BE Modern Man - BE 100: John Michael Cruise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Name: John Michael Cruise

Age: 45

Profession: Entrepreneur and President at Injured Federal Workers Advocate Association (IFWAA)

One Word That Describes You: Creator

What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?

It’s not what it means to me, as much as what it means to the people who have played a role in my success and to the people who look up to me for my accomplishments. To the folks who have supported me, it shows that their efforts were not in vain. To the folks that look up to me as a role model, it means that they too can accomplish such goals.

What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?

My entire life can be categorized as one struggle to the next; struggle is but the essence of life. As it relates to business, I started out as a young black male in real estate finance, which is an industry dominated by whites. I had no degree, no credit, no money, and, most importantly, no relationships. Yet, I still believed that I could and would be successful in business.

In my mind, I created an image and personality as the type of person that would become successful in business. That person would be confident, well read, knowledgeable, firm, professional, true to their word, and a leader. I imagined how that person would look, act, speak, dress, smell, and sound. Then I simply became that person during my business hours.

 

What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others? 

Integrity. This one quality will shape not only the output of one’s production, but it will also shape how the rest of the world views and treats you.

 

What are some immediate projects you are working on?

I am always working on business ventures. One of my biggest projects is purchasing an existing hospital to add to my list of medical businesses that I operate.

But, the project that makes me most proud is my involvement in a nonprofit called Real Life 360. This is a program that myself and other small business owners developed to show brown-skinned inner city kids how to operate profitable businesses, while at the same time, teaching the value of helping our elderly citizens and cleaning up the communities in which they live.

 

What is the best advice you ever received?

My business mentor, Donathan Raffique Waliyyuddin, took me under his wing at 23 years of age. I was a smart, but terribly shy kid, with aspirations of becoming a millionaire that was able to make positive differences in the lives of the people that I loved most. He told me the only way that I would accomplish this was if I studied, read, and learned everything possible about people of wealth. The secrets to accomplishing all of my goals were already published or constantly being published in business books every day. Also, he said that my academic education was not enough for me to accomplish my financial goals, and that I must get busy learning and understanding business, economics, and banking. Reading has made the difference in my life.

 

What advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?

Become a person of action. I speak to many people who have grand ideas, but who have no plan for execution. Not everyone is going to get behind your idea and finance what you promise, but many people will get behind your effort and help you to accomplish your goals.

If your car is broken down and you’re sitting on the hood making telephone calls for help, nobody will stop to help you. They will assume that you have matters under control. But, if you get out of your car and begin to push, it won’t be long before people come running over to help you push your vehicle to the destination of your choosing. Your career is the same way; show people through your effort what you are looking to accomplish, and they will do all they can to assist you.

 

How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?

Before each sales presentation, speaking engagement, or board meeting I take a few moments to center myself and my thoughts. I remind myself that I am one with God. I am but a small piece of a big God, and on this planet, a small piece is more than enough to make a difference in the outcome of my talk, presentation, or meeting.

I remind myself that God is a frequency that exists for me to tap into. So, I tap into that frequency, allowing God and I to co-create together. This has always made me a success at whatever I’ve put my mind to.

 

As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation? Share a story about your best vacation.

There is really no such thing as vacation for me. My work is the direct result of my desire to be creative, so I don’t see my work as being work. It’s actually fun for me. But, when I do take the time to break free from my office, I often like to visit places outside the U.S. It only proves to me that there are more beautiful places on the planet than just the United States.  

Travel reminds me that other folks on the planet have real needs and are just as important to the global community as we like to think we are as Americans. I love this planet and I love history, so I enjoy visiting places that have a rich, storied culture that I can learn from. It only helps to make me a more well-rounded and tolerant citizen.

 

If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? 

I have not yet been to Africa. Considering that Africa is the crux of civilization and the richest continent on the planet, I am excited to plan a trip there to not only learn that which I don’t know about the culture and people, but to see how that new found knowledge will shape my understanding.

 

Anything else you’d like to say?

Thank you for considering me to be a part of the BE Modern Man 100 Men of Distinction.

It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow @blackenterprise and join the BE Modern Man conversation using #BEModernMan.

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