One of the most valuable things one can possess is time. Think about the time it takes to create a business or build a family or the time it takes to build a legacy. Time is as powerful as it is invaluable, but we can use it to make a powerful impact. Brandon Frame understands the value of time as it relates to mentorship and creating an impact for our youth. The Chief Visionary Officer for TheBlackManCan.org, a site actively promoting a positive black male image, among his many roles and talents, Brandon is also an administrator, an activist in his own right, and a pillar of the positive male strength that is needed today in our communities.
Introduction and Interview by Melissa Kimble
What inspires you to create?
What inspires me to create is my love for uplifting, empowering and inspiring others. Anything and everything that I have created since I graduated from High School was in an effort to have a positive, meaningful impact on the life another. Programs that I have created at High School, Inc., The Fessenden School, TheBlackManCan and Final Frame all are rooted in the thought of helping others. I realize that my shining bright is not about me and never will be, it’s all about lighting a path for someone else. I have to shine brightly – it’s part of my creative gift to the world.
You graduated from Morehouse College with a degree in Business Administration & Marketing and five corporate job offers waiting, but instead you chose to pursue your passion for education and youth development. Many people have a hard time pursuing their passion. How did you have the courage to trust your instinct?
I truly believe it is important to find serious value and meaning in all that you do. I knew from one of my internships that meeting the bottom line of a company was not where I found any value. I find value in meeting the bottom line of today’s young people. I was very successful in my summer internships but I found my true strengths to be in education and youth development. At that point it was on me to find ways to monetize these strengths to use them for the greater good. I wake up everyday and can say I live my passion and love my work.
In every capacity, your career has used mentorship as a platform. What sparked your interest in mentorship and why do you think it is so important?
It was through mentoring that I was able to make the growth as needed to be an upstanding man for my family, friends, students and, ultimately, for society. I have had the opportunity to have mentors come into my life in a variety of ways and each one has had an impact on me which has allowed me to move forward while making more of the right choices.
Let’s be honest, in 2012 it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know. A good mentor will share their knowledge and expertise when asked. This will keep you from making a mistake that could have been avoided.
Mentorship is essential from an academic perspective. It is my firm, believe that mentorship is the most immediate and practical way to raise achievement. In all the schools I have worked in I have created a mentoring program and the achievement levels for students involved in that program have made steady gains.
Wow…there are quite a few moments that stick out to me but I can really think of two that I reflect on most often:
My first job out of college was a Teaching Fellow at The Fessenden School and I stayed busy. I taught 7th grade English, served as a dorm parent, ran the affinity group for males of African descent, and tutored ESL students among other things; but I enjoyed my two years at Fessenden. On my last day, the students played an 8 minute video for me that they created themselves along with Lavette Coney. It showed students and faculty speaking about the impact that I had on the school and students. It brought me to tears. In my mind, I’m just doing what God put me on this earth to do, so to watch the video and hear the words coming from all these different people was a validation that I’m living a meaningful and purposeful life.
Another moment that really sticks out to me happened this year when I was nominated for the Excellence in Education Award and Excellence in Website Award at the Black Celebration Awards hosted by Black Street. I have to send a special Thank You to Jaleith Gary who sent in the nominations. I traveled down to NYC and when I heard my name called for the Excellence in Education Award I couldn’t believe it. Again, it was again another moment that validated my choice in life. I choose to be a steward to the world’s most precious and vital asset – the youth!
You’ve partnered with Black Celebrity Giving for your BlackManCan Awards, which honors extraordinary men and boys, for several years now. Has there been a moment where you’ve been surprised at its effect or the awards in general?
2012 was our first year partnering for the BMCA’s and when Jasmine Crowe, CEO and Founder of Black Celebrity Giving called me with the idea I said ‘let’s do it’. I wasn’t sure how it would be received but once we put the call out for nominations it was received so well that I am still shocked. In 2013, we are looking to actually have a live awards show and take it to the next level. I believe that the Black Man Can Awards and TheBlackManCan.org represent what people want to see on a daily basis. There is a huge market for positive programs that have an impact on society.
Malcolm X stated “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” How are you preparing for the future – including the challenges that may come?
I’m preparing for the future by coating my mind with knowledge so that it will not be penetrated by foolishness. The world is ever changing and to remain on top one must continue to learn. Knowledge is currency.
When you watch television and you see all that is going on in the world, it is important to be well informed on as many topics as possible. I do not want to be swayed by the opinions of others but instead make choices on my own because I’m well informed. Challenges will forever be in the horizon but if I’m well informed and have the right people in my circle I will turn stumbling blocks into stepping-stones.
For More on Brandon:
Twitter: @TheBlackManCan | @brandonframe | @finalframeties