Hidden Human Podcast Episode 8 Thumbnail

Michael Banks, President & CEO of the African-American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ and DE joins the program to discuss how he was able to overcome the odds and find success despite being born into poverty. He reveals how developing a survivor’s mindset helped him through a challenging transition of leaving a career on Wall Street to pursue his vision of having a bigger impact in the world. He also shares the wisdom that he would want to impart to his great-grandchildren.

Episode Transcription

Kelly: This is the space where we reveal our personal humanity to reconnect with our shared humanity. And I’m really excited because I’ve been wanting to talk to this individual or a very long time, and it’s my pleasure to introduce Mike Banks, President and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Welcome, Mike.

Mike Banks: Thank you for having me, Kelly.

Kelly: So tell me, if I was a six year old child and you were trying to explain to me in a way I could understand what it is you do, how would you explain that to me?

Mike Banks: For the six year old child, I would say that I’m a dreamer. I just think that there’s nothing that I can’t do. I literally … I’m a dreamer, I’m an optimist and I just see the world through a different lens. I firmly believe that there’s nothing that’s impossible to be able to achieve and that dreaming and that outlook in life has opened up a lot of doors and have taken me to places I could have never had imagined growing up as a child.

Kelly: Oh boy. Well, this is gonna be a really fun episode. I can already feel it in my bones. So you know, even if we breakdown the word impossible, Mike, it says … Not to be trite. But it does say “I’m possible.”

Mike Banks: Absolutely.

Kelly: So where did this optimism come from? How young were you when you realized that nothing was impossible for you? And I’m looking between the ages of eight and 14, or younger, if you can go there.

Mike Banks: Okay, sure. Well, I think that it started when … I remember being in the third grade specifically and I set my mind to become an honor roll student. And I recall [inaudible 00:01:59] be that too. And I literally said “Okay, I’m gonna ask her questions. I’m gonna figure it out and I’m gonna start doing things. And I’m gonna become an honor roll student.” And sure enough, I became an honor roll student. But if I take a step back from where it comes from, I was raised by an amazing mother. So let me start with that. Amazing mother, amazing great-grandmother, and I see their face. I watched them go through things and survive things that showed me, better than them telling me, that I can overcome any obstacle thrown my way with time.
And watching my mother go through cancer and what that did to her, and hearing the story of my great-grandmother who was also a cancer survivor for over 50 years, watching their fight and watching their conditions or how they would overcome that, you can’t watch that and not have it impact your life. So I’ve always took from those moments, growing up, that whatever I go through, I’m gonna reflect on their journey, their story and I know that with time and optimism, there’s nothing I can’t do.

Kelly: Well, and you know, Mike, I believe this that we can’t recognize in others that what we don’t have within ourselves. So while you were saying you were reflecting on your grandmother and your mother’s journey, you were also reflecting back to them their journey.

Mike Banks: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly: So, okay. So let’s talk about it. Where did you grow up?

Mike Banks: So I grew up North Philadelphia.

Kelly: Oh, okay.

Mike Banks: Yeah, [inaudible 00:03:39]. Deep poverty, raised by a single mother.

Kelly: Okay. And did you know your dad at all?

Mike Banks: I knew of my dad. I met him in passing. I seen him in my childhood maybe four times from the time I can know what a dad is, up to my teenage years, because he was around till I was two years old, apparently, but he left when he came back from overseas. And then I would just see him every fifth Christmas or something like that. It was never like a consistent thing.

Kelly: Gotcha. And were you an only child, or did you have siblings?

Mike Banks: No, it was four of us. My mother raised four children by herself.

Kelly: Wow. So where did you fall in the pecking order?

Mike Banks: I was three or four. I was the oldest boy, and I had two older sisters, and a younger brother.

Kelly: So you were pretty much … You and your younger brother were surrounded by women.

Mike Banks: Oh, nonstop. With one bathroom, by the way. With one bathroom [inaudible 00:04:42].

Kelly: Well, I mean no wonder you know nothing’s impossible. Because that sounds like an impossible situation.

Mike Banks: Absolutely.

Kelly: But go back to … What were you guys doing overseas and where were you?

Mike Banks: So my dad was in the military, later on he was in the army. He ran … He was in intelligence and he ran several field operations and we were in Oggsford, West Germany at the time. And we came back to the States around 1980 or ’81, I recall. And at that time we moved into my grandmother’s house and we were waiting for my dad to get us a house down in DC area. But he just never came back. And it was just … That was an interesting thing in life, when you learn more about those kind of situations. So we were in Oggsford, West Germany, came into the US.

Kelly: Wow. So sort of a military brat, but not really.

Mike Banks: Correct.

Kelly: Gotcha. Well, I’m a military spouse, so I think recognizing the family service is just as important as it is to recognize the actual service member. So thank you for your service and thank your mom and your family. Okay, so if we had your siblings here in the room with us, and we were to ask them what Mike was like as a child, what would they say?

Mike Banks: Let’s see. They’re gonna tell you really, really curious, high energy and would do … I was never afraid of a challenge. I was that crazy kid that thought I can solve any problem if there was no job I could not learn. And so they would tell you that. They’re like “He’s super optimistic, he’s super high energy.” And I think I was a pretty cool kid. If I had to think of what … “Oh yeah, and he was pretty cool.” Definitely high energy and curious.

Kelly: And what was your role among your siblings?

Mike Banks: Well, when I was younger, it was interesting. I had two older sisters. I always felt like I had to be the big brother. But then when I became older, I became almost like an advisor to them, which is really fascinating. It wasn’t something that I tried to be, or I asked for. But I think, similar to what I was saying about my mother and my great-grandmother, they watched my journey and I earned their respect to the extent that they started reaching out to me, even now, for different pieces of advice and for guidance. I was always, apparently, the objective one. And so that’s kind of been my role.

Kelly: Wow. So that’s fascinating. Are you comfortable with that role? Is that a role that you’re happy with, or would you ever want it to be different? Or, you know … You’re a dreamer. So dream.

Mike Banks: It’s tough, right? It’s tough. I’ve settled into it because the thing about it is, you feel like you’re always under a microscope, right? And when you fail … Failure is different to you because failure impacts more than you. It impacts the people that are looking up to you or looking to you for guidance. So that creates another set of pressure for you, as an individual. And here’s the struggle, and I don’t think a lot of folks talk about this. I had this saying when I went through some things a few years back, where where does the go to guy or the go to gal go to? So when I’m struggling and when I’m hurting and when I’m falling apart, who do I go to? And so that role is very tough. I mean, as amazing as it may seem on the surface, that’s a tough mantle to carry. It really is.

Kelly: Mike, you do not know how much you are singing my song right now, because as an executive leadership coach to CEOs, it’s the same thing. And I would say a lot over the last six to eight months, there were challenges in my life and I was turning around and going, okay, I’ve helped all these people, I’ve supported all these people, where do I go? So it is that pressure and you also, I think, there’s added pressure, and correct me if I’m wrong, that you’re not at your 100%, which is weird for us, because we’re high energy optimists, but when you’re not at 100%, how do you continue to help the people that you’re trying to help? So what would you say to people that are going through a struggle similar, that are in a similar role right now? What advice would you give to them?

Mike Banks: To me … I’ll tell you what worked for me.

Kelly: Please.

Mike Banks: So what worked for me, I had to believe in something bigger than Mike, because that’s the only way I can make sense of what I was going through. And again, if [inaudible 00:09:40] became my face. Knowing that it was somebody bigger than me that sees my problems, understands what I’m going through, and more importantly, for me, I understand where I fit in that plan, whether it’s God, whether it’s the universe, whatever. Just set a believe sys … Understand that I fit somewhere in that plan. And wherever I’m at on my journey is where I’m supposed to be. And all of you may not understand it at this time, I’m here for a reason, there’s somebody that I’m supposed to meet along the way, there’s someone that needs to hear this part of my story. And there’s somebody looking to me and waiting for me to survive what I’m going through. And more importantly, whatever it’s the universe or it’s God for you, they’re counting on me and they’ve assigned this problem and this task to me so that I can be a role model or an example of my faith in my belief system.

Kelly: That was so beautifully said. And that’s what I clung to as well, was really strengthening my faith. And I don’t know if you’re open to exploring the recent challenges you had, because I find that people tend to resonate more with people’s failures than they do with their successes. So are you willing to share about the tough time that you went through?

Mike Banks: Oh, absolutely. I’m super transparent because you never know who needs to hear it, right?

Kelly: Yeah, exactly.

Mike Banks: So if you don’t mind, Kelly, I’ll do a little bit better. I’ll tell you two failures, particularly, really quickly. And then I’ll spend a little more time on the last one. What people don’t know about me is that I was a high school dropout. I literally was 17 years old, after being in the honor roll from third grade forward, I became a high school dropout at 17 years old. I got into trouble, got into a big fight, and I dropped out of school and I had to … I tried to figure it out without a roadmap, without a plan, without guidance, without a dad.

Kelly: Do you remember what the fight was over, Mike?

Mike Banks: Over money. I was really good with numbers, really good at math, and I got into a really big fight over money that was owed to me. And that fight turned into a big situation, much bigger than it had to be. And as a result of that experience, I had no faith in the school system, I had no faith in principals at that time, and I figured out I need to do this on my own because everybody that I was looking to help me let me down, with the exception of my family. And I remember going through that and figuring out. But more recently, my background before I did this, I was on Wall Street. I worked on Wall Street for 11 years at the trading desk, and then Wall Street, you know, you got money coming in, you can eat what you wanna eat you drive what you wanna drive, you can live where you wanna live, and travel where you wanna travel. But then I made this crazy decision, Kelly, in 2011, to go back to school, to really focus on what I felt was most important to me, was figuring out a way to impact people. And I remember … Like, I got money in the bank, I have stock, I’m going to be fine.
Well, you throw some kids in there, you throw a mortgage in there and some other things, money goes quickly. So I’m in school and I’m doing pretty well, and I get to about 2013 almost ’14, and it’s like everything just started to fall apart. I’m getting letters from the school saying I owe more money to them in order to be able to graduate. I literally get a $30,000 bill. I don’t have enough money to pay the mortgage, my car is on the verge of being repossessed. My relationships are just falling apart. And I’m in school, trying to be a dad and do all these things, while trying to be the hero and be the face that people expect me to be. And it was a struggle. And I remember going downstairs in my house in what used to be a man cave before I had daughters, and I’m telling you, I would sit down there and I would literally … I’m not gonna lose anything. I had to keep telling myself that. Then I’d go back upstairs and I gotta be dad. I gotta pick up the phone and I gotta be Mike. I gotta [inaudible 00:13:52] … My days, hours and nights in that basement, night after night. And I said to myself, all I need is time.
And I remember talking to the lady that was managing my account for my car, and I said “Give me time.” And she started working with me. She said “Mike, just give me a check. If you give me a post-dated check, I’ll work with you.” So I said “I know how it’s play here, but I’ll give you the check.” And so I would give her the check, and somehow each time, it would manage to clear. I remember with the mortgage company … I’m telling you, it was so crazy. I heard this program that helped me get some resources to buy me time. And I remember when I got my approval letter that I would get someone to help that I’ve been fighting for over two years to get to stabilize my life, I found some extra money for school to help offset the due that I owed and they found some more grant money for me. But the beauty or the benefit is, if I don’t quit, do have the story.
And I’ll say this and I’ll stop. I tell people all the time “Don’t get caught up in the title. CEO, COO, CFO.” None of that stuff matters. The most important title is you must achieve, if you wanna have a real story and you wanna be impactful, is survivor. And nobody might not celebrate you, but if you can become a survivor first, all those other titles that you may aspire to be and wanna do in life, they’ll find you. But first, you must survive. And it was with that survivor’s mindset that I’m even having this conversation with you today.

Kelly: Oh, Mike. You take my breath away. And everything you’re saying, they’re landing on my heart like raindrops. I resonate so much with what you’re saying because my husband, like I said, was a 20 year veteran in the navy and we came … He used his GI bill to go to Drexel to become a chef. And anybody who knows the tuition bill at Drexel, it’s not small. And the GI bill ran out and we found ourselves the same way. And it was just asking for help. Putting that quote unquote ego aside and saying “Listen, I need your help. How can we do this?” And similarly to you, they found us grant money and he was able to graduate on time. But it is … Survivor, it’s such a powerful word and so you must leverage that experience of survivor and teach the people who are members of your chamber that same skill set, correct?

Mike Banks: Absolutely.

Kelly: Yeah, so how does that manifest itself in your day to day?

Mike Banks: I would say one of the biggest ways that I think that it manifests itself is through something that’s not that attractive and that’s discipline. Because in order to survive, you’ve gotta be disciplined. You have to believe that your situation is able to change. You have to believe that if I continue to do some continued behavior consistently, that I’m gonna get the outcome that I’m looking for. The same is true in life and the same is true in business. So although you may start a business and you may not be getting the sales in the markets that you’re looking for, if you take a disciplined approach to your practice, it’s just a matter of time before you get those outcomes. But that’s not an easy conversation to have outwardly or inwardly, because you gotta believe in something that’s not tangible. You have to believe in something that you can’t prove can happen, but you gotta be willing to go through the process in order to, hopefully, get this benefit of something that you believe in. I can’t show it to you, I can’t necessarily point you and say “This is what it’s gonna look like,” but I know that if I continue to do and I continue to be disciplined, that I’m gonna get these outcomes.
And then I think another part of that in the day to day is it really changes how you treat people. It really does. You can understand what it’s like to go through something and it makes you more sensitive to the things you say, the things that you do, because you never know what somebody’s going through. So I try my best as a leader, I try my best when I’m talking to people to be positive and optimistic because sometimes people just need to see a smile. Sometimes someone just needs an encouraging word. Because here’s something I learned, Kelly. Before we say anything outwardly, we say it to ourselves inwardly hundreds and thousands of times, and I’ll give you a really fast example. As a kid, I remember I always wanted to go outside, and I would be afraid to ask my mom. And so before I would say it outwardly, I would say it in my mind “Mom, can I go outside? Mom, can I go outside? Mom, can I go outside?” And I would say it a hundred times. And then when I got the courage, it would come out of my mouth.
And it’s the same thing truth with us. We’ll say to ourselves “You’re dumb. You’re never gonna be this. You’re never gonna be that. Nothing’s gonna work out.” We’ll say it a thousand times, and then we’ll say it outwardly. But I believe that if we could somehow bring that positivity, bring that smile, say that encouraging word, we could change people’s outcome, we could change how they look at themselves, because we become that bridge that they need to get over whatever their problem that they’re going through.

Kelly: Well, and you know I think you hit the nail on the head in a lot of things that you’re saying, and correct me if I’m wrong, Mike, is that you’re saying you’re the source. You are the source. So when I say that, I mean, if you’re the problem, you’re the solution, and that’s very powerful because you don’t have to look anywhere else but inside yourself for the answers.

Mike Banks: Correct.

Kelly: And if we change that inner dialogue to ourselves, it’s just gonna reflect out to everybody else. And you’re so right. I was at the doctor’s office yesterday and there was a gentleman there and he was decked out in his Eagle’s gear, go birds. But he had a big frown on his face, and I was like “We’re gonna win on Sunday, right?” And I smiled at him and he goes “With that kind of energy we are.” And he ended up walking away high fiving me and laughing and it was great. It’s such a good feeling. But tell me, you are a leader, obviously, in life outside of your household, but how are you a leader to your daughters?

Mike Banks: I try to lead the same way that I felt was the most impactful to me. I try to lead by the way I live. And I stress to them that you don’t have to be perfect. I try to show them, through my actions, where I respond to things, this is how you go through … Because it’s one thing they tell me something in theory, but it’s another thing for me to see it in actual practice. And what I often [inaudible 00:20:52] learned to do better with is teaching them that it’s okay to be vulnerable because … And I say that with some sensitivity of course, because you can’t be vulnerable to everybody. But in order to be, in my mind, a great leader, it takes that level.
You gotta have some level of vulnerability to you. You have to be willing to go through something. You can’t just talk. You gotta go in the show. And more importantly, you gotta understand that it’s not going to be popular. Leadership is not popular. You’re often gonna be in the minority, and most times you’re gonna be by yourself. But you have to be comfortable with that. Understanding that if I genuinely want to be a leader, that I’m gonna do some really unpopular things, I’m gonna probably make some people upset, but I gotta be willing to, again, go back to the word discipline … Be disciplined in my belief that I’m gonna get the outcome that I’m looking for, but it’s not gonna happen if I begin to waver, because wavering is not leadership.
You have to be able to do the things that other individuals don’t wanna do. Like you’ve gotta be willing to be unpopular. And that’s not an easy sell. But I think by living it, I think people gravitate … In the words my Aunt [Ber 00:21:59] say “More is caught than it’s taught.” So I’m hoping that they catch what I’ve modeled leadership to be.

Kelly: Well, I mean, and I love that quote from your aunt. I always say kids learn what you show them and that’s just another way of saying what she beautifully said. And of course, as I’m listening to you, I’m thinking of the Colin Powell quote when he said “Being a leader often means pissing people off.” And it’s true. Sometimes as leaders, in our lives, in our businesses, we hold a bigger vision and when we’re thrown curve balls that take us off the course of that vision, we need to course correct and sometimes that means pissing people off. Okay, so go back to that moment when your first daughter was born. Your first child. And you’re in the delivery room and they’ve just cleaned her up and put in your arms, and you look down in her face and you realize I’m a father. Tell me about that moment. What was that like?

Mike Banks: Wow, so for me that was a blessing. It was probably one of the greatest moments of my life because I felt like that was my redemption opportunity.

Kelly: What do you mean?

Mike Banks: By that is that I got a chance to be a father I always wanted to have in my life. I remember all the times I played sports growing up and I would imagine what it would be like to have a dad at my track meet, a dad at my basketball game, a dad at whatever sport I was into at the time. A dad that I could run home and talk to, maybe do something cheesy like play catch with, learn how to ride a bike. And in that moment, I said “I’m gonna become what I always desired.” And that was amazing for me. Just, I can’t even really articulate into words, but I felt like that was my opportunity to become what I always wanted in my life and it was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. And I also understood rather quickly that my life was now more than just about me. I have an obligation to put this child in the best position possible to be successful, the same way that someone put me in the best position possible to be successful.

Kelly: Oh my gosh.

Mike Banks: That was a game changer for me.

Kelly: And what are your beautiful daughters’ names. Let’s give them a nice little shout out.

Mike Banks: So my oldest daughter … I actually have a son too … Is Mackenzie. Five four is Mackenzie. Then it’s Elijah is second. Then it’s London and Teller.

Kelly: And if we had the kids in the room, what would they say about you as a dad?

Mike Banks: They’re gonna tell you, and I got it written behind me, that I’m the best dad, I’m the hero, I’m the best dad in the world. They are like … Man, I got like an amazing cheerleading section. They are like … They rock. They’d say that “Oh, my dad’s fun. He likes to play games. He likes to do scavenger hunt. He like to play the emoji game.” Things like that. I think that I’ve figured out a good balance of how to be a father and when it’s appropriate to be a friend. And I think they appreciate it. I know I appreciate it. And I think one of my biggest testimonies to date is the fact that I have a 17 year old daughter that calls me non-stop, texts me non-stop, Snapchats me non-stop. I’m like “Wait are we friend? Is this happening? Are we BFFs on social media?”

Kelly: Well, that is huge testament and you’re one of the types of leaders that I love to work with as a coach because you really let your way of being guide what you’re doing. It starts with you and clearly that’s manifesting itself in your children and all the successes that you’ve had at the chamber. So let’s pretend that your great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren are listening to this interview years from now. What kind of wisdom would you want to impart to them?

Mike Banks: First and foremost, you have to have faith in something bigger than you. Absolutely have to have that, because that’s going to be instrumental. There’s gonna be things that’ll be outside of you and you’re not going to think that they’re possible if you’re just looking to you as the source. Secondly, you gotta take risk. You have to become uncomfortable. You have to be comfortable with the thought of being uncomfortable. If there’s something that you believe in, you have to pursue it because you don’t wanna become 80, 90, 100, no longer active and try to do the things that you wanted to do a long time ago. Education is critical. You have to … And I’m not necessarily saying from a classroom perspective, but when there’s reading books, you must become educated.
And I would say above all, treat people the way you that you wanna be treated. I’m really careful of how I manage relationships and I think that that has been one of the greatest factors in some of the things I’ve been fortunate enough to achieve. The way you treat people when you don’t need them really says a lot about your character. How do you manage that relationship when that person can do nothing for you? Because the funny thing about life is that that table turns really quickly sometimes.

Kelly: It sure does, doesn’t it?

Mike Banks: We have to be careful how you treat people. I’m big on how I manage people. And when you say relationships, make sure you’re being relationship and not transaction.

Kelly: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, because there really is a big distinction and you also need to be wary of those people that position it as a relationship when it really is a transaction to them. So how do you make that distinction for yourself?

Mike Banks: With regards to the difference between a transaction and person that wants a relationship?

Kelly: Right. Right, well, you … I get the sense that you and I … Like for me, I want deep relationships with people. I want deep connections. Not really interested in transaction. But I’ve had people who approach me for the transaction under the guise of a relationship. Does that make sense?

Mike Banks: Absolutely.

Kelly: So how do you filter that out?

Mike Banks: Well, I think for me the answer is I’ll give it kind of how I sniff it out and I’ll tell you what my approach is to trying to establish a relationship. First I’ll sniff it out. Here’s the benefit of poverty. You learn about people really, really quickly, which leads to a really great lesson with being able to discern a character of an individual because your safety relies on it. So when your safety relies on a particular skill set, you tend to become really good at that arena. And then I had that subsidized even more when I worked on Wall Street because you got read people there as well. So you get a real good sense of characters and individuals just from a brief conversation and you can establish almost immediately is this person trustworthy, is this person no trustworthy. And I genuinely trust my gut when it comes to people. And I will say that my gut has been right. Most people that I think are a certain way, like over time I’ll come to find out they’re exactly who I perceived them to be from the beginning.
So that was a benefit, again, of growing up in that environment where you don’t have a lot of resources. So that resource becomes the only research that you have and it’s now become this gift, if you will, when it comes to being able to get a sense of who individuals are. But I think for me, an important part of trying to establish relationship … I mean, you touched on it at the very beginning. I don’t care about the title. I wanna know who you are. I think when you show a genuine investment in people, their background, who they are, and how they got to where they are, that sends the right message to that individual. So I really try to … People say “Mike, you’re really personable.” I like to get to know people. Titles don’t matter to me. I like to genuinely get to know people. You’ll see me spending the same amount of time with the CEO of a Fortune 500 company as a homeless person in Suburban Station.

Kelly: Yep, I’m the same way.

Mike Banks: Yeah, because I like to get to know people. And you can learn something from everybody’s story. And I’m big on that, so I love to get to know people.

Kelly: You know, Mike, there was a training program that I went through in California where they took everything away from us. So we had no money, we had no identification. I had to take my wedding rings off. And they dropped us in the middle of Los Angeles, right near … Oh gosh, it’s just skipping my mind. Not the … The area where the homeless really. It’s skid row. Skid row. And it was a silent exercise. I had two sentences I could say to people. So I will tell you, there was this moment where I sat down with somebody, a gentleman who I perceived to live on the streets. And he sat there and told me this story for 45 minutes and I felt like I was looking in the face of God. So when I hear stories about what you’re saying, like spending time with homeless people in Suburban Square, there’s a lot of wisdom on the streets and I think when people aren’t mindful and they don’t notice that humanity there staring them in the face, they’re really missing out.

Mike Banks: Absolutely. You’re right. You learn so much.

Kelly: Yeah, you really do.

Mike Banks: Everybody. You’re right. It’s fascinating.

Kelly: I could talk to you for hours and I would love for you to come back on the podcast if you’re open to that, but-

Mike Banks: Absolutely.

Kelly: I wanna also be mindful and honor your time. So I like to end the interviews with four rapid fire questions. Okay, so are your ready?

Mike Banks: Absolutely.

Kelly: Okay, what’s your favorite comfort food?

Mike Banks: Favorite food. Well, today, it has to be Thai food.

Kelly: Okay.

Mike Banks: Yeah.

Kelly: Okay, alright. What books are on your nightstand right now?

Mike Banks: What Keeps Me Standing, and What Got you There Won’t Get You There. I’m botching on the title, but it’s a leadership book that I’m going through right now.

Kelly: Ooh. That sounds great. Will you send me the titles? Because the second one sounds-

Mike Banks: Absolutely.

Kelly: Okay. Alright. What’s on your playlist right now?

Mike Banks: My playlist right now today, I’m on Spotify and I had a radio based upon a song that’s called … What is it? Do Not Pass Me By.

Kelly: Okay. And who sings that?

Mike Banks: So this particular rendition is by … What’s this gentleman’s name? Gosh. Hold on. Let me switch over to Spotify, because it was earlier. Hold on, let me see if I can do this without messing this up here. It’s funny. He’s a newer guy too. Hold on. Give me 30 seconds or less. Let’s see. Radio. Todd Galberth. G-A-L … Yeah.

Kelly: Okay. Alright. And last question. What are you most grateful for in this moment right now?

Mike Banks: Health. I’m grateful for my [inaudible 00:32:53]. I woke up this morning with a chance to do everything that I desire to do. I’m grateful for that.

Kelly: So, Mike, how can our listeners get in touch with you if they needed to reach out for membership or a little pep talk or just a little Michael Banks magic?

Mike Banks: Okay, well, there’s several ways. One, of course, I’m on LinkedIn. They can find me under Michael Banks on LinkedIn. I’m also on social media. I have a new page I’ve been building up over time now, Instagram, and also on Twitter. It’s mikemotivates_, where I’ve been sharing more of my stories, sharing different quotes that mean something to me and kind of expanded on them a little bit. And then if you wanted to talk specifically about the chamber, they can find us right at aachamber.org, and they can get all information that relates to what we do, how we do it, and how to get involved.

Kelly: We have been speaking with the inspiring leader who is Michael Banks, President and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. It’s been my true honor and pleasure to have this kind of dialogue with you and thank you so much for getting real with us, Mike. I mean, it’s my intention with this podcast that it encourages other people to go out and have authentic conversations with people in their lives because there’s no better connection than one you can have with another human. Thanks so much, and have a great day.

Mike Banks: Kelly-