My three year old son and I pray together almost every night. And at the end of each prayer, we recite phrases of self affirmation: “I am strong, I am wise, I am a man of God!” That little routine may seem cute and even a bit precocious, but it symbolizes our family’s theme. As the husband and father it is my job to model strength, wisdom, and godliness. So as a fundamental practice, I find new ways to become a living example of someone whom my son can emulate and whom my wife will follow.
My wife is stunningly beautiful, tall, elegant and sophisticated. She makes me want to be a better man, not just for my own sake, but to deserve being her mate as she continues to aspire, accomplish, and flourish in each of her endeavors. I am the son of a preacher and I grew up listening to a lot of baptist style preaching and was exposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ at a very early age. While I don’t follow Christians per se, I do consider my self to be a disciple of Christ. To me the difference is subtle, but significant enough for me to make a distinction.
My father was not just a pastor, he was also an Ivy League graduate and an award winning businessman. Because of the work ethic he instilled in me, I developed the attitude of an overachiever – a champion. I also had great coaches. They taught me that you are only as good as your last performance and to never get overzealous from winning or too down after losing, but be outraged when I (we) don’t learn. Learning is everything to me. I am extremely eager to share what I’ve learned, so I’ve become a talented educator, trainer, coach, motivator, and mentor.
As a student in high school, I was overconfident and took the world for granted, but by the time I graduated with my undergraduate degree I had actually travelled the world a great deal and my entire perspective on life had changed. As a younger man I relied heavily on my talent to learn quickly. As I mature I connect my talent to discipline and diligence. This became very relevant to me after living amongst different cultures in different parts of the world and experiencing the shock of shared and new values. The countries I have travelled to include England, Belgium, France, Spain, Morocco, and India.
I am 6 feet 5 inches tall and 285 pounds. When people look at me in America they ask me if I played football, and overseas people asked me if I played rugby. However, basketball is my game. I played four years varsity in high school and four years of college. I even had a chance to play overseas. I coached middle school and high school teams in Ohio and Florida and am also a licensed basketball official. The CAVS are my squad and I also root for all OHIO teams but please, never ever ask me about the Cleveland Browns.
Professionally, I have struggled, but I am resilient. Two historical figures stand out in my mind as the two biggest influences on the way I think as an educator. They are Frederick Douglass and Ralph Ellison. I learned from them the differences in freedom and liberation; the differences between learning and being taught; the importance of self identity, intelligent forethought, reflection, and eloquent commentary; the beauty and the horror within the Black experience. As a result, I am refined, not scorned or forlorn, nor am I angry. Instead, I am empowered.
Yes, as a result, I am extremely passionate about learning technology, human performance, metacognition, and instructional design. And I am really good at what I do, too. My passion comes from having figured out how to overcome struggle for myself and wanting to have an positive impact on how people think, learn, and perform. At this point, for me it is about gaining a larger audience and maintaining persistence. Indeed, it is now time to get my self ‘out there’.
Over the years, I have become so much more than the typical educator. My worth is highly valuable. As a visionary, problem solver, project and people manager, learning technologist, dynamic storyteller and presenter, motivator, trainer and coach, my goals are to create learning and training assets for individuals and organizations. I relate well to people from all walks of life and seek to make connections with people that are willing and able to do the same. It is my aim to use all of my experiences and education to add value to my network of colleagues and associates.