Name: Samuel Taylor
Profession: CEO/Founder, SILENT PANDA Designer Wear
One Word That Describes You: DREAMER
What is your “Extraordinary Impact?”
My extraordinary impact is the ability to set an example of making the transition from a career as a professional athlete into a successful fashion design career. I think I may be one of a select few that have done this. My work remains grounded by my faith, purpose, relationships, and the goal to level the playing field in whatever I am doing. Additionally, I aspire to encourage the talents of young African American men and women as a new faculty addition at the Academy of Art in San Francisco.
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
Being part of the BE family is a great honor and privilege as the publication has been a staple in my home since I can remember. To join the ranks of other brilliant, creative, and accomplished individuals in the world has been a lifelong dream. I am honored to share my experiences and hope to inspire other professionals to always strive for greatness and to never give up on the pursuit of their respective passions.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
After reoccurring injuries to both ankles, I was released from organized baseball in 1999–an industry that I had been involved with since I was a child. During my absence from baseball, I started to question my existence in society as I felt the game I knew and loved for so many years was taken from me. After introspection, prayer, and brainstorming about what was important in my life, I decided to pursue design, another talent I had as a child. This was one of the best decisions in my life! My (3) Ps (prayer, perseverance, and purpose) allowed me to transition from a temporary state of depression and poverty. As an entrepreneur, I experienced rejections from investors to reaping rewards of building a successful athletic performance brand with employees internationally. Although I had to walk away from that company, the experience allowed me move forward and start a new and improved brand—infusing fashion with technology. To anyone reading this, NEVER GIVE UP!!!
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
I am working on a mobile app based on fashion and technology that will be a communication portal between consumers and celebrities.
What is the best advice you ever received?
Take two pitches and hit to the right—meaning life is about timing. (It’s a baseball analogy that I apply in my everyday life.)
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Identify problems that exist in society but attempt to pair inner passion with your strengths to better the space around you—all to become part of the solution.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
After preparing notes and researching the people associated with the meeting or event, I pray and play music to get me mentally prepared.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
I make a point to try something new during every vacation. On my last trip to Hawaii, I went to a luau and got on stage and learned how to hula in front of the entire crowd.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Africa. I am fascinated with history. I want to get more in-depth knowledge and use what I learn to keep me humbled and inspired.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I am honored that I am being provided this opportunity to inspire people to never give up on their dreams as a BE Modern Man. Words cannot express my gratitude, and I need to acknowledge the genius of my Hollywood publicist and CMO John Tucker. I’ve learned so much as he’s helped me recalibrate my thinking/focus and build this brand. John has secured countless opportunities; he’s advised me every step of the way as I’ve regained my footing and we’ve designed a rollout strategy for SILENT PANDA. Together, we intend to keep this brand around for many, many years to come.
It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow @BEModernMan and join the conversation using #BEModernMan.