Non Profit

Mindshift- The Interview Series: Featuring Henderson Of The Black Burdell.

Before we begin, let's set the stage. The purpose of this interview series is to inspire and encourage millennials to take the leap into entrepreneurship or give advice to those currently on the journey.

This series will highlight millennial entrepreneurs in a wide range of industries who are offering services, products and resources to their audiences. 

 Throughout the next couple of weeks you will have the chance to read the stories of millennial trailblazers who are designers, social ambassadors, photographers, and more. I hope you are inspired!


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In this Mindshift Interview, I have Henderson of TheBlackBurdell. During this interview, we deep dived into all things business, influencing the future and more. Henderson is simply an all around amazing person. There's guaranteed good vibes and a ton of laughter, if he's around. He's one of the hardest working guys I know, managing a degree in a 'by-no-means-easy' field, super involved on campus, yet is always down for a good time with friends. How does he do it? Let's take a look at his journey...

Behind the Person

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Tell a little bit about yourself and what you do. 

My name is Henderson Johnson, II and I am a recent Georgia Tech graduate in aerospace engineering, and now a PhD student in the same field. I was born in Atlanta, and raised in South DeKalb although most of my family is from New Orleans. I enjoy singing, and having conversations about solutions to issues plaguing the Black community.

What is one quote you live by? Give an example of how you’ve applied this quote in your journey.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
— Phillipians 4:6-7

 This is my favorite Scripture because this is my personality. No matter how much I care about something, I don’t worry, because I know God’s got me, and He has a plan. Learning to trust in God is the reason I know that I’ve been so successful.


All things Business.

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How did The Black Burdell come to form? What was the idea that started it all?

Originally, it started off as a program to help high school students develop as leaders in their communities to empower the younger generation to address problems in the community. However, that got shelved when Brandon and Darren graduated. My senior year of college, we made the decision to really go after it and redirected our focus to entrepreneurs, and specifically Young Black Entrepreneurs. This refocus was because we saw an opportunity to support a specific group of people in a unique way. Furthermore, this refocus still allows us to work with high school students as well, which is fantastic.

What does The Black Burdell do? What problems or pain points are you looking to solve through The Black Burdell?

The Black Burdell supports, promotes and cultivates, Black entrepreneurs.

One of the biggest issues facing the Black community is money not staying in our community. We preach “buy Black”, but how do I buy Black when there is no place to buy Black. By helping promoting entrepreneurship we make it easier for people to buy Black, which keeps money in our community.

We make it easier for people to buy Black.

There are a lot of misconceptions about running a non profit based business, like lack of funding or difficulty obtaining partnerships. What’s the biggest myth you’ve learned to be untrue?

The lack of funding.

There are SO many places to get funding, you need only ask. If you’ve got a cool nonprofit or idea, it isn’t hard to sell to people. You just have to make sure to ASK. The worst answer you can get is no.

What tools or systems are a necessity for running your business smoothly?

  1. Communication system for our team.
  2. Clearly defined roles.
  3. Motivated team members.

In order for a business to thrive there must be clientele. What marketing strategies have you used to attract and find new leads for business growth?

Network.

Much of our success thus far has been based on leveraging our network. Being GT graduates, we have an extensive alumni network that we have been leveraging to help grow our business. Furthermore, with the work we’ve done to get publicity this year, there have been ample opportunities to reach out and work with new people.


Influencing the Future

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What are some accomplishments of The Black Burdell? And where do you see its future?

This past April, we gave out our first scholarship, and that was just an amazing achievement.

The Black Burdell is really centered around a win-win scholarship application, where you get the opportunity to build a business plan and pitch.

I describe a Mindshift as a moment in time, where one realizes, there is more to life than what society has told. Can you describe your Mindshift moment?

For me, it was making the decision to step out on faith. When I realized that I had the business acumen and the leadership experience to make this venture successful, I went for it. Like anything, I just needed to commit the time to it, because I was more than capable of making it happen.

What advice can you give to other entrepreneurs?

Push through your fear or anxiety.

You are not the first person to start a business, so don’t let your fear get in the way of you taking that first step.

Fail fast.

When you start off, you will make a lot of mistakes. Learn from those mistakes quickly. Don’t make the mistake again (or at least try not to. We are human after all). Failure is not a bad thing, it is simply a lesson you needed to learn.

Surround yourself with a good team.

It is so important to be around people who are driven and motivated like you. It is even better if your partners are overachievers because you’ll be driven to work tirelessly to do even better.

Lastly, think about what living life own your own terms means to you. Describe your ideal situation.

Letting God’s purpose shine through my actions.

For me, it’s letting God’s purpose shine through my actions. I’ve learned that at least a portion of my role here is to serve as a vehicle to take people higher. When I became Mr. Georgia Tech, I wasn’t as much excited about the position as I was as the image that it portrayed. Namely, I showed other Black students that they could come into this place called Georgia Tech and thrive. I want to use The Black Burdell, Inc. to show them that they can thrive in the entrepreneurship space.


Additional Gems from Henderson:

Seek God. Better the community. Lead the way.


Connect with Henderson:

Twitter / Instagram

Connect with TheBlackBurdell:

Twitter / Instagram / Website


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Mindshift- The Interview Series: Featuring Kendall Rankin Of The Diamond Campaign

Before we begin, let's set the stage. The purpose of this interview series is to inspire and encourage millennials to take the leap into entrepreneurship or give advice to those currently on the journey.

This series will highlight millennial entrepreneurs in a wide range of industries who are offering services, products and resources to their audiences. 

 Throughout the next couple of weeks you will have the chance to read the stories of millennial trailblazers who are designers, social ambassadors, photographers, and more. I hope you are inspired!


Outfitters (7).png

In this Mindshift Interview, I have Kendall of The Diamond Campaign.  During this interview we deep dived into all things business, influencing the future, and more. Kendall's on a mission, join her as she tells her journey to change the culture as an entrepreneur. With Kendall's passion and ambition, The Diamond Campaign is truly destined for greatness. Our conversation went a little like this...

Behind the person.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

I am a fourth year industrial engineer at Georgia Tech. Currently, interning in the corporate world. I was born in Maryland. One random fact about myself is that I've been skydiving twice, so I'm a bit of an adrenaline junkie. When I'm not attending classes or taking random adventures, I spend time immersing myself in the music scene here in Atlanta by singing and going to concerts. 

What is one quote you live by? Give an example of how you have applied this quote in your journey.

If you don’t build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs.
— Tony Gaskins

This quote has resonated with me since the first time I heard it. It speaks to the leap of faith that a lot of entrepreneurs know they need to take, but aren't ready to because of fear or other circumstances.

Personally, after interning for three summers with two different companies in the corporate world, I'm realizing that while there are major perks (i.e. stability and good benefits), this is not how I see myself spending the rest of my life. Each of the major companies that we work for started from one person with one idea, a strong work ethic, and incredible execution. It may seem difficult at first, but there is always a way to merge your passions and skills with the needs of the world. If you truly love what you do, success will be a byproduct. 


All things business.

What does The Diamond Campaign do? What problems or pain points are you trying to solve through TDC?

The Diamond Campaign is a self-love initiative created to empower all women to embrace their unique cut (body image), color (personality), carat (self- worthy), and clarity (vision for the future). We believe that a woman's confidence is the foundation of her academic/professional success, emotional well-being, and mental and physical health. 

How did TDC come to form? What was the idea that started it all?

TDC started from a conversation during my freshman year between my roommate, Morgan, and I. We had been discussing a non profit she founded in high school called The Purple Comma Project. I told her of how I would love to start something similar with an emphasize on personal development and self confidence for young girls. From there we started brain storming ideas and I sent out a survey to the BSO email list. The response was amazing. So many people loved the idea and wanted to help. We arranged for a meeting soon after to discuss ideas, possible collaborations, and establish a team. 

A conversation and a survey sent via email pretty much started it all.

What is one of the biggest myths you've found to be untrue from running your non profit?

One of the biggest myths about non-profit organizations is that you cannot generate funds. Obviously that can't be the main goal of this type of organization, but it's important to note that you can build a career and support yourself working for a non-profit. The salary may not be as high as someone working as an investment banker or a consultant, but the overall experience may be a more fulfilling opportunity for you.

What tools or systems are a necessity for running TDC?

Google drive and Google forms. These are key. We use them for everything to registration forms to sign ups. I know it may sound basic but it's simple and keeps us organized. 

Organization is essential for any business’ performance.

What marketing strategies have you used to attract new leads and spread the awareness of TDC for business growth? 

Social media has been huge for us. The main platform being Instagram. We do have social handles on facebook and twitter. However, Instagram is where we see the most engagement. Through the use of challenges and announcements of upcoming events, we have been able to increase our awareness and attract new supporters. And word of mouth marketing is another source of traffic for us. 

What are some accomplishments of TDC? Where do you see its future?

I am super proud of The Diamond Campaign and my team as a whole. We have obtained several monetary awards one of which being The GA Tech Student Foundation award. This award required us to go through a lengthy interview process, give a 10 minute pitch, and more.

However, in the end we prevailed and was awarded $1,640 in funds. We've also been able to partner with a local school named Crystal Rae near campus and launch a very successful mentor-ship program. We were able to have a over night retreat with the girls and the feedback has been amazing.

Can I share a success story? [Of course, Kendall!] One of the girls who had become very active in our meetings gave us all a shock to say the least. You never really know what a child experiences at home, you only see what they allow you to see. Back to the story, this young girl gave us all a scare. She got into a serious incident and had to be hospitalized. She had become extremely close to her mentor, and our mentor was one of the first people she called in the hospital. I say all this to say, in this short amount of time, TDC is having a real impact. 

Its an amazing feeling to see an idea grow and impact the lives of others.

In the future, I would love to raise enough money to take the girls on a service trip. As well as, host a couple more challenges. Our vision of TEDTalk aka TDCTalk had a great turn out. I would like to kickstart the Fall semester with another. 


Influencing the future.

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What advice can you give to other entrepreneurs?

Stay on target. I am one to have an abundance of ideas. However, not all of my ideas benefit or are on target with TDC's mission. I have learned to sort through my ideas and consistently be sure I remain with in the vision, mission, and guidelines of TDC. 

Build a team. Teamwork has been vital for TDC. It is important to seek the right help in order for the business to grow. I know I can not do this alone. My strength can not be in everything. I do not have all the ideas. 

A solid team is essential.

I describe a Mindshift as a moment in time, where one realizes, there is more to life than what society has lead us to believe. Describe a Mindshift moment on your journey. 

During one of our TDC sessions with the girls, we required everyone to read aloud a positive trait another girl saw in her to the group. After the session, I went up to one of the girls and told her, I had written the comment she read. Her whole face just lit up as we exchanged a hug. In this moment, I saw the impact. My Mindshift was realizing the confirmation of my love for people and empowering the well being of women. 

TDC is transforming lives. And it’s an amazing feeling.

Think of what living life on your own terms means for you. Describe your ideal situation.

My ideal situation would be running TDC as a large non profit across the nation. Think along the level of The National Beta Club Organizations or The 4H Organizations in schools. I want to be very involved in the organization as it grows, so having the opportunity to travel and visit different chapters would be great. I know the value of building on connects and networking relationships. This would increase our investments, in order to continue to grow and impact millions of lives via our personal development initiatives. Of course my plan includes a husband and kids a few years down the road, after I've set a great foundation for myself!


Additional Gems from Kendall:

Seek Advice.

Establish a Team. 

& Create an Impact. 


Connect with Kendall & The Diamond Campaign

Instagram / Twitter 


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