They Got Next…


Happy Friday and I hope you all had a great week! The weekend is here and as we get ready for it, I wanted to write a short piece that relates to giving back and making sure we adequately prepare the next generation.  The next generation of leaders, business owners and scholars is already among us. They are watching our moves, interning with us, working in entry-level positions or sitting in lecture halls while we facilitate empowerment seminars.

On Wednesday, I had an awesome opportunity to present and facilitate two classes at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. UNCC is the school were I received my first masters degree and learned a ton about health care, government policies and research. So it’s always a good opportunity to go back and impart some wisdom. While my presentations are on slides and some of the jokes are canned, the real emphasis of the lecture was on development, growth and professional matriculation as they moved through their college years. To me, that’s what’s most important.

The professors and homework assignments will automatically teach them what they will need to know in certain aspects. The Book Knowledge as it is called. But there is another piece that we need to give them which are the Practical Lessons or Life Lessons. Things that are only learned from living life or working in an environment that shows you those things.Since “they got next”, we have to give them the tools to survive. Many of us have those tools or lessons because we have tried, failed, succeeded, failed again, failed after that and then kept trying. So it is our duty or charge to make sure the ones who have next, hear those stories and we share our knowledge. Accumulating wisdom and not sharing it, is one of the worst things you can do. In fact it’s downright selfish.

So take this time today to see where you are giving back. If you have an intern or staff member that is green, pull them to the side and ask how you can help. Talk with those that are willing to learn and grow. Find places where you can volunteer to speak to groups of students. No one pulls themselves up by their own bootstraps. We all need help and we all stand on the shoulders of those that came before us and took the time to teach us a thing or two. Someone will always have next but what are we going to do to make sure they are successful…

Have an awesome Friday!


Keith Cradle


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