Ep. 19 – CEO Disrupts Racial Inequality w/Jamal Malone

by | Apr 13, 2021 | Podcasts, The Virtuous Heros

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About our Guest

 jamal malone

Jamal Malone is a Chief Executive Officer at Ada S. McKinley, a multi-state, not-for-profit, human services agency. Ada S. McKinley is one of the largest human services organizations in the region serving more than 7,000 people each year at 70+ program sites.  Ada S. McKinley has three primary areas of service:  child development and youth services; employment and community support services; and behavioral health and clinical programs. Jamal leads a $40MM budget and over 500 staff. Jamal was placed by Chris and his team in 2014 to fill this important role. 

In this episode, Jamal discusses how his organization disrupts the common cycle that leads to disproportionate incarceration rates of minorities. He also discusses his journey to his position as a first-time CEO. 

One lesson he learned is that everything a CEO does, big or small, reflects on the company.

Do you agree or disagree?


Hannah: Thanks for watching our podcast! Here at Spirit Consulting, our services include business strategy and human resources consulting. In HR we offer executive search executive coaching and work psychology consulting. Please visit us at spiritmco.com, where we fulfill our client’s dreams virtuously. Enjoy your show!

Chris: Enjoy your show. Welcome back to the Leading Virtuously Podcasts, excited to be able to bring you an alumni of my career, Jamal Malone.

So excited to be able to have you here today with us. Can you start by answering the first question, which is always who are you? 

Jamal: Chris first, thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure. For me, I like to describe myself with three words. Family fun and fair at the end of the day. Those three words really describe every aspect of my life.

And whereas a lot of folks may be one way at work one way at home and other way, when they’re off to play for me, I have one calendar and everything gets jammed on that calendar. And if it’s not on that calendar, it really doesn’t exist. But all of those things, family fun, fair church, all of that stuff is really on my calendar and being able to intertwine all aspects of my life, I guess keeps me a little bit saying leading an organization here in Chicago.

So my current profession the CEO chief executive officer for ADA S McKinley Community Services, Chris, as very well because you helped to recruit me. Helped give me a place there. It’s been about six years now. I believe so six years at ADA, but for me, I have a business background, but then I have a heart for doing mission work and a passion for service.

So my career I’m an accountant by training and by trade, but realized very quickly that accounting was not a passion of mine. I just happened to be pretty good at it. And so ultimately after some professional jobs working for Ernst and young, doing consulting work, working for larger organizations like office max, CVS Caremark, I migrated into the not-for-profit space and ended up at national children’s center in Washington, DC, where you helped recruit me back to Chicago to Ada S McKinley.


Chris: Awesome. My second question is usually. Tell us a little bit about your leadership journey. I think you hammer that out. So I want to go back into the family, fun and fair. Let’s dive into family and fun. Can you talk a little bit about your role as a husband and a father, and then also how you have fun?

Jamal: So I’ll start with my boys. I think I was destined to have boys. Working with young men has been a personal passion of mine, especially young African-American men. I’ve been a mentor coach. I’m a father of three boys, 15 and 12 and 10. And my wife and I we’ve helped out nephews and just continue it.

We even added a male puppy to the family recently, so it’s just something about young men and boys that just I’m passionate about really helping and enjoy seeing them succeed in life. And so when it comes to leading virtuously, I do look at all aspects of my life through that same lens and try to live in accordance to really the golden rule do unto others as you’d have them do unto you and through teaching my boys that and teaching them to be young leaders and young men.

The most important thing is to really set that example. And so they get to come to work with me. If sometimes I’m working on the weekend pre pandemic, of course, they would go to the office with me and hang out. They might be on their devices, but they would see me working. And now that I’m home, it just walked down the stairs and popped their head in every day is bring your child to work day now during the pandemic.

But that’s really me. And then you said you wanted to get into fun a little bit. 

Chris: Yeah, sure. That’s good let’s get into it.

Jamal: Anything to do with water So love swimming, love scuba diving, love fishing. I don’t know something about water it’s peaceful and just being able to get out in the water. Other than. Snow is the one exception where I’ll pass on the snow, but any other type of water, I love it. 

Chris: That’s awesome. So have you gotten your have you shared that passion with your children as well?

Jamal: when the kids were younger I always had this vision of us all being able to swim together and go scuba diving. And my wife’s not the most avid swimmer, but she’s even gone scuba diving before. So I always had this dream of all of these. In the water together at scuba diving. So if anyone knows anything about scuba diving there and hand signals that you give each other, cause you can’t talk with the regulator in your mouth.

So as little kids we have under the covers in the bed and take a flashlight and pretend that we were scuba diving and do like that, are you okay? And then they’d give the okay. Sign back or, out of air or, we need to go to the top. Just starting them off early. 

Chris: What’s the hand signal for?

Oh, shoot. There’s a shark. 

Jamal: You just swim back to the boat. Believe it or not. My wife and I took a trip not too long ago, but it was a couple of years ago just to celebrate, I think one of our anniversaries and went back to the Virgin islands where we got married. We were really young when we got married.

We’ve been married for. 17 years now and dated for five years before that. So college sweethearts, actually did come face to face with a lemon shark. I think it was. And that was actually not the scariest thing that I saw that day. 

Chris: Wow. What was the scariest?

Jamal: Barracudas are way scarier than sharks. Cause, you saw the shark, the new, it was not a small one, but it kinda just swam away and disappeared.

I got nervous cause you couldn’t see where it went and he didn’t want to come up behind you. But if you’ve ever seen a Barracuda, it was just hovering there with this mouth open and you could see all of its teeth and it just turn like this, just to look and watch. I’m scared of anything.

It’s not scared of me in the water. That thing didn’t look nervous at all and just all those teeth. 

Chris: Little bit later, we’re going to talk a little bit about vices and learning curves for me. It’s if I lose control, that’s when I’m just like, thinking about being in the middle of a huge ocean and having all sorts of different things.

Like barracudas. And sharks around that, that I can’t do it. I would way rather be, I play hockey, so I’m are more into winter sports and being outside into the winter than definitely into the large ocean where things are, it can get out of control. So good for you. And thank you for sharing your passions as well.

So in another interview, you had outlined how ADA S McKinley has attacked the root of a societal issue instead of trying to fix the symptoms of that issue. Can you share some of these eyeopening incarceration, statistics about people of color and how ADA’s services are attacking the roots of these issues?

Jamal: Sure. So when you look at the demographics of people in prison is disproportionate, and what I mean by that is. Men of color African-American and Hispanic men are over 50% of the prison population. When you look at the total us population less than let’s call it, 25% of the total population are men of color.

And so it just statistically right there, there’s an uneven balance and there are many reasons. But without going into the reasons I want to talk about some of the issues that creates. So when you look at the natural family environment, and when I say natural and here, we’re talking about traditional mother, father, children, married couple scenario.

So many times fathers have been in prison and pulled from the homes or throughout history. When you look at the civil rights movement prior to that, where. Government programs were designed. And if there was a male in the home, the mother could not receive assistance due to food assistance, other economic assistance.

And so going back before that, when you look at Jim Crow all the way back to slavery, the system was designed and set up for disrupting the natural family in the American African-American. Even going back to slavery when males were separated from their wives and sold off in slavery. And so it takes generations for us to get to this point.

But when you have generations of this just unconscious actions and activity, what we see that’s manifested now through uneven. Judicial sentencing and arrests where w we don’t have to go onto that because it’s just, there’s so much evidence and research out there what’s happened is that we spend a lot of time as human service and social service agencies and government entities, funding adults that have mental health issues or employment issues.

Food deserts in certain neighborhoods, a lack of the creation of wealth due to red lining for real estate and insurance companies in certain neighborhoods. And all of that wrapped in is where we’re looking at, what that pipeline is to try to disrupt it at different points. And if we think about a child, let’s just take a young African-American child that’s born and.

If you trace through the different risks that statistically are imbalanced against productivity and success, let’s start with early learning. So due to economic and neighborhood and other issues where a child is born, if they’re born in a neighborhood that has less resources, then they’ll less likely be able to go to Pre-K.

They may end up being cared for in a childcare environment, but may not have some of those educational opportunities that some of their peers might in a different neighborhood, different subdivision somewhere else. And so then when they get to school and kindergarten, they’re not in the same pace as it comes to learning about basic ABCs and beginning to read.

And so then once you get to the third grade you hear the stories about how prisons designed and base their anticipated occupancy on third grade literacy rates in certain communities. And so then if a child is not on target for reading and academic targets in the third grade, then there’s a higher increase that they’re likely to be suspended from school or miss school once they get into middle school.

And then once there is a suspension on record or significant absence. In the schools elementary and getting into middle school career, then there’s a higher likelihood that they will not graduate from high school. And then if they don’t graduate from high school so far so long, it increases the risk of them being incarcerated, not going to college, not having the ability to vote in certain states, the majority of states, so forth and so on.

And so I know that’s a mouthful, but I wanted to walk through that that lineage before. What we’ve done is we’ve structured our programs over time since 1919, when Ada Sophia McKinley founded our organization, who incidentally in the middle of the Spanish flu and other pandemic that was going on, but targeting really disrupting each of those different points in the pipeline, whether it be our early learning programs through headstart, our mentoring programs for young people in middle school.

Our college placement programs and we run one world famous. One of the most famous programs in the country our pioneers, Cyrus pernil, and Revie Story, former Chicago Bears players that black for Gale Sayers and Walter Payton. You look at The number of kids that we’ve helped place in college, we placed over 80,000 kids at over 400 different universities across the country.

And so any time you have statistics like that and let’s just do the math. The U S government estimates that the difference between a high school diploma and a college degree is about $1.2 million increase lifetime earning. That’s the difference between someone going from high school and just getting a high school diploma to getting a college degree at a four year institution.

And so when you look at that, we’ve generated billions of dollars and many of them were for first time first-generation college students, African-American city of Chicago students. But then they were able to then have a roadmap for their family. And then once one sibling goes to college, it increases the likelihood that their siblings now may follow on that same path.

And so through breaking these generational issues and curses, if you will, we’ve been able to just through those programs, disrupt that system. And when you look at our other programs, we also provide. Mobile crisis response through our mental health program. And what that does is similar to the 9 1, 1 for mental health.

We deal with a lot of young people and a lot of adults where we’ll get a call on our emergency hotline and we’ll dispatch anywhere in our geography within the Chicago land area. And we will divert and try to keep that person from going to jail for a mental health issue, or if they’re at the hospital about to be admitted.

Get them into an outpatient clinic or try to diffuse them and divert that situation so that they’re not admitted to the emergency room, which then taxpayers have to pick up the costs because usually there is no funding for that individual to pay for that huge emergency room bill. And we can get them the better service that they need in the outpatient way, through our therapy programs and so forth.

And so on. We also work with people with disabilities and employment programs. Employing people that may have had less than the average opportunity to gain viable employment. And so through all of these different avenues, we’re focusing on disrupting that system. That’s in place. 

Chris: No needed no need to go deeper into virtuous leadership, Jamal.

Absolutely crushing it. Thank you for the work that you do. I’m curious, Jamal, why do you care personally? Like, why did you take this job and why is this something that’s near and dear to your heart?

Jamal: So for me it, and you know this from knowing my background, I’ve always had an affinity to help young people.

And so me growing up in Detroit, I saw a lot of folks look to the left, look to the right, that didn’t make it. And I always said if I ever had the opportunity, I would give back and it started with me doing. Through the church. And even when I was young at Ernst and young and shortly thereafter, I would create these different programs for young men mentoring programs, or do conferences men’s conferences.

And at a certain point I’ll lead men’s Bible studies, but I’ve always had an appreciation for people that have helped. Because I didn’t get here on my own. I don’t believe in pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. And when you hear folks that say that, oh government support is bad or people that need government help is bad.

I’m going to ask them, what did you take the earn interest credit on your taxes? Or did you take the what is it the help me out here. Cause what is it? The home tax credit or did you get the deduction? Mortgage interest on your taxes because all of that is government help. When you think of it that way, and think about when we check those boxes on our tax returns, we’re all receiving those government benefits, no different, because it all comes from the same treasury, right?

That funds a lot of different programs that are helped designed to help society. And so a lot of people don’t realize that they’re getting government benefits, but then want to look down on people that. So for me personally, I wanted to just give my time talents and treasures or back in the area that I’m passionate about.

Chris: Thank you for the work that you do, Jamal, and it’s absolutely critical for the city of Chicago and our surrounding states as well. So thank you for that. This was the first CEO position that you had taken on and it’s not, you’ve got a big reach, right? It’s over a $40 million budget.

Over 500 employees. So can you share a little bit about your learning curve to inspire and educate other aspiring CEOs as you walked into this role? 

Jamal: When I started my career, I didn’t necessarily have a goal of becoming a CEO. If anything, I took the opposite approach when I was at Ernst and young, I looked around and when I heard this statistic that 95%.

Of public accounting partners get divorced and usually it’s in the pursuit of career. And you hear that with many professions like that, whether it be attorneys, doctors other careers. I said, I don’t think I want to be on the partner track. And so I really started exploring what I wanted to do, and as it relates to my life.

I said I wanted to be successful, but I wanted to be successful in life. Not just in Korea. I want to be able to have a family. I want to be able to have a wife with a sustained marriage where I actually get to see them. And when I was a consultant at Ernst and young, I would fly out every week.

And so at one point I was a hundred percent travel to the point where I would wake up and all the Marriotts look the same. You don’t even know what city you’re in. For one point for almost a year, I flew to DC. Every Monday morning and flew back Thursdays or Fridays, and just didn’t even really see home only saw my apartment at home in Detroit, probably six to eight times a month.

And so thinking through what that looked like, I just said, I wanted to be able to contribute to an organization and be more of actually a intrepreneur if you will, because I started my own business doing consulting on my own. Co-sourcing with other projects doing audit work. And then when I had an opportunity to work for a company, I really liked being independent.

And I liked having that autonomy. But, once you start to develop a family and get married, benefits kicks in really fast when you start talking about delivering babies and other stuff. So I decided to take a position at at Caremark up in Northbrook, and I always had the mindset of being an interpreter.

So I said, I’m going to treat Caremark. It’s my one. And only client in every day I go to work. I’m not going to work. I wouldn’t even call it work. And my family would tease me and say, oh, you’re going to work to that and say, I’m going to Caremark. And I did that for several years. And then when I took another position in Office Max and I’m going to Office Max.

So in my mind, I was always that contract employee, even though I got a W2 and I think what it did is it made me think of things, not as just someone getting up, going to punch up. And say, how can I add value in this role? Whatever my role is at this company. And then what that led to was me leading ADA S McKinley and just going through that leadership path.

But you asked about the learning curve and the reason I brought up those other positions, it helps McKinley is so complex. If you remember general electric back in the day with Jack Welsh, We have programs in so many different industries, whether it be education, mental health, healthcare employment, child welfare we’re in facilities management.

We have military contracts across three different states doing facilities management. And so I took all of that business experience and really applied it. But the thing that no one ever teaches you or trains you, there’s no manual for being a CEO. So for me, I’ve had wonderful mentors that one in particular, that we’ve gone on this CEO journey together.

And we talk on a weekly basis. We share ideas with one another, but the learning curve was there’s no title above mine. Think about this. When you have any other position at a company there’s always another title or promotions. Once you’ve become a chief executive officer. There was nowhere left for you to be promoted to.

So you have to run that organization as if it’s your baby, as if it’s your living breathing thing that you’re responsible for knowing that there’s no other higher title that you can get. And so it puts you in a different mindset where you’re fully responsible for something just as if you were for a family member or a wife or a child.

And so ADA, Sophia McKinley, ADA S McKinley community services. That’s become an extension of career. I mentioned family fun. Fair. So it’s an extension of my family.

Chris: I’m just thinking about,

Jamal: So Chris, let me ask you a question here. I see your wheels turning. You’ve placed a lot of leaders in different roles. And I’m sure you’ve seen some leaders without giving any names that are more successful than others. And you may have this sixth sense about when someone might be a good fit what’s part of that secret sauce, right?

If you want to be a CEO, what’s like the one or two thing, one or two things that you may have seen in candidates where you say, yup. And after years later I knew they would stick. What are those characteristics in your mind? 

Chris: Yeah, that’s a great question. And it’s interesting. You’re the first person that’s actually thrown a question at me in the middle of their interview.

So I, I appreciate it. Usually I’m the one sitting there smiling, asking the questions. Yeah. Thank you for it. 

Jamal: We’re gonna put you to work a little bit. 

Chris: Good. Yeah, just thinking that, I just had a similar conversation with one of our larger clients where a. Health or an academic medical center down in the Southeast.

And we were talking about the fact that when doing business development, some of the ways that I find to be the best ways to, re-establish relationships, I’m sure you’re probably, this may ring a bell back to your consulting days. It’s like looking at some of the candidates that we’ve helped along the journey and be able to reconnect with them.

And re-establish those relationships. I think the thing that’s really can be incredibly frustrating is that, we can really only probably help even under 1% of the total number of candidates that we source and present to our clients, et cetera. And then looking back at those, it’s there’s been so many times that in essence, like you don’t even anticipate just ridiculous amounts of growth in people’s careers that you may not have been foreseen to be able to like just in essence.

So if you’re ranking candidates on a 1, 2, 3, this is the third best candidate for this position. And just doing this audit and looking back over past candidates, just seeing sometimes it’s those third candidates that have exploded within their career development. So I think, as you talked about church and those biblical terms, I think sometimes like it’s hard to.

Place based off of like where people are designed to be and what they’re designed to do in life, et cetera. So that’s interesting. Cause that’s the first thing, that’s my disclaimer on, on the hiring process, because it’s not the easiest thing in the world, in essence, what we usually are doing is let’s look at past history.

Let’s look at let’s run assessments to see like, how is this person being wired to leverage the strengths that they have internally. And then lastly why is this something that interests them for the long haul? Cause if at the end of the day, if you’re not actually fire, if you don’t have fire in your belly to go off and do the work that you’re going to do.

When adversity comes and we know that adversity is coming for all of us, are you going to be able to have that perseverance to basically get up and do that job? So I think those are usually the things that I’m looking at too. As I’m looking at leaders and as you mentioned and communicated, this isn’t, this wasn’t.

When we were talking about the services that ADA was providing it, wasn’t like, this is Jamal’s like completely out of left field. Even the work that you were doing in Washington, DC was a precursor to the work that you were going to be doing for ADA. Plus your ties to in the Midwest. Just, cause that’s the other thing it’s like, if we don’t, if oftentimes, if you have people having to relocate across the country and then they don’t have those bonds, et cetera, as you’re also talking about having those people that are pouring into the lives and supporting them, that becomes also a way extra thing.

And as you mentioned, it’s all about, it’s a community that stands behind people’s greatness. So if this person’s completely left on an island by themselves, the chances of them being able to continue to succeed is, that much harder. So that’s usually the way that we look at looking at placements and like where.

When I’m thinking about candidates slates as to how I’m feeling if it’s going to work out and how we come through on the ranking, et cetera, 

Jamal: that’s an interesting statistic. You mentioned less than 1% or 1% get placed in those types of roles. And I read a lot of books in particular TD Jakes or Miles Morales from purpose, but it thought about Zig Ziglar and wrote a book.

I food. I think I had an overdue myself. I think it’s not Zig Ziglar’s Secrets of Closing the Sale. And I don’t think I’ve read that one. It’s a great book. And what I learned, one of the things that I learned from that book was that. It doesn’t matter what your personality type is or what your strengths are, but if you play to your strengths and utilize those and maximize your individual strengths, and then surround yourself with other people that can close the gaps where you’re not as strong, and that’s one of the signs of success.

And so whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert you’re analytical or charismatic or some combination there in being able to surround yourself with people that can shore up your opportunities for improvement or your weaknesses, if you will, with it interview question, right? Oh, tell me something where you have a weakness.

Now we say opportunity for growth or something like that. But being able to surround yourself, but knowing that you can have success. With whatever characteristics you bring to the table and banging those out and maximizing what you’re good at.

Chris: Yep. Absolutely. And as you mentioned, looking at your own career, this was going from, being in that leadership position to now being in the number one. And then in essence, having the entire leadership team, being able to report up to you. And so being able to be mindful about those that are, that we’re bringing around us as leaders.

And I think that’s the other thing that you’re just calling to trade is self knowledge self-mastery knowing knowing ourselves. And I think it brings to mind Abraham Lincoln’s quote. They were his leadership team was trying to bring in a person to have him hire this individual.

And his response was like, no, I’m not going to hire that person. I didn’t like his face. And they’re like, what? You didn’t like his face? What does that mean? And he’s this guy’s like in his forties. Any, he didn’t know how to basically manage his own facial expressions in the interview process.

So showing that like this person doesn’t really have that emotional intelligence knowing about who he is as a person. And so if you can’t start there. Then your ability to be able to start looking across, your leadership team and recognizing the different strengths and opportunities for each of the people under us and how are you going to be able to just lead people in that way.

And so yeah I think that’s critically important when looking at leadership. And it’s a great segue into my next point, which is, now as a CEO, can you talk a little bit about the virtual. That you’ve mastered that you feel really strongly about, having learned it over these last six years.

And are there any virtues that you’re presently working on now? Jamal?

Jamal: The world around us constantly changes so we can never really sit on our laurels. And I was actually thinking about your last question as it relates to this one, one thing that is different and I’d like that. In past physicians, past jobs, even when I was a CFO and chief operating officer for national children’s center out of DC.

Thank you for mentioning that as well. Part of that stair-step approach to becoming a CEO, the amount of what I’ll call significant or important decisions that you make are really limited. And so if I’m having. One or two really crucial or critical decisions a week, or, whatever that time period. Its exponential, the number of significant decisions that have to be made in the CEO position.

And just the running saying that I have as well, that’s like that’s another Tuesday when something drastic happens or there’s some crisis or something and to be able to. Have the fixed skin to balance deal with and not basically just die emotionally when you get home to be able to absorb, being able to make so many different decisions and then not doing it yourself by yourself, but empowering your team.

And having us make collective decisions because I have a family approach and team approach to leadership and decision making as well when appropriate. But that was something that was a surprise to me. And what I might’ve thought would be a small interaction when people interact with the chief executive officer, there’s so much tied to that.

Whether you’re walking past someone and saying, hi, Even if people hear you might be in the building, like I’ve had someone come back and give me feedback before and say, Hey, this group heard you were in the building and you didn’t say hi and they felt offended. And I might’ve just been running between meetings and nothing was malicious or intentional, but optics are so much more important at the CEO level.

And so when you want to talk about to your next question about those virtuous characteristics, or how do you bring that into. It really does get back to the golden rule. Sometimes it’s just a matter of how do people feel when they interact with you in being able to be in the moment? Because we may have a million things that we’re thinking about, but that one person’s interaction with you is not just you as Chris or me as Jamal.

They’re interacting with the CEO. And there’s something with that title where we don’t get too many, second chances. To make that first impression or that second impression or that third impression. And when someone is turned off is very difficult to fix that perception, not just of me or you, but our whole organization is tied to that.

And so there’s such a weight connected to that, that really making sure that you have the energy to be in the moment is one of the most important things.

Chris: Yeah, you, I think it’s simple way to validate that is go on any social media and look at people’s comments. You know how many times, if you just go on social media, just literally go and open up any news source whatsoever. Look at the top 10 articles, go on social media, look at the top 10 posts. And you’ll notice look at like the negative comments versus the positive comments and in your that in essence, like when we have good experiences, it’s okay, great. We don’t usually go and be like, oh, this was such a great experience, blah, blah, blah, give testimonials, et cetera. But if we have a bad experience, that’s everyone just wants to put you on blast. So yeah. Being mindful about that and recognizing the fact that literally you are ADA’S brand and there’s a lot of weight that carries that not only for external constituents, but also your internal employees as well.

Ah, that’s beautiful wisdom and advice. So thank you for sharing 

Jamal: Some other funny advice I got was never let a good bathroom go to wakes.

He gave me that advice and I thought it was weird when he said it. What I learned was that, even when you’re talking with, so we, you know how, when you have back-to-back meetings, you need it. I just got to go to the bathroom step away. It takes away from being in the moment. And so I know it’s a silly comment, but the reality is as a CEO, even if you have to go to the restroom that doesn’t preempt and outweigh the interaction that you’re in at the moment.

Representing your entire organization, your family, yourself, your brand, your organization’s brand. And so he always would say never let him a good bathroom go to waste.

Chris: I don’t know. I’m like I’m 50 50 on that one. I don’t know if I could buy into that because if you’re sitting there and all you’re like, I am right about to poop my pants.

Jamal: I’ll elaborate. So if you’re talking with the CEO of let’s use Chicago, Motorola or Boeing or wherever, and they’re abrupt with you and you don’t know why and you walk away feeling like man, they were just really short with me. It just leaves a bad taste in someone’s mouth. And you don’t know why.

And I’ve just seen that scenario where. On the other side, you think it doesn’t really make sense, but I’m telling you if you’re doing a podcast person, for example, with, Chris Gomez and it’s Hey Chris, I got to cut. You short, got to go. You don’t really have that excuse. And so we have to be in a moment wherever we are, and it never, ever turns off the title of the job.

Thinking about it. It never turns off. And I wish I could put myself in the mind of a mother because I suspect, and I’m going to say, I suspect for any of the ladies that are watching any women, I don’t want to say that I know what it’s like to be a mom. So let me put that out there. Really articulate that.

Your comments are, I feel with negative stuff, but I wish I could be inside the mind of the mother for a moment because I suspect. It’s similar to being a CEO where when you have a child being a mother never turns off. I think it’s similar. 

Chris: If you talk to Cookie Gomez, she’ll tell you about how amazing her fifth child is and that he’s never done anything wrong.

And yeah, so I, I understand where you’re going at right now just better understanding about. Continually always being on and thinking about the business and each interaction having the weight that you’re discussing. And yeah, so I was just thinking about, as you’re talking about bathrooms specifically, I just come to a place of humility where I realized everyone’s got, get real, it’s got to go.

And so if that, if I run into those situations in meetings, I’m just very frank about that. So people aren’t, I’m not catching them off guard, but now. Communicated that further, I think, yeah. It’s very crystal clear.

Jamal: Chris, I gotta go to the bathroom.

That’s enough of that talk, but yeah. So you also asked about other aspects of virtuous leadership. I do believe in bringing the whole person to work. So I found that in trying to separate family and work and marriage. It just creates a divide, trying to compartmentalize things. And sometimes you have to, but as best I can, I try to have my family be inclusive and included in the passion that I have for the work that I do.

And so this also gives them a little bit of appreciation when daddy’s not there now, obviously COVID, I’m physically here, but mentally not. And sometimes when I’m working, but especially when, you have all the events and the activities and the meetings and going out and doing things and pre COVID, we may have been in a studio somewhere, or I may have been physically sitting across the table from you doing this, which means that a lot of times they’re going to bed and just dad’s at work.

And so what I started doing was I started including my kids and coming to volunteer events. Or bringing them for different activities or fundraisers, just to let them experience what it’s like and to be able to have other people see that side of me, that the human side of, Hey, I’m a CEO, but I’m also a father, I’m also a husband. And so I want to give credit to Liz Thompson, who is a wife of Don Thompson there at Cleveland right now. But he’s the former CEO for McDonald’s corporate. Liz gave us an example of how we can be more impactful as leaders when we have the support of our spouse engaged throughout that process.

And so without going into particulars that, that open a new thought process for me, because there were a lot of times where I did keep stuff separate just to try to have a compartmentalized approach. When I say, wait a minute, that’s not the best way to do this.

And I’ll give a really live example. So the most recent thing that we’ve done is my wife and I now have our own podcast or radio show when we started with WBON, where we do family talks with Jamal and Leticia Malone. And we’re interacting with other married, couple leaders. And it’s just been such a privilege and blessing to sit next to her and let people see all the great stuff that she does because she’s the one that really holds so much down and she’s got her own unique stuff going on that sometimes can be overshadowed when the other person might be a little bit more of a public figure or executive.

Chris: So Hannah and I worked together and she has done the advertisement for this podcast. So yes I couldn’t agree with you more that it’s so mission critical to involve our families. And, as we talked about before, I think I heard this from one of the guests actually on your post. Which is I stand on the shoulders of giants in that we have to, basically it’s community, that it allows people to be able to be successful.

And so the more that we are able to involve our families into the work that we’re doing I think that’s beautiful to also broaden that horizon of the people that you’re interacting with to, to be able to see you in different lights beyond just your mom alone, the CEO. So thank you for sharing that.

And Jamal, how can people support you for the just absolutely critical work that you’re doing at ADA McKinley? 

Jamal: The best way is to learn about what we’re doing at adasmckinley.org And I encourage and challenge everybody to go to that website and let us know what you think about our services, our programs, our impact, and if you’re moved, even the slightest, we ask that you contribute to our programs, contribute to our endowment so that we can continue the a hundred year plus legacy.

And when ADA, Sophia McKinley started our organization. And even if it’s a small contribution of $10, a hundred dollars, a thousand dollars or a hundred thousand dollars, we just asked it if you touched it all, just to make a contribution so that we can continue the work that we do. 

Chris: And you also had.

Added the fact that you had another, I don’t know if the, I believe the campaign is still going on with a, I am ADA. Correct. And how has that campaign been going? Cause I just think about how many lives your organization has touched. You’re right. That if you, the more of those people that come forward and share those stories, I think it’s just such a powerful movement.

Jamal: So we touch over 7,000 lives a year on average, and we’ve been doing it, over a hundred years. We’ve just continued to grow and grow. The needs of community has not ended, so our services continue. But when you think about what we’ve done, it’s just nothing short of miraculous through. COVID still being able to provide these types of services in some cases, new and creative ways.

But specifically the I am campaign. We have so many people that have come through our programs that want to. Either give back or share their story with how we’ve touched their lives. So it’s been amazing just to hear from people and be recipients of their support. We’re very appreciative. And if you haven’t seen the Chicago Tribune or the Sun-Times articles, those are on our website over the last several weeks.

We’ve been recognized and honored and mentioned in so many different news stories, whether it be the 33% increase in our foster care referrals throughout the pandemic us doing contact tracing, hiring head start parents that may not be able to be employed because they have to be at home with their children right now, or the fact that we have facilities management programs at military bases and federal buildings where we’re giving people with special abilities.

And opportunity to be employed in facilities management and janitorial and custodial type work. And they’re on the front line fighting. COVID still on, whether it be at the Dirksen, federal building a great lakes Naval base. And so I am Ava is just such an amazing campaign because we do so much, and it’s good to see people that have benefited and moved on and have had success when we’re a part of their pumps.

Chris: Your success is my success. So keep on rocking a Jamal. I love it. I love hearing all the amazing things that you’re accomplishing and the lives that you’re transforming and impacting. So we’ll definitely include the way to connect with you in the show notes. And thank you so much for being on the podcast today and look forward to continuing the dialogue with you.

Jamal: Thank you, 

Chris: Hey, Chris here.

Hope you enjoyed the episode where we discussed all things going bald, just joking, the Leading Virtuously Podcast. If you enjoyed the episode and the podcast, will you please subscribe on YouTube or apple podcasts or Spotify, or you can also share it with a friend that would be tubular. I hope you have an awesome day.

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