Encouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes gives a DERRICK Interview by asking 7 questions through each letter of his first name to give you an insightful perspective from other experts, entrepreneurs, celebrities and up and coming super stars.
Today’s DERRICK Interview is with Johnny “ Slin-K” Brownlee who is speaker and author of Getting In Our Own Way: The Degradation of Student Organizations. He was two time Director of Florida Atlantic University’s former agency, Black Student Union & Multicultural Programming. An organization that at the time,had 600+ members and six-figure budgets.
D is for Dream. What is your dream and what have you achieved?
I want to empower generations of people to think for themselves, be who they are, celebrate who they are and that are willing to be engaged and involved in their own liberation. I don’t want to see another generation of people feel helpless or dictated to. I want people to be able to be Pro whatever, without feeling to be Anti anything. I want a world where we can celebrate our differences and at the same time recognize the connections that we have in common.
E is for Encourage. What encourages you?
My grandmother’s wisdom, my grandfather’s silent strength and the strength and wisdom of elders in general. I really love the generation of people that overcame against all odds, and did what had to be done, rather than talking about what needed to be done. Lastly the unknown encourages me, you never who is watching and being inspired by what you say and what you do, and you never know how close you are to changing history.
R is for Resource. What resources do you bring to the table that makes you unique or stand out?
I have a “can do” attitude. I don’t believe in impossible, I believe we just haven’t figured out how or what we need to do it (that IT can be anything) yet. If it can be dreamed it has to be possible.
Also I bring a set of experiences no one else has. I’m not afraid to be called crazy or to think outside the box. You don’t fix problems with the same thinking that created them.
R is for Ready? When did you realize you were ready for what you are doing now?
People have been telling me I would affect and encourage people since I was a child. People continually told me I should speak, the first ten conferences I applied for I got accepted to all of them to my surprise, and one of those was at Yale. And at a few conferences other speakers have come to my workshop and people were telling me to write a book, and encouraging me of the importance of doing so. So I have continued speaking and I finally wrote the book. People see things in me I try to suppress sometimes
I is for Individual. Name at least one person that you know that you feel others should learn about and why?
Lucson Joseph. He is the leader and founder of the National Haitian Student Alliance. He is encouraging a generation of students and molding leaders to learn and appreciate their culture, country and history, and to make changes on their campus, community and homeland. It’s Empowering to watch him in action and see his passion.
C is for Continue. When you fail, things look bleak or are not optimistic what makes you want to continue?
Faith and the Unknown. I have faith that change is closer than we expect, the breakthrough that changes everything is right around the corner, a few steps away, one speech away, one workshop away. Also I don’t want to quit, because I don’t know who my quitting affects. You never know who is following you. I don’t want them to quit or feel let down.
K is for Key. What keys to success can you leave for upcoming entrepreneurs and leaders?
You are your own savior and super hero. Everything you need already exists in you, to save your self. Stop waiting for the next great …and be the first, or let’s all just be great together and achieve by committee. Strength is in Unity. Let’s put the needs of WE over the convenience of ME a little bit more and watch the things we can achieve.
Is there anything that we did not touch on that you would like to inspire others with?
Yes, I want students to know that they’re in the perfect position in their lives to change the world. Don’t use or allow anyone to use your economic status, your age, culture, race, or lack of experience to discredit or discourage you from making changes on any level. Have Strong determination and don’t be afraid of change. A few people really can change the world; they’re he only ones that ever have.
Visit Johnny “ Slin-K” Brownlee for more information.