Great Leaders Grow Via Experiences…Meet Mr. B. Alston

“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.”

MLK

In this day and age everyone wants to be a leader, but everyone is not open to learning. A leader must be willing to learn from their past experiences and others. A leader must be willing to accept their mistakes and understand that they are imperfectly perfect.

Characteristics of a leader are:

  • Honesty
  • Ability to delegate
  • Great communicator
  • Humor
  • Confidence
  • Inspiring
  • Intuitive
  • Positive Attitude
  • Learning via past experiences….

When I think of leaders, I think of people who have experienced life, own their mistakes, and have the courage, the wisdom, and understanding to know their purpose so that they can make the necessary changes to grow and flourish. The Serenity Prayer (India Arie’s version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23Ky9680qyc)….

I think of stories that I have learned about John Lewis. We all know who he is correct? (https://www.pbs.org/program/john-lewis-get-in-the-way/). I even think of those scary moments when great leaders face adversities.

I have known Mr. Alston for awhile now, and the consensus from individuals agree that he is was “a good leader as a drum major” in the NC A&T State University Blue and Gold Marching Machine, but most importantly he is a “good leader in his everyday life.” He is “fun, loving, and supportive.” He is “determined, humble, always has a great spirit” and “has never looked at himself as better than anyone.” He is admired for being a family man, a man that is continuously growing to be better, and just an overall great person.

As a matter of fact, Mr. Alston is what individuals have shared as the epitome of a great leader.

A leader is someone who demonstrates what’s possible

Mark Yarnell

Meet Mr. B. Alston

Ki O’Shea: How do you define yourself?

Mr. Alston: I define myself as a very passionate, charismatic, humble, exciting, resilient and driven individual. Just to name a few. I welcome challenges with open arms and push myself daily to get better than I was the day or week before. 

Ki O’Shea: Discuss challenges you have overcome and are still overcoming?

Mr. Alston: A couple challenges that I met in life was learning how to budget. I had to understand what it meant to live within your means and I learned the hard way. Swiping a Credit Card or two was the best thing to me because in my mind, I can pay for this later no matter how much it added up. My recovery process was finally reaching out, finding someone who could assist me in the realm of financial literacy, and budgeting. I am actually still recovering on some of the Credit Card mistakes I made in my 20’s but it’s safe to say I’m doing well on them.

On a leadership aspect, my biggest challenge was my first year as Drum Major for the University Marching Band. I knew majority liked me; however, the challenge was being a leader and not everyone’s friend. Pushing myself to separate work from play and being a great example/role model. I inherited a grand amount of respect in which I still receive today which is very humbling. I still utilize the respect that I gained today mentoring and assisting my younger brothers/sisters after me in whatever challenges they have in life.

Another major challenge, it still happens today unfortunately is being racially profiled. A big struggle was trying to figure out how to respond to some of it. I’ve had a woman clutch her purse on an elevator, someone locked their door as I walked by and I was talked down to by a physician based on my appearance. I laughed in disbelief at first then it became frustrating. Thankfully I could hear my mother in my ear saying don’t stoop to their level and therefore I grew numb. I also clapped back professionally which always worked. Easily my biggest challenge in life was recovering from an immensely toxic situation that landed me at rock bottom and for a while. Financially, mentally, and spiritually I was broken. I used drinking, social events and traveling to maintain some sort of stability so that I would not lose myself. My recovery was long and hard but mostly humbling because it made me in to the blessed man that I am today. 

Ki O’Shea: What is your current profession? Discuss your organization/ company.

Mr. Alston: I am currently an Electronics Engineer holding the title of Lead Test Engineer for the Combat Systems Division at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. We specialize in the repair and maintenance of multiple platforms for Navy Submarines and Aircraft Carriers. 

Ki O’Shea: What was your motive for stepping out to share your story? How do you feel this is a benefit to our youth?

Mr. Alston: My biggest motive for stepping out and sharing my story is simply because I take pride in being a role model. I came to the realization a long time ago that it’s no longer about me but about those that come after me whether family, friends, or organizations. I feel like the biggest benefit of sharing stories such as this makes it relatable to the youth in order to feel more comfortable with entering adulthood and taking risks

Ki O’Shea: As a Black male, do you feel that the challenges you faced are or were because of your race?

Mr. Alston: As a black male in America, we always have to work a little harder. We get judged and profiled way before we even know someone’s name. The beauty in it all is when you do present yourself accordingly and professionally it, in lieu, embarrasses the individual(s). The downside to that is that in a few cases that still doesn’t matter especially in corporate America. The challenges I faced regarding race were difficult to deal with at first however it got easier. 

Ki O’Shea: Do you feel successful? What is the secret to your success?

Mr. Alston: I truly believe that I am successful. The day I walked into my office to finally begin my career as an Electronics Engineer I was overwhelmed with joy and comfort that I did not have with my previous jobs. Don’t get me wrong, I found happiness in my previous jobs however this was the icing on the cake.

A few keys or secrets to my success are consistency, taking the initiative and owning your work. Take the initiative to obtain knowledge or execute work. Be consistent until you master said task. Lastly, own it whether it is SAT or UNSAT and develop from it. 

B. Alston

Ki O’Shea: You are in a Greek organization, would you share why you believe such organizations are important?

Mr. Alston: I am a Spring 2009 initiate into the Iota Zeta Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity, Inc. and a Spring 2011 initiate into the Kappa Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and currently serving as the Sergeant at Arms for the Nu Delta Lambda Chapter here in Hampton Roads Virginia.

Being in not only one, but two Greek organizations has blessed with a divine amount of exposure to diversity and in-depth comradery. Not to mention an outstanding bond worldwide. The biggest thing to take from being greek is the networking aspect. Jobs, trade work, family ties, etc. all become exponentially greater when joining a greek organization. 

Ki O’Shea What mantra do you life by?

Mr. Alston: A mantra that I live by is “Always try you hardest so you can never say you should’ve, would’ve or could’ve. Life is sweeter with no regrets.”

Ki O’Shea: What do you wish you would have known when you were a teenager?

Mr. Alston: Ultimately bringing a black man into this world based on current events is a heavy fear of mine. I pray for him every day even though he isn’t here yet and I pray that I prepare myself to be the perfect example and protector. More specifically, him taking a negative route in life or him being in the wrong place at the wrong time. My confidence and my faith though, is my push that everything will work out the way it’s supposed too as long as I do my part. 

If I could’ve embarked and excelled on anything as a teenager, it would be financial literacy. Often my father gave my sister, my brother and myself advice to save and manage money and we used that information he gave to an extent but not to the best of our abilities. Where I am today I know for a fact that if I had been schooled on the importance of Credit, life would be a smidge better. 

Ki O’Shea: Last words for the readers?

Mr.Alston: Last few keys to take from this; Take nothing for granted and time waits for no one. Embrace every opportunity/experience whether good or bad and always try to learn from it. Surround yourself, connect and converse with circles of where you strive to be not where you came from. I am a living testimony of being in a blessed position, temporarily losing faith, getting humbled by hitting rock bottom, and excelling on a level higher than I was based on those experiences. God is good. Hope you enjoyed the brief read. God bless! 

2 thoughts on “Great Leaders Grow Via Experiences…Meet Mr. B. Alston

  1. I think those characters should be instilled within each and everyone of us. Then we would learn how to lead ourselves. Fighting against ethnic-based injustice would be done efficiently.

    Like

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