Seeing Yourself Somewhere New (w/ Tyson Bonty)

Zach sits down with Tyson Bonty to discuss career transitions and his new clothing company that empowers aspiring professionals.

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Connect with Tyson on LinkedIn.

Check out Josh and Jess – they have a website, Instagram and Facebook.

TRANSCRIPT

SPEAKER 1 0:00

Hey, what’s up, y’all? This is Zack, we live in corporate and it was a little bit different. I’m really excited about this. You know, the reality is that we have a ton of content, right? A lot of content because we have plenty of people who want to be on the show. And everything can get aired as soon as we record it. So we have a bit of a vault you know, show that you know, has a vault. And so we’re going to let some stuff out the vault for Christmas, because we love y’all. And so what you’re about to hear is a conversation from our vault, as a part of our 12 days of podcasts campaign. This is one of those shows, make sure you check it out. I’m really excited about whoever you’re about to hear. Before we get there, I’ll tap in with Tristan, and we’ll be back.



SPEAKER 2 1:00

What’s going on y’all? It’s Tristan of lay field, resume consulting, and I teamed up with living corporate to bring you a weekly career tip. Today we’re going to dive into an effective cover letter method that will better help you sell yourself to your future employer. One of the questions I’m asked quite often is our cover letter still a thing? And my answer to that question is always yes, a cover letter can set you apart from other candidates who don’t submit one. It also allows you the space to sell yourself, explain your situation and even sometimes seal the deal. There are many ways to write a cover letter, let’s focus on what I find to be most effective. Number one, address a person hiring managers and recruiters hate to see the generic greeting of to whom it may concern, do your Google’s and try to find out who the hiring manager is and address them directly. If you can’t find the name, consider addressing it to the department or committee. Number two, identify a problem. Let’s be real here. Companies could care less about what you want out of this or what you you’re excited for. They want to know if you can solve issues for them. And the only way to do that is to identify an issue that may be playing them specifically or the general industry. So identify the problem that you know you have experienced in or experience solving. Number three, exploit that problem. Now that you’ve identified the problem, remind them of how irritating their problem is and how great a solution would be. Number four, offer a solution. And if you haven’t figured it out by now the solution is you your experience and your expertise. Go beyond what you’ve written in your resume and explain to them why you are the best candidate not only for the job, but to help them solve their problem. And number five, tie it together strong. Your conclusion is a great spot to reiterate your interest and confidence then close with a call of action such as I look forward to the opportunity to discuss how we can leverage my abilities as an asset to your organization. A well written strategic cover letter can’t ever hurt. But just make sure you aren’t sending out a generic one for every job you apply to. This tip was brought to you by Tristan of lay field resume consulting check us out on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook at late build resume or connect with me Tristan lay field on LinkedIn. Thanks for joining me. I’ll be talking to you again soon.



SPEAKER 1 3:20

We have Tyson Bonty on the show Tyson what’s going on man? How you doing?



SPEAKER 3 3:26

What’s going on? Zack, how you doing?



SPEAKER 1 3:29

Man? I’m just out here trying to put it together, man, you know?



SPEAKER 3 3:34

I hear you,



SPEAKER 1 3:35

Man. I’m so let’s do this man. You know, every time we have a guest on as opposed to me reading off some long bio man. I just want to give you some space to tell us about yourself. For those of us who may not know you.



SPEAKER 3 3:47

Sure, yeah, yeah. Here out here in the DFW area. I guess you could say I’m a corporate executives got lots of deep experience working in technology. It wasn’t the traditional path that I took. But you could say that I’ve, I’ve kind of started there. And then now it’s evolved. And now I’m in this new space of entrepreneur, and having lots of fun right now. And it’s funny that it just kind of turned into where I am. And it’s, it’s all connected to my story. You know?



SPEAKER 1 4:23

Well, let’s get into your story. And you kind of alluded to it just now. But when you talk about you talk about your executive background, right? Like, you know, a lot of your profession is all in like, you know, technology tech strategy or transformation operations. Let’s talk a little bit about, you know, what that journey was like, and then what is entrepreneurship pivot is and then what, what you’ve been doing in this new space as an entrepreneur?



SPEAKER 3 4:47

Sure. Yeah. So I guess you could say, you know, I live my younger years in South Central Los Angeles, then kind of transitioned out and lived and grew up in southern verbs. We weren’t poor, we weren’t rich, you know, I guess you could kind of say it was like, lower middle class, blue collar family. And I’m first generation college graduate, didn’t go right out of high school, I just was more in the space where I grew up, where you just went to school, when you just got a job, and you just you just worked in, it’s kind of interesting, because it was just one of those things where you didn’t see anything beyond what was just around you. So you just did whatever you saw, if you saw people just working, you just worked. And it was in the background of people that were educated, or has college degrees, you just got a job and, and that’s what I did. And from there, I went, just worked for several years in the construction business, and did that for a while. And somehow I had this desire to want to go back to school, I decided to go back to school much later in my years and got a bachelor’s degree, then ended up getting an MBA and landed in this space of corporate, the corporate world. So moving from a blue collar to a corporate professional, and actually, from there just kind of navigated my way into technology, and moved my way up to Vice President, which that was an interesting experience. I can tell you.



SPEAKER 1 6:31

Well, what made it interesting. I mean, I would say, first of all, like just that transition from blue collar to like a more C suite type space is certainly unique. But I can also say like, I’ve seen four or five, I think in my whole life, I think I’ve met let me take that back. I’ve met five black men, I’m saying in my whole life across like, you know, all these different industries that I’ve been exposed to, or worked in as a consultant, and then before consulting as an HR professional, an HR business partner, I think I’ve met like four or five black men who were in like, Vice President position. So what was that? Like? Like? What is it like existing in that space? What was it like for you?



SPEAKER 3 7:11

Well, the funny thing is, before I even got there, I was kind of, I guess you define it more as middle management. So sitting in middle management at a manager, director, type of role, and never really saw myself anything beyond that, you know, one of the things is, you don’t see anybody that looks like you in any of those roles in your organization’s you’re in. So you just assume that that’s where you are. And that’s, that’s where you, you know, at least that’s where my head was at. And it was funny, one day, I was sitting in an office with my boss, and I’m just looking at the work and the stuff he’s doing, and it just kind of weird, it just hit me and said, You know what, I can do this guy’s job. And somehow, like, I had this vision of myself being in that role. And from then on, I just kind of just took the bull by his reins, and just stepped into that, and ended up working my way and getting promoted to Vice President. And that completely opened myself up to a completely different world, where now you’re sitting in conference rooms, and having conversations with people at a different level that you know, call the shots, and, and have a lot more, you know, leverage to make a lot of decisions in a in an organization, just by having a couple of initials behind your name. And that was a pretty big shock for myself, and then sitting in that in that space, and you look around and you’re like the only one of color that that’s sitting at the table. And yeah, that same time, it’s a great experience, but it’s also a little lonely up there because you don’t have anybody else.



SPEAKER 1 9:00

And so in those moments, right, like when you know you talk about like the loneliness because it’s interesting you talk about it being lonely up there. You know, it’s funny because I so I’m, I am in middle management, right? And I was is lonely for me right here. So what was it like for you to manage the loneliness? Like, did you have, you know, like a support system? Did you have like, you know, if I may ask you like a therapist or like, like, what did it look like for you to manage that.



SPEAKER 3 9:26

You end up finding out you kind of need somebody needs somebody that you can kind of talk to him bounce off and I ended up connecting with another brother that was at that level. And it’s like something about you just you’re able to connect and start talking about things that you feel like you can’t talk to with anybody else and give you an example. I’d be sitting in a conference room and having that conversation. And in the back of my mind, we’re all going around and throwing it on the table. And because I’m, you know, the only black man at the table, I’m almost self-conscious or trying to make sure I speak right. Make sure I speak clear, make sure my voice is heard, try to stay as intelligent as you can at the table and not be intimidated by being the only black person at the table and everybody else’s white. It’s a little bit of a distraction, because you’re trying to solve problems in show your value to the organization. But at the same time, you’re trying to say, hey, you know what, I deserve to be here too. So you’re in the back of my mind. I’m also trying to make sure I can fit in I guess that’s the right way to say it.



SPEAKER 1 10:44

Well, no. And I mean, it also sounds like a little bit of imposter syndrome, too, right? Like, it’s like, how do I make sure that I affirm that I belong here, right. And so it’s easy to kind of get it and get on it? I know, what happens for me, you know, often, more often than I’d like to admit. But I’m curious. So you talked about the fact that you know, that’s what you were doing, but now you’ve transitioned into entrepreneurship. So what so…



SPEAKER 3 11:04

It’s kind of a weird, weird thing. So yeah, while I was in that role, I started having a lot of people come to me of color and want me to be a mentor. And I can tell you, I’m a vice president, you know, and you have this view where people say, you know, hey, this dude made it, he did something, right. He got it all figured out. And they’re coming to me. And in the back of my head, I’m like, dude, I’m still trying to figure this out myself. Right? What do I have to offer? You know, but I opened myself up, started mentoring some of these young guys in the company, and recognize that they didn’t see themselves beyond that. They were like, yeah, you were lucky. But that’ll never be me. And it was like a little bit of a shock to myself, because I’m like, dude, you can do this, you guys can do this, too, is this this is not. Once you get there, you feel like, it’s just more about navigating relationships, and knowing how to play the game, learning some of the unwritten rules that nobody tells you about when you’re in an organization, and just know how to function in it in connect with people that make decisions, so you, you learn how to navigate, you know, mentoring, some of these young guys kind of helping them work through that made me realize that there’s value in being able to visualize yourself in those roles.



SPEAKER 1 12:25

So you haven’t people reached out to you ask for mentorship, ask them for support.



SPEAKER 3 12:28

So I’m doing it. So I’m mentoring, meeting with people and giving them guidance and helping them with a plan, introducing them to people and got a couple people promoted. You know, it was good, it was good. But then I had this thought, and his thought was, I need to be doing more. I just feel like, yeah, this is good for this company. But I feel like I need to be doing more. So then I had this, this is almost a crazy thing is I woke up one day, and I woke up and I had this dream. And this dream was more of a vision that I had, that I started this clothing company, and the clothing company was about these two illustrations of an African American male and an African American female in different professions or doing different out of the ordinary things to basically send the message out that you can be anything you want, you can do anything you want. This happened maybe about almost four years ago, I wrote it down, just kind of thought about it. And it was I mean, it came to me just clears day and I know nothing about the apparel industry. I mean, my sweet spot is software development, and been doing that for, you know, 15 plus years, 1520 plus years. And lo and behold, maybe a few months ago, the organization goes through some changes, and they let it go and said, thanks for your services, we’re going to do something else, we don’t need you. And during that time, I just had to say, you know what, I’m going to take a shot at this. So I ended up launching this business launching this clothing brand. And now the brand is more about sending out the message and communicating that we can be anything, we can do anything. And it’s all about visualization. So visualization is more being able to visualize and see yourself in doing that thing in that role. And it becomes real. And I believe everybody has a gift. Everybody has greatness inside of them. But it’s more just tapping into that. And being able to visualize it and see yourself doing that makes it more real in helps people achieve their dreams. And that’s kind of the beginning of where I am right now.



SPEAKER 1 14:44

So let’s talk about the initiative. Like, what’s the name of the company? Let’s talk about some of the shirts like let’s get into it for folks so they can look it up. We’ll make sure we’ll put all the information in the show notes. What’s the name of the company?



SPEAKER 3 14:55

So the name of the company is Johnson Jess? The site is Josh and jess.com, in the model in the messages be anything, do anything. And so right now I’m going around and I’m just showing the value that being able to visualize and see what you can be and do is the message itself. And when you can start seeing that, and the two things, I started with a couple shirts, basically the app two characters on one of them is an African American male, and he’s a pilot, the yellow one is African American female, and she’s an astronaut. And the idea is that there’ll be iterations of that, where there’ll be in different roles in doing all these extra, you know, out of the ordinary things, what you’re able to visually see it in your walking around in your warehouse, and the more that you can visually see and carry that it almost translates into, into success. And that’s really what it’s all about. And so I’m going around sharing that message. I’m talking to high school kids, I’m talking to college kids, I’m talking to HBCUs. And corporations, in the whole idea is more wrapped around helping people achieve their dreams and helping people achieve their success in using a parallel to drive that.



SPEAKER 1 16:04

And so then, like, let’s talk more about the company. So like At what point as you were building this, did you realize like, this is something that’s real, and that’s something that’s like that is that is sustainable, and it’s making an impact outside of like a handful of people.



SPEAKER 3 16:17

It’s been launched, and it’s probably been in existence for two months. So it’s super, super green on bootstrapping. Right now. What’s making it real is as I talked to, I just got off the phone with a local HBCU. And they were like, Wow, this is so cool. I want to have a conversation with you. And I think what’s actually doing is typically helping people see that what it does is you wear it, and then you show that that can be made that can be anybody that looks like us. And there’s not enough black pilots. I don’t see there’s not enough black astronauts. But I think if you start visualizing and showing that you can see that then it becomes more real.



SPEAKER 1 16:54

Oh, no, you’re absolutely right. I mean, it’s interesting, because I never get and I was this was like some years ago, I was partnered with a non-profit organization called Genesis works. They do like internships for high school students, essentially getting them exposure into corporate America before they even go to college, just to open their eyes and see that there’s possibility for them, right. And it’s just curious, because I recall when I was working for I was I was doing like a, like an office tour. I’m at a company that I was working for at the time, and they just were in the office and they saw me. And they were also there. And this really opens concept office, which I thought was like a decent like consulting firm, it’s so cool office, whatever. But their eyes were just huge. Like they just had never, again, just because of how just white supremacy works and desegregation, it’s still been uphill for the past 50 some odd years. Even though some of these kids only live like around the corner. They’ve never even been in the building before. So they’re over here, just like this looks like the future, like what is going on. And I just remember they asked me like, so you really work? What do you do here? You really do it, you really did. And so it’s easy, depending on where you sit on the privilege pyramid, to like, underestimate how powerful it is just to see yourself represented in these spaces. And just what that can do, and how that can open your mind. That’s incredible. Even me, I’ll have to say I’m kind of like, dang, it’s a shirt. But I’m like, Nah, that’s incredible. Because I remember there was a time when I couldn’t imagine me, you know, being a consultant in Nebraska. I remember when I was in high school, I said, I want to be a consultant and my, my high school career counsellor said you’ll never be a consultant. That’s for people who are who come from money and have a bunch of technical experience or who have who are old. You’re too young, you’ll never do that. Right. And so you know, it’s just an incredible Well, let’s do this. Let’s talk about.



SPEAKER 3 18:39

The interesting thing. It’s funny that you say that. Yeah, so for me, it’s more I didn’t even know to think like that. Because all I could think about was just the things that I saw around me. And so you had friends that would just work in low wage, low wage jobs, or hustling just to get by. So that’s all you saw. So you didn’t see anything beyond that. And so it’s kind of helping someone see more than what they are either exposed to told or are surrounded by, whether it’s the environment, or whatever it is, yeah, you can dream bigger than that you can do more than that. It’s almost taking a dream and kind of translating it into something that you impress, you know, press in your, in your mind that when you see someone an example is the shirt, you see someone on the shirt that looks like you and they’re representing themselves on the shirt in a role that if I typically get on a plane will see anybody that looks like me on the plane is flying the plane, maybe I see one every now and then but as the typical norm, I won’t. But if I see that over and over again, somehow translates into something that maybe is achievable and attainable.



SPEAKER 1 19:48

Then I’m right there with you. I mean it’s you’re absolutely right. I think that’s a there’s just a super fair point in that. A lot of times you have to you know they like the saying you have to see it to be it right like you have no idea what that even is because you never know Imagine that before, right? Like some of these some of these concepts I give some of these jobs, you know, something like when I talk to folks, I’m even want to talk to like black and brown folks who are closer to my age. And they don’t even know what consulting is, right? I mean, if I say you’d be a consultant, I might as well be saying be an astrophysicist, right? It’s like, what is that, right. And so just that exposure is really important.



SPEAKER 3 20:22

So it’s almost like, you got to have a way to be able to see yourself in that role, or whatever that is. And once you can see yourself, it makes it more real and attainable. Because I don’t know if you know the story of Michelangelo, when he did the sculpture of David Mann. One of the things he talked about was, he said, when he saw it was just a slab of marble. He said he saw an angel. And then he started carving it until he’d set him free. So it’s almost like he created this is because this visual image in his head, that allowed him to visualize something that he didn’t even know existed yet that was just inside his slab of marble. It was just talking about the power of visualization, being able to visualize and see something in it doesn’t necessarily have to be there. Because your subconscious mind goes back and forth. And it can’t tell the difference between you know, things are real and things that are not real. But if you can visualize that it becomes more achievable. And attainable.



SPEAKER 1 21:30

Man, this has been a dope conversation, man. So really, really quick. Before we get up out of here, I really want to make sure everyone, and again, we will have in the show notes, but I want you to just plug your company and the website and all that information one more time.



SPEAKER 3 21:45

Yeah, Josh and jess.com and be anything, do anything. That’s what it’s about. It’s about wearing the clothing and the brand and showing that, you know, society, the world that we can be anything we want. We can do anything we want. And the only thing that stops us is us.



SPEAKER 1 22:08

I love that. Tyson bonty man. It’s been a dope conversation. We appreciate you man. Y’all. This is been Zack. We live in corporate man. You’ve listened to Tyson Bonty entrepreneur, public speaker, educator mentor. Till next time, y’all. Peace. All right, and we’re back. Listen, again. I hope this holiday season is treating you well. I know that the holidays are not the most joyous time for everybody. I hope that you’re able to find some peace and some restoration during the season as we get ready for hopefully what will be a better New Year. Until next time, this has been Zack Make sure you give us five stars and that good old Apple podcast. We’ll catch y’all later. Peace.



SPEAKER 4 23:01

Living corporate is a podcast living corporate LLC. Our logo was designed by David Dawkins, our theme music was produced by Ken Burns. Additional music production by Anton Franklin from musical elevation. Post production is handled by Jeremy Jackson. Got a topic suggestion. Email us at living corporate podcast@gmail.com. You can find us online on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and living dash corporate.com. Thanks for listening. Stay tuned.

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