Name: Roger L. Roman II
Profession: Entrepreneur, Investor, and Growth Marketing Consultant
One Word That Describes You: Resourceful
What is your “Extraordinary Impact?”
Presently, I am working to increase STEM learning opportunities for the youth in our communities via the development of Rythm Labs, a virtual innovation incubator that brings together creative professionals, business leaders, and change-makers, to create pathways to opportunity and entrepreneurship in the tech industry. I am steadfast in my belief that the next generation of disruptors and tech moguls can be populated with more African Americans if STEM learning opportunities are made accessible early on in their scholastic careers.
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
It’s both a humbling and great honor to be recognized by Black Enterprise as a Man of Distinction. I am proud to join the ranks of the good brothers who have been honored in the past. It also serves as a reminder that I have more work to do.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
I’ve failed in business more than once, but I’ve always come away better than I was before. When my first startup failed I contemplated quitting, I even started filling out job applications. It was a difficult time, but I took a bet on myself, however, and it’s worked out well for me. Today, I use those experiences of failure to help founders navigate the rocky road of entrepreneurship and avoid some of the mistakes I made.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
I’m a big fan of grit, or the stubborn refusal to give up and the will to thrive. I have a ton of respect for people who can keep their cool in the worst of situations, and turn challenges into opportunities, coming out stronger than before. It is an attribute that I look for in both my business and personal relationships.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
As the managing partner of Push Consulting and Marketing, my main focus is expanding the business and helping our existing clients succeed. As an added bonus, that role also allows me the opportunity to work with some amazing founders and innovative startups. One of the clients I am most excited about is Bitcoin and Blockchain startup BitMari, which has the ambitious goal of creating a frictionless economy across the African diaspora. In addition to that, I’ve recently made a few seed investments into some promising early stage startups led by minority founders.
What is the best advice you ever received?
At my core, I’m a marketing guy, so it’s kind of fitting that the best advice I’ve received has come from an advertising campaign: the Sprite slogan, “Obey Your Thirst.” If it’s not the best piece of advice I’ve received, it’s my most referenced. Most times people laugh and think that I’m joking when I say it but those three words have helped me remain focused on my true goals. To me it’s a constant reminder to obey YOUR dreams and aspirations and not the destiny that society or others try to place on you; or as my brother would say, “Do you!”
What is some advice do you have for other men who want to make a difference?
My mother always reminds me that to be a leader you must be willing to work the hardest, accept responsibility for the losses, and credit the team for the victories.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
If I’m prepping for an important meeting with a potential client I’m most likely reading and researching while listening to Miles Davis or John Coltrane. I also have this weird thing where I zone out to music (mostly rap) while shooting free throws at the gym. It’s something about the forced muscle memory from the repetitive motion that allows my mind to wander and brainstorm. I’ve come up with some of my best ideas on the court.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation? Share a story about your best vacation.
I don’t get the opportunity to take many vacations, but I like to unwind by taking a trip to the beach with my and 2-year-old son. It not only allows me to spend some quality time with the family but witnessing vastness of the ocean and the soothing sounds of the waves always seems to put things into perspective for me.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
If I could go anywhere in the world I’d block out 12 months of my schedule to travel across the continent of Africa and visit all 54 countries.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I am extremely grateful for Black Enterprise, and I hope it continues to inspire.
It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow @BEModernMan and join the conversation using #BEModernMan.
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.