1. What does being a Leader mean to you?
For me, being a leader means having the ability to inspire and motivate others to be their best selves. It means setting a positive example through your own actions and behaviors and being willing to step up and take charge when necessary.
A leader is someone who not only has clear visions and goals but also has the skills and knowledge to help their peers/teammates achieve them.
At Empower Me Academy, I learned that being a leader is not just about being the best player on the court but also about being a good person and positively impacting others’ journeys both on and off the court.
2. What’s your favorite part of being a leader?
My favorite part about being a leader is seeing the positive impact of positive empowerment up close. There is something truly special about witnessing the growth and development of those around you, especially when you have played a role in their success.
As a leader, it is my responsibility to empower others to be their best selves and to create an environment where they feel supported and motivated to achieve their goals.
When I see my team members, colleagues, or mentees flourish and succeed, it gives me a deep sense of satisfaction and pride.
However, with great power comes great responsibility, and being a leader also means dealing with the pressure that comes with it. The pressure to lead by example, to make tough decisions, and to maintain a positive and supportive work environment can be intense at times.
But I have found that this pressure helps me stay on my P’s and Q’s, and pushes me to be my best self as well. It forces me to constantly reflect on my own actions and behaviors, and to make sure that I am modeling the values and principles that I want others to emulate.
Overall, being a leader is a challenging and rewarding experience, and I feel honored to have the opportunity to positively impact those around me and help them reach their full potential.
3. How has EMA helped you become the leader you are today?
Empower Me Academy has been instrumental in shaping me into the leader I am today. Through the program’s holistic approach, I was able to not only develop my basketball skills but also improve my attitude, commitment, and discipline. These qualities have stayed with me even after graduating from the program.
EMA’s core values of trust, relationships, integrity, and inclusion have also become a part of who I am.
The program instilled in me the importance of building and maintaining relationships, being accountable for my actions, and always striving for excellence. As a result, I’ve been able to apply these values in all areas of my life, not just in basketball.
Moreover, the leadership behaviors that EMA taught me, such as listening, empathy, accountability, daring, energy giving, resilience, and selflessness, have helped me become a better leader on and off the court.
They have taught me how to connect with people, embrace challenges, and prioritize the team’s success over individual achievements.
In short, Empower Me Academy has been more than just a basketball program for me. It has been a transformative experience that has helped me become a well-rounded leader and person.
4. What’s the best thing you’ve learned at EMA?
One of my favorite things that I learned at EMA was the importance of emotional intelligence and empathy.
EMA places a strong emphasis on these skills, recognizing that they are essential for success in all areas of life, not just basketball or academics.
Through the various events, workouts, and conversations that I had at EMA, I learned how to identify and manage my own emotions, as well as how to understand and relate to the emotions of others. This has helped me to become a more compassionate and effective leader, both on and off the court.
I have also found that my improved emotional intelligence and empathy have made me more successful in my personal relationships. By being more aware of my own emotions and those of others,
I am better equipped to communicate effectively and build strong, positive connections with those around me.
Overall, I am extremely grateful for the emphasis that EMA placed on emotional intelligence and empathy, as I believe that these skills are essential for success and happiness in all areas of life.
5. How do you show up as a leader on and off the court?
As a leader on and off the court, I strive to model the values and behaviors that I learned at EMA.
On the court, I lead by example with my work ethic, attitude, and commitment to the team.
I communicate effectively with my teammates and coaches, and I always try to be a positive influence and motivate others to perform at their best.
Off the court, I try to be a role model for my peers and younger players in the community.
I volunteer my time and mentor younger athletes, teaching them the leadership skills that I have learned at EMA. I also try to lead by example in my personal life by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, setting and achieving goals, and being a positive influence in my relationships and community.
6. Who are some leaders that you look up to and why?
LeBron James and Steph Curry are both incredible leaders, both on and off the court. LeBron James is not only one of the best basketball players of all time, but he’s also an incredible leader in the black community. He has used his platform to speak out about social issues, like police brutality and racial inequality, and has even started his own school to provide education and support to underprivileged children. Steph Curry is another great leader, known for his humility and work ethic. He’s a great teammate, always looking to lift up those around him, and he’s also heavily involved in charitable work through his foundations. They are both incredible fathers and community leaders off the court as well.
Ryan Holiday is another leader I admire for his impact on spreading the philosophy of stoicism. He’s a best-selling author and a sought-after speaker, and his work has helped countless people, including myself, improve their lives by embracing stoicism’s principles of resilience, wisdom, temperance, and virtue.
But the leader who has had the biggest impact on my life is my father, Coach Gumbs.
He has taught me so much about being a leader, both through his words and his actions. He’s always striving to improve himself and his leadership skills while also teaching others how to be the best versions of themselves. He’s a great coach, mentor, and father, and for all these reasons, he’s my favorite leader.
7. Define EMA with one sentence.
EMA is a family in pursuit of the best versions of themselves.
8. Complete the sentence: As a leader, I encourage people to…
See the best version of themselves and go after and exceed that image that they see.