career path. This meant adding additional semesters to complete an English Literature degree which was my first passion and eventual career foundation. At the time I thought to go back, take more courses, and delay graduation was a struggle but in actuality ended as a success. After much planning and many hours of soul-searching, I returned to New Orleans and pursued a degree in English Literature. With this, I learned that the path to success is not linear and often requires steps both backward and forward.
This lesson presented itself cloaked in an entirely new struggle several years later when I was looking to transition from a freelance to permanent role, a trying process that ultimately took two years of active search and relentless patience and positivity. After countless unfruitful interviews and applications, a unique opportunity finally presented itself, however, it would require me taking a significant pay cut and relocating from New York to Los Angeles. With an amazing career opportunity and an exciting new adventure on the horizon, I quickly packed my bags for LA and took those two steps back and am now four strong steps ahead in my career.
Now more than ever it’s key to experience varied representations of what success and failure look like, as these challenges carve out a path of discovery while driving us in the direction of, ultimately, a successful future.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
“Shoot your Shot! You only get one life to live, kid!”
It’s important to know that it’s not where your shot falls but knowing that we as kings possess the power, tools, and excellence to take risks. Investing in myself and shooting for the stars is a fundamental lesson I’ve experienced and something we see in our world daily. As Modern Men, we must recognize that various paths to success will most likely end up being some type of roller coaster.
What advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Making a difference and helping the next man is key to not only personal growth but also to our cultural collective. Many times we as men want to jump right into a scenario seeking to make an immediate change and “fix” the issues we see; however, before that happens one must first do an introspective audit ensuring they are well versed, informed, and truly the best person to create the change and difference needed.
What is your “Extraordinary Impact”?
My extraordinary impact is to continuously move forward while at the same time always looking back and lifting my brothers and sisters up in this journey called life. Many times with success, we forgot those who helped us and more importantly those in our community who need a simple check-in and hello or positive and uplifting support system.
It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow @BEModernMan and join the conversation using #BEModernMan.