For me, Imani, this profile is pretty special. Since my sophomore year at Winthrop, Tadean has been someone I have looked up to; his drive and want to change the world is truly inspirational. Tadean is daring and is always pushing the boundaries because to him, there are none. All of his family, friends, and the Winthrop community know why Tadean is exceptional, but now my hope is for more people to know why he is exceptional. Here’s Tadean’s story:
I am from the small town of Dillon, South Carolina. The population of my city is approximately 6,000 – my hometown population is almost the same size as the student population of Winthrop. Growing up in my family, there were a number of things that always kept us connected: God, love, laughter, food, and HGTV. I grew up in a very religious family that was full of love and support. We enjoy laughing at each other and just feeling the warmth of one another.
I was born into a family of entrepreneurs—literally. My grandparents owned and operated a daycare service for nearly 20 years. My parents, as mentioned, owned and operated an afterschool program. There was also a point where my dad founded a photography and graphic design company. As you can see, I was born into a family that was not afraid to take risks. Hence the reason I go after my wildest dreams today.
Motivating Males came about in 2015 in the form of a scholarship. I started the “I am H.I.M.” (Humble, Intelligent, Motivated) Scholarship Award in 2015 in hopes of providing additional resources and opportunities for males within my community while pursuing higher education. I wanted to be a resource and find a way to give back to my community. Since then, Motivating Males has turned into an initiative that is dedicated to providing relevant and beneficial resources that leads to the holistic development of males of color. Through my experiences, I have realized that exposure creates awareness and builds motivation. Being from a small town, I did not have a plethora of male figures to look up to in various capacities. Motivating Males as a social platform allows us to promote positive images of men of color to continue that ripple effect caused through exposure. I wanted to provide a sense of hope. I wanted to create this platform that essentially speaks to the fact that you can come from any background and be successful.
The main way I continue to move my platform forward is continuing to learn more about the experiences and realities of black and brown males from different backgrounds. The work I do involves peoples’ lives. Because of that, it is work that truly matters and has to be done thoughtfully. With each experience and reality, I am better able to understand, I work to create solutions that are in their best interest and partner with community organizations (i.e. schools, non-profits, churches, etc.) to provide the resources, skills, and development needed for holistic success. Within that, that could be providing college tours one day, presenting to educators on how to teach males of color in the 21st century, posting about scholarships or jobs on Motivating Males social media, or mentoring a male of color.
Essentially, I see Motivating Males being a place where black and brown males feel supported and valued. We will work to create change that makes our world better for all, specifically males of color. We will work to ensure that we are providing the tools, information, and resources to males of color where they can reach success and reach back to do the same for another male of color. I see community.
Since I was a kid, I have always wanted to be an author. I knew I would one day write a book, the question was, when? My passion for working with youth males of color grew from my experiences serving at my parents after school program, volunteering with the youth at church, and listening to the experiences of many of my male friends of color. With that said, a book dedicated to the black male experience just felt right as my first book. It allowed me to hone in on even more male experiences. It allowed me to empathize with other males of color, in hopes of further creating solutions. That is where the motivation stemmed from.
From an educational lens, nearly 85% of black and brown males are reading below reading level. When seeking to understand why I realized (1) they are bored with the reading material being presented (2) they didn’t see themselves within the text (3) and many of the books seemed achievable because of how much text was involved. With that information, I worked to produce a book that told their experiences in a way that was engaging, descriptive, and not too lengthy. That was the birthing of Dear Black Boy: A Collection of Truths from the African American Male Perspective
I have the same inspirations within the business industry that I have within my personal life. My business life is my personal life as well because I only commit to business/work that aligns with my values and life’s mission. I often look for inspirations who are not only good at business but has a similar mentality as it relates to community service and impact. My inspirations include my father, Dr. Kimberly Johnson, Beyonce, and Barack Obama. All of these inspirations are not only hard workers, but they believe in the impact and making the world a better place.
I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. As I stated, my parents and grandparents are all entrepreneurs. Witnessing their entrepreneurial efforts ignited my belief that anything is possible if I work hard enough at it and for it. I have always had an interest in working for myself; I can’t pinpoint a direct moment when I decided to become an entrepreneur, however, I became more serious during my college years. It is here where I truly began to conceptualize the idea that you do not have to be older to get started as an entrepreneur. Part of the reason I work really hard is to prove to others that age does not limit their abilities- if I can do it, so can you.
The most rewarding moment as a business owner/author/motivational speaker is when I hear that someone’s life was positively impacted. That’s why I wanted to do this work. To know that I am producing change and empowering others is enough motivation for me. If I could give anyone advice on becoming an entrepreneur I would say do it! Jump! So many people don’t go after it because of fear. Calculate your risk, do your research and go for it. Strive to be the best at what you do! At the end of the day, you owe it to yourself to try it.