Episode 18: Take Your Shot with Henry Keculah, Jr.

“Winning scholarships is mostly about being able to tell your story and hitting the submit button.” – Henry Keculah, Jr.

Welcome back Story Tellers! Today’s main character is Henry Keculah, Jr. (@henrykeculahjr)

Henry is the founder and CEO of 4.0 of Growth Productivity Accountability (4.0 GPA). Brought up in Houston, Texas, Henry was raised in a single-parent home by a mother who migrated to the U.S. from Liberia. He was a first-generation citizen, and attended school in Alief ISD. While in school, Henry had been completely unaware of the important role that class ranking and GPA played when it came to attending college. He also had never gone on a college tour prior to attending his university’s summer orientation.

Thankfully, Henry was able to turn things around. In his junior year of high school, Henry learned that his GPA could determine not only what colleges he could have access to, but also which scholarships he could apply for, as well. He ended graduating from high school with a 2.5 GPA and gaining admission to The University of Texas at Austin despite not being in the “Top 10%” of his graduating class. In college, he applied himself further still – he finished his freshman year at The University of Texas with a 4.0 GPA, and would garner several scholarships over the course of his academic career there.

Upon graduating from The University of Texas, Henry was accepted into the Teach for America corps, with whom he served as a high school teacher in Houston. As an educator, Henry committed himself to giving his students the opportunities he had not had, so they would be better prepared for college. For example, he often took students on college tours to institutions throughout the United States. Even when he ended his tenure with Teach for America, he continued to take Houston-area students to college tours (like The University of Texas’s annual “Explore UT” event) on a yearly basis.

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Episode 17: Discover how to Brand You with Stephen A. Hart

“Your brand is the promise you make to your customers.” – Stephen A. Hart

Welcome back Story Tellers! Today’s main character is Stephen A. Hart (@stephenahart)

Born and raised in Jamaica, Stephen is a man of God, husband, father, brand and marketing strategist, serial entrepreneur,  and host of Trailblazers.FM Stephen is a highly sought after Digital Brand Strategist and Marketing Professional who LOVES to help individuals and businesses design, build, and optimize their brand, digital/social media and marketing strategy.

Stephen started Trailblazers.FM after growing frustrated with the media’s portrayal of black people.  The negative tone, and those touted as role models for black children usually include athletes, musicians, and reality television personalities.  Many black men and women are doing amazing things and Stephen uses the Trailblazers.FM platform to share their stories each week.

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Episode 16: Throw a party and just get started with Tara James

“I do whatever I need to do, to get the money to go, where I want to go.” – Tara James

Welcome back Story Tellers! Today’s main character is Tara James (@bymsjames). 

When Tara was younger, her father would buy her greeting cards filled with black imagery and messaging she could relate to.  At the time, Tara felt the cards were “super corny,” and never understood why giving her a card  with a black image gracing the cover and a message on the inside she could relate to, meant so much to her father.

As is often the case, Tara’s perspective has changed with time, particularly with the birth of her son. Like her father, Tara had a burning desire to recreate and (re)inspire others with positive and relatable images of black people. 

By Ms James is a paper goods and greeting card company based on the real life experiences and adventures of Tara James. Like Tara, each card contains a funny, honest, quirky, lovable and extremely relatable message.  Her beliefs are her own but are shared with and by many. 

 

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Episode 14: Entrepreneurship is a mindset and can’t be taught, with Greg Henzel

  “I wasn’t willing to trade my time wholesale to someone who would then retail it out.”  -Greg Henzel

Welcome back Story Tellers! Today’s main character is Greg Henzel, aka The Saving Swami (@savingswami). 

A serial entrepreneur and ultimate hustler, Greg has always had a passion for building businesses from the ground up.  As Saving Swami, helping businesses and families save money is a top priority.  All businesses, large and small, can benefit from The Saving Swami’s negotiating expertise and complementary wise counsel. While at the bargaining table lowering your monthly invoices, the Swami will make sure there are no errors or mistakes made by your vendors.

Subscribe on Apple Podcast | Google Play Music | Stitcher Radio| Soundcloud 

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Episodes 08 & 09: Jason Panda, CEO and founder of B Condoms

(Part 1)

(Part 2)

 

“I was on the forced Jenny Craig Plan. You go to bed early and wake up late in order to avoid eating.” -Jason Panda 

In this powerful addition of “Tell Your Story,” I caught up with Jason Panda, CEO and founder of B Condoms. Jason and I first met freshman year (1997) while attending Boston University. However, after one year of taking the “T” up and down Commonwealth Ave, we both decided to move on from the university.  I transferred to Northeastern University after BU dropped the football program (more on this another time), and Jason transferred to Morehouse College; eventually graduating with a bachelors degree in biology . The Brockton Mass native went on to earn a law degree from Georgetown despite knowing early on that law was not the career path for him.

Through social media, I’ve been able to keep tabs on Jason throughout the years.  Admittedly, when I reached out to Jason to discuss the idea of telling his story, I thought the narrative would center around his decision to leave law to start his own condom company. Think about that for a second. A successful attorney making great money decides to leave corporate law to start a condom business makes for a pretty interesting story.  However, the journey of overcoming multiple failures, and lost partnerships is what makes Jason’s story both compelling and inspirational.

Subscribe on Apple Podcast | Google Play Music | Stitcher RadioSoundcloud 

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