Brandon Frame is nothing short of a catalyst for his community, changing the way that America perceives black men and boys. His work with The Black Man Can, an organization that he founded to actively promote the black male image, has been featured on segments like Positively Black on NBC and runs workshops to empower the youth across the country. We talked with Brandon about personal branding, a concept that he was very familiar with. He shared with us that he has been deliberately building his brand since he was attending Morehouse College. During his time there, he created student organizations and sent out a monthly newsletter titled “The Chronicles of Brandon Frame,” outlining the lessons he had learned and what his involvement on campus was. He graduated with multiple job offers and went on to become Director of High School, Inc. in Hartford, CT at the age of 23. Read more about how he has created a personal brand that is an inspiration to many. Describe your personal brand in three words: Innovator, Visionary, Thinker
30 second elevator pitch, Go! My name is Brandon Maurice Frame; the first letters of my name BMF mean Building Minds Forever! I’m a Renaissance man with a social conscience and global perspective. I’m always trying to fearlessly build and manifest empowerment. I see myself as a catalyst for all people but even more so a steward to the world’s most precious asset: the youth. I live by the motto “Be Different, Be Great, Never Stop” I understand that if I shine bright it has nothing to do with me, it has everything to do with everybody else. If I shine bright then I can be light for others. Brandon actually means, “Beacon on a hill” I guess my mother knew the type of life God wanted me to live.
I hold a few different positions:
1) Director of Business Partnerships and Development at High School, Inc. Hartford Insurance and Finance Academy
2) Chief Visionary Officer of Theblackmancan.org #1 Source for Positive Images of Black Boys and Men
3) Principal Partner of Final Frame Ties, neckwear for the everyday gentleman!
What is a typical day like for you? A typical day is not so very typical. It would range from meetings with students, parents, and business partners. I might have a day filled with conference calls regarding work for High School, Inc. or TheBlackManCan. I love the fact that I don’t have a “typical” day. I have had some of my MENTees shadow me over the course of a few days and truly enjoyed the mix of things they could be involved in all of which related to making a positive impact on the life of another.
What part did your personal brand play in getting you to where you are today? It played a major role in getting me where I am today. I’m always thinking about my personal brand and how I can enhance it. Carla Harris of Morgan Stanley said to me “The most important decisions’ will be made when you are not in the room”. I took that powerful statement to heart and put it into practice tying it directly to my personal brand. I believe having a strong personal brand has played a major role in being selected for things that would assist me in my endeavors.
Describe a failure that you have experienced and what you did to recover: I have quite a few but the most recent one was in June. TheBlackManCan.org crashed and I lost all my content. I was very discouraged and truly wanted to give up. In my mind, 3 years of work was gone. What is the point of starting over? Many questions and statements from a negative point of view crossed my mind. However after serious reflection, I said what would I tell my students to do? I then made some phone calls, put a strong team together and the theblackmancan.org was back up and running in a week. I’m still recovering lost articles and features, but we are back up and running and stronger than ever!
How did you garner press coverage and media attention? I actually get asked this question a lot! I did it by just doing the work. I have been asked by bloggers to be on the radio show or featured on their blog because I just remained steady and true my mission and vision: my personal brand. I also used social media to my advantage and share everything via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. One of my most recent features (that was pretty big) was being featured in Jet Magazine. I was featured in Jet because of social media. L’Oreal Thompson who wrote the article put an ask out to twitter about men doing positive work in the community. Ciara Bostick who follows me then tweeted L’Oreal that she should speak with me. I saw the tweet once I was mentioned and I followed up. I thought it was for a blog post but after the 5th email she said it was for Jet Magazine. It definitely was a huge honor!
What has been the greatest opportunity you have been offered? I think the greatest opportunity I have been offered thus far is working at High School, Inc. I was given a huge task to build the programs at High School, Inc. I became an administrator at 23. The position is usually for someone who has at least a master’s degree. I however was given the task by Principal Terrell Hill who believed that I could not only do the job but also exceed all expectations. I have not looked back since. I have learned so much and been able to be impact the lives of many. I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to carry out what I feel is my purpose to be on this earth.
What keeps you going? The words of support and encouragement of others keep me going. I at times find myself overwhelmed or just lost in the sauce but I lean on the words of others. I also have in my office what I call he momentum folder. In the folder are notes, emails from peers, students and parents talking about the impact I had on them or the impact theblackmancan.org has had on them. I read them to keep the momentum going!!
Who are some of your mentors and why? Some of my mentors are Terrell Hill, Floyd Green, Dr. Chris Emdin, Timothy Jones. I consider them all mentors in various ways. A good mentor has made it from point A to B in 50 steps and he/she ensures that you make it there in 25. They all provide guidance to ensure I make it in 25.
What were the steps you took in college that impacted your professional success? In college I made sure to network with recruiters and as many professionals as possible. I also created things that were not in place previously. I attended Morehouse College, where I ran the intramural basketball program and was instrumental in bringing in Powerade as a sponsor. Additionally, I also started the Morehouse Marketing Club, which now called the Morehouse Marketing Association. I not only strived for excellence in the classroom, but also with extracurricular activities, which propelled me down a path of success helping me be successful in professional career. What would you say to a young person who wants to break into this industry? I would say that I cross several industries with the work that I do. In each of those industries I would say the you must network with the right people and also be conscious of your personal brand and make sure that it is an accurate presentation of you who are as a person. Sometimes you can talk your way through and interview but as some point you will be exposed and your credibility will be shot. At that point all bets are off and you will be the weakest link.
Words of Advice for Young Professionals: Successful people have a smaller gap of time between idea and execution. They make moves right away. That makes a big difference. Ideas are spiritual children seeded by God. Therefore, we’re mere vessels for things that are meant to come through us instead of from us. This implies that not taking action is spiritual abortion. This also means that your ego has no place in the execution of your mission. Your purpose is much bigger than you are.
What can we expect from you in the near future? In the future we have the Fall Tour of TheBlackManCan Institute. I have two cities confirmed New Haven, CT and Baltimore, MD. I have 1 to 2 cities left to confirm for the fall tour. I will also being doing a book tour of my journal, Define Yourself, Redefine the World: A Guided Journal for Black Boys and Men, in the winter season. Those are the major endeavors on tap for the rest of 2013.