Corey Lewis & Thomas Drew of 1AND1: “Be curious, ask questions, and learn from the mistakes of others to mitigate your own mistakes”

Thomas Drew: Be curious, ask questions, and learn from the mistakes of others to mitigate your own mistakes. I’ll never forget when I first met the mentor that I mentioned above about four years ago. He’s one of the most successful, self-made men in the world, and I was naturally nervous when asking the question, […]

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Thomas Drew: Be curious, ask questions, and learn from the mistakes of others to mitigate your own mistakes.

I’ll never forget when I first met the mentor that I mentioned above about four years ago. He’s one of the most successful, self-made men in the world, and I was naturally nervous when asking the question, but I did it anyway. The first question I asked him was, “What would you tell your 25-year-old self now if you could tell him anything?” He said, “Well, I would tell him to be prepared to work hard as hell in your 20s to the point where you won’t really have a life because you’re so focused. I also would tell him to ask questions and learn from the mistakes of others and make sure not to make those mistakes.” It’s safe to say that stuck with me.

As part of my series about young people who are making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Corey Lewis and Thomas Drew.

Corey Lewis: Co-Founder and CEO Corey Lewis is currently a personal trainer and formerly a professional football player. Corey’s trials as a professional football player ultimately strengthened him, and the additional experience he has gained over the years has been integral to his role at 1AND1 LIFE. Through 1AND1 LIFE, Corey is dedicated to engaging people and pushing them to reach their full potential.

Thomas Drew: Co-founder Thomas Drew assisted in creating 1AND1 LIFE back in 2017 while completing his graduate degree at Columbia University. In May of 2018, he stepped down from his position leading a division at a New York City Marketing Agency to focus all his efforts on creating 1AND1 LIFE to become the brand it is today. It was then, the vision for 1AND1 LIFE evolved into a wellness and lifestyle brand that was going to bring value to the people through exceptional content and even better community building. 1AND1 LIFE is a product of Thomas’s love for brand building and storytelling, colliding with his passions for mental health, overall wellness, and self-improvement.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?

Corey Lewis: Thank you for taking the time to interview me today. I grew up in Brooklyn, NY, between Red Hook, Flatbush, and Crown Heights. My love for athleticism started at a very young age. Having an older brother, I would always try to keep up with him and his friends, no matter what they were doing that day. Those experiences developed my athletic abilities rapidly and gave me an edge amongst the kids my age. When my parents started to realize my love for sports and physical activity, my father, a former professional basketball player, guided me and pushed me hard to be the best that I can be. Still, he also never pressured me to pursue sports, as one might think. He allowed me to explore different interests and figure things out on my own. With my father never forcing the issue with sports and me constantly striving to keep up with my big brother, I developed the ability to continuously self-motivate at a young age. That self-motivation got me to where I am today and allowed me to achieve everything I have at this point.

Before founding 1AND1 LIFE, I played football in the Big Ten Conference at the University of Illinois, where I earned my B.A Business Communications and my M.S Business Communication and Sports Administration. After college, I played a short stint as a professional football player and preserved through four ACL surgeries and seven knee surgeries. These trials ultimately strengthened me and have contributed massively to my role at 1AND1 LIFE. Now I’m a certified personal trainer (ACE certification), and I’m incredibly passionate about health, wellness, and fitness. There’s also a side of me that’s deeply committed to building a community. So me and my Co-Founder, Thomas Drew, created 1AND1 LIFE. Through this platform, I want to engage people and push them to reach their fitness goals and find their true purpose in life, no matter how long it takes.

Thomas Drew: Thanks for having me! I grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with two of the most loving and supportive parents I could’ve ever asked for. My mother, Clarice Drew, was an educator, media personality and image/fashion consultant, and stylist. My father, Steve Drew, started his own law firm. My parents exposed me to as much as possible when I was younger — art, music, sports, experiences, etc. My mother was huge on education and etiquette growing up, so she had her own version of home-schooling for me in addition to my regular schooling. As a result, I skipped the first grade and went straight from Kindergarten to 2nd grade. When I was seven years old, I wrote this exact quote in an autobiography “I want to be an entrepreneur and own seven businesses. I love basketball, and I want to visit New York City.” The crazy part about this is that this sentence I wrote at seven years old would set the actual tone for my life. I played high school and college basketball at a high level in Michigan. After my senior season, I decided that I was done with basketball and focused on Entrepreneurship and my ideas. I was accepted to the grad school of my dreams in NYC and moved to New York to start my graduate degree program in September of 2015. The rest is history, and I’ve been here ever since.

Is there a particular book or organization that made a significant impact on you growing up? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much? (TDrew, please feel free to expand a little on this)

Thomas Drew: My favorite book of all time is Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It’s a combination of mental/financial wellness plus a heavy dose of teachings regarding the law of attraction. At its core, it teaches you how to control and manage your thoughts and subconscious mind while learning the tools to manifest what you want in life — which all starts with training your mind to consistently have a positive mindset while keeping an eye on the prize. This book truly changed my life, and I recommend it to anyone who is trying to achieve health, wealth, love, and happiness.

When thinking about organizations, I’ll never forget when I spoke to a group of gifted and talented high school students one day and then spoke to kids that were the same age but in a Juvenile Detention Center

the next day. It was my last summer living in Michigan leading up to me starting graduate school at Columbia and moving to New York City, so I was recruited to speak to both groups and share my story. This experience impacted me in a way that I can’t even begin to explain. I learned far more from the kids than they learned from me — but especially the kids in juvenile detention. I started the session with the Juvenile Detention Group by saying, “I know you guys don’t know who I am, but I’m here to tell you that I believe in you and that you can do anything you put your mind to.” About half an hour into the session, a kid in the juvenile detention group said these words: “Mr. Drew, I want to be a nuclear physicist one day, but my mom and dad told me that I couldn’t do it. They didn’t believe in me, but you believe in me, and that’s all I need. I can do it.” It was at that moment that I realized how important a support system and access to the right people and information is to living a life of fulfillment and opportunity.

How do you define “Making A Difference”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

Corey Lewis: To me, making a difference is being transparent with your audience and your team. How you do it depends on what your company is doing and how you plan to make a difference. For example, I took up training as a hobby after my football career. After working with so many individuals, I realized that I was making such a significant impact on these people’s lives as their trainer and friend. Through training, I helped people enhance their vision of who they want to be and where they want to be. What defines making a difference truly is the ability to look at something or someone and get right to work by strategizing on ways to reach the ultimate goal. It’s also important to be fully transparent and create comfortability between you and your audience, client, or whomever you’re working with.

Thomas Drew: When I think about “Making A Difference,” I think about a few things. My personal goal and the way that I would like to make a difference is based on the lives and people that I’m able to both positively impact and inspire. What do people say about me when I’m not in the room? How many people can I brag about that I’ve helped directly achieve something or believe in themselves a little more? That’s how I measure the difference that I’m trying to make every single day, and those are the questions I constantly ask myself. On a business level, I ask myself a different series of questions to make sure that 1AND1 Life is making the difference that it strives to make: Do we understand our audience? Are we providing them with what they need to live a better life mentally, physically, and spiritually? Are we identifying problems that exist within our niche and solving those problems in a thoughtful and frictionless way? Are we making sure that everything we do is rooted in the right research/data and forward-thinking philosophy? Are we creating a space where men and women of all races, genders, and orientations feel comfortable? Having these questions at the forefront of our business is how I see us continuing to thoughtfully make a difference with our content, community, and products.

Ok super. Let’s now jump to the main part of our interview. You are currently leading an organization that aims to make a social impact. Can you tell us a bit about what you and your organization are trying to change in our world today?

Corey Lewis: With 1AND1 LIFE, we’re trying to address the betterment of people’s minds by disrupting the wellness world as we know it and provide people with real, raw, and inclusive conversations that benefit everyone. Mental health is essential and has a significant impact on productivity and how one feels daily. One topic we touch on often is mental health in the realm of Black men and Black communities. In Black communities, there’s a stigma that vulnerability is considered weak, and because of this, many of us deal with struggle on our own rather than seeking help. We often feel like we can’t express ourselves because there are other people in worse situations. Many of us fail to realize that there is strength in vulnerability. For that reason, my partner, Thomas Drew, and I wanted to create a platform where people can digest content to improve their mental health through podcasts, editorial content, and reviews. We also wanted our platform to have a sense of community, where people from all walks of life could come and not feel judged.

In the world we live in today, there are so many things going on, and each one of them can harm your mental health. With our platform, and other forms of mediation, therapy, etc., you can hone in on your mental health and create a better and healthier lifestyle for yourself. It might not change overnight, but focusing on your mental health and working on it every day is a step forward in the right direction.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

Corey Lewis: Growing up, I’ve dealt with anger issues — it’s something that I still struggle with to this day. During my college years, football was a great outlet for me. Just being on the field and playing football helped me release so much stress. As that part of my life came to an end, I needed to find other healthy ways to express my emotions. I now have an excellent mental coach who assists me in many aspects of my life. Aside from my temper, I have also endured concussions and head trauma injuries from playing professional football. Due to this, I’ve struggled with developing sentences clearly and concisely and even memory loss. I realized that the anger I was feeling from not remembering a memory or not being able to construct a thought I wanted to get across could quickly lead to depression if I wasn’t careful. Being that angry can get you to that point. It was essential to wrap my head around what was happening to me and find methods that help me cope and better my mental health daily. Thanks to my mental health coach, I now have a morning routine, which allows me to set an excellent tone for the rest of the day. I now play brain games that help strengthen my memory, practice my religion, exercise, and read.

Seeing how much therapy and mental health practices have changed my life, it was necessary to shed light on this topic. I wanted to create something that other people could relate to and hopefully change their lives somehow.

Thomas Drew: Corey (My business partner and co-founder) and I have always been passionate about bettering ourselves continuously from the inside out. Along with wellness in general (staying active, eating well, etc.) I am incredibly passionate about mental health. Growing up, I was bullied in grade school and middle school because I didn’t fit in. I was seen as a nerd and an outcast and didn’t have many friends because of it. I was kept out of social groups at school and was a loner, which caused me to go into a deep depression around the ages of 12–15 — to the point where there were days where I wanted it all to end and felt like I couldn’t carry the burden anymore. It wasn’t until later that I realized that I didn’t fit in with others because I was different and different in a good way. It took me some time to realize that being different and unique was cool. In that time period, I had to see a therapist, and looking back at this time, it definitely was the impetus behind me being so passionate about mental health and forcing these conversations so that we de-stigmatize it and let others know that they aren’t alone in these struggles and that there is real light at the end of the tunnel — as long as you have the tools to help you build yourself up from the inside out.

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger?

Corey Lewis: To be a successful entrepreneur, you’ll be in many situations where you need to adjust. I always say you need to be “comfortable being uncomfortable.” Many people are afraid of the unknown or worry about what people will think. This thought process holds back a lot of capable entrepreneurs and businesses. You have to go for it! Expect there to be bumps in the road, a journey like this is never smooth sailing. It may feel uncomfortable or awkward initially, but you will adjust as you go through the motions.

Fitness and mental health has always been something I’ve been passionate about. I always knew that I wanted to create change and impact on people’s lives. Becoming a personal trainer has helped me do that. Through physical fitness, I’ve encouraged other people to embark on healthier lifestyles, which has made them happier mentally and physically. That was my “aha moment.” Now I can do that on a bigger scale with 1AND1 LIFE.

Thomas Drew: Thinking about how to answer this question is interesting because there never really was an “aha” moment, but instead a continuous mindset. There were a few driving factors at play that “made me step up and do it”:

– The chip on my shoulder that I have and live with that is focused on proving doubters wrong through success

– The burning desire to create and bring something valuable and meaningful to the world through a product or service

– The understanding that some of the most outstanding ideas and most passionate people never realized their dreams because they gave up when things were difficult or bleak

– Noticing the lack of young, black-led companies like ours — especially two black male co-founders

– If there was an “Aha” moment or final trigger, it was realizing that the core of 1AND1 Life’s business philosophy, which is rooted in making people 1% better each day, was a cause that was bigger than my business partner and I. Once I realized that we had an opportunity to truly change lives through our company, that was a game-changer. It was the most powerful “why” we could ever hope for.

Many young people don’t know the steps to take to start a new organization. But you did. What are some of the things or steps you took to get your project started?

Thomas Drew: There are a few things that young people need to know before starting anything. Most importantly, you need to know the problem you’re trying to solve/the solution you’re trying to bring, and who (meaning what type of person, geographically and psychologically) would be interested in your product or service. What do they already buy or use? What causes do they care about? What is missing from their life that fits within your niche and the problem you’re trying to solve? I think another critical step is finding 50–100 people that LOVE your product, service, or idea. This is much better than 1,000 people that “kind of” like it. This group of 100 will validate your MVP (Minimum Viable Product) before you look to expand or go to market.

Aside from all of the very important audience-first based approaches above, I would add these three musts:

1. Do the work to understand your strengths and weaknesses and realize that you won’t be able to do it alone. My business partner Corey and I talk all the time about how neither of us could do this alone — and we really mean that. Practice self-awareness so you can identify the right partner(s) to fill talent gaps.

2. Make sure your books (Finances, P&L, etc.) are handled early. It’s excruciating to have to reorganize or fix financial mistakes down the line when it could’ve been saved by executing best practices and proper organization in the beginning.

3. Buckle up! Entrepreneurship has been glamorized in today’s society. Yes, it’s incredibly gratifying and inspiring to own your own business and bring your solution and idea into the world, but it isn’t for the weak. You will fail. You will be challenged and tested. You will be told no, and there will be days, weeks, and months where things may feel like they’re not going to plan. This is where the love must come in: The love of your product/service, the love of your why, the love for the grind, and the love for your partnerships. This is what will allow you to persevere because the key to being a successful entrepreneur isn’t necessarily how smart you are, how much money you have, how good you are at building teams, or how fast you can go — it’s about your ability to persevere through the inevitable storms when the going gets tough. This is where real entrepreneurs are made.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

Corey Lewis: The most interesting moment for me came during a time of hardship. We had launched the first iteration of our business back in 2017, and after a reasonably successful start, we were struggling in 2018 and didn’t know what direction we wanted to take the company. We were kind of all over the place. TDrew and I worked out butts off to fix things, but nothing seemed to be working.

TDrew had just finished grad school and turned down a big job offer to focus on 1AND1 and entrepreneurship, but with that came no guaranteed salary and a bunch of risks. I was in a good place because I had built a successful personal training business for myself, had money from football, and some other things I was doing. TDrew was not in as good of a place financially, but he continued to work his ass off to figure things out, and I remember I bought him a pair of shoes I knew he wanted and left it in his room (we were roommates) with a note letting him know that “everything will be ok, let’s keep working.”

And ever since that day, we just collectively put our heads down and got to work, and things have honestly looked up ever since. TDrew found a job that allowed him to simultaneously work on 1AND1, stay in NYC, and learn many things that he’s been able to carry over to our business from a branding and marketing perspective.

This goes to my point about “being comfortable being uncomfortable.” As uncomfortable as I knew TDrew was during that time, it was great to see him push through, and At that time, I knew We’d go on to do great things together and with 1AND1 LIFE.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or take away you learned from that?

Thomas Drew: Well, initially, we were going to call the company B.A.B.Y. Fitness, which stood for Be A Better You, but that didn’t last long (lol). Even though it wasn’t the right name, Be A Better You was an excellent start to developing our core mission. The lesson being — yes, the name of your company is important, but the core of your company — the reason why you do what you do — is even more important.

None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?

Corey Lewis: There are a few people I am very thankful for and who have helped me get to where I am today. My uncle, John Utendahl, is the owner of the Utendahl Group, one of the largest African American-owned investment banking groups in the United States. He took me under his wing very early into my entrepreneur journey because he wanted me to have all the keys and knowledge to succeed in this industry. John always says, “Innocent Ignorance.” It was okay to make a mistake once because you never had to deal with a situation like that before, but moving forward, you need to apply what you learned to future obstacles. He taught me that you need to learn from your mistakes fast to keep progressing ahead in the world of business.

His demeanor, confidence, how he manages relationships, and how he works through any situation, no matter how stressful, are all attributes that inspire me and teach me how to be a better businessman. I’m blessed to have him in my life, especially when joining the business field. He mentored a lot of other like-minded individuals coming into the business as well. John loves to create a community of young and talented entrepreneurs so he can teach them the keys to success and help set them up for a bright future. I’m the same way; if I can lend a hand to another aspiring entrepreneur, I will. I’ve taken to how big John’s heart is, and although I have a long way to go myself, I will offer any advice. Not only is John, my uncle but he’s like a second father to me, and I am incredibly grateful for everything he’s done.

Brian Sheth is someone I met through my uncle and is another person who’s helped me become who I am today. He’s a lot like a big brother to me. Mr. Sheth is exceptionally talented at what he does in the world of private equity. He took me under his wing because he saw the potential I possessed and wanted me to be able to execute it properly, and that’s something I am incredibly grateful for. He’s also one of the most intelligent people I know, and when I’m around him, I try to act like a sponge and soak up all the gems that he drops. When there is something I’m struggling with, Mr. Sheth has no problem breaking it down in a way that I can understand, which always makes me feel way better about the current situation I’m dealing with. I’m so thankful for his willingness to open up to me, and I don’t know where I’d be without him.

Thomas Drew: Besides my parents, there have been a couple of mentors whose influence on me has been at a level that I can’t really quantify due to my immense level of gratitude. The first is Brian Sheth, who has been a mentor for my business partner and me — not just for our company and what we’re trying to accomplish, but in life. He is self-made and a minority — being that he is Indian American. He is one of the few people that talks the talk and walks the walk at a high level with his philanthropy and impact on society through business. I will never forget what Mr. Sheth told me during the height of the George Floyd unrest. He called my business partner and I to check on us and said these words: “You can’t heal or

change 400 years of racial oppression overnight. I know you’re frustrated, and I know you’re angry, but anger in this sense is good. Be angry, but let your anger guide your planning. Use it to fuel your ambition and your desire to make real change, not a flash in the pan.” This is something that I think about every day while continuing to navigate the waters as a young black entrepreneur in our current society. Hearing words like that directly from someone like him is the type of thing that gets me up every morning with a different focus and different mindset in my conquest to be one of the greats.

The second is Dionna McPhatter. Dionna and her previous business partner gave me my first real opportunity in New York City, fresh out of graduate school. They tasked me with running a division of their data-driven marketing agency. Dionna is a West Point Graduate and a trailblazer for women in the tech industry, especially women of color. If it weren’t for Dionna, I wouldn’t have learned how to think about things in a data-first way. The first week in the office, she saw how bright-eyed and bushy-tailed I was, how much I loved branding, building community, and storytelling. She pulled me aside and told me, “TDrew, I want you to think of everything data first. All of your campaigns, decisions, ideas — start with the data. Allow the data and the patterns that you see to inform your decision-making. You have a knack for this stuff, but let the data solidify your intuition.” Her telling me that completely changed the way I looked at marketing and building brands in general — especially when it came to consumer segmentation, behavior analysis, and clustering. If it wasn’t for Dionna and the opportunities that she gave me, there’s no way I would’ve built the case studies and rapport to confidently be where I am right now.

Without saying specific names, can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

Corey Lewis: As I mentioned, I work with many people as their personal trainer, both virtual and physical. One person that comes to the top of my mind when thinking about how my training program has impacted people is a woman who was in a very tough situation, both mentally and physically. She was over 300 pounds and had a problem controlling her relationship with food. She reached out to me regarding personal training, and little by little, we knocked things off our list. We created obtainable goals that we could achieve weekly. By doing that, we found a schedule and diet that worked well for her. I also provided her with 1AND1 LIFE content to keep her positive. 120 pounds later, she’s in a much better place physically and mentally. I hope to do that as much as possible through 1AND1 LIFE’s content, programs, or whatever it may be. My overall goal is to scale that impact. I want to go from helping the few to the many and helping others achieve the goals they didn’t think were possible.

Thomas Drew: I don’t have a specific story, but what immediately comes to mind is our YouTube Comment section for our mental health podcast, Off The Cuff with Danny LoPriore. I check the comments every day to get the community’s pulse, and the number of times I’ve read “This podcast saved

my life” or “I no longer feel alone” makes me beyond happy. I’m just grateful that we’re able to do such meaningful work every day.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

Corey Lewis: From a mental health perspective, our communities need more direction and insight into ways people can solicit health for their mental health issues and make it more accessible to people in lower-income communities. A lot of violence stems from these issues. There are not many establishments or programs for individuals in low-income areas to go to, and if we could put more of an emphasis on the topic and what we need to do to solve it, we can make a huge difference. The first step would be to create more wellness programs like YMCA and Boys and Girls Clubs, both for adults and children. If these programs are already available in these areas, we should enhance them by providing more opportunities like employment, homework help, and more.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of the interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each).

Thomas Drew:

1. Be curious, ask questions, and learn from the mistakes of others to mitigate your own mistakes.

I’ll never forget when I first met the mentor that I mentioned above about four years ago. He’s one of the most successful, self-made men in the world, and I was naturally nervous when asking the question, but I did it anyway. The first question I asked him was, “What would you tell your 25-year-old self now if you could tell him anything?” He said, “Well, I would tell him to be prepared to work hard as hell in your 20s to the point where you won’t really have a life because you’re so focused. I also would tell him to ask questions and learn from the mistakes of others and make sure not to make those mistakes.” It’s safe to say that stuck with me.

2. It will never go as you plan it to. Be ready to adapt, and don’t be discouraged when you have to — it’s a part of the game.

Adaptation is what all businesses need to do in order to survive and thrive, so don’t be alarmed when you have to make that first pivot. What happens when you don’t properly adapt? Well, you end up like Blockbuster. Nobody wants to end up like Blockbuster.

3. Your mental health and self-care will be your most important assets during your entrepreneurial journey. If you let these unravel, then everything else will follow. It’s impossible to pour from an empty cup.

You won’t make the best decision for your business, employees, and shareholders if you’re not in a good place mentally. Only getting 3–4 hours of sleep a night and not eating properly, exercising, or taking care of the mind and body will be detrimental over time. Investing in taking care of yourself as a founder directly impacts the health of your business.

4. Not everyone will have your best interest in mind during your journey. Learn not to take things personal and also not to make assumptions.

If you haven’t read it, check out the book The Four Agreements. Two of the four agreements — “don’t take things personally” and “don’t make assumptions,” are two things that can ruin you and your business if you don’t handle them correctly. If you combine these two with the other two agreements — “Give your all to everything you do,” and “Be a man/woman of your word,” you will not only drastically improve your chances of success, but you will build a bulletproof reputation which is an invaluable tool to have in the world of business.

5. The law of attraction is stronger than you think. Learn it. Practice it. Live it, and you will achieve everything you desire.

Think. See. Do. Mindset is everything. Before anyone else experiences or sees what you’re trying to bring to the world, you have to see it and feel it first. Your thoughts will become things before you know it.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

Corey Lewis: I would tell them, with 1AND1 LIFE, we set out to impact people’s lives positively by helping them emotionally and physically. Being able to impact people’s lives, mostly strangers, in such a positive way brings me so much joy and happiness. That’s a feeling I hope everyone gets to experience one day.

I’ve noticed that the younger generation is highly in tune with these issues, so I think they’ll really understand why I feel so strongly about providing people with the resources they need to be their best

selves. I would continue encouraging them to knock down barriers and encourage them to find more ways to get involved and be as hands-on as possible.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Corey Lewis: For me, it would be The Rock. He’s an extremely polarizing figure in our society, and he has risen to that peak because of his hard work, the way he portrays himself, and the branding he’s done around his image. Due to these attributes, he can rally a group of people to believe in his messaging, which is extremely remarkable to me. I believe he uses his power for the better and has impacted so many people through his words and work ethic. He seems very transparent with his audience from what we’ve seen of him, and he doesn’t shy away from important social, economic, and political issues. These are a few things I want for myself as well. If I had the chance, I’d love to chat with him and pick his brain on what he truly thinks about certain issues like mental health and fitness. I’d also hope to get the opportunity to dig deeper and discuss the issues that are prevalent in black communities, what he thinks about them, what struggles he’s endured, and any advice he has. I aspire to be the leader, entrepreneur, and fitness professional The Rock has had the opportunity to be.

Thomas Drew:

This is a tough question, because the original answer would’ve been Kobe Bryant. His mamba mentality, attention to detail, spirit, and hunger to learn/be the best have guided and inspired me since I was a child. My next choice would probably be Jay-Z. I simply would want to tell him “thank you” face to face for showing a young black man like me that sticking to your guns and believing in your ideas pays off when you know you have something special. He has rewritten the rule book for black men in America that are looking to be successful entrepreneurs, and his journey has given us an example to look up to as men of color that proves that it IS in fact possible for us and that we CAN have and earn a seat at the biggest and most powerful of tables. My honorable mention choice would be Donald Glover a.k.a Childish Gambino. He is my creative inspiration, and I just think everything that he does is nothing short of brilliant. His story reminds me every day that it’s ok to have multiple gifts and that you must trust your gifts and share them with the world.

How can our readers follow you online?

Our website is and we are @1and1life across all social media platforms. (Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube)

Our mental health podcast, Off The Cuff with Danny LoPriore, can be found on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and SoundCloud. The podcast Instagram account is @1and1otc.

This was very meaningful. Thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

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