Name: Hayling Price
Profession: Social Impact Consultant
One Word That Describes You: Catalyst
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
To me, being a person of distinction means leveraging your gifts to make a positive difference in society. It’s about self-actualization; there’s nothing more fulfilling than using your skills and passion to leave a mark on the world. It’s an honor to be considered among the black men who live into their purpose this way.
What are you doing as a BEMM to help support black male achievement now or in the future?
I offer mentorship and facilitate connections as much as possible. I’ve had access to some incredible opportunities thanks to others who invested in my success, so I always prioritize conversations with brothers pursuing endeavors that I may be able to support. While these one-on-one connections can make a deep impact for individuals, I also support achievement for young black males and youth at large through my professional work. As a social impact consultant, I work across foundations, nonprofits, businesses, and government to accelerate social change. With a focus on youth development and education, I support efforts to address the opportunity gap through systems change.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
Early on I struggled to chart my path as a professional. As a young man of color pursuing a mission-aligned career, I didn’t see many people who looked like me doing the work and was often advised to pursue more lucrative jobs in the private sector. At times I felt like I could have used more encouragement and support for navigating the nonprofit space, but my pursuit of the road less traveled pushed me to cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit. That independent streak has led to opportunities I couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago.
How do you ordinarily impact?
I apply systems thinking to tackle social issues. Day to day, this means breaking down complex community challenges into their component parts and helping develop strategies that can address them at the root cause. Ultimately this also requires building connections across local networks to harness collective impact.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
Authenticity goes a long way in relationship building—no matter the setting, I think it’s incredibly important to communicate with candor and vulnerability. I’m able to effectively partner and build with others if I can understand what makes them tick.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
I’m helping build capacity for some exciting social change work happening around the country. This includes addressing the service gap in a city’s early childhood system, along with an innovative education technology initiative that’s promoting student achievement across several school districts.
What is the best advice you ever received?
You know you’re in the right job when you’re consistently pushed out of your comfort zone. Those experiences are the ones that stretch the frontiers of our competency.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
No matter what field you work in, it’s important to have a theory of change. I think we should consistently imagine how we can make our desired state of affairs reality. Mapping backward from that aspirational vision can help align us with our purpose and position us to be as impactful as possible.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
For me, preparation means walking into the room with a few well developed hypotheses, some thoughtful questions to ask, and a sense of what’s driving others at the table.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
I love getting lost in new places. During graduate school I visited Bali with several classmates, but arrived early to give myself some time to explore the area on my own. Outside of the popular tourist attractions I found the area to be really inspiring—I had an amazing time exploring the natural landscape, learning more about the history, and taking advantage of the head space in such a spiritual environment. Spending quiet time in new places can provide moments for reflection that are hard to find when you’re on a normal routine.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I would travel back to Ghana—I spent several months in Accra a decade ago and have wanted to revisit the experience for some time. There’s a cultural, spiritual, and intellectual connection there that I’d love to reengage with.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Thank you for this opportunity. I’d like to thank God, along with my family, friends, and mentors, for shaping me into someone worthy of this distinction.
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Come celebrate the BE Modern Man 100 Men of Distinction at the first-ever Black Men XCEL Summit, Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.