THIS TIME around we’re doing things a little differently: This interview has next-to-nothing to do with Social Media. You can relax.
Stephen Jackson was one of the first SBEs to reach out to me through Supplier Connection. Stephen was also on the council of SBEs I worked with to develop the 2012 Supplier Connection Webinar Series. His company, RDZ Media, has even entered the Supplier Spotlight Contest a few times. The one thing I know about Stephen is when he’s passionate about something, you’ll know it. So I was more than happy to propose an interview when he told me about his new non-profit venture called Run2LIVE.
You know I’ve written a little here about the Dr. Fuhrman Nutritarian Diet and how your health relates to your SBE; and I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about my legacy and the things that matter to me most, so I can definitely relate to the kind of call-to-service Stephen displays here, and I hope it’s the kind of excitement you recognize in your own business.
* * *
DG: So Stephen, we haven’t seen RDZ Media around the Spotlight in a long time, what have you been up to?
SJ: I’ve been busy starting a new non-profit association titled Run2LIVE, Inc. It’s focused on inspiring and encouraging black men to run, jog or walk their way to better health. There are too many black men suffering from preventable diseases that wouldn’t happen if they maintained a healthy lifestyle.
DG: Why were you called to do it?
SJ: I was going down that unhealthy road myself. Getting up in the morning and turning on the computer instead of exercising… my blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and weight—all going up. When I decided to start training to run in the New York City Marathon last year, I made a big change to my lifestyle and inspired others to begin running, too. To date I’ve run over 22 races from 5K’s to half-marathons and I’m preparing to run my 1st full marathon here in NYC this year. The best part is that I reduced all of those high numbers to the point where I now take no medication at all.
SJ: Really—and it only took a year.
DG: That’s incredible. So, Okay, you started running so you can get into better shape for yourself & your family, I can relate, but why start a non-profit?
SJ: Well, RDZ Media Group was sold to a British firm earlier this year. After running the company for 10 years and knowing that my daughters have other passions that they’re pursuing, it was the right choice. After the sale I stayed on with the option of deciding whether I want to continue with the new owners or go my own way. So that was settled. But then I started thinking about what I’m truly passionate about… what do I want to do? What will I do that will repay the blessings that have been bestowed upon me?
DG: And you’d already started running on your own?
SJ: Yeah, and I couldn’t help but notice that there were very few black men running in the races I was running in, or even running in my neighborhood. Others have seen this disturbing trend and have wrote about it. The running groups I belong to talk about this issue and a lot of running publications have printed articles about it. The fact is that when it comes to preventable diseases like strokes, diabetes, and heart attacks, black men are in the highest-risk rate for all nationalities. So I decided to create a running club to inspire, encourage, and educate other men about the benefits of running.
DG: So you see this as endemic to your community, and you had the time and resources and blessings to help.
SJ: Exactly. It’s not just a question of exercise anymore. Running is a spiritual habit for me, it’s also restored my health. This is the mission I’ve chosen. I‘ve recruited a number of other warriors who believe that together we can reverse the number of black men who are overweight, on medication, and dying too soon. I want black men to take charge of their health and change those typical conversations about preventable diseases being hereditary in black families and just waiting to die.
* * *
Run2Live is a 501C(3) non-profit affiliated with the Road Runners Club of America. Their mission is to inspire and encourage black men to live healthier lives through running and walking regardless of athletic ability or experience. They have group runs in the New York City area with a certified running coach on Thursday evenings & Saturday mornings.
* * *
I LOVE Stephen’s dedication and vision to serve. A well-used metaphor compares life to a 3-legged stool: You must balance all three areas of your life in order to remain strong enough to keep moving forward. My 3-legs are Family – Career – Service… with family & service being the most important as I have found a blessing of inverse proportions when my purpose is greater than just serving myself and my desires. What about you?