In celebration of Black History month, Get on the Box is pleased to present Black Excellence: Sharing the stories of High Achievers.” In this month long series, GOTB will publish two episodes per week (Wednesday and Sunday) highlighting the accomplishments and contributions of nine African American High Achievers.
“We gotta stir the pot or there’s going to be some stuff that burns at the bottom.”– Alex Askew
At 14 he received his first job offer as a personal chef through a high school vocational work program and after 6 years of working in a variety of restaurants in and out of New York City decided to attend the Culinary Institute of America and graduated in 1989.
With a focus on eating lifestyles and trends in new menu alternatives, he began food research, development, and consulting for companies; General Mills, Hilton Hotels, Aramark Corporation, Specialty Restaurants and a host of private clients. Alex has also created one of the most unique consortium of chefs under one group (ALS Culinary Concepts) for consulting in areas of menu development, R&D, start up operations, systems and controls, food manufacturing, business planning and concept reviews.
“If you don’t have passion don’t even think about getting on the box”
– Matt Phelps
Welcome back Story Tellers! Today’s main character is Matt Phelps, (@metabolicmatt)
As the founder of Metabolic Meltdown in 2008, Matt has assisted thousands of clients in their quest to lose weight, gain energy, and build strength. With fitness as his lifelong passion, Matt has a relentless drive to improve, an intense training style, and an authentic concern for his clients (particularly those who went to his alma mater, Siena College), all of which make him one of the top trainers in the Capital Region. Clients at the gym have a “love-hate” relationship with Matt, as many of them hate him during the workout, and love the way he makes them feel when they are done!
As Chief Marketing Officer of Agency Nation, an insurance-centric digital media company, Ryan leverages his eight years as a retail insurance agent to educate and engage more than 300,000 insurance professionals annually. With more than a dozen Fortune 1000 insurance companies as clients, he uses social and content marketing to attract, nurture and deliver consumer attention to over 20,000 independent insurance agencies across the US, yielding millions in new business premium each year. Ryan shares his unique industry experience and expertise on YouTube, in “The Show.”
“Sometimes we got to say no to good things so we can do great things ” – Andy Holloway
Welcome back Story Tellers! Today’s main character is Andy Holloway, (@andyholloway)
Andy is the co-host of The Fantasy Footballers podcast. The Fantasy Footballers podcast is an award-winning independent fantasy football podcast that records and produces fantasy football content all year long. The show is focused on producing and developing content that is highly accurate, highly entertaining, and of a high production quality.
The show debuted in 2014 and is hosted by Andy Holloway, Jason Moore, and Mike “The Fantasy Hitman” Wright. As three longtime friends and former tech/gaming professionals, they saw a need for a fresh take in the fantasy football universe, so they hiked up their trousers, combed their beards, and went to work.
“Don’t skip something that you are meant to learn now, its preparing you for the future.” – Jes Perez
Welcome back Story Tellers! Today’s main character is Jes Perez, (@itsjesperez)
As a little girl growing up in the Dominica Republic, Jes always knew she wanted to pursue a career in entertainment. As founder and host of Industry High, Jes combines her passion for media and consumer culture to connect with children and millennials. She brings a fun and focused work ethic, creative energy and a love for social media and television production wherever she goes.
“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.
“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.FMStephen 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.
“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.
Millennials are easily the most scrutinized and misunderstood generation of my lifetime. Often labeled as entitled, self adsorbed, and lazy, Jonathan is out to shatter these notions by living on purpose. He’s on a mission to empower and inspire students and millennials with his weekly “Process to success series,” keynote presentations, and student development sessions. Truly on a mission to help millennials and students achieve success, Jonathon wrote Process, 14 Surprisingly Simple Behaviors to Skyrocket Millennials to Success.
Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Jonathan Jones is the youngest of two boys. Always encouraged by his loving parents to reach for the stars, Jonathan attended Richland College and played for the men’s 2009 Junior College National Championship basketball team while earning an Associate Degree. Jonathan has always had the heart to serve others but especially wants to facilitate youth to pursue a better tomorrow.