This interview was made possible by our friends at Guidant Financial:
The leader in alternative startup, franchise and small business financing.
New York City based Legacy Thinking Labs, is the home of the premier motivational speaker for teenagers, college students and professionals. Kevin Y. Brown a former foster kid of over 17 years, former MtvU host and fashion Industry marketer continues to take his message across the country motivating audiences to maximize their potential and resources.
At an early age, Kevin Brown was fascinated with being an individual who stood out from the crowd. Growing up in the California foster care system for 17 years placed Mr. Brown in a category in which he was not wiling to remain. Challenging the status quo and being curious about the world, Mr. brown made the decision to take control of his life in order to create a positive self-identity. Today, he continues to travel extensively, sharing his interactive empowerment message for youth and young adults. Through examples, Mr. Brown motivates and inspires his audience to stand up and tell the world who they are.
MO: What inspired you to launch Legacy Thinking Labs?
Kevin: I have always been active in helping others achieve their desires whether it was classmates, teammates or older peers. Through some pressure from mentors and the desire to want to make a bigger impact on my fellow foster care brothers and sisters I moved from the fashion industry and looked to public speaking/workshop facilitation. I decided to Launch Legacy because I know that today’s youth need to see someone their age that they can relate to in order to get the message that they can become their dreams and build upon their legacies. My audiences relate to me because I am authentic with them and have gone through tough challenges to beat the odds, so I am a young source of inspiration to show them that they can do the same and more.
MO: You have six empowerment programs that you offer to students and professionals. Can you talk our readers through your creative process of having an idea and then developing it into a platform to inspire and motivate others?
Kevin: It all starts with focus.
1) Turn off all distractions phone, internet etc.
2) Brainstorm all of my ideas, distribution outlets, products etc. on paper or in evernote.
3) Select my best ideas by asking myself the “WHY?” Why do I like each one, why is it necessary and which idea’s align with my overall mission? (we all have many ideas but we must focus in on the most important)
4) To put my best ideas in order of importance I ask myself which idea has the highest demand, which is a long term project and which can be accomplished quickly?
5) I do light research on the subject matter(s) and market(s)
6) I ask myself how can I deliver this idea in a fun applicable way to audiences?
7) I present my idea to the rest of the Legacy Team for opinions, suggestions, delivery methods etc.
8) We decide on which projects will have priority
9) The presentation or curriculum is developed.
10) I practice the presentation for hours alone (critiquing myself and making adjustments)
11) Then I practice for hours with my team (for critique and adjustments)
12) I practice the presentation for hours. (Critiquing myself and fine tuning)
*I also read on the industry everyday, watch videos, critique my presentations with my teams and many other things. The development of a great product or presentation is never really done because it is impossible to do your best work when you’re continuously growing.
MO: How do you use brand concepts from the fashion industry combined with your life experiences to show audiences how to overcome the discouraging labels that society thrusts on them?
Kevin: I take my audiences on a journey where they understand that just like fashion we are all labeled by society but the difference is the material that you are actually made of. Luckily, no one can truly tell what you are made of by strictly paying attention to your labels and therefore you are the only person who knows how great you are. With this concept I share with my audiences how I was labeled and how those that doubted me were not aware of what material I was made of and therefore I rose to brand myself as something much greater than anyone expected.
MO: You’re about to release your first book “10 Ways Anyone Can Graduate College DEBT-FREE: A Guide to Post-College Freedom.” Could you provide any tips or strategies from the book that could help students graduate with less or no debt?
Kevin: I will share this strategy with readers, if I had to do it all over again I would go to a community college for two years and during those two years I would find all of the scholarship money I could to pay for my last two years at a four-year college or university. There is a lot more information in the book and 10 entire strategies that I personally used to graduate college debt-free along with over 100 scholarships valued at over $10 million dollars and a few other bonuses as well.
MO: What are some ways that you motivate disillusioned students and help them achieve their goals and reach their potential?
Kevin: I start out by being authentic for students who think that they don’t have a chance to become more than their environments or more than what people are labeling them, they have me to look at. I was in there shoes, counted out and looked over until I decided to take personal responsibility for my destiny. So I encourage my audiences to write their own history or herstory because when they are old and gray the quality of life that they have had over the years will have been a complete decision of his or her own.
MO: You inspire and encourage so many kids; do you have any specific success stories that have been meaningful for you to be a part of?
Kevin: yes. There was a teenager who heard me speak in Oklahoma and as a result of my speech we stayed in contact and he was having some issues deciding if he was going to remain in high school for an extra two years, drop out or just test out to get his GED. He was older than the rest of his classmates and had missed some time in school for personal reasons and had to make up time and credits. In order to do one year instead of two in high school he needed to write a letter to the school district for a special request for an accelerated program for one extra year. I helped him write his letter of appeal to the school district and he was denied permission to only do one year of high school to graduate. But because of the effort of us working together, he is currently completing both years to receive his diploma and has plans on attending college upon completion.