Key Note Speech for the Boston Community Leadership Academy Event

I have been lucky enough to be selected to do the morning keynote speech this Friday for the BCLA youth leadership event.

This is a great honor. I am excited to be able to connect with the youth and use my story as a way of inspiring them.

It is especially great to use my last weeks in law school and possibly in Boston to give back.

Please find the outline below:

Leadership Speech

Intro: Brief introduction, biographical information. Define leader, leadership. Define the acronym APPLE, is relevance to leadership is a leader is someone is who revered or looked up to, often times they become the “apple of one’s eye.”

Opening quote: The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born. —Warren Bennis

Awareness – being aware of the fact that success is not something that is done or created by an individual – we are but the recipients of the sacrifices that those before us have made. Being aware and conscious of where we come from helps be more conscious about appreciating where we are going.

My mother’s parents had very little opportunity

Forced my mom, aunts, uncles to spend Sundays at the library

My mom was the first to get passed 6th grade, graduate high school, get a degree etc

At their house I could read or go to sleep. There early sacrifices are responsible for all of the opportunities I have. Understanding this, pushes me to go farther and to always give back.

Passion – finding or discovering your passion and following it can lead to opportunities that you have never thought of.

For as long as I can remember I wanted to be an artist – pursuing artistry lead me to activism – activism lead me to working to better my community while utilizing my artistic skills – then lead to meeting people who pushed me towards going to law school – ultimately that work earned me scholarships to law school.

Persistence – Becoming a leader and surviving this thing called life requires persistence and perseverance. Life is a marathon and some of the greatest lessons come from disappointment. I have had far more losses than wins. Far more yeses than no’s. Far more jobs than career opportunities. I have tried and failed more times than I can count. This hasn’t stopped since I have been in law school. My second year I kept rejection letters on my refrigerator as motivation. Before my girlfriend forced me to take them down they had become so heavy they were weighing down the refrigerator magnets.

Lived Experience – In order to fully develop as a person and in order to fully maximize your potential you have to be open to new experiences. Showing up is the gateway to access that leads to opportunities and success but you can’t be scared to try new things, visit new places, meet new people. I lived in the same five mile radius my entire life until I moved 5k miles away to come here from law school. Since I have been here I have traveled more than I had in the first 28 years of my life. I never realized how sheltered I was, how little experience I had until I moved here and was forced to place myself in positions I could have easily avoided at home. It hasn’t always been easy but it has been worth it. It has allowed me to see the value I bring to situations, to experience what it is like to be the only person from the inner city having discussions with people at the highest levels of state government, and having them be receptive to what I am saying.

Close: A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent. —Douglas MacArthur

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. —John Quincy Adams


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