BE Modern Man is an integrative program that honors the essence, image, and accomplishments of today’s man of color. With features of today’s leaders, executives, creatives, students, politicians, entrepreneurs, professionals, and agents of change—these men share the common thread of creating a new normal while setting the bar in tech, art, philanthropy, business, and beyond. The BE Modern Man is making a positive impact, his way, and has a story to tell.
BE MODERN MAN SHAUN ANDERSON
Name: Shaun Anderson
Profession: Assistant Professor
One word that describes you: Innovative
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
I remember being an undergraduate student at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff seeing many business leaders that I admired giving their strategies to success in Black Enterprise magazine. While reading their stories, it inspired me to reach for greatness. Now that I have been selected as a BEMM, I feel excited and responsible for helping to groom the next generation of leaders, thinkers, and doers.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
Whenever I am leading a talk or lecture on success, I almost always share my story, “From Janitor to Ph.D.” It was during my undergraduate years that I paid my way through college by working as a full-time janitor while attending college full-time. You can imagine how difficult that was, but I was able to persevere to earn my Ph.D. with a W.E.B. DuBois fellowship. Although there were bouts of homelessness, car repossessions, and a loss of a home along the way, my faith in God never wavered and I am here today to inspire others!
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
Authenticity! I want to be around people who can be open and honest with each other. Moreover, I enjoy spending time with people who remain their true selves without feeling the need to fit in with others. Being one’s true self is one of the most powerful tools to survive in today’s world.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
Currently, I am working on a multi-phase, global research project that examines the platform of sport for development and peace. Specifically, I focus on the collaboration between citizens in low-income neighborhoods and sport organizations during community revitalization initiatives. My current projects have me collecting and analyzing data in the Greater Los Angeles area and London.
What is the best advice you ever received?
I was listening to a sermon by T.D. Jakes and he said something that really opened my eyes during my time of struggle. It was that I should never try to explain the vision for my life to other people. They will either not understand it or try to discourage me from pursuing it. These words I stick by to this day.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Never minimize who you are while trying to make a difference for others. We all have different gifts. Some of us are great lawyers and some of us are great fathers. Some of us are great barbers and some of us are great grass roots organizers. Society has an interesting way of telling us that we have to fit a certain mold in order to be successful and help others. Take time to discover your unique gift and work it from there.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
I like seclusion. I will go off into a room in my house or close the door in my office, dim the lights, play some jazz, and collect my thoughts before an important meeting and/or event. This helps me think and focus on doing the best job possible.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation? Share a story about your best vacation.
I love sight-seeing. For example, I can literally stand for hours viewing the pyramids in Egypt or Stonehenge in England. One of the best vacations that I ever had was when I spent nine days in Accra, Ghana. The people, the way of life, and the sights were some of the most spectacular that I have ever seen. When I went to the slave castles and received the history lesson from the tour guide, it had to be the most eye-opening experience that I have ever been a part of. At the end of the tour, the guide led us through the “Door of No Return,” which is what African captives went through as they were forced on boats that took them to the United States and parts of the Caribbean to be slaves. What almost brought me to tears was when I was able to walk back through the “Door of No Return” as a ceremonial gesture that welcomed African Americans back to Africa! This experience changed my mind forever and focused me even more on using my platform to create positive social change.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
This is a hard one for me. I’ve always wanted to go to (Madrid) Spain, do a safari in Nairobi, Kenya, or walk on the Great Wall of China. But, I believe that London would be the place that I could stay. London is one of the more culturally diverse cities in the world. From the foods to the sights, this city has everything to enjoy big city living, while also relaxing on the countryside. As of now, this city would definitely be one of my top choices to visit and stay.
What is your “Extraordinary Impact”? (Describe how you are making a major difference for others, in a way that distinguishes you as extraordinary in your profession and/or day-to-day life).
While many have utilized the platform of sport to discuss larger societal issues over recent years, I work to utilize the platform in order to engage in tangible solutions for global issues through my research and consulting work in the realm of sport. Athlete activism is one of the most powerful tools utilized to engage in a call for action. I believe that now is the time to answer the call so that individuals and communities are positively affected and my current research works to achieve this goal. I have worked with several sport organizations in their Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives and I am looking forward to working with others.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I would like to thank the BEMM committee for developing this platform that recognizes individuals who are doing extraordinary things in their respective communities. I’ve always admired the stories and tips that Black Enterprise has shared over the years and I’m glad that my contributions will be able to help others along the way!