Monday, June 24, 2013

Pass the Baton!

Alfred Edmond, Jr. and I - 2004

I am very fortunate to have great advisors on my personal board or as some would call my "kitchen cabinet." Most of them are women, though as we celebrate fathers during this month, I would like to take a moment to show gratitude for a man that has inspired me and uplifted me at each level of my career and has had a great impact on my life. 

Alfred Edmond, Jr., Partner/spokesperson/co-designer at Windsor Neckwear, Host, Money Matters at AURN - American Urban Radio Networks and the +Grown Zone SVP/Multimedia Editor-at-Large at Black Enterprise and I met at a Youth Business Plan Competition awards ceremony several years ago. As a young entrepreneur, I was eager to know more about what he did at Black Enterprise and what he learned throughout the years writing about and speaking to hundreds of successful Black business owners and executives. An informational interview turned into a mentor-mentee relationship, that turned into familial bond. As a big-brother guides his younger sister and teachers her things to remember, so has Alfred led me to horizons I never knew I could reach. 
The word mentor is most commonly defined as an experienced and trusted advisor. It derived from the Sanskrit word man-tar which means “one who thinks,” and originally was meant to describe "a person who causes one to think."  Dr. Dale Bronner titled his book on mentoring “Pass the Baton,” and I believe that my mentor, Mr. Alfred Edmond, Jr., embodies this notion in a way that many admire and respect. 

I have learned many lessons and principles from our lunches and chats. Here are a few jewel's Alfred has taught me over the years:

1. The Road to Heaven is Paved Through Hell 

One of the first lessons I learned from Alfred was that I would have to learn how to go through hardships, in order to achieve my dreams. He let me know that he did not get to where he was by way of any ”crystal staircase,” neither has any person who worked for their success. If I wanted to see my goals realized in any aspect of life, he assured me that it would take faith, hard work, perseverance and determination. No pain, no gain. “Trials & tribulation are not punishment, but necessary preparation for you to meet your destiny,” said Alfred. Through my years, I certainly discovered the truth of these statements.

2. Practice Sound Financial Management 
The first event Alfred invited me to was a Wealth-Building Workshop.
Black Enterprise aims to teach others how to build wealth for life, and early in my career, Alfred helped me to learn how not to just make money, but to make my money to work for me.
At the workshop I learned Black Enterprise's 10 Wealth for Life Principles and at the end, gained a financial advisor. I worked with the advisor and learned how to create and maintain a budget and I even made my first investments that I still own today. After our recent recession, he also helped me realize how important it is to have multiple streams of income, as you have to be prepared for any source to be cut off at any time. 

3. Reach Back and Help Someone Else
The title says is all. I realize that of all of the principles Alfred instilled in me, he emphasized that the most important investment I would make, is in the lives of young people, not just in his words, but in his actions. From his "A-List" that I have been honored to be a part of, to the opportunity to volunteer at the 'Black Enterprise Woman of Power Conference in 2007, which changed my life, to my first visit to NBC studios, to the countless opportunities he has given me and others too many to fit in one blog post.  Alfred taught me not just take all that I learned about success and use it for myself, but to “pass the baton” and guide young women and women that were looking to advance in their careers or obtain their dreams as well. 

Giving back flows through Alfred's veins. I could tell by the time that he gave out of his busy schedule to meet with me, give me advice, suggest edits on my resume, or put me in contact with someone else he thought would get me closer to my goals. He also gave time to serving on nonprofit boards and at his church.  

Alfred, Zara Green, and I at the New York Urban League Classic in 2011
Thankfully, Alfred, along with his beautiful mate Zara Green, have started the +Grown Zone, where they share all types of jewels for people of all ages, through social media, their workshops, blog and weekly radio show on #selflove Saturdays! Be sure to tune in. 

I now encourage you to 'Pass the Baton' as we all possess gifts that will help someone else. In your own unique way, change the world one person at a time!

UPDATE: Just found out that we were writing posts about mentoring and using each other as examples at the same time! We never could make this up! 
Read Alfred's blog post Mentorship is Earned, Not Owed HERE- gotta love it<3 i="">