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 PHYLIP JONES
Name: Phylip Jones
Profession: Global Marketing Strategist and founder of Phylanthropic Inc. a cause-marketing firm dedicated to supporting the welfare of individuals, businesses, and non-profits through culturally stimulating branding and alternative fundraising.
One Word that Describes you: Tenacious
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
Being recognized as one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction is nothing short of humbling. This honor means a lot to me because I always strived to inspire others by leading by example. To be honest it was a very surreal moment when I received the notice that I had been selected as one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction. Back in 2016, when I first learned about the BEMM honor, I admired its concept. In today’s turbulent time with so many negative stereotypes and imagery around not just black men but communities of color, it is so important for organizations such as Black Enterprise to publish positive stories for and about men color. I love the fact that there are so many unique and interesting men that are being named as the 100 Men of Distinction because it serves as an authentic vessel of inspiration to all those who read their stories.
What are some examples of how you have turned struggle into success?
Career uncertainty as a recent graduate is one of the hardest struggles I faced and I certainly believe it is a very relatable experience many will encounter. However, for me, this was one challenge I had to overcome. Both my high school and college experiences were very fulfilling and I seemed to be on the right path for success. Yet, when I started my first full-time job at a major bank in their asset management division, I was faced with a very uncomfortable career decision. Working at this firm was very difficult, we endured 12 to 15 hour days, I was studying to take my series 7 exam, and I was one of the only minorities in the entire department. I prided myself on being adaptable and always integrated well but in the moment, I was not able to connect with any of my team members. I was depressed, felt alone, stressed, and unpassionate about my work. This experience was fracturing many of my relationships and was turning me into someone I did not recognize. After some hard conversations with mentors, family, and friends, I had to find a way to regain a sense of self. I had to take control of my well-being and find happiness with life. I ultimately made the decision to leave the firm and take some time to reflect on what was most important. I remember waking up alone in my apartment, the day after I gave my resignation letter thinking, “What did I just do?” That moment of uncertainty and self-doubt slowly faded away and as time progressed; I was able to find myself again. I would volunteer and explore some of my true passions. As I let go of this dream to be working as a banker, I soon pivoted my focus to my first love, marketing. Over the next few years, I would achieve new heights, as I would continue to master my craft of marketing strategy and brand management. Even still, my career has taken some ups and downs but I am now confident in the decision I made. Now I am the global marketing strategist for a reinsurance firm where I help lead brand activations for Moet Hennessy and Grey Goose as a brand manager. I’ve started my own cause-marketing firm to help produce alternative fundraisers for nonprofits and I currently sit on the board for the American Marketing Association as their director of communications. I know that I have made the best decision to pursue my true passion as a marketing leader and community organizer. My story may not be unique but I want to reassure anyone facing hardships or uncertainty, to remember to never give up on yourself and confidence is key.
Launching a small business involves a lot of time and money, blood, sweat, and tears. All of those experiences guided me to develop products, services, and applications to not only help me get on track but also to minimize an often painful journey for other small business owners.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
I believe compassion, pureness, and consistency are defining qualities I look for in relationships with others. When I interact with people, I try to gauge their level of compassion and openness to me. I like to listen and make a real effort to care about each person’s story. I strive to make sure that everyone I meet feels heard and valued. Genuinely asking how someone’s day is going could mean the world to him or her. We really do not know the hardships each person is going through on a daily basis and if you take the time to make them feel valued as an individual you have the opportunity to change the way they feel that day. I enjoy taking time out of my day to ask the security guards or the janitors how they are doing. I believe, if I can do that to strangers and show that level of caring, I look for similar characteristics of compassion in those relationships close to me. When it comes to being pure, I want to have the freedom to be vulnerable with those around me. I am in a group text chat called “Safe Space” where there are about eight friends of mine and we share with each other on a variety of topics ranging from random daily humor, career advice, providing words of affirmations of support for our romantic relationships, and even discuss mental health issues. I feel very connected to this group of brothers because our conversations are pure. We truly go out of our way to be thoughtful and authentic to one another when faced with good or challenging situations. They truly are a support system that pushes me to be the best man I can be.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
I think the best words of wisdom and advice I have received was from my mother. She stated, “Everything happens for a reason and time heals all.” I think those words are true through my experiences. I have gone through some very emotional and trying times but I stayed grounded by believing in her words. This has helped me stay balanced through moments of uncertainty. If I am able to think clearly and endure those challenges I know I will be able to overcome the moment. Life is a blessing and I have enjoyed all of it, even if there have been some difficult steps along the way.
What advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Carve out your niche that you are passionate about and try to educate the community on it. I really enjoy mentoring and empowering the youth on skills that I have come across. I think this is the easiest way to make a difference but it does not just pertain to the mentoring. I tell friends and colleagues to find organizations that align with their interests and work with them. Taking on leadership positions are also great ways to build a network and credibility to influence those around you.
What is your “Extraordinary Impact”?
I think my extraordinary impact right now is paving the way as one of the only minority marketing leaders in reinsurance. I actually stumbled into this opportunity but since I have been in it, I have embraced the chance to educate so many people of color who are unfamiliar with the industry. I want to inspire men and women to find their superpower and work as hard as they can to perfect it.
It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow @BEModernMan and join the conversation using #BEModernMan.