You wear many hats as Director of Engineering with The Four Seasons and mentor to so many. What was the impetus for you to immerse yourself into youth & veteran empowerment?
There are a lot of people who poured into me throughout my career, who helped me accomplish what I have. Throughout my military career I had senior leadership take me under their wings and cultivate me as a leader and there have also been people who supported me in my civilian life. But I didn’t see people in the spaces I wanted to be in who looked like me and were focused on supporting people in marginalized communities.
Growing up I wish I had a mentor and that’s a gap I want to fill. This is my way of giving back to the next generation of leaders and it’s incredibly rewarding.
Ultimately, I want my legacy to be around the work I’ve done for others, not what I’ve done for myself.
What are you most proud of in your career?
My wife and children and to see them grow, flourish, and excel.
My wife went from being a stay-at-home mom to getting her Master’s in Clinical Psychology with a private practice. There is a term in psychology called ‘The Flow’ which is when someone does something difficult but makes it look easy – that’s what my wife is doing.
For my kids, Jim-Jim, Jo-Jo and Jack-Jack, I’m so proud of everything they’ve accomplished – what they’ve grown into and built. They excel in music, are incredibly respectful, good students, and are generally great kids.
How do you look at the role of entrepreneurship in mentoring?
Entrepreneurs are the ultimate problem solvers. They see the problems in their communities and come up with marketable solutions that can be sustained in service to others. I do the same in mentoring, using every possible resource available to me to make it as successful as possible. Being able to problem solve and think outside the box is critical in both entrepreneurship and mentorship.
You've spent a lifetime inspiring others - who inspires you?
Other than my wife and kids, it would be my parents. I’m a proud second-generation submariner, following in the footsteps of my dad who is the smartest person I’ve ever known. If you’ve ever watched Jeopardy with someone who knows all the answers: that’s my dad. He taught me to make an impact with my actions, not words.
My mom is the first entrepreneur I ever met. She opened a thrift store around the corner from our house so she could be close to her kids. It evolved into a community center where people could get resources and support. She then converted it into a balloon and party business, and even sold water ice outside. She taught me the importance of adaptability and agility in business, entrepreneurship, and mentorship.
What is a headline about Philadelphia that you’d like to see 10 years from now?
“Philadelphia is the Social Economic Center of the East Coast”
I want to see economic development organizations, developers, and corporations bring more than just wealth to Philadelphia, but also resources so prosperity can trickle down into communities. Philadelphia has one of the lowest salary rates amongst large cities and that’s unacceptable. We need to take care of people so they can flourish.
What is your superpower?
As a kid, what did you want to be?
When I was 12 my mother sat me and brothers down to ask what profession we wanted to be. I told her I wanted to change the world. My brothers laughed, but my mom said, “baby go ahead and do it.”
Join us on September 28th as we honor Jimmy White IV with the Nucleus Cultivate Award.