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 Ed Wisdom, III, motivational speaker, mentor, and the founder of The Edward H. Wisdom Jr. Foundation established in 2012 in honor of his father who was murdered by an “at-risk” teen, has powered himself to the forefront with his initiatives on growth and empowerment in areas of manhood, fatherhood, youth, parenting, family and community. These initiatives include efforts in spiritual, philosophical, psychological, emotional, social, and financial development.Earlier this year, Wisdom was the keynote speaker for Black History Month at Austin Peay State University where he spoke on excellence and 2 Corinthians 8:7, “excel in everything.” Wisdom was the first African American keynote speaker at the governor’s 11th annual Tennessee Season To Remember in 2013 to honor and remember victims of homicide. Wisdom was also guest speaker at the Citywide Trayvon Martin Walk on Capitol Hill.
Wisdom has delivered his message all over the city, at prisons, juvenile detention centers, churches, schools,universities, throughout the media, and more. He explains how “iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” to articulate to men that we have a responsibility in helping other individuals grow. Wisdom also conveys the idea that “a good man leaves behind a [legacy] for his children’s children” (Proverbs 13:22) promoting the leadership of men in powering families with gifts passed from generation to generation.
Wisdom is in Senior Management in Management Information Systems (MIS) at Vanderbilt University following his father’s, Ed Wisdom Jr., footsteps as he was the Directorof MIS at TSU. Wisdom not only followed his father in his career but in his heritage in character, integrity, and much more. Wisdom is a graduate of Tennessee State University (TSU), where he also earned his Masters’ degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Business Information Systems.
His son Erik Wisdom has followed these same footsteps earning a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Business Information Systems at Tennessee State University, thus fulfilling the legacy good men leave behind “for their children’s children.”
Ed Wisdom III was the creator of The Gentleman’s Agreement: The Rebirth of the Black Man, held at Vanderbilt University, a discussion on Growth and Empowerment; The Rebirth Vol. II Brainwashed with author and advertising genius Tom Burrell held at Tennessee State University; Life, Love, Legacy and Leadership; The Go Further, Go Farther, Go FATHER Fatherhood Initiative at Fisk University, and much more.
Wisdom is very active in the case involving the tragic murder of his father and has been very vocal in the media, with law enforcement, politician, community organizations, and more. He is a proven leader in the community.
D is for Dream. What is your dream, goals or what have you achieved?
My goal is to help men grow spiritually, philosophically, psychologically, emotionally, socially, and financially to find their true identity. If you take a look at 2 Corinthians 8:7, it speaks to “excelling in everything” in those areas…faith (spiritual), speech and knowledge (philosophical),…complete earnestness (psychological), the love (emotional), others (social), in order that we may become rich (financial), understanding that the word financial is a Latin word where the prefix FIN means complete, or settled up and not necessarily wealthy. My dream is to see this through to fruition with those I directly (or even indirectly) influence in order that they have that same “cultural capital” to pass on to those they lead.
E is for Education. What is your educational background and how do you use it daily?
I have a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Business Administration / Management Information Systems. I serve as Senior Manager of Database Administration in Vanderbilt University Information Technology department. In addition to that, I provide IT consulting services through my own company. I am a motivational speaker as well, so my dissemination of information to help individuals make intelligent decisions comes in a couple of different forms; technology and human interaction.
R is for Resource. What resources do you bring to the table that makes you unique or stand out?
If you trace the lineage from my grandfather, Ed Sr., through to my son, I offer a compelling story for men and our responsibilities as it relates to life, love, legacy, and leadership and how each of us have overachieved in those areas through building good names, character and integrity. Each of us of was resilient, each with different sets of adversity. My grandfather’s father died when he was 7, his mother when he was 17, and he had nothing more than a 7th grade education, however he traveled the world by sea 5 times over; raised 8 children (6 boys) who were college educated and/or decorated military veterans; and built a trucking business on good character. My father during a time of racial divide was close lifelong friends with Olympic great Wilma Rudolph, a decorated paratrooper of the 82nd Airborne Parachute Infantry and the all-black 555th Airborne Parachute Battalion (Tripe Nickles), the 1st African American to teach at Clarksville High School in Clarksville, TN after integration, was 1 of 2 of the first African Americans to work in IBMs top secret security clearance facility in Atlantic City, NJ, and went on to become the Director of MIS at Tennessee State University for nearly 40 years. Myself, I followed my father’s footsteps in Information Systems and after his tragic murder in 2011, I formed a foundation in his name to share with men ideas on legacy and leadership. My son, followed in Information Systems and Technology as well and was raised in my household, a single parent household, and has risen in excellence. All of this combined forms a unique story that I share with men on how to manifest through identities.
R is for Ready. When did you realize you were ready for what you are doing now?
When my son was born, I felt my father had equipped me with everything in life to be a good man, a great leader, and do great things, and fatherhood would be my change to prove it. It catapulted me into a role that was greater than just heading my own household but in leading young boys and men connected to my son who lacked male leadership at home. When my father was murdered I was certain that my purpose was to do exactly what I had been doing and was to continue demonstrating to men through my actions and also my words as a motivational speaker as to exactly what it took to become a real man.
Uchendi Nwani. He has a very intriguing story about his fall, then rise to becoming a respected leader and entrepreneur. We grew up together in the same church where his stepfather was the Pastor. We went to high school together, and have been friends for years. Uchendi is the Author of “The Millionaire Barber Stylist” and the owner of International Barber and Style which is largest barber college in the United States.
C is for Challenges. What challenges have you had to overcome?
The adversity through the murder of my father, my hero, in late 2011 has been and is my greatest challenge. I believe I have taken it on with resilience and have ensured that the works that he began continue in the likeness of his good name. I am still engulfed deeply in the continued investigation into my father’s murder and I am strengthened each day by my purpose to lead my family through this to and get back to more peaceful days.
K is for Key. What keys to success can you leave for upcoming entrepreneurs and leaders?
Success comes in building a good name, character and integrity and understanding that success is less about accomplishments and more about the manifestation of your identity as a visionary, a leader, and an overachiever. Success is also understanding that good leadership is not about you as much as it is about them, those who follow. Your goal is to develop those who follow you, making them leaders, some of whom are equipped to pass your vision on to in order to keep your vision alive.
Visit Ed Wisdom III for more information.