By: Kyle Joseph O’Hearn

“Everyone thinks you need money to make money, but you don’t,” says Daymond John. This is how the conversation got started at the 2019 Philly SHRM Symposium on March 21, 2019 in downtown Philadelphia. This year at the annual Philly SHRM Symposium, Human Resources (HR) executives and business executives had the opportunity to learn from world-renowned, self-made millionaire, Daymond Garfield John.
A common theme prevailed at the Keynote session led by Daymond John, which was to learn from the “Power of Broke.” From that common theme, Daymond John highlighted throughout the keynote: the importance of tapping into people, of investing in people without overlooking anyone. He gave examples of investing in the right people, such as those who are considered “heroes”. Daymond stated, “heroes are the people who wake up at 5 o’clock in the morning to get their kids ready for school. Heroes are the ones who work until 5, 6, 7 o’clock at night to get home to help their children with their homework and also cook and clean. And doing this all over again, five days a week.” The lawyers, doctors, nurses, and teachers who try to advance their work and families into a better society are the heroes. These people are pillars in our community because they care about other people. That theme ties directly with theoretical human resources, which is to tap, invest, and to not overlook people, especially the people we work with directly. Furthermore, “the biggest investment is to invest in people,” said Daymond John.
Daymond John is an example and advocate for the “Power of Broke.” This could mean how empty pockets and a hungry person can be your next competitive advantage, whether for personal or business purposes. Daymond defined the “Power of Broke” as “assets you do not realize you have; don’t do things just for money – do things that you love!” In 1992, Daymond John was 23 years old with only $40 to his name. A few years later, he started a fashion line, FUBU, and is now one of the most iconic fashion brands in history. He became a millionaire by tapping, investing, and not overlooking people. For example, at the time he started his clothing fashion line, there were not cell phones or social media. He had to use what he had, to take inventory of himself, and harness the “Power of Broke.” Daymond John had to set a goal. “You become what you think you are most of the time,” said Daymond. So, Daymond John set a goal; he did not let other people set goals for him. He also expressed how there will be ups and downs in life, but if you have a goal, it does not matter. Lastly, to the “Power of Broke” can mean that, “Responsibility must be taken, it cannot be given.” If HR executives and business executives keep this in mind when working five days a week, we can help make the world a better place by harnessing the “Power of Broke.”
It’s likely that many who listened to Daymond John speak took away at least one powerful message that resonated with them. And without a doubt, some are considering the application of his lessons learned to their professional and personal lives. For instance Melissa Sims and Dennis Paris, Co-Chairs of Philly SHRM’s Thought Leadership Committee listened closely to Daymond’s remarks.
As a CHRO, Melissa found value in Daymond’s reminder that you are who you surround yourself with. She also found great wisdom in his remark “you can’t react, you can only respond.” As Melissa explains it, this underscores her personal philosophy that; “we are absolutely in control of how we respond to the things that we aren’t in control of”.
Dennis, an Assistant Professor of Marketing Practice at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, found immediate application for offering Daymond’s advice to his students on persistence, doing their
homework in business, the importance of our personal brands and assuring that we never forget the relationships, our loves who matter most in our lives.
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If you attended this year’s symposium, send your thoughts about Daymond John’s speech or any of the break out events that you attended. You may find your thoughts included on another follow-up article to the symposium in the coming months. Please submit your thoughts to:
About the Author Kyle J. O’Hearn is active with Philly SHRM serving as both a Thought Leader content provider as well as a member of the Thought Leadership Committee. Additionally, he has over 9 consecutive years of HR experience working in the non-profit and for-profit business worlds. He currently has a Bachelors Degree from Temple and is working on his Masters in HR from Temple. Kyle enjoys innovation and forwarding- thinking ideas, Philadelphia sports, the arts, and culture.