Profile Journey – Derrick, episode 1

I really like Mad Men the tv show but I would hate a movie. That slow burn
of getting to know characters over time really makes the show work for me.
In the same vein, we at Duplessy Foundation want to capture the stories of
the people who benefit from our work. We call these ‘authentic episodes of
our progress’ a profile journey. We aim to tell you over time about their
victories, setbacks, and learnings on their way to running successful
homegrown enterprises.

Derrick and Mike

In our first episode, I want to give some context to my story with some
victories, setbacks, and learnings from the distant and recent past. Don’t
expect all the posts to be this long. I tend write a bit when I am
motivated. Next time you’ll hear directly from one of our fellows. Enjoy
and let us know your thoughts.

My first year mentoring homegrown talent, it was just one mentee, Mike. He
wanted to become a sports broadcaster and I wanted to help him get there.
We tried so many things. I had him read Bill Simmons 700 page Book of
Basketball in a week. He had write 500 word blog posts for every 100 pages
in the book. We did that with several books thereafter. I tried to have
him intern at a local pirate radio station, he was not enthused. He just
quietly protested that opportunity and let it die on the vine. Soon after
we brought more mentees now called fellows into the fold and there was an
uptick is his excitement. Yet and still, Mike’s motivation to follow
through on his dream, ebbed and flowed.

The big aha moment came over time. I started to notice the more Mike
worked on his personal and professional development with folks outside of
our formal program, the more committed he became. We connected him with
the Urban League and he became a lot more professional. He met with
broadcasters and got critiques on his podcasts. Working with Amber one of
our Marketing Associates this summer, he started to use twitter and
Facebook to promote his podcast. I started getting more frequent emails,
text messages, and phone calls with updates. Mike was excited to tell me
about his progress and his next steps. The roster of mentors bolstered his
confidence and held him accountable in ways meeting weekly with me could
not. Two things dawned on me.

1. We need to create a circle of mentors (not just one) for each of our
2. We need to first do heavy duty work on the person before getting them
to think about their venture

The challenge now is recreating the positive environment we helped create
for Mike for many hundreds of people over and over. If you are interested
in helping us, please drop us a line at


Pursue Your Purpose.

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