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 DONOVAN CASANAVE
Name: Donovan Casanave
Profession: Manager, Supplier Diversity/Artist
One Word that Describes you: Energetic
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
It is a true honor. I have read the pages of Black Enterprise magazine for about 25 years and to be associated with the greatness displayed in those pages is amazing. To now be recognized as one of these distinctive men and to see this come full circle goes beyond my belief and makes my journey more purposeful.
What are some examples of how you have turned struggle into success?
One of my biggest struggles that became a turning point in my life came after working extremely hard in college and stepping out of my cocoon to live the dream. Through mere grit and determination, I got a decent job in a new city that was larger than several countries combined. However, I quickly saw that I was undervalued. It was good for some, but not the plan that my dreams were made of and not my life’s purpose. My vision, my faith, my zest for success became a struggle and eventually, I became a bit unmotivated. I started to examine the traits of individuals that I admired. I started to seek and engage those individuals with hopes to uncover their journeys.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
I look for shared energy and authenticity, those who are there to empower others. The ability to listen and hear clearly and to be objective to other ideas, perspectives, and experiences. Being trustworthy is huge and I look for individuals who show respect and are honest about who they are, and who value the attributes of others.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
My current project highlights the value that corporations have on the innovation and expertise of minority and women supplier/-owned companies. Their ability to deliver solutions to the corporate supply chain creates value in the global marketplace. This contributes to the economic development of the community through tentacles that go further than you imagine as these innovative suppliers are known to hire other minorities and women, which helps to create a tax base while building up our infrastructure. I am also working to empower the community through the involvement of partnering with national nonprofit organizations. Through my focused efforts, we are able to help people of color to build certain skill sets, build capacity to further develop their entrepreneurial aspirations, and celebrate their successes by creating tools and resources to empower the community.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
I am going to use a baseball analogy, but I promise that I will make it relevant. I once had a little league baseball coach that would stand on the third base line and hit his leg repeatedly and yell to each batter when we stepped up to the plate three simple words, “Make it Happen.” After hearing those words numerous times, I finally decided to ask him what he meant. He put his hand on my shoulder and said “son, when you are up to bat, everything in the game is dictated by how you respond to the pitch. You can hit a home run, a grand slam, you can bunt, you can even sacrifice yourself for the team and allow the pitcher to hit you, or you can simply strike out, but son, you are in control of the destiny of this game when you are up to bat.”
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