Detroit native and Morehouse College graduate Roderick A. Hardamon is a successful business man and author of the book Trying to Get There: Navigating Your Success. Hardamon cut his teeth early on in his career as he quickly rose through the ranks on Wall Street by becoming a high-flying corporate executive. Hardamon began his career at Salomon Brothers, including periods in Mergers & Acquisitions, Leverage Loan Finance in New York, South Korea, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore.
“I made managing director in 10 years or so and I wanted to have a business seat. I was tired of being the guy who only advised business leaders, business heads, or [advised them] on their businesses. I wanted to be the guy making decisions for my own business,” Hardamon stated.
He is also the founder and chairman of the URGE Development Group, a real estate development and business innovation firm based in Detroit, where he is embarking on on a $77 million project called Midtown West to bring 335 residential units to the market.
Hardamon has committed himself to building his professional resume while inspiring others to share their special talents with the world. Often, he tells his two children that their dreams have the power to take them anywhere they want to go as long as the responsibility of that dream never fades. He says, “If you don’t nurture your own dreams, you can’t inspire others to achieve theirs.”
Rolling out recently spoke with Hardamon to get his take on fatherhood and being the best dad he can be. Read his story below as he drops some fatherhood gems, discusses community growth and encourages his own children, and others, to maximize their potential.
What legacy are you leaving for your children and the children of your community?
Children are greatly impacted by the images they see. The images they witness shape not only the current environment in which they live, but it frames the possibilities of what their future may hold. I strive to provide an example of hard work, dedication, love, commitment and achievement for my family and the community. We believe in collective progress [and] the growth of our community is critical.
How would you describe your fatherhood culture?
The one thing I want my kids to know is that I love them. That defines everything. Do I have high expectation? Yes. Do I push them to excel? Yes. Do I want them to maximize their potential? Yes. But it is done in the context of love and support. I try to show up and be present. I stress that what I most care about is that they give their all [and] if that happens, we can live with the results.
From a father’s perspective, what two books would you recommend every child read?
Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss — it helps set the stage for possibilities; The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
Why is it important to expose children to education and valuable skills?
Success is shaped by opportunity and preparation. Preparation starts with a solid education and instilling in children hard work and skills. Whether it be computer literacy, business exposure, logic and comprehension these are all the foundational skills for preparation.
As a father and a life coach, describe your playbook.
We focus on lifelong learning. We don’t focus on goals and results but the experiences along the journey. We don’t believe in losses, they are all lessons to build upon.
Which fatherhood experiences have taught you the most about yourself?
Life is not guaranteed so you have to enjoy every moment. My son RJ is an actor, songwriter, producer, engineer and rapper. Spending time in his artistry has allowed me to share in what he loves. I also spend time with my daughter at her dance school. Every year we do the father daughter dance which provides us a wonderful bonding experience.
My children need to know they can count on their dad! No exceptions. I don’t promise everything but when I do I deliver. They have to believe that their parents will provide and underlying base of support that will uplift their growth.
Finish the sentence: Never give up on yourself because …
Your story is not over until you take your last breath. Every challenge in life is a lesson to build upon. There is always a chance to develop [and] grow and turn your struggles into success. There is no success without failure.
Share one of the fondest memories you experienced with your father.
Every year, my dad would take me to his hometown of Abbeville, Alabama. Those trips served as our closest bonding experiences. Seeing where we came from allowed me to better understand my dad and appreciate the lessons that shaped him as a man.
Follow Roderick A. Hardamon on his website, www.rahardamon.com
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Also, check out this video as Roderick A. Hardamon talks about essential change, growth and helping the underdogs.