Sunday, March 3, 2019


Many years ago I entered the field of broadcast media with no skills or any understanding of media. A woman interviewed me for the position of Assistant Public Affairs Director and gave me the assignment to write a news story on a specific topic that could be read in 30 seconds. I wasn't worried because I had been a teacher and knew how to write. Being very proud of my work, she took one look and I thought uh uh I am doomed. She took the time to explain the difference in writing like an educator and writing for the ear like media people do. With her help and guidance, she worked with me until I got the news copy correct.  She left the room and the next thing I heard was my news story being reported. At that moment I was confused and excited. She thanked me for my time because she had other interviews scheduled but would be in touch. Again, I thought I flunked the test. Within 2 weeks, I was the new Assistant Public Affairs Director learning as fast as I could to understand and try new things without being afraid of failing. From the position of Assistant Director, I became the Director of Public Affairs once my boss moved to a more powerful radio station. From there I was able to move into many other exciting positions in radio and television. My training in broadcast media helped me to start my own Public Relations and Marketing agency.
My director, best friend, and the best mentor ever was the late Dr. Julia Hare.

My boss, I later discovered was one of the founders of the Black Think Tank and a great author of many books with her husband, Nathan Hare, Ph.D.  It didn't stop there, she had a doctorate in Psychology, was known on every national talk show and throughout the media. If it wasn't for her playing a major role in my life I would not be the person I am today. She was tough on me but loving, pushed me as hard as she could, but always waiting to catch me if I tripped and she taught me everything about broadcasting, writing, how to dress, how to speak and how to be a true champ. She also taught me major lessons on being proud, about Black history, jazz and all types of music, lessons of racism and hatred that exist all over the world, about prisons and the Black community, about the fake war on drugs, and most importantly to always remember the color of my skin and always greet another brother or sister that looks like you. She also taught me about Blacks that desire more than anything to not be black, she called them Tom and Tomasina. The most important lesson she taught me was to always hire someone smarter than me so that another will have a chance to grow.

Dr. Julia Hare’s work has brought her many awards and honors including Educator of the Year for Washington, D.C. by the Junior Chamber of Commerce and World Book Encyclopedia in coordination with American University; The Abe Lincoln Award for Outstanding Broadcasting, The Carter G. Woodson Education Award, The Association of Black Social Workers’ Harambee Award; the Scholar of the Year Award from the Association of African Historians; and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Black Writers and Artists Union. Hare has been inducted into the Hall of Fame of her high school alma mater, Booker T. Washington High, was given a Presidential Citation from the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education and was named one of the ten most influential African Americans in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Here are some of the books by Nathan and Julia Hare. In fact, I am re-reading the Black Anglo Saxons and the ink is still wet like it was written this morning.

Julia Hare was my lifetime mentor. Even today, she is with me in every political meeting in the Mayor's office or even a staff meeting. She taught me how to enter a room and evaluate it within 5 seconds to know where the hatred is or where the racism sits. To this day, I evaluate every room that I am about to enter.

A good mentor possesses the following qualities: Willingness to share skills, knowledge, and expertise. A good mentor is willing to teach what he/she knows and accept the mentee where they currently are in their professional development. Good mentors can remember what it was like just starting out in the field.

Have you ever had a mentor, someones that genuinely care about your growth? I hope that everyone says YES, but I know that may not be the case.

Here is a video of Dr. Hare speaking out about life. Makes me sad that many of the same issues are being dealt with every day while living, breathing, working, driving or shopping while being Black. 

I wanted to share my feelings on the importance of having a mentor in life. I lost my mentor at the end of February. Most appropriately that it was Black History Month. When you care about someone it's difficult to accept the news. I cried, then I smiled because at that moment I knew that she would always be with me and guiding me on the correct path.

I would love to hear about your mentors that help to guide you. Please share the great qualities that were shared with you.

Mikael Wagner - Promotions West -

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