BE Modern Man: Phil Terrill
Tech evangelist and author; 28; Technology company business program manager
Currently, I am working as a global program manager at a top tech company based in Redmond, Washington. This provides me an opportunity to support a global team helping our customers achieve satisfaction from their technology investments. Part of my early success has lead to a feature set of stories to help other sellers and customer success professionals reach the top, which is included in a book called Sales Success Stories: Vol 1 by Scott Ingram.
In addition, I have been able to collaborate outside of my primary role to help land programming to support young, black men pursuing opportunities in tech.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE MANHOOD?
My definition of manhood has evolved over the years. I used to think it was the generational definition of being a provider, good man, loyal to your spouse, present for children, educated, invested in the church, among other things. Nowadays, it is still those things but more has been added to the list.
Manhood is a sense of purpose, an innate desire to represent everything God (or whomever you pray to) designed you to be in the human form.
Manhood is about accepting your assignment to build up your community. To educate and lead in times of controversy. Believing in the impossible yet possible dreams. Constructing and paving paths for generations to follow with less resistance. Being a change-agent and a builder!
Manhood is about cultivating hope and sharing the responsibility to rebuild the village in any capacity without excuse or quitting.
Manhood is loving women, being a gentleman, respecting your mother, and showing young women they are queens.
Manhood is the opportunity to be a king while remaining humble in the process.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN LIFE?
One of them is being able to say I am surrounded by other successful, black men pouring into their purpose. I have a group of friends constantly striving for greatness, which is a daily motivator among our tribe. Seeing them achieve success is a constant reminder that we can do it and together are capable of anything.
Being proud of that bond of friendship is at the top of the list because no matter what happens in our lives that brotherhood is there to keep us ascending to new heights. It doesn’t hurt that we all went to Tuskegee University as well! Ten years of growth within a circle of men is a real joy and something to be extremely proud of in my life.
HOW HAVE YOU TURNED STRUGGLE INTO SUCCESS?
My proudest moment in life has really been the journey to rediscovering my authentic self. Back in December of 2014, I totaled my car as a result of drinking and driving. At the time, that started what I felt to be a series of uncontrollable events leading into my decision to move from Atlanta to Fargo, North Dakota. Fast forward, and the journey from that car crash to present day has resulted in me telling my story of self-discovery, protecting my mental health, pouring into my purpose, and recalibrating my abilities to lead a productive life.
As a result, I self-published my first book titled Collision Course: 4Fs to Transform Life’s Challenges into Powerful Breakthroughs in January 2019. This was my breakthrough!
WHAT PRACTICES, TOOLS, BOOKS, ETC. DO YOU RELY ON FOR YOUR SUCCESS?
From a motivational perspective, I have an acronym that I shared in my book called EARN – Each Accomplishment Remembers Nothing. EARN is about finding that next mountain to climb or outcompeting yourself each day. The things you did one day are good but tomorrow or this new day could be greater.
Also, I am huge on time allocation. Since the accident, I have been given time back to fulfill my assignment. Therefore, time management and blocking out focus time at peak points in the day for creativity are essential for my success.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
One piece of advice came from an elderly man during my travels to Cuba a couple of years ago. I was rushing to cross the Malecon and out of nowhere, he grabbed my arm to stop me from getting hit by probably a beautiful, old-school car. He simply said “wait 60 seconds to live another 60 years” which was very profound at the time. It is even better advice today in that I don’t need to rush to my destination or through life. Take the time to look both ways, in every direction, so I can enjoy the moment before going to my next one.
HOW ARE YOU PAYING IT FORWARD TO SUPPORT OTHER BLACK MALES?
Through great connections and a good friend at the company, I was introduced to her incredible program called Mancode. That program is a unique, one-day conference experience exposing young men to technology. This past year, our conference in Redmond hosted 600+ young men from the Greater-Seattle area with more cities to come in the future.
Second, my parents have always impressed the importance of education. Through that commitment, I have had access to many experiences that might not have been otherwise possible with my education. As a result, I started the Terrill Family Fund in partnership with my high school (St. Paul Central Senior High School) to provide a scholarship to a graduating senior, preferably one attending an HBCU or other academic institution.
Lastly, when I was in high school, a few of us created the AJANI Youth Mentoring program to help young, black men gain access to other black men in the community. As a result, a similar program has been launched at Humboldt High School in St. Paul. This program has been led by my father and other leaders in the community for the last few years. Since that time, I have relocated back home and have re-engaged in the program, mentoring these young men right next to him.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT BEING A BLACK MAN?
The path we walk is so different, but I see so many men that look like me winning, shining, rewriting narratives, excelling, and building breakthroughs, that it is hard not to love being me—a black man.
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.