Allow us to introduce Fortune McDonald, the Founder of Fortune McDonald Speaking!
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Let us tell you a little about Fortune McDonald.
Fortune McDonald is a creative, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur. Founder of Fortune McDonald Speaking (IG: @thefortunemcdonald), he is an up and coming voice in his community in the areas of youth development as well as helping youth discover their purpose and actualizing it.
Leading by example, Fortune has combined his gifts as a creative and entrepreneur to also be the CEO of TheFortune500Visuals (IG: @thefortune500visuals), a visual arts company focused on Photography, Videography, and Editing; helping his clients bring their dreams to reality and creating lifelong memories.
Fortune strongly believes everyone can live out their full potential and directs people to develop their relationship with God in order to tap into their God-given gifts to live a fulfilled life.
Explain how COVID-19/ George Floyd's death has impacted you (emotionally, physically, finically, spiritually, and mentally) in a positive and negative way.
This pandemic and the murder of George Floyd have been two life-changing moments for me. Starting with COVID-19; when it first started gaining traction, I was a bit worried, uncertain, and frustrated. I was worried about the health of my loved ones and people most susceptible to the virus. I was uncertain and frustrated about all the goals I had for the year which were heavily dependent on being able to do events. From the jump I was concerned this pandemic would impact me and my team in every way, leaving us drained and losing momentum.
Finding out about the murder of George Floyd hit me in a way that I didn’t expect. To be honest, after all the killing of innocent black people by the police in the past few years, I started to tune out the news so I wouldn’t get so upset. But with George Floyd, it couldn’t be blocked out and I was shaken for weeks, experiencing a range of emotions from anger, rage, fear, and sadness.
Yet in both of these situations, I went to God in prayer and I believe He gave me new hope, new vision, and an unending drive to be a voice for hope and change, by simply doing my part and using the gifts He’s given me. In every bad situation, there’s a lesson and a blessing that comes out of it. Maybe not now, and we may not understand why, but in due time, the good always gets revealed. The death of George Floyd has sparked the fire for our generation and other races to unite for the great cause of social justice for Black people, and goodwill comes out of this. (Galatians 6:9)
Tell us about your company/occupation. What’s your biggest professional or personal accomplishment? Explain how you felt working towards it and how you felt when it was achieved.
My company is two-fold. One branch is creating youth development programs and motivational speaking with Fortune McDonald Speaking. The other is TheFortune500Visuals, a visual arts company that I serve as CEO.
My greatest professional achievement was when I landed my first contract as a Speaker with TSU’s Upward Bound program. To understand why is to understand that when I first got the desire to work with youth in my community, I wasn’t sure how to get started. I feel God sent me help by someone very dear to me, Lauren, who’s assisted me a lot to reach such a milestone.
The best part was knowing that something that was a dream, turned to desire, turned to planning, evolved into a team win. That’s what made me feel the most excited, knowing that it’s a team effort for a great cause.
What was your childhood like? Describe your environment from your house to your neighborhood to your school. How did these experiences shape you and your future success?
Looking back at it, my childhood was pretty standard for a first-generation immigrant. I came to the U.S. as a baby so I don’t recall anything about Nigeria, but growing up in the Southwest side of Houston was a mixture of a lot of different worlds. Being a sheltered kid, I couldn’t wait until I got to Middle School and joined my school’s sports teams, which allowed me to get more exposure to different neighborhoods and people. I loved football and basketball season because I got more time to be around my peers since I’m a very social person.
My neighborhood was an example of what Alief, Texas was like back in the late ’90s to early 2000s because it was very diverse. My neighbors on the right were Hispanic, my neighbors on the left were Creole, and my neighbors across the street were Vietnamese. It was a pretty calm/crazy place, beautiful houses dropped smack dab in the middle of what was considered “low-income apartments” where you could hear occasional gunshots, and had to stay clear of a certain area because of prostitutes posting up. As I said, it was a mixture of a lot of experiences, some good some bad. Driving through these areas and observing the struggles people went through then turning down my block into a place of middle-class comfort gave me the heart to help people less fortunate than me.
My home environment was Christ-centered. My parents are both ministers so I grew up in church (there was a lot of church!) When I was younger I didn’t like missing out on having fun with my friends because I was at church a lot, but that actually laid the foundation that saved my life years down the line, as well as allowed me to hone my skills as a musician.
When it came to my school experiences, I loved school. I was both a nerd and a joke so I got along with most people I came across. In high school, I started growing into my own and built confidence in knowing that I didn’t have to fit anyone’s labels but I could be well-rounded, and I have my teachers and coaches to thank for that.
Tell us about your inner circle (close friends, family, mentors, relationship). How does their support impact your success?
Throughout my life, I’ve been blessed to have a lot of support. From my brothers from another mother to my immediate family, mentors, business team, my ride and thrive partner Lauren, my support system has been key to my success and I wouldn’t be in a place of success without them. I consider all of them family because in my darkest moments they stood by me, held me accountable, gave me advice, and encouragement. I thank God for them every day.
List a few habits that a young person should start implementing to set them up for a successful future?
1) Know your WHY and PURPOSE in life
2) Have goals for YOURSELF that shapes your vision
3) Be STRATEGIC in your planning (do your homework!)
4) Be PROACTIVE!
5) DREAM BIG!!
Share a big mistake you made professionally or personally. How did you fix it and what did you learn?
With my visual arts business, at the very beginning stages, I had the opportunity of traveling overseas to create branded content for a friend’s wife’s catering business. I was overly ambitious, uninformed, and beyond my capacity at the time. I got a business credit card and bought more new equipment, booked my flight, paid for my hotel, because I felt I had the gig in the bag, a home run right out the gates! Long story short, when I arrived, my friend and his wife were not on the same page, no one was prepared, and I wasn’t paid. I ultimately went into debt and didn’t book another client for some time.
I had to go back to the drawing board, do my homework to learn the business better, worked my 8-5 job to pay off the debt, and learned to grow one step at a time while working to scale with the capacity I had as a businessman. It was a hard lesson to learn, but I’m grateful for that experience.
What are you afraid of for boys and men in the future?
I try to not deal with fear, but I can say what concerns me about boys and men in the future is our position as leaders in the home and community. It seems like the negative role models outnumber the good male role models in media and in the community, I come from. There are definitely great men out here walking the talk, but the scales don’t look balanced. That’s what I appreciate about organizations like Shepherds of Healing though because you see the problem and provide solutions.
If you could give your 18 -year-old self-advice about the adult you are today, what would it be?
Stay the course, don’t change anything! I strongly believe that every moment in life is meant to happen to lead a person on the path to destiny. There are lessons I wouldn’t have learned if I didn’t make certain mistakes along the way. I’m stronger, wiser, and better from the past 12 years of my life. From the seasons of struggle, doubt, and fear; through that God caused it to work out for my good. All of what I’ve been through has given me a conviction of my faith in God and His purpose for my life and the lives of everyone He’s created.