The director of community affairs at Mastermind Connect, Frank is daring to mentor the next generation of leaders in his community and beyond. With a focus on promoting positive self awareness and creating lasting community with men of color, Frank dares to use his knowledge and personal experiences to inspire better futures for all.
What led you to create the Young Masterminds Initiative?
We came up with the concept for The Young Masterminds initiative about four years ago through my men’s group, Mastermind Connect. We felt there was a need for black and brown men to have a space to commune and talk together. And not just talk about the typical things like sports or movies or pop culture—but the real meat and potatoes of vulnerability, masculinity, femininity, energy and business.
Daring is continuing to come together to see a future that’s different.-Frank Mena
On the Young Masterminds website, there’s a really poignant quote that says “Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story.” How does that relate to your life?
I was one of those kids. I came from a community that is only talked about as it relates to the negative, despite the beautiful things I saw my community members do. And I always wanted a mentor in my community that wasn’t my mother, brother or father. Don’t get me wrong—they did a great job. But when you’re young, you’re not gonna listen to your family (laughs). Some of those individuals I did listen to were my teachers. So, when we started doing work for Young Masterminds, the goal was to transform myself from the role of mentee to mentor. I brought these amazing black men together for that purpose.
What does being daring mean to you?
Along with the Young Mastermind initiative, we’ve also been working on another concept that aims to expose black and brown kids to more experiences in nature. This isn’t just a problem because of the pandemic, although that didn’t help. We’ve seen that our kids aren’t always privy to opportunities to take long walks in nature, or spend time near the ocean. So, daring to me is giving kids the opportunity to see things they’ve never seen before. Giving them the opportunity to see the world in a different light. To go from seeing in a one-dimensional way to understanding the multitudes that any individual can bring to a situation. Daring is continuing to come together to see a future that’s different.
“We felt there was a need for Black and Brown men to have a space to talk about vulnerability, masculinity, femininity, energy and business.”- Frank Mena