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Mentoring is a way of life that I’ve utilized to propel myself forward. It has also been my way of pushing others towards a greater version of themselves. I wasn’t born a mentorship specialist, nor was I raised in an environment that promised me a future as such. That would have been a boring story anyway.
Growing up my main motivations were sex, money, cars, girls, and clothes. That’s how it was for young guys in my hood. These basic ingredients defined a true “hood star”. The “hood stars” commanded attention and respect. They commanded glory, a glory that most of us desired. They were what us young guys had to look up to. We didn’t have doctors or engineers. Don’t get me wrong, there were tons of plant workers with nice cars in Detroit, but they got up early and came home late. They didn’t seem to enjoy life as much, and their lives were redundant. We wanted more; more money, more fame, and more freedom. So we emulated the “hood stars”. I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ll say at least I did. At some point, I even set my eyes on being a drug lord and a rapper.
My first mentors were two of my older brothers. One was murdered in a drug transaction, while the other is currently serving life in a Federal Prison for allegedly being one of Detroit’s most notorious drug lords. A king pin. After losing my brothers to violence and prison I was forced to seek alternative mentors, find myself, and simply do something different.
I had to create my own self-concept through mixing and matching a host of best practices until I became what I never had.
I looked to television, educators, actors, friends, mentors, and other factors to piece together the kind of future I knew I desired. In doing so, I discovered that I took pleasure in spreading knowledge and providing others with keys to leverage the power of mentorship, which is indeed available to everyone!
Today, I’m motivated by faith, the art of being a gentleman, having/finding A special woman, wealth, and inspiring others.
It was a bumpy road, but the results of my decisions were well worth it!
Shawn Blanchard: Author | Speaker | Mentorship Specialist
Shawn KNOWS what it means to turn test into testimony. Blanchard is a firm believer that we never lose instead we simply win or gain wisdom. Throughout his humble beginnings he has applied these simple truths that have helped him evolve into an upstanding gentleman and exactly what he needed as a child to many. Through co-founding a successful mentoring program—which extended to legal guardianship of a teenager, obtaining multiple degrees, and leading a math department to the top 5% in NYC, Shawn has defined what it means to be a modern day “Renaissance Man”. Shawn has featured in Essence Magazine as “Man of the Month”, CNN’s “Impact Your World”, Black Enterprise’s “Be Modern Man”, and most recently featured as a TEDx keynote speaker where he discussed the science of mentorship. Additionally, Blanchard has taught mathematics at the University of Michigan, and co-founded fitness movement Run This Town/ Networkingout.
Along his journey, Blanchard was appointed to the city of Detroit’s Mayoral Cabinet as the Director of Youth Services. Throughout his tenure he successfully launched a citywide elementary soccer league, and provided nearly 5600 jobs while heading the “Grow Detroit’s Young Talent” youth employment initiative. He also served as the Detroit Mayor’s Office Liaison of President Barack Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” (MBK) initiative, and continues to serve as an active board member. Shawn also serves on a number of boards including Real Life 101. Currently, Blanchard is the CEO of Lions Dream, LLC and Co-Owner of SnapSuits, where he is positioned as Style Advisor. As a result of his leadership and dedication to serving his community, Blanchard was most recently awarded the 2016 President Barack Obama’s Volunteer Community Service Award, selected as the 2015 University of Michigan Emerging Leader, and awarded the Michigan Chronicle 40 Under 40 award. In sum, Shawn uses his life experiences to enable people to live life to the fullest with a winning perspective.
“Everyone is a student to some teacher.” – Shawn Blanchard