BE Modern Man: Chris Staten
Executive, career success and development speaker, fitness coach; 27; Client Partner Executive, IBM; Co-Chair, Greater Boston Black Network at IBM
One of my mottos is to do everything I can while I can. This drives me to be committed to my career success and community in various ways.
As for my career, I am a client partner executive at IBM interfacing with clients to help them be more competitive and innovative from a technological standpoint. The division I work in generates about 40% of IBM’s annual revenue.
I also co-chair the Greater Boston Black Network at IBM, championing community for over 60 black IBMers in the Boston Area.
For my community, I speak at colleges and high schools about the importance of “professional presence” and the need for career exploration. My passion for career success and development for the next generation comes from my own experiences when I found it challenging to find a career that aligned with my interests and needs upon graduating undergrad. As of April 2019, I have touched over 200 students in college and high school regarding their career pursuits.
I serve as a fitness coach at OrangeTheory Fitness, as I am passionate about health and wellness, especially in the black community. Weekly, I coach over 100 clients as they get closer to their fitness goals.
I also serve as a mentor with Minds Matter Boston, which helps gifted youth who come from low-income backgrounds gain admission and scholarships to college.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN LIFE?
I am most proud of being a son, brother, uncle, and mentor to the next generation!
HOW HAVE YOU TURNED STRUGGLE INTO SUCCESS?
I wasn’t the best student in high school, barely graduating with a 2.0 GPA. I attended junior college and had to walk 45 minutes one-way to class in my freshman year. There were times where I questioned what I was doing and why I was doing it. I was also a football player, an undersized one at that, which deepened my doubt that I could take that next step in life.
I refused to give up because I knew that all of my actions were positive contributions to my long-term success. I knew consistency and daily deposits would yield a return on my investment.
Fast forward! I earned a Division-1 scholarship and succeeded academically. I was honored with a couple of dean’s list awards and became a starter during my senior year at Murray State University.
This 4-5 year struggle proved to me that “trusting the process” is key!
WHO WAS YOUR GREATEST MALE ROLE MODEL AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM HIM?
I am fortunate to have a community of black men that poured into me at an early age. My father, grandfather, brothers, and family friends, they all saw my greatness before I did.
I learned from them that there is a season for everything. There is a season to have fun and there is a season to be serious and take care of business. These seasons can be days, weeks, or even years long. However, you have to be cognizant of which season you are in.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
Don’t just do the right things; do things right!
HOW ARE YOU PAYING IT FORWARD TO SUPPORT OTHER BLACK MALES?
I mentor formally through organizations and informally as many young black males contact me though LinkedIn and Instagram soliciting guidance.
I also speak at high schools and colleges on topics such as career success, exploration, and navigation, professional presence, black male achievement, diversity and inclusion, and various topics about the technology industry.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE MANHOOD?
For me, manhood is about delivering on your promises to your family, loved ones, and others who are around you. Manhood is not shying away from high expectations, but rising to each occasion by giving your best effort. This applies to men in both our professional and personal lives.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT BEING A BLACK MAN?
Unfortunately, a narrative has been painted about black men that show us as docile and misguided. When I show up, whether it is in a business meeting or at a family reunion, the respect that is given an educated and strong black man whose opinions are fact-based is what I like the most.
BE Modern Man is an online and social media campaign designed to celebrate black men making valuable contributions in every profession, industry, community, and area of endeavor. Each year, we solicit nominations in order to select men of color for inclusion in the 100 Black Enterprise Modern Men of Distinction. Our goal is to recognize men who epitomize the BEMM credo “Extraordinary is our normal” in their day-to-day lives, presenting authentic examples of the typical black man rarely seen in mainstream media. The BE Modern Men of Distinction are celebrated annually at Black Men XCEL (dev.blackenterprise.com/blackmenxcel/). Click this link to submit a nomination for BE Modern Man: https://dev.blackenterprise.com/nominate/. Follow BE Modern Man on Twitter: @bemodernman and Instagram: @be_modernman.