I AM CEO PODCAST

IAM1636 – Philanthropist Helps Businesses and Organisations Impact the Community

Podcast Interview with Brandon Parkes

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”: Brandon is helping to empower the organizations to make a great impact. He spoke a lot about making an impact without sacrificing your “why.” Sometimes we forget that  building a community and driving people together is done in terms of “doing good.”

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Previous Episode: https://iamceo.co/2022/10/11/iam1520-philanthropist-helps-businesses-and-organisations-impact-the-community/

Transcription:

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Brandon Parkes 00:00

So I'd say, our consultants just brings such a wealth of experience to each of our engagements. They have a commitment of doing things differently. They just really offered such fresh perspective and like really customized counsel that even when I'm getting in the weeds of some of our client engagements it just sparks such innovative thinking and delivers such adaptive solutions to our clients that it just really is just unparalleled to me on understanding that they have a really driving tangible change.

Intro 00:24

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:51

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and we're doing something a little bit different this year with some of our episodes. We're repurposing some of our favorite episodes around specific topics related to entrepreneurship. This month we're focusing on entrepreneurship and community. Us, we, our, together, and we're gonna look at entrepreneurship in industries. In different types of entrepreneurship and ultimately what that really means. But we're also gonna delve deeper into the importance of community, networking, niche communities and how that supports being a CEO entrepreneur and business owner. So sit back and enjoy these special episodes around entrepreneurship and community.

Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I am C E O podcast. I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Brandon Parkes of Parkes Philantrophy. Brandon, super excited to have you on the show.

Brandon Parkes 01:37

Thanks, Gresh really appreciate it. Definitely looking forward to the conversation.

Gresham Harkless 01:40

Yes, it should be an awesome conversation. You're doing so many phenomenal things. So before we jump into that, I wanted to read a little bit more about Brandon so you could hear about some of those awesome things. Brandon is the CEO and Founder of Parkes Philanthropy, a social impact consulting firm. Leveraging over 90 plus years of collective experience, Parkes Philanthropy is dedicated to equipping nonprofits, corporations, and individuals with ideas and resources, and support they need to positively impact the world. He previously served as a senior consultant for Bridge Philanthropic Consulting L L C, the nation's largest African American fundraising firm. And prior was a head of the nonprofit engagement at Carry Club, an AI tech company that connects young professionals to leadership roles on nonprofit boards.

He formally worked in a corporate philanthropic capacity for companies such as Morgan Stanley and also Toyota. Through these professional titles, he gained experience supporting an effective philanthropic strategy that increases social impact, external and internal engagement, and nonprofit capacity building. He has been humbled to be named one of the cause artists, 20 inspiring African Americans impacting the world through social impact and social innovation. He's named one of the startup booths, NYC 33 under 33, and has been featured in several publications such as Black Enterprise Blavity, nonprofit Technology News, and Blacks and Technology. It's Brandon's passion to empower any constituent looking to make a positive social impact on the world. Brandon, excited to have you on the show. You're doing so many phenomenal things. Are you ready to speak to the I am CEO community?

Brandon Parkes 03:13

I am ready. Yeah. Thanks. Appreciate it. That was a great bio.

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Gresham Harkless 03:17

I know, I know. It was a lot easier reading, a lot easier reading than I imagined for you to accomplish all those things. So what I wanted to do, I guess, before we got to those accomplishments came, we rewind the clock, and hear a little bit more on how you guys started, what I call your CEO story.

Brandon Parkes 03:31

Yeah, a hundred percent. So I'd say just growing up as an LGBTQ, black American catalyzing efforts towards a more equitable world has always been extremely important to me. Whether it was organizing, advocating, and fundraising events in high school, or galvanizing my fraternity for bond share efforts in college. My passion for really catalyzing a measurable change was always pretty palpable. From there, I dedicated my career to the social sector, particularly working for and with corporations and leaders to really build initiatives and pathways to support innovative organizations making that measurable change. Concurrently being a first-generation son, it had always been important to me as well to really leverage the opportunities my parents created for me to further develop an enduring family legacy. And from a young age, I always believed that entrepreneurship was a pathway to creating generational wealth and was always perpetually creating side hustles and small businesses throughout my entirety.

So throughout my professional career, I'd really developed the mentality that the future of entrepreneurship was an evolution where business and impact were completely intertwined rather than mutually exclusive. So why did I start my business? Well, when the pandemic hit, I had seen so many nonprofit organizations who were helping just that most at-risk communities that didn't have the resources and support they needed to really meet the new challenges of today. So many companies desperately wanting to engage their employees in community efforts in this digital era, but didn't have the support or strategies in place to do so, and individuals who really wanted to help others but didn't know how, what organizations to support, et cetera.

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That's really when the idea of Parkes Philanthropy came about. My co-founder, Anne and I both had worked in the social sector for a while now, has just such a great network of just amazing social impact practitioners, and that's when we really got to work to really develop the operations systems, the processes in place, and especially the team of consultants to really just create a consulting firm to really just supply, just any type of constituent, like you mentioned, with the resource and support they needed to really make a meaningful change.

Gresham Harkless 05:19

Nice. I absolutely love that. And, I think even, like you, we saw a lot of organizations that wanted to do good but didn't know how to do good or what steps to take, and it sounds like you've been able to kind of build something that was able to bridge that gap.

Brandon Parkes 05:30

Hundred percent. It was interesting because during the pandemic you know, during that time we didn't know when it was going to quote and quote end. So Anne was always like, okay, let's launch this week, next week. And I was always like, oh, let's wait another week, a few weeks, a month. And then we were like, you know, let's just do it. And it actually skyrocketed. There was just so much demand and so much need for the resources that we are providing, the solutions we are providing access to our team, that we're providing that, yeah, we were able to just create a really profitable business and also supporting just the societal needs within our community, which is great.

Gresham Harkless 06:01

Yeah, absolutely. And I love that you had that entrepreneurial temperature, that spirit at a very young age and was always doing those things. I love how you talked about not having to, you know, figure out should I do good or should I build a successful business when you can do both together. And I think that's where true innovation happens. You don't have to choose either or, you can have both and make a huge impact.

Brandon Parkes 06:22

Could not agree more.

Gresham Harkless 06:23

Awesome. Awesome, awesome. So I wanted to drill down a little bit more, and hear a little bit more about Parkes Philanthropy. Could you take us through a little bit more on how you're serving your clients, and how you're making that impact?

Brandon Parkes 06:31

Yeah, a hundred percent. So similarly to what you mentioned, like leveraging over 90 plus years of collected experience, Parkes Philanthropy equips nonprofits, corporations, and individuals with the ideas, resources, and support they need to really make an impact. So for nonprofit organizations, we support them with fundraising effort, strategy, and hiring needs recruitment. For small, and medium-sized businesses, we help them innovate and implement strategic initiatives that address critical social challenges while achieving business objectives. For individuals, we support them with the planning, developing, and execution of any philanthropic mission that's personally meaningful to them while also ensuring that they're making an unmeasurable impact. So the way that we operate is we build completely customized teams of our consultants for each of our partner engagements to really ensure that each one of our clients or partners is getting not only that specific expertise but really a culture fit of the team to really ensure success.

Gresham Harkless 07:22

Awesome. What would you consider to be, what I like to call your secret sauce and this could be for yourself individually, the organization, or a combination of both. But what do you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique?

Brandon Parkes 07:32

Definitely, I'd say the secret sauce honestly is just our diverse roster of talent consultants, which basically is just an amazing collective of just the most dynamic individuals, honestly, I've had the privilege of meeting, who have each really demonstrated the commitment and ability to creating change through their lifelong career, and dedicated positive social impact. So I've seen one of our consultants has had just an entire career dedicated to this work, for example, they all are just inherently driven by making a change. And yeah, I'd say that really is what's our secret sauce is and for each of our partner engagements, like I mentioned, we build customized teams over consultants and then as a firm provide the oversight and management needed for flawless execution. So I'd say our consultant just brings such a wealth of experience to each of our engagements. They have a commitment of doing things differently. They just truly offered such fresh perspective and like really customized counsel that even when I'm getting in the weeds of some of our client engagements, it just sparks such innovative thinking and delivers such adaptive solutions to our clients that it's really unparalleled to me on understanding that they have a really driving tangible change.

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Gresham Harkless 08:32

Yeah. That is so huge. And I love, as you said have a kind of commitment or maybe even a history of doing things differently. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Brandon Parkes 08:49

Yeah, hundred percent. So I'd say in terms of like a book if you will, I'm all about the network effect. And really believe that your net worth correlates with your network. So I usually believe that an individual is just a few degrees away from any individual you're looking to connect with. If you really do your research or deep dive into your personal professional network, who's a friend of a friend of a friend, for instance. And a book that I had read early in my career is called The Referral of a Lifetime, which essentially creates a framework for a system, a systematic way to really generate a steady stream of just new business through consistent and qualified referrals. It really just emphasizes that any CEO or business owner, or individual really should be focusing on people. Just really building those authentic relationships and trust, rather than just making a sale, can be really transformative to just your deal flow, the way that you're able to make more business for example, really ensuring that you know, your mom, your dad, your cousins, for example, anybody who you're really familiar with, very familiar with yourself, what your offerings are for, if and when they're in communication or conversations with somebody who potentially may need your services for what you're providing, and they think of your top of mind also.

So really just focusing on the networking effect, really be, focusing on just building just authentic and trusting relationships with individuals rather than making that sale. Cause I feel like  when we're creating partnerships, for example, we not only wanna ensure that we are working with individuals for companies or leaders that really are inherently trying to just make a change and do good in the world. But then also you wanna work with people who you vibe with and really have that connection with. So when you do have that authentic relationship, it really just creates just a strong pipeline of new opportunities and really ensures that the opportunities and partnerships you really are working on are just really mutually beneficial for each party.

Gresham Harkless 10:27

Nice. I absolutely love that. I have not heard of that book. I actually have to check that out and just hear all the awesome things. But I love that networking effect because I think so many times I say in life and definitely in business as well too, I say we forget about the human aspect of the business. Obviously, in the work that you could do, you could definitely see and hear that you have that at the forefront. But I think so many times we're getting so focused on I have to make you know this goal or this sale or whatever it might be, that we forget about the why of what it is that we're doing, which is to impact people usually in a positive way. So if we get back to doing that in our relationships and our organizations and everything we can in our business, then I think really phenomenal things can happen from there.

Brandon Parkes 1:06

You've hit the nail on the head there. I definitely think also just with the pandemic in his visual age, it really is, you know, we're just always grinding. We're always operating, we're always executing, for example, and it really, even for myself, I always have to remind myself to just get back to that. Why, for example, just really realize that  this isn't another check of my to-do list. But this is really a person, an individual. Not just a sale. This is my team members, not just our individuals who I need to support and really work with, not just my COO or one of my consultants and really kind of just ensuring that we are really relating back to the people aspect of things and not just the business aspect of any of our initiatives or endeavors.

Gresham Harkless 11:43

Awesome. So, wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget. So this is a little bit more word of wisdom or piece of advice but it's something you might tell your younger business self if you were to hop into a time machine or potentially something that you would tell your favorite client.

Brandon Parkes 11:56

Hundred percent. So, like I mentioned about the networking fact and the people aspect thing. I always think another is just always cultivating, and nurturing relationships with potential mentors or advisors. Just really identifying individuals that you look up to professionally or personally in your industry or profession. Really just kind of not studying them, but really learning what steps and mistakes that they made to really get to where they are and really trying to develop relationships with individuals who you look up to and who you believe in to really just gain that kind of strategic advice. With that, with advisors and mentors, they also, just looking for people who really believe in you and your mission really can be transformative to your business. I'd say, you know, nobody knows all the answers. So I'm all about, you know, just leveraging support strategically within your network. Identifying individuals who you really look up to, to really kind of just not idolize, really learn from them to ensure that you have just the community and structure in place to really skyrocket and really be successful.

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Gresham Harkless 12:47

Nice. And so I wanted to ask you now my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quote and quote CEOs on this show. So Brandon, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Brandon Parkes 12:56

Yeah. I'd honestly say being a CEO to me means almost being a jack of all trades, a master of none. Just the life of a CEO I feel like is just so dynamic, and multifaceted, and it means you're just wearing so many different hats from strategy to operations, to team building, to leadership, to product design, everything that you do. Just have to have just a really diverse skillset and mentality to really kind of be successful. And I also think with being a CEO and with that notion, it's also realizing where you're lacking or where you don't necessarily have the best insights or where you're lacking in certain skill sets and expectations to really ensure that you're building and empowering a team that really compliments you to really ensure success.

Gresham Harkless 13:34

Perfect. Well, Brandon, truly appreciate that definition and of course, I appreciate your time even more. So what I wanted to do now was pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional that you can let our readers and listeners know, and of course how best people can get a hold of you and find out about all the awesome things you and your team are working on.

Brandon Parkes 13:49

Yeah. Thank you. Really appreciate it. Yeah, I just say I'd advise like any CEO or business owner or leader to truly always think about how they can activate their employees, their brand, their operations, their leadership to really just addressing pressing social issues of our time that really align with company values. I feel like just doing good just isn't impactful. It's good business. I think when I'm really speaking to early-stage startups or CEOs of like seed stage, pre-seed companies, you know, that really focused on just business growth sales, for example, building their team. And I really kind of don't realize that, you know, you can create these different initiatives and embed social impact in the DNA of your company. Where you're really addressing vital social needs, we're also extremely achieving business objectives. So really always trying to take a look at, you know, what and how you're doing, what your why is, for instance, how you could potentially even do just low hanging fruit of ideas initiatives to really just leverage yourself and leverage your brand, and leverage your operations. To really just do good in the world as well. They're not mutually exclusive.

Gresham Harkless 14:44

Absolutely. And people that wanna get ahold of you, what's the best way for them to do that?

Brandon Parkes 14:48

Yeah, so definitely can be reached at brandon@parkesphilanthropy.com. And our website is www.parkesphilanthropy.com as well. So yeah, if anybody's interested in any resources, support to really deepen their impact, whether they're nonprofit organization, corporation, individual, wealth management firm, always more than happy to help and really listen to see what your needs are and seeing how we can potentially team up.

Gresham Harkless 15:08

Absolutely love that. And we will have the links and information in the show notes and I absolutely, again, love,  all the awesome things that you're doing. Love even more, I think what it represents, where sometimes again, we could get in the kind of mind frame and the focus of saying either or, but if we can actually say not either or, but both and both, but better because we're thinking like how we can make that impact in such a unique way. I absolutely love that and everything that you're doing and kind of like the domino effect that it creates in the organizations that you work with and helping them to think differently and just how that trickles down from there. So definitely appreciate you, my friend, and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Brandon Parkes 15:42

You too. Thanks for the opportunity Gresh and really thank you for creating this space. It's really appreciated.

Outro 15:46

Thank you for listening to the I am CEO Podcast powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. I am CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google podcast, and everywhere you listen to podcasts, subscribe and leave us a five-star rating. This has been the I am CEO podcast with Gresham Harless, Jr. Thank you for listening.

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Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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