I grew up in Jane and Finch where the future for the youths is bleak and the life expectancy of Black males is short. I wasn’t very studious—who I am kidding? I hated school. But they always told us that education was the way out. I needed education if I wanted to make it out of the “hood.” I needed education so I didn’t become a “waste yute” (a youthful person who is a waste of time and space; a young person who doesn’t make proper use of their time and energy). I didn’t want to be a statistic and I had goals that I wanted to accomplish. I went to college, where I studied accounting and finance to make my mom proud. I graduated and got a great job as an auditor with a major company. I was comfortable and doing well for someone my age.
Fast forward 5 years later, and one day, I got a call that I will never forget. My boss had called me into his office to let me know that our department had been downsized and that I would no longer have a job. I had never been let go from a job before. As he spoke, I could no longer hear what he was saying because all I could think about was what I was going to do. It was a scene out of the Peanuts cartoon where the teacher just says “womp womp womp womp womp.” In addition to being let go, I was about to get married and I had a daughter to support. My mom had taught me a thing or two so I had some savings, but I didn’t know what my next move would be. Still, I was down but not out. Anyone that knows me knows that I am disciplined with my money— and that saved me. Another thing that worked in my favour is that I had a second stream of income. BUT, I was not going to rely on that. I swore to myself that I would figure a way out and that I was never going to work for the man again! I began to brainstorm about all of the things I was good at and other ways I could generate income. I went back to an old venture and brought it to life and opened my own car dealership. Easy? Hell No! Worth it? Of course!
Now entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, but it is what worked for me. Whether you work for yourself or work for a company, you too, can attain financial literacy and freedom. I am not a financial advisor, but
I know a thing or two about money, they don’t call me cheapskate for nothing.
I’ve never had a handout, and I didn’t have a trust fund or get a head start in this life. I started where you might be today. I am living proof that your beginning doesn’t have to be your end. Come with
me on this journey and don’t be a waste yute!
Growing up in two projects wasn’t easy (Trethwey & Lawrence Heights). I always figured growing up in these marginalized/high risk areas would be a set back. In fact, the time spent in these areas only built my character and strengthened my mindset to do better. Let’s not get it twisted, I wasn’t perfect. However, the experiences I endured through my childhood and being a young adult, framed me to be the man I am today.
I was always taught to do well in school, look for a job and climb the corporate ladder. And that’s what I did... Graduated from Weston Collegiate Institute Secondary School. Continued my post secondary journey at GBC & York University/Athabasca University (Business Marketing/Project management). During my post secondary journey I landed a job at Bell Expressvu, now known as BellTv. I honestly didn’t think I would spend the next 16 years of my life with one company, but that’s exactly what happened. I had various roles within the organization which I became very loyal to over the years. The most recent job I held was within IT. Working from home was lit.... But I was at the mercy of my job because I could be called upon at any time to support a downed system. Yes I was aware of my job specifications, I just thought to myself I needed to get acclimated to the new working environment. However, after feeling like this after 1 year, I knew something wasn’t right. After carefully planning my escape route, I took the leap of faith and the company I knew for the past 16 years was now a distant memory. Many people thought I was crazy but I was tired of supporting someone’s else vision.
Fast forward to 2020 Checks Over Strikes was born. Between my partner and I, we felt the need to introduce financial literacy using today’s universal language commonly used by today’s youth. We thought to ourselves why do we not have communities that serve us!?!?! We often see other communities that build from the ground up and attain economic power. The communities that usually gain economic power can make their voices heard in many different ways. This is what we are lacking within the black community. So what better way to ensure young youth can make change is through teaching financial literacy. Dean and I are very passionate about this initiative this book is not just a book it’s a lifestyle and we will not STOP until a book is in everyone’s hand.