Name: James B. Methu
Profession: Business / Government Administration
One Word That Describes You: AWARE.
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
Being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction is a huge honor for me. It means that I am projecting a positive image while striving to make positive changes in my community of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It means I’m representing myself and my people the right way. It also means the hard work is paying off.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
One example is my ambitious first political campaign. I ran for mayor of the city of Milwaukee and I was a huge underdog in the spring 2016 election . It was important simply to send the establishment a strong message of what changes needed to happen for social and physical improvement of our neighborhoods but my company I worked for at the time didn’t support me and we parted ways. I pushed through anyway because I love Milwaukee and its people, and it is important to show strong examples of black excellence whenever possible. Now I work for the city of Milwaukee as the senior business analyst in the Office of Small Business Development and I get to directly impact small businesses every day. I have even now launched my own business, Northern Star, that works in real estate and affordable housing.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
Important qualities I look for are work ethic and gamesmanship.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
Right now my brother, Brandon, and I are engaged in affordable housing real estate developments in beautiful Milwaukee. Affordable housing and neighborhood development of the central city are a part of our focus. Every family deserves decent housing and a safe environment to raise their family and it’s something we take pride in developing. Right now our focus is on the Near West Side, 30th Street Corridor, Brown Deer, and the Milwaukee Public Library-Capitol location. My wife and I are having our first child so of course we are game planning how we will set our house up and things like where will we have a baby shower! I am working with community organizations to help fight violence this summer in Milwaukee. I wrote a children’s book entitled The Adventures of Super Timmy: Internal Compass and I am considering a sequel for it.
What is the best advice you ever received?
The best advice I ever received was “Own every moment.”
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
The biggest advice I have is don’t be afraid to be who you really are and help causes that really matter to you. Don’t be afraid of failure because from that winning is born. Understand what makes you tick and don’t be afraid to stand out.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
I watch YouTube videos, work out, rehearse, and repeat! I always want to appear relaxed and confident whether I am in front of the mayor, business partners/investors, or everyday people.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation? Share a story about your best vacation.
I like warm sand under my feet, with my beautiful wife on my arm. I like to look at the water and eventually walk in, but my favorite part is amazing food while on vacation. Typically I will eat food I haven’t tried before. My best vacation actually happened when I was a kid when my whole immediate family vacationed in Hawaii. We were on the beaches every day, eating great food, and we had the chance to have fun as a group at various outings. I hope to replicate that kind of vacation excitement for my family but this time in the father role.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I would go to Kenya because that is where my dad’s side of the family is from and it is so beautiful I imagine. I have yet to go but my grandmother wants us to come and I can’t wait. Close to the ocean and the equator with beautiful animals—it doesn’t get better than that.
What is your “Extraordinary Impact?”
My extraordinary impact stems from my passion for the city of Milwaukee. In my day job I have the opportunity to impact workforce development in the community through small business development. It’s a great feeling to know a firm you are working with is hiring city residents and creating opportunity. It’s great to use energy I had from my first political campaign and funnel into various community initiatives. My children’s book is a tool I created for parents and children to help push personal achievement. As a young real estate developer, I look for projects that are impactful for not only our business, but the neighborhood and the residents.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I think it is important to always be aware socially and even in business it is important to have a social component in 2017 and beyond. The human touch is still very important. If you support development in Milwaukee, please consider working with our business as the city continues to experience growth. I can be reached via email.
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.