As a motivational speaker, consultant, trainer, and facilitator, I have been referred to as the Teen Whisperer for my ability to understand, relate to and connect with teens. Even though I am considered an expert when it comes to teen issues, I simply consider myself just a FAN of teens! My hope is that I can help you to become a fan of teenagers as well. The question is, how did I become such a fan of teens??? Continue reading…
Stumbling into my purpose...
I wanted to be an architect since the day an architect came to speak to my 3rd-grade class for career day. I was always mesmerized by the skyline of downtown Chicago but never thought someone had to design those buildings. My senior year in high school, I took an architectural drafting class and designed, at the time what was my dream house. It took the entire school year to complete. I was super proud! My plan was to build that house once I became an architect.
I never became an architect, but I did build a house that was even nicer than the one I designed!
I was accepted into an architectural program at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. This was a culture shock for a young black boy from Illinois. It was the first time I saw snow (on the mountains) but it was warm enough to wear shorts…that blew my mind. I was excited to be there and studying architecture. I also learned to ski during my time there (yes, some black people ski lol.
Because it was so far from home, I was only able to go home for Christmas and the summer. After Christmas break, my grandmother (we called her Big Mama) had a stroke. I wasn’t aware until I came home for the summer. I decided not to return to the University of Utah until she got better, so I transferred to Bradley University for my sophomore year with the plan to return the following school year. However, Big Mama did not get better so I had to declare a major at Bradley since I was now starting my junior year in college.
Now the problem is Bradley does not have an architecture program, the closest major was engineering, but I wasn’t interested. I talked with Big Mama about this issue and asked her opinion. She told me I should consider working with people. I had no idea there were majors that prepared you to work with people so I went to school the following week and asked my advisor if they had majors that worked with people…I had no idea lol. I’ll never forget her words when I told her I was going to work with people, “never forget baby, people don’t care how much you know until they first know how much you care.” Those words have guided my career.
Long story short, I stumbled into my purpose…discovered my passion…found my voice…and started making a difference! I began working with teens and never looked back.
Today, I travel nearly 200K miles a year (that’s a lot of miles, shout out to Delta!) motivating and inspiring nearly 100K teens and adults each year to be and do their best. To date, I have spoken to teens in 46 states (can you guess which 4 I haven't spoken in yet?), 3 US territories, 5 Canadian provinces and 7 counties! And that ladies and gentlemen is just my side job!
My full-time job is being a dad to the 2 greatest children on the planet! My daughter, Micaiah Faith and my son, J. Michael Angelo (the J doesn't actually stand for anything, I just thought it was cool at the time LOL. Even though they are both young adults and do not live with me, they are still my #1 priority.
When I’m not traveling and speaking to young people, you can find me at a Jay Z concert (I may have the record of how many times I’ve seen him in concert) or hanging out with family and friends.
Allow me to introduce you to them...
Micaiah, better known as The Publicity Princess, has a degree in Public Relations and gets to hang out with celebrities. As a publicist, she’s worked with Denzel Washington, The Rock, Kevin Hart, Ludacris, Jeezy and Ice Cube just to name a few.
More importantly, she's still a "daddy's girl" and never ceases to amaze me. Inside Info: I have always called her Princess, her ringtone is Stevie Wonder’s song, “Isn’t She Lovely” and we have dinner together at least once a month.
J. Michael is a triple threat, doing work in fashion, music, and movies. He has styled the up and coming rapper @Russ. He spends his time in LA and NYC building his clothing company, The Kids of the Future. You can see some of his clothing and music at www.thekidsofthefuture.com or on IG @thekidsofthefuture.
He's such a dope soul and I couldn't be more proud of this dude. Inside Info: His nickname is Buddy, he spent his last two years of high school at a boarding school for the arts and he calls me “Poppa Doc” from the character in the film 8 Mile. Eminem was his favorite rapper at that time.
People will forget what you said, they won’t recall what you did, but they always remember how you made them feel. So, my promise to you is that I will always give my best by going the extra mile to provide an experience that is second 2 none.