Don’t ever stop educating yourself. ~ Michael Mallery
TheBlackManCan is back in the state of Connecticut to bring you another EXTRAordinary Black Men. We bring to you a brother who is one the freshest and most respected young leaders around. We proudly present to you Michael Mallery President & CEO of I’m So Educated. Michael’s collective work and influence in the world clearly exhibits his passion and purpose for inspiring the next wave of young students to greatness. Michael sits down with TheBlackManCan to discuss I’m So Educated, his upcoming book, Phi Beta Sigma and advice for young boys of color.
TheBlackManCan: Michael, you are born and raised in Louisiana. Tell us about your southern upbringing and how it plays a role in who you are today.
MM: Well although my southern upbringing was pretty amazing, I credit the work of my parents and the major role they played in my life, to who I am today. From their love, guidance, and occasional spanking, molded me into the man that I am today.
My mother an educator instilled in me at an early age the importance of education. My father a humanitarian and retired military vet, instilled in me vision, hard work, and humility. That upbringing was paramount to my success today, and is something I plan to replicate one day when I have kids.
TheBlackManCan: You are a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. Why did you decide to pledge? What should one consider if he is thinking if pledging a fraternity?
MM: Wow!!! The great Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. honestly, I decided to pledge and become a part of the Sigma brotherhood because of their commitment to the community. Standing on the principles of Brother hood, scholarship and service, I knew that those were principles that I holistically believed in, and I knew that we were going to make a difference.
Now I would be remised if I didn’t mention that I come from a family of blue and white. My father started the tradition and my family followed. My dad and my brother are Sigmas and my two gorgeous sisters are members of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.
I would tell anyone before joing, one should ask themselves why they want to join and figure out who they are as a person. The fact of the matter is, majority of gpeople who join greeks change, whether its for the better or worse, they change. For instance before I joined Phi Beta Sigma, I knew who I was as a person. Iwasn’t someone who was shy or had trouble finding a girl, so I never had to use greek life as a way to get one. In short, you should know who you are, understand what the organization stands for, and choose what’s best for you. Listen, I can’t publicly speak on behalf of the divine nine, however I can say this, NO organization is, was, or ever will be founded on partying and strolling, as fun as it maybe, that’s not what our organizations were founded on. If that’s all you want, and if that’s all you’re looking for, I can promise you, your greek experience is going to be pointless.
TheBlackManCan: When did you realize that you had a gift to public speaking? How can one develop skills to be a better public speaker?
MM: I realized I had the gift to speak, after I made my first communion and had to speak in church. One thing I’ll always love my parents for is making me read in church and getting me involved in every club known to man. That combination of church and extracurricular activities at an early age, allowed me to develop confidence in myself. Speaking in front of hundreds of church folk every week starting at 8 years old, has allowed me to speak confidently in front of thousands now.
TheBlackManCan: What ignited the spark to start I’m So Educated? What is the meaning behind the name?
MM: Wow, well back in 2006, when I was a high school senior, I was a very strong academic student who, just like every young athlete had dreams of playing professional sports. I was a varsity basketball player who had all of the talent and potential in the world, including the scholastics. During my senior season, my high school coach made a promise that each senior on the team would get an athletic scholarship for college. I was excited because I knew I exemplified the true attributes of a student athlete. However, towards the end of the season my coach started to back away from that promise and slowly started discouraging me from my dreams.
I didn’t understand it then, but in my sophomore year of college, I was sitting in my Physics class when I remembered the words my coach told me while eating out after a game, words that I’ll never forget. “Mike, one day you will be buying the food for all of us on your big education salary because you’re “too educated” for this basketball game.” At that time I couldn’t comprehend the message my coach was sending me, which honestly enough wasn’t a negative one. It was at that moment in my Physics class when the message my coach was sending me became crystal clear “I’m So Educated™. ”
The meaning is simple.
YOU have the power, YOU have the ability, and YOU have the opportunity
to control YOUR own destiny.”
-Founder Michael Mallery Jr.
That upbringing was paramount to my success today, and is something I plan to replicate one day when I have kids. ~Michael Mallery
TheBlackManCan: What are some of the programs offered by I’m so Educated?
MM: I’m So Educated offers dynamic programs geared towards helping students connect the dots to their educational future. We offer peer mentorship, Student Enrichment Programs, and incredible motivational lecturers.
TheBlackManCan: In your own words, what does it mean to be educated?
MM: For one to be educated or if I stay true to my brand “So Educated” it simply means to acquire knowledge, apply knowledge, and share knowledge. If one educates them self often, then applies that knowledge to their everyday life, and finally, once they make it to their level of success or while on their journey to success, they share their knowledge to lift others up, I believe, is what being educated is all about.
TheBlackManCan: If you had name 2 books every person should read, what would they be and why?
MM: Outliers by Malcom Gladwell
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Point blank…these two books will change your life.
Speaking in front of hundreds of church folk every week starting at 8 years old, has allowed me to speak confidently in front of thousands now. ~Michael Mallery
TheBlackManCan: You are currently working on a book. Can you tell us about it?
MM: Yes, Yes, I am very excited for the launch of my 1st book. The title is a surprise, but it’s an amazing book centered on academic success and motivational tips for students across the world.
TheBlackManCan: You currently work at the University of Connecticut in the school of business. Tell us about your role at the school?
MM: I am very blessed to be a part of the UConn family. I am a program specialist for the office of diversity in the School of Business. I am responsible for developing programs to inspire students in surrounding high schools and at UConn. Also, I mentor and help students create strategies to maximize their potential.
TheBlackManCan: Where do you see yourself and I’m So Educated in the next five years?
MM: In the next 5 years, I will have my Ph.D. in Business and I’m So Educated™ will be a national educational brand.
YOU have the power, YOU have the ability, and YOU have the opportunity
to control YOUR own destiny.” ~Michael Mallery
TheBlackManCan: Why is it important for Black Boys and Men to see positive images of themselves?
MM: It’s of the upmost importance for black boys and men to see positive images of themselves every day. I’ve personally made it my purpose to wear suits or business casual attire 95% of the time, so that I’m always putting a positive image out there. I love the National Urban League, Black Executive Exchange Program, National Black Association of Accountants, NAACP, National Society of Black Engineers and the many organizations of color that showcase positive images of black men.
TheBlackManCan: What words of advice do you have for young boys of color?
MM: Don’t buy into negative stereotypes
Don’t ever stop educating yourself.
And Don’t ever, ever, ever give up!!!
Visit I’m So Educated –> http://imsoeducated.com/
League of EXTRAordinary is where we at TheBlackManCan highlight Black Men who are making positive and remarkable contributions to society. Nominate a Black Male today on the contact page or firstname.lastname@example.org.