BE Modern Man: Gene Martin
Nonprofit organization founder, 31; Social Responsibility Manager, Orlando Magic
Twitter: @genemartin12; Instagram: @genemartin12
In 2016, I founded the nonprofit organization, Route 7 Orlando Inc. We are a network of gentlemen driven to promote growth amongst our community and each other.
The premise behind the organization is to bring like-minded men together to share personal and professional goals while holding each other accountable for them. We provide an ego-less platform for men to share their goals and identify opportunities for members within the group to help each other achieve their goals through collaboration.
Through our efforts, we also focus on community service. As we are continuously looking for ways to build our group, it’s just as important that we replicate those efforts to support our community. We do so through mentorship of young men of color as well as by supporting local nonprofits through volunteering.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN LIFE?
Being able to positively impact my community through my personal and professional endeavors is what I’m most proud of.
I am proud to work alongside driven men (Route 7 Orlando Inc.) that have a heart for growing one another with the understanding that our mission is bigger than any one individual.
Through my work with the Orlando Magic, I’m extremely proud to be able to utilize the platform of the NBA and make the brand tangible to those that are underserved.
This past year we were able to grow our Magic of Mentoring program, which allowed minority male students to be mentored by minority male full-time employees of the Orlando Magic. The opportunity allows youth to gain real-world experience both in the Magic front office as well as at Magic home games, learning the functions of different departments within the organization.
HOW HAVE YOU TURNED STRUGGLE INTO SUCCESS?
As an adolescent of a single mother, I was not afforded the opportunity to have a father figure as I was growing up. Unfortunately, this trend carried on as a young adult.
Through this tribulation as a minority male, I came to realize that this is a common thread amongst many like myself. In response to the issue, I was prompted to reach out to peers of mine to have discussions that were not had in my household as a youth. This prompted the birth of what is now, Route 7 Orlando Inc.
WHO WAS YOUR GREATEST MALE ROLE MODEL AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM HIM?
Mike “Mouse” Holloway, my track and field coach at the University of Florida. Couch Mouse taught me to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable; that is where growth happens.”
HOW DO YOU DEFINE MANHOOD?
The continuous journey of maturity while trying to balance mind, body, and spirit.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
“Work while you wait.” Oftentimes, when you’re seeking the ideal opportunity (i.e., career-move), it’s easy to become stagnant until the opportunity arises. It’s imperative to stay ready and sharpen your skill set so that you don’t have to get ready.
HOW ARE YOU PAYING IT FORWARD TO SUPPORT OTHER BLACK MALES?
Through the creation of Route 7 Orlando Inc., we’ve provided a platform for black males to have a seat at the table; to have discussions with other males that relate to their situation and can help guide each other through whatever it is they may be going through. Previous topics of discussion have consisted of: family, finances, fatherhood, marriage, being a minority in a professional setting, small business collaboration, etc.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT BEING A BLACK MAN?
The ability to positively impact young males of color by empowering them to achieve anything they put their minds to. Exposure is the key element of providing that spark of hope. As a black man, I feel it is my responsibility to provide opportunities for access and exposure for our youth.
BE Modern Man is an online and social media campaign designed to celebrate black men making valuable contributions in every profession, industry, community, and area of endeavor. Each year, we solicit nominations in order to select men of color for inclusion in the 100 Black Enterprise Modern Men of Distinction. Our goal is to recognize men who epitomize the BEMM credo “Extraordinary is our normal” in their day-to-day lives, presenting authentic examples of the typical black man rarely seen in mainstream media. The BE Modern Men of Distinction are celebrated annually at Black Men XCEL (www.blackenterprise.com/blackmenxcel/). Click this link to submit a nomination for BE Modern Man: https://www.blackenterprise.com/nominate/. Follow BE Modern Man on Twitter: @bemodernman and Instagram: @be_modernman.