BE Modern Man: He Went From the Projects to a Doctoral Degree
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 PRESTON VERNARD L. LINDSAY
Name: Preston Vernard L. Lindsay
Profession: Founder, CEO & Principal Consultant of The Lindsay Group Co., Organizational
Development; IO Psychologist, Professor
One Word that Describes you: Invincible
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
Being selected as a Black Enterprise Modern Man of Distinction is a true honor and privilege. I am sincerely overwhelmed with gratitude. With so few syndicated media platforms challenging the largely negative and destructive narratives concerning black men dominating news media today, I am grateful to Black Enterprise for continuing on its leadership and time-honored tradition of shining a light on the positive, brilliant, and innovative nature of black men in this country.
What are some examples of how you have turned struggle into success?
I grew up in the projects in a city invincible. Camden, New Jersey, an arguably destitute post-industrial city, existing in the shadow of the great city of brotherly love—Philadelphia—it was not easy for this intellectually curious, queer-identifying, lover of classical music, Star Trek, and books. Being raised by a deaf woman of color, in a single-family home of two kids, with no real support, my mother emphatically impressed upon my sister and I the value of higher education, an experience which she would never know intimately, as means to break free from the chains that have fated my family to the vicious cycle of poverty for generations. My lived experience growing up in poverty was the struggle. Armed with the seed of education planted by my high-minded mother, I became singularly motivated for personal advancement and achievement. As a woman not bound by the limitations of her economic circumstance and physical disability, in the face of every possible challenge imaginable, with grace, she demonstrated for me qualities of perseverance, resilience, and resistance. With all the force of my mother’s love and character coupled with an unwavering resolve to escape the seemingly inescapable jaws of poverty, I’ve not only achieved the title of first-generation college graduate in my family but I also aimed to reach higher and obtained masters degrees and god willing, with successful completion of my dissertation, a doctoral degree in 2019. I attribute all of my success to a mother’s love.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
Honesty. I cannot separate the need for honesty from any aspect of any relationship dynamic, either personal or professional. It is the foundation of trust and sustainable relationships.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
The People’s Coalition, aptly named and founded by the brilliant Jasmyn Story, a restorative justice practitioner/scholar and human rights activist. The organization’s mission is to increase access to resources to interrupt the impact of structural violence experienced by historically marginalized people. My company services the organization by providing specialized support in the areas of sustainability and development initiatives, leadership/executive counseling, and strategic planning.
The second organization, Around the Way Girl Inc. (ATWG), is an organization of which I’ve been proud to serve as board chair. ATWG is founded by the luminous Maya Carr, an image activist, community leader, and digital communication strategist. The nonprofit’s programs are educationally oriented and designed to empower young women of color representing historically marginalized communities to reclaim their narratives by way of equipping these queens with practical tools and resources that explore college/career readiness and holistic hygiene.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Hustle with your heart.
What advice do you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Do what you feel called to do. Be patient. Work smart. Be reminded that limitations are self- imposed. You can do anything your heart desires. And remember to allow quality time for yourself every day! Something I am still trying to get better at doing.
What is your “Extraordinary Impact”?
As an expert organization development practitioner and experienced nonprofit executive, I would say my most extraordinary impact has been my readiness to lend my expertise to support grassroots organizations in achieving long-term sustainability and measurable impacts; while also investing time in counseling leaders of color in my capacity as an entrepreneur, associate professor, and community activist. My intention is to support emerging leaders to build up and sustain their respective organizations and to protect their organizations from external threats prompted by an ever-changing political landscape and more increasingly competitive public funding domain.
It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow @BEModernMan and join the conversation using #BEModernMan.