Name: Phil Andrews
Profession: President, Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
One Word That Describes You: Passionate
What does being one of BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
Being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction means that my life’s work will be seen as trailblazing, and many generations in the future will be able to use my experiences as an anchor for their own success. My life will also be indicative of the power of what one can achieve when a man decides to live a life of distinction.
What are some of examples of how your turned your struggle into success?
Some of the examples of how I turned my struggles into success involved maintaining a positive attitude despite setbacks. As a leader for many years in such organizations as 100 Black Men, it is not easy to lead the charge of engaging others to bring their A-game to all of life’s circumstances. Having a long-term view of many circumstances and an internal compass to guide you in making the right choices is a necessity of life when under difficult circumstances. I was raised in the tough inner-city area of Bedford-Stuyvesant, and I learned in my early years not to let the walls of a housing complex limit the mind. I traveled the world through books and expanded my mind well beyond the confines of my physical location.
Solitude has also been an important part of my life. As we retire into the silence, we begin to know ourselves, God, and our power. Thinking is said to be some of the hardest work we can do as humans, and to habitually learn to pay more attention to our thought processes can awaken us to be present and aware in all situations where life presents unique opportunities.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
I look for the quality of integrity from others in our relationships. Integrity is an important center to come from that can serve as glue to all of our human connections.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
I am currently working on growing one of the largest business organizations in New York geared towards engaging African Americans to build sustainable smalls businesses and professional service companies in the region. We are looking to engage more African American women and men of distinction in the black community, to join us in the movement to empower our community economically. A crucial step in this process is to recruit the highest caliber of members to our organization. We also know that we will have many new startups that need help, so we also want to reach back to strengthen the future capacity of those willing to make a commitment to their entrepreneurial dreams.
What is the best advice you have received?
A former mentor of mine, Tuskegee Airman, Ed Monroe, used to whisper in my ear, “We all have a little Tuskegee in us.” When we look at what the Tuskegee Airman achieved and hear such words, they serve as an inspiration for us to achieve similar greatness if not more.
If you want to make a difference, look to your passion! Find your passion, or what I call “the thing you were called to do on this Earth.” It is a tremendous driving force. We all have something that we are called to do that is uniquely tied to our skills, abilities, and our mental and moral compass.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
One of the things I feel is important in preparing for an important business event or meeting is the affirmation of, “I am, I can, I will.” Positive affirmations set the tone for bringing the right spirit and mindset to a variety of settings. In fact, I also use the affirmation when taking a photo, for our inner belief reflects outward.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation? Share a story about your best vacation.
As a busy Modern Man, I love to unwind with great spiritual books and enjoy solitude. So many noises exist in today’s society, and I believe as the Bible says, “Be ye renewed by the renewing of your mind.”
On vacation, I love to view scenes from nature. Living in a modern city removes us from the view of much of God’s handiwork. I love viewing a variety of plants, landscapes, mountaintops, and sunsets, which helps me to appreciate the vastness of the universe. I love to walk on the beach and see the ocean’s magnificent view.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I would love to travel and stay in Africa to connect to the soil of my ancestors. The physical and spiritual connection satisfies a longing to connect to my ancestral greatness on a higher plane.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I would just like to share one quote, “When you understand yourself, you can stand up for yourself and help yourself. When you understand how your mind works, you can understand how all minds works and transform that understanding to others; thereby rendering the greatest service of them all.”
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