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 TRISTAN LAYFIELD
Name: Tristan Layfield
Profession: Career Coach & Resume Writer
One Word That Describes You: Navigator
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
This recognition is an honor and slightly surreal. Being featured in Black Enterprise was a goal I set for myself this year and it is finally coming to fruition. Being in the company of other black men who are making their own extraordinary contributions to society is simply humbling. It bestows a sense of responsibility to continue the work I’m doing to further my impact on our community.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
The biggest example would be when I got fired from my first job after college. I was doing pathology research at the University of Michigan and my firing was completely unexpected. At first, panic set in but I then went into action mode. I found a job in retail and though I was not too thrilled about it, I worked my way up through two promotions. This led to me leaving and becoming a regional supervisor and hiring manager at a Fortune 500 biotech company, which ultimately helped birth my current work with my own company, Layfield Resume Consulting.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
Clear communication. Without it, relationships are nearly impossible to maintain.
What are some of the immediate projects you are working on?
There are a few things in my pipeline currently. I’m laying out the structure for a job search strategy course that will give in-depth information on how to master the art of writing and tailoring your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn as well as how to effectively search for positions. I’m also working on a few workshops or presentations on resumes, career development, professional development, and college readiness for a summer program at Wayne State University, and a couple of schools throughout the city of Detroit. Lastly, I just finished shooting a video series for job-seekers with a college friend who is also a LinkedIn influencer, which we are planning to release this summer.
What is the best advice you ever received?
While I honestly can’t remember who I got it from because I’ve heard it a few times, “Don’t wait until you’re ready.” I can be a perfectionist at times, but if I get too caught up in waiting for the “perfect” moment, I’ll fall into the trap of never producing anything.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Never underestimate how much forward momentum one small action can create. Get started where you can, no matter how big or small, and you’ll be well on your way to cultivating change.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
If you ask any of my friends, they will tell you that I’m a planner. My process tends to include conducting research, plotting strategies, outlining expected outcomes, and then executing. Right before any meeting or event, my anxiety tends to flare up so there’s a decent amount of hyping myself up that happens as well.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation? Share a story about your best vacation.
Currently, I don’t take many vacations but when I do they are typically with one or two good friends to have some fun. During those times, while I may bring my computer I make sure to put my out of office on and to steer clear of work to give myself time to recharge. My best vacation was last October. It was my first trip to Denver, Colorado, and my first solo vacation as an adult. I enjoyed the sights and had a bit of fun, but I also took a break and relaxed whenever I wanted. I forgot how rejuvenating it could be to just go with the flow sometimes.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I’ve been enamored with Spain since I was a young child. I honestly don’t know why, but I think I owe to myself to figure it out.
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).
My Extraordinary Impact is twofold in my eyes. First, I help millennial professionals understand that they are in control of their careers and provide them with the tools to achieve their goals. I assist them in navigating the corporate ladder so they can become the decision makers we need to manifest the change we want. Second, I work extensively with youth and young adults to help prepare them for the workforce. While all of us need jobs to sustain ourselves, most of us were never taught how to obtain and maintain a career. My goal is to change that through education and by becoming a resource to the community.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I want to thank my tribe, which consists of my grandmother, my mother, and my close friends (Clyde, Brittney, and Elena) for always being sources of motivation, accountability, and support. I’d also like to thank Black Enterprise and the BEMM committee for developing this platform and amplifying the amazing work that black men have and are continuing to do!