I was sharing with a colleague the amount of turnover my team has experienced in a 13 month period. Of course, I internalized these things because no one desires to see their team members disappearing. I explained the training and knowledge transfer is costly, and honestly draining. She gave me a lashing on taking it personally and directed me to take a step back and view this situation from a leadership perspective.
- What are the opportunities for growth on your team?
- Have you received any feedback on your leadership style?
- What development strategies are in place for them to learn?
- Have you done a market survey to compare roles and responsibilities an aligned their salaries accordingly?
- Do you find joy in the work you are doing and the team you are leading?
After running down these points and questions, I made a statement, and she responded, “That explains it all.” At age 46 years old, I shared with her that I’ve only had four jobs in my life. She was floored. She paused…for a long time, and said, “How fortunate you are to have that type of longevity.” She’s right, I’ve always been a loyalist. Maybe blindly but I love people, but a love of people doesn’t keep people on your team. Ironically, money doesn’t either. In meeting with a senior executive recruiter and retention specialist, she came in to overview the entire layout of my team structure. We whiteboarded for a full hour on different concepts and ideas. She was floored by my ingrained knowledge and intentionality. “Tony, this (company name withheld) is the perfect training ground, but your expectation in an IT support role is unrealistic. You have two years max for people in a support role. Anyone that extends beyond that is primarily due to three reasons.”
- They have a life issue, and it’s convenient for them to stay
- They have room for growth and will take advantage of what they are learning
- They haven’t put in the work and have no transferable skills, and they are merely stuck
- They like what they do
Learning this gave perspective; employment attrition is cyclical. Everyone isn’t fortunate enough, desires to, or is designed to remain at specific jobs for long and if you’re dealing with millennials, they are thirsty for knowledge, and they often move at the speed of light through various employers until they find what’s right for them. I guess I pose all this to clear my thoughts, get your thoughts, and gather your experience as leaders, as millennials, as employment seekers. What makes you stay?
“I’ve always been an opportunist over money. Money grants access, opportunity grants expansion.” ~ ALB
Kells the Artist is beyond Spoken Word. He’s a wordsmith and a Hip-Hop artist who is destined to make waves in Chicago. I first saw this young man at Dr. Finney’s church on the South Side of Chicago and learned then he’s a member of the group Team At Ease. Since then, he has remained a part of that spoken word group and has started his own team called EPIC. I sat down to chop it up with him about life and his upcoming project.
How long have you been writing?
- I’ve been writing since I was about 7. I started taking it seriously when I found out I was actually kinda good at putting sentences together.
What was it like growing up for you in Chicago?
- It was difficult at first because I grew up in the projects of the Southside.
- I spent a majority of my life as a follower. Doing what appeared to be cool. Chicago has a certain swag I felt I had to keep up with until I started thinking for myself.
Do you have a mentor? If so, who is it and why?
- Yes, I do have a mentor. My mentor is Jesus. I say Jesus, because he’s the perfect example of the person I intend to be like.
What does EPIC stand for and what are your goals for the organization?
- Epic stands for Effectively Producing Immaculate Creativity. My goal is to cause people to believe in their own dreams enough that they actually to accomplish them.
You have a CD coming out this April 13, what’s the title?
- It’s called CloudTalk.
What is the motivation for the CD and what can people expect?
- Today’s rap music is what motivated me to do it. I will not let real hip hop die, lol. People can expect a refreshing uplifting experience from start to finish, with motivating lyrics and great affirmations.
How do you stay motivated?
- I stay motivated by knowing that no matter what I can ALWAYS do better. I know where I came from and I’ll be damned if I go back!
What is something people have assumed about you that may be inaccurate?
- Two things: First, that I’m arrogant. I have a certain level of confidence that can be mistaken for arrogance. Secondly, that I’m not shy! Since I’m a performer nobody believes I can be shy, lol.
After this CD, what’s next for you?
- Book number two. I will finally sit down and finish working on my second book.
- Where can people find you in the social media world?
Join Kells The Artist Friday at 2239 South Michigan for his CD Release and Birthday Party at 7PM.
There was a song that I vaguely remember from my childhood and School House Rock Days. It is titled, The Great American Melting Pot.
This song, though missing a colorful representation of African Americans and Native Americans, was the premise of which American culture was shaped and formed in some sense. There were no immigration papers, and it was an open policy for all who could merely arrive here by boat. I used to unnerve my brother when I would awake every morning and sing the National Anthem (let’s leave out the historical context of the reason this song was written; I desire to stay in my euphoric state for this blog). On Friday, a colleague shared that he had officially become an American citizen. Considering the demographic I serve, as a technologist and corporate motivator, I asked his permission to share his photo and his story. So…enjoy my colleague Armando in our Q & A.
ME: Armando, on March 29, you became an American Citizen, this is a fantastic journey. How long have you been in the US? Where are you from originally?
A: I have been in the US for almost 25 years. I’m originally from Mexico City.
ME: When and why did you come to America?
A: I came in September 1993 as a child. My father died in 1990, and my mother did not have any formal education. During this time the government started privatizing many factories because of NAFTA’s new regulations. My mother lost her job in the same year, and she had no other option but to immigrate to the US.
ME: What opportunities do you have in the US that were not available in Mexico?
A: One of the opportunities I did not have in Mexico was an education. After losing her job, my mother was not able to keep paying for both my brother’s and my education.
ME: Not looking for a right or wrong viewpoint, but what do you see as major cultural differences in the US vs. your home of origin?
A: I want to say a major change was the language. For me, it took me a few years to start communicating and adapting to American culture. Other than language, I noticed that in the United States, Americans spend more time in their profession, so much so that in some cases, work is first and second is family. Children are often raised more independently and are encouraged to be independent of their family.
ME: Do you think you will take your skills to your country origin in the future?
A. I don’t see my future back in Mexico. I have my family here, and I don’t see my wife and kids moving to Mexico.
ME: Some people frown on immigrants who are not “legalized” citizens. With Congress being inactive or slow on DACA, what do you recommend for DACA recipients who are here of many ethnicities and countries, and they’re striving for US citizenship?
A: To all DACA recipients, I want to share my personal story. After graduating from high school, I did not have many options to continue my education since I was undocumented. My only options were work in a factory like the rest of my family or go back to Mexico and try to continue my education, but neither of these two options was an alternative for me.
I wanted to go to college and pursue a higher education. I decided to attend my community college, and while attending college, I worked in a restaurant to be able to pay for my education and help my family. After four years I earned two Associate’s Degrees: one in Computer Science and the second in Arts. It was not an easy accomplishment. In 2010 I was able to fix my immigration status and started working in my field.
ME: You are graduating from college with your degree in Information Technology and have become a US Citizen in the same year, what does this mean for you and your family?
A: After fixing my immigration status I was able to go back to finish my BA. During this long journey with many sacrifices, I never lost faith in my dreams. With the support of my wife and my community, in fall of 2018, I will be finishing my BA in Computer Network Security.
This year also gave me the chance to accomplish another dream–becoming a US Citizen finally. This means so much to me. Now I want to keep helping my community and many other dreamers.
I want to thank Armando for allowing me to share his truly inspiriational story. It is one of many and we hope and pray, there are more to come.
Armando is a technologist for a major educational institution in Chicago, IL.
It feels like months
Where have I traveled?
A place of mystery and uncertainty
I can’t believe I am here
In this place, at this moment
Thinking, relishing, questioning
My purpose, my call, my existence
Surrounded but alone
Clinging to hope yet untethered
Trapped in the crevices of thought
I’ve traveled here before
It’s uncomfortable, that face, the reflection
Its shadow reaching out to hug me
Whispers of I love you, you have a purpose
You exist for a reason
I don’t embrace it
I turn off the light
Tears run down the mirror
I’ve been here before, it hasn’t been days
It’s been hours
In front of an empty table
Food cold, coffee bland, water lukewarm
Depression says hello
Well folks, it has been a year. So many downs and so many more ups. Yet, I thought I’d end the year on some greatness and what I have done so far.
- I set out to lose 25 pounds; I lost 10.2. That’s major yal! I lost half a size in my neck. 18.5 to 18.
- Completed six songs on my album and looking forward to working with one of Tupac’s producers in 2018.
- Spit an ill flow on my man Double G.’s album for the song “Ambassador”.
- Conducted some of the greatest young adult conversations on Christian living at my church.
- Another year with my CHAMPS mentees and POET family.
- I was promoted to Director of Information Technology in May of this year. Major career move. Growing and still searching for a mentor. Until then, The Lord is guiding as He see fits. Not sure what’s next for me but hanging tough.
- Had a very successful year at NIU. The journey towards my bachelors degree continues.
- Fell completely in love with https://beautybeyondbones.com/ blog. She really is my drive for consistency and creativity as a blogger. Keep me moving beautiful and thanks for sharing your heart and experiences.
- I dropped my first single, Soul Restoration, and video with the fabulous Restore. A whopping 48 copies sold, yet, I don’t despise small beginnings.
- I completed a pretty dope class on Fatherhood and it’s challenged me to be a more intentional parent, father, and husband.
- I will be writing for rapremnant.com in 2018.
No resolutions for 2018. I am learning to live, love, and laugh at 47 years of age. I’m putting fear in front of me as a stepping stool to faith and trust in Yeshua. I’m realizing the Creator has no boundaries. I’m fighting against depression with lots of Joy, Love, and Prayer and of course counseling because I’m unashamed. I can’t hope the best for 2018, I have to be the best for my family, my church, my job, my ministry work, my community work, and the young people and young adults I mentor. I look forward to this year. I look forward to the journey. I look forward to sharing it with you all.
Blessings and Happy New Year.
I am not a perfect dad. If the cameras where rolling in my house last week, even while in a class led by a good friend on godly fathering, you may have even questioned my day to day life. It was one of those moments when a father reacts in emotion and not under the guise of the Holy Spirit. Yet, a few hours later I apologized to my wonderful, beautiful, and intelligent daughter. 12 year-olds know how to push buttons.
Our final class was a couple of days later. “So brothers, how did it go last week?” To which I confessed, “I blew it but I grew it”. That translates to, I blew what I learned the previous week but grew in what I learned the previous week also. One of the things we discussed on being Godly Father’s was owning our mistakes with our children.
Our theme scripture comes from Ephesians 6:4, which translates in The Message Bible, “Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand an lea them in the way of the Master”. In conjunction with the previous text, Proverbs 22:6 (train up a child) and I Timothy 3:4-5 where key scriptures in our development and training process. The three goals of the class are as follows:
- Educate men on the distinction between a “good father” and a “godly father”
- Provide practical principles that define godly character and development
- Create an apparatus where men can commit to being a godly father
- Culminate this apparatus with a Commitment Letter to our families addressed to the wife and children of each represented household.
My cousin Arlene raised her two children along with my brother and me. Years before she passed on to Glory we had a heart to heart and with tears in her eyes said, “I messed up with you all, especially you, and I’m sorry”. (Had to pause after crying a little myself while typing this). Ownership is so key on journey of becoming great parents. So, we’ve begun an intentional journey together as fathers. 6 men with 15 children between us have vowed to share our trials, our successes, our failures, and our financial planning for their future, with several other strategic commitments with a focus on seven developmental areas.
7 Practical Principles: A Guide to Train and Point my Child in the Direction of the Lord
by Elder Marlon Medious
- Imparting principles of life: Forgiveness, apologizing, mercy, truth, and the living the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5)
- Teaching godly habits
- Protecting against moral dangers through appropriate discipline
- Instilling daily prayer
- Leading Bible Study at least once a month in the home
- Engaging in interactive church participation
- Explaining how decisions are made regarding their lives and choices
Proverbs 20:7 (AMP) reads, “The righteous man who walks in integrity and lives life in accord with his [godly] beliefs–How blessed [happy and spiritually secure] are his children after him [who have his example to follow].”
As I close out this blog, I will share what we have in place now and will end with an image of the Commitment Letter to my wife and daughter. If you would like a template to draft your own please email me.
- We have started a five day devotional serious on Becoming An Intentional Father on the YouVersion Bible App.
- After this is completed, we will kickstart our course over 7 weeks with The Father’s Plan: A Bible Study for Dads by Robert Wolgemuth.
We are not looking at this as consecutive weeks because we realize that life and family aligns with life and family situations. However, we will be intentional in our sharing, our cause, our purpose, and our growth.
A major thanks to my brother Marlon Medious for pulling us together for this phenomenal training. He is a true friend, confidant, and brother in the Gospel.
I released a freestyle video that you will see below in a link. I’m often criticized for my “darkness” in my poetry, raps, and Spoken Word ministry and performances. I am asked, “Why do you leave people in darkness?” “Can you write a rebuttal to that piece?” I have often wondered, why is there a rush to dismiss the plight of human beings.
Maybe you have heard:
- Get over it
- When did that happen
- Are you still on that
- Why don’t you just get over it
I believe the Lord has something for everyone. Those who tell of the Light and those who speak of the Dark that leads to the life. I am not a man without flaws. Things I’m done, people I’ve hurt, lives I’m changed, those I have encouraged, I lay it all down on the line. There should be one person (preferably a significant other) who you trust that you can share every aspect of your life. I have two people that have that, my wife and my life long friend Mutee. No surprises, all unashamed, unadulterated, unfiltered, unshackled truth.
Keeping it 💯, my life has not been all 😭. I have been blessed😀 beyond measure. Issues with 😡, blowing off 😤, breaking 💔, great friends, feeling the laughter of 😈, knowing the love of 😇 has all been apart of my life’s journey. Pain is real but it doesn’t have to be the 💀 of you. Being 💩 is real but it doesn’t have to change your life. Think will😱 you, people who you love will 😘 then betray you. People will 👏🏽 you know and 🔪 you in the back later. You get to a place where you realize you hold the 🗝 to your destiny. Stress will lead you to 🚬, 💉, ⚰️ but if you stay 🔌 into the Lord. If you 🗜 down and realize that you were fearfully andwonderfully made there is nothing that stop you from being great.
Embrace your past, welcome your pain and look forward to your future.
I’ve worked hard at being imperfect, self-deprecating, low self-esteem, excuses, asking permission to do something for myself, taking care of everyone except me, working hard on the job to a point of fainting instead of asking for help. When you grow up broken, you begin to self-destruct and the unfortunate damage from that is cataclysmic personally, emotionally, spiritually, and professionally.
It’s not easy to break the cycle and at 46, with a biological parent back in my life after years of separation since childhood, one can easily slip back into an old mindset. So, in my Christian journey, I’ve embarked on transformational living and surrendering my being to all of The Lord. Poetry and Hip-Hop have saved and encouraged me in ways unimaginable. Writing transformed from anger to peace, soothing to therapeutic, stagnate to transformative. Counseling, professional and personal development seminars and an incredible wife have increased my desire to do more and to do well. My soul has been restored and repristinated so I present you with my first single release, Soul Restoration available on CD Baby.
With that being said, I am happy to release my first single to the known universe (people on Mars, get your copy). I had the pleasure of inviting the incredible Alicia “Restore” Spikes of Solace Souls Coalition to lace the background vocals and she far exceeded my expectations.
Thank you Restore for blessings us with your voice and thank you to my POET family for accepting me as I am. PNoble TV for working on the soon coming video. Dan @ Studio 11 for the engineering work and Tone Jonez of JeeJuh for track production.
Grace & peace unto you all.
I interviewed 5 times at the Noble Network of Charter Schools 7 years ago. I remember going from cracking jokes at a friends house when my phone rang to instantly transforming into business mode. It was my first call back from a job I applied for two weeks prior. It was a 30 minute phone interview and the rest is history.
Fear kicked in. I didn’t feel qualified for the job and was ready to turn down an opportunity that The Lord answered after all this time. Strange how we so quickly revert back to that dark comfortable place. Was I ready to rejoin the work force? Yes. Was I ready to work for this organization? Based on the job description, no! Yet, a sermon from my pastor on Sunday morning stated, “Who are you to close a door that God opened? Don’t put him in your box, He’s way larger than it can hold.”
I started as a technology manager (not the listed title when I applied) in 2010. I run hard. Earned the name Hulk Smash. Won our first ever MVP award named the Hulk Smash Award. I almost didn’t win. My boss said I came close to losing because I didn’t develop a good work life balance. I didn’t for the first five years but I am not hear to talk about all of that.
7 years later, I am the Director of Information Technology for the number one charter school in America. I am faced with that same fear everyday. I really don’t know how long this will last but I love where I am. I have an uncanny devotion to people I work for and an uncanny devotion to my team members. I am working to rebrand myself. The Hulk Smash has to go. I have to become a master of so many corporate deals, policies, financials, terminology, and people management.
A new challenge is upon me and it is unfamiliar, it is uncomfortable, it is uncertain. Yet, I will do what I grow to do daily, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. I am not sure what’s next for me but I know it’s beyond being a director of technology. I am in a place where I get to impact African American and Latino American lives. I am in a place where I get to work and see a very incredible organization do very incredible things. I work with teachers I love, students I serve, principals I support, co-workers I would die for, chiefs I answer to, and a very special person who shall remain nameless. He’s a man I have grown to admire, be unnerved by, challenged by, be supported by and ultimately to serve with. Who would have thought a meeting at Starbucks would yield an opportunity to be Super.
A part of me is hesitant in this new role. Yet, I have incredible people who support me, a former boss, a right and left arm at work, and an incredible team member who I hope to call friend one day with her critical feedback, insight, and precision.
7 years is said to be the year of completion, a time to move forward. For Tony Briscoe, it is a time to grow and I am just getting warm.
Today is Father’s Day. It doesn’t garner the attention of Mother’s Day. Restaurants don’t sell out, theaters are not packed, and Facebook post say “Happy Father’s Day” to those single mothers that had to raise the males in the family. It can be said that many fathers have failed in their responsibility and people would often be justified. Yet, it’s always easier to celebrate negativity rather than champion excellent fathers. I thought I’d share part of the story about my biological father and what he meant to my life before his transition into eternity.
I buried my dad in 2015. I eulogized his funeral. I paid the expenses until my sister covered the cost with insurance money. He had a stroke a few before his death and that was what crushed me. He had no memory of me. It reminded me of the time I ran into him in 1996 in a Burger King and he didn’t even recognize who I was. We’d spent the last few years building a relationship. In a heated argument one day he told me he didn’t owe me an explanation for why he left. He chose to live his life the way he wanted to and that he didn’t owe anyone an apology. It hurt but those words were true. Outside of giving me life, he had nothing to do with the man I’d become, or did he? When my wife took ill it was the first time he called me almost every day, short on words, “How’s my daughter doing?” When she was well, his calls stopped. I wasn’t mad, it was his way of saying, “I care”.
Because of my Christian Faith, I am bound by scripture to honor my mother and my father. It doesn’t say honor them based on how they treated you. Equally, they can be categorized as deadbeat parents that never did anything, except, they did, they gave me life. They couldn’t handle the journey of parents and as unfortunate as that maybe they still played a role in my existence. I loved my day and honored him until the day he died. Losing him was a normal part of life, but his stroke broke me in ways I couldn’t imagine. After years of missing him, when we finally got together he lost his memory. I’m glad I got to know him. I’m glad I got to spend time with him. I’m proud to call him my dad. I honored him in life, I honored him in death. We both wore white sweat socks with dress shoes and slacks. We had similar thoughts on religious views and it was amazing to know that after years of separation that there was a ground to mend our relationship by finding commonalities one within the other.
I miss him! I wish I had another opportunity to “Dance with my Father again”.
Men, enjoy your Father’s Day. Let’ go of the past and look forward to the future. Live life, enjoy the journey, be there for your children. Raise the bar.
Happy Father’s Day.