Yes, Sedrik R. Newbern is the president of Phoenix Insurance and Financial Services, a successful Allstate agency in downtown Libertyville, Ill. and to further complement his sterling résumé, he’s also president and founder of Newbern Consulting Group, is an author and motivational speaker specializing in purpose-driven personal/professional coaching. But, what makes him relatable to many of us God-fearing people are the tips that he has to heal hurt people. Having recently authored Unconditional Forgiveness, Lessons on Letting Go To Build Better Relationships, he shares his perspective on the impact growing up without a father had on his life. He takes readers on the journey to moving past pain and how his relationship with his father has evolved and today they have an unbreakable bond. Unconditional Forgiveness is filled with practical advice to those previously hurt in relationships; the book shares one man’s healing and how you too can develop healthy relationships.
What inspires you to show up at work every day?
I know that I’m setting an example of leadership, commitment and success for my son, so he is my inspiration to show up for work every day.
How did you determine your career path?
I was blessed to have mentors and organizations like INROADS that challenged me to consider my skills in determining my career. I have always been creative and interested in advertising, as well as comfortable speaking and selling my ideas. In researching careers that matched my interests, I came across Sales and Marketing and knew that I had found the career in which I would find fulfillment in my daily activities and enjoyment for many years.
What other industries connect to your career choice?
All industries truly connect with my career choice because marketing is at the core of everything we do and the goods and services we purchase.
Describe the skill sets that are essential to future business leaders and innovators.
Essential skills needed for future leaders and innovators are related to multicultural and multigenerational acumen. With the blending of cultures, aging of the population and the disappearance of international boundaries given technology and social media, leaders need to have a deeper understanding of these broad implications and the ability to find a voice to relate to these emerging and evolving consumers with their unique needs and wants.
Define innovative methods you apply to your business and life.
I have been an early adopter of social media compared to others in the industry in one of my businesses. This has allowed me to build a unique platform to educated consumers and increase my search engine ranking. I also leverage relationships to provide others with referrals across many diverse business disciplines. This sets me apart from others as it allows me to be a resource beyond my industry and creates additional touch points with customers and prospects.
How do you set goals and evaluate your success?
I set annual goals, five year goals, and ten year goals for spiritual depth, personal growth, and professional achievement. Then I share these goals with my mentors and accountability partners to ensure that I stay on track and make adjustments as needed. Success for me is not only defined by achieving the goal, but it also can include just pushing myself beyond limits previously unknown and learning from the experience.
Who do you consider peers in your field? Who is setting a great example of best practices?
I have too many peers to single out given my fields of business, motivational speaking and being an author. I would, however, say that Iyanla Vanzant sets the example of best practice in motivating people through her social media sources and her television shows on OWN.
How do you stay abreast of changes in your field?
I constantly read articles, attend trainings/conferences and work with business coaches and mentors to stay abreast of changes in my field.
Name your favorite role models for success in two industries.
Steve Harvey has become a great role model for me as an author, entertainer and relationship coach. I love that he is honest about his past mistakes and has taken his book to new levels with movies and a daytime talk show with a no-nonsense approach to giving advice on relationships. Plus, he gives back through his camp to make a difference in the lives of fatherless young men. I would also add Iyanla Vansant as a role model as she shows compassion in helping people go deep into very scary places of pain to let go and find true deliverance and happiness. In business, I have to say that I admire Steve Jobs ability to redesign multiple industries through his innovate technology. Through Apple and Pixar he created not just solid companies with potential for generational success, he created a culture and community that people long to be associated with.
Names three books that changed how you saw life that you would recommend to others.
The number one book that changed my life and continues to do so is the Bible. I have found that it has answers to any obstacle I have faced in life. The Man In The Mirror: Solving the 24 Problems Men Face by Patrick Morley put many of the challenges I deal with as a husband, father and small business owner in perspective and gave me practical ideas on how to manage the stress these areas of my life can have on me. The third book would be the familiar, How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie, which is a must read for anyone in business.
Explain why lifelong learning is important to you.
Education is critical in determining your destiny. By dedicating to lifelong learning, you build a foundation for success that cannot be taken away from you. Also, by continually learning, you maintain relevance and marketability.
Describe the voice of success that you hear in your head.
The voice of success that is in my head asks me daily if I have done something for someone else to help them grow. This is what motivated me to become a consultant, author and motivational speaker.
Community success based on what you do in the community means what to you?
I believe that to whom much is given much is expected. My success is measured by what I do to build the community around me and my family, so I spend countless hours volunteering for non-profit organizations and mentoring young people and coaching other small business owners.
What role does technology play in your daily life?
Technology plays a vital role in my daily life as it allows me to manage my businesses and stay connected to family and friends. My office is fully integrated with technology for efficiency and flexibility in telecommuting for my team and me. Additionally, living so far from family and friends all over the country, technology, especially social media, allows me to stay connected.
What software and technology tools have made the biggest difference in your life?
The two biggest software and technology tools that have made a difference in my life are frankly Microsoft Office and Facebook. These tools/software have streamlined communications and customer relationship management in my businesses and allow me to creatively reach customers and market to prospects.
How do music and cultural events define your self-identity?
My self-identity is defined by the old school R&B and rich African American history that I grew up learning as a child in the South. The traditions and education provided the foundation for courage and strength because I know who I am and where I come from and the sacrifices made by so many others to allow me to be the man I am today.
Define your personal culture.
My personal culture is still rooted in my heritage, yet diverse due to the influence or exposure I’ve had over the years. I enjoy learning about all cultures and their influence on my world and the world-at-large. I have learned so much in my travels about individual cultures and it has made me appreciate my own culture and the struggles my ancestors faced in America.
Describe your favorite vacation spot.
My favorite vacation spot is Jamaica because of the beautiful weather and people. Their laid back approach to life forces you to relax and slow down from the fast pace of life in the States.
If you could change one thing about the world, what would you change?
I would change the perspective people have of socio-economic classes and education. I believe this is truly the “Civil War” of our generation, as many are disenfranchised intentionally purely for profit when their lives could be changed for the better if we made long term investments in education. This investment could very well bring opportunities for global impact in business, science and medicine but instead these young people get lost in systems — be that education or justice — that prevents them from reaching their full potential.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would you change?
The one thing I would change about myself would be to take more time for myself. I feel so compelled to make a difference that I believe I devote too much of my life to helping others and not enough time relaxing and enjoying hobbies.