Maurice Davis of FEID: “People know that you will be wrong sometimes, just embrace it”

People know that you will be wrong sometimes, just embrace it. I have come to terms with the fact that I am wrong a lot. When I first started I tried so hard to never be wrong. That kept me from growing as an individual and a leader. As soon as I learned to embrace […]

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People know that you will be wrong sometimes, just embrace it. I have come to terms with the fact that I am wrong a lot. When I first started I tried so hard to never be wrong. That kept me from growing as an individual and a leader. As soon as I learned to embrace that I didn’t need to be right I started growing more and learning faster.

As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Maurice Davis.

Maurice is an entrepreneur, writer, and educator. He believes in using his voice and platform to help others. Maurice’s passion is helping the people in his community start and grow their own businesses. He uses his life experiences and education to show other people how they can use their expertise and resources to create a legacy for their families.

Maurice started his professional career at GECIO auto insurance where he fell in love with finance and insurance. Maurice went to Upper Iowa University where he got his degree in finance. After finishing his degree Maurice left GEICO to join Merrill Lynch. Maurice found his niche in social responsible investing and spent his time working to make sure his clients money aligned with their moral values.

While at Merrill Maurice spent time volunteering at local high schools teaching kids about money though programs like Junior Achievement and being a high school mentor. During the time with the kids at the school Maurice noticed a gap in the clubs and available activities. It was this revelation that led to Maurice starting FEID, a non profit with the goal of teaching the future CEOs in the community about finance, entrepreneurship and personal development. Starting FEID was a culmination of all his passions and has led him to where he is today on multiple social media platforms, the author of multiple books and the head of several successful streams of income.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I moved to Iowa in 2013 to work for Geico auto insurance. When I started I just knew that I would not stay with the company for very long but I fell in love with insurance and risk management (Nerdy, I know). My supervisor Dana Coony taught me the power of personal development by challenging me to daily find ways to be better as a whole. Dana has a no BS policy that makes you either get in line or get out of her way.

I didn’t know it at the time but it was the spark I needed to get my degree and other credentials that has led me to become an entrepreneurship coach and the founder of Isooto Consulting. At my firm I am able to assist nonprofits by bringing my operational expertise to enhance the organization’s heart work and increase their impact.

My passions in all these areas is what caused me to write a book for children of color (Jayden’s Big Day), which is about entrepreneurship. The goal is to show children they are able to be more than what their immediate surroundings might show and that it pays to take a little bit of a risk here and there.

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

People tell you all the time that you should write down your goals. When we were in a planning session one morning I decided it would be a value add for us to have a podcast. The problem was we didn’t have the equipment, the budget to buy the equipment or the man power to make the podcast happen. My team thought I was out of my head and said that I was full of “crazy ideas”. I looked at my team and wrote on the board a section for crazy ideas. I don’t know why I did it. One thing we all noticed is everything we put on the crazy ideas board materialized..

The thing we all learned is that the term crazy ideas give us the creative license to just dream without worrying about how we could make it happen. Just knowing the idea existed people brought ideas to the table that they would not have if it had to be measured out and figured out. We went about our normal activities and things started happening. We did a podcast, we hosted a 5 day event and we doubled our funding and while they were considered crazy ideas they are now manifested possibilities.

Now crazy ideas are a part of what we do. We have our normal goal sessions but we write down the crazy ideas and allow ourselves the space to dream and reach for the stars.

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

I don’t know if it’s funny but I started Isooto Consulting with the goal of helping bring business acumen to non profits. The funny part to me is I made the choice based on my heart not my head which is the exact opposite of what I tell my nonprofits to do. I have been through a great deal of headaches doing it this way but I’m also growing professionally. I learned that it’s ok to make heart decisions, we just have to make sure we can live with the outcome in the end.

Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?

I believe the way we reduce the wealth gap between the haves and have nots is through entrepreneurship. People are all different and so they need a vehicle that will allow them to be successful through that difference.

My program helps people that want to start a business, remove barriers and find a place of balance so they can create an opportunity for a legacy in their families. FEID was created because I believe that kids are great entrepreneurs but the world kills their spark. FEID works to keep their spark alive which is why I wrote Jayden’s Big Day.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

I recently worked with a young man that I interviewed for the program I run. I remember the interview, thinking that he was fairly put together as a new business owner. I knew right away that I was going to add him to our roaster.

After completing the program and starting his business I reached out to him so we could grab lunch and catch up. While we were eating lunch he told me that I saved him. I was blown away by this admission. I will never forget him saying, “I was just about to quit and then you called”.

I thought solving problems was the key to helping people. It was not until his words that I realized the true impact of my job. I learned that the important part of what I do is to help people keep their hope, not fix their problems.

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

People can support local businesses by buying their products and sharing the good experiences they have with your friends as much as they do the bad.

Be understanding of the small business owner. Know they are doing their best to provide great service. Often they are doing the business on their own or with a team of people that have more passion than knowledge. Cut them some slack, give them pointers instead of criticism.

Local governments can create an environment of transparency for their bidding processes so small businesses can join them and support more opportunities for local small businesses to receive financial and technical support.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

For me leadership is having the willpower to do what needs to be done for your team, cause and/or company even when things fall apart. It’s less about your words, education or what you wear and has everything to do with your actions.

An example I can think of is when times get hard managers will look for “easy” ways to cut the bottom line. The true leaders will embrace the hard choices of saving people through other means even if it means they spread the hurt around to the whole company. We see leaders in action when companies decide to do a mandatory unpaid time off in place of firing a group of people.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

People know that you will be wrong sometimes, just embrace it. I have come to terms with the fact that I am wrong a lot. When I first started I tried so hard to never be wrong. That kept me from growing as an individual and a leader. As soon as I learned to embrace that I didn’t need to be right I started growing more and learning faster.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Teaching kids about being an entrepreneur. I think we have a narrow view about entrepreneurship. Ask 10 people “what is entrepreneurship?” and you will get a wide array of answers. I don’t think that everyone should own a business but I do think that the skills and mindset a child can gain from learning the soft skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur is super impactful to their long term future.

Think about it like this, who is the better problem solver? The person that is 18 that just learned how to be an effective problem solver a year ago or the person that is 18 who’s parents challenged them to be a problem solver all their life.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

The opposite of a good idea can also be a good idea. Don’t design for average.

It doesn’t pay to be logical if everyone else is being logical.

It reminded me that if someone does not agree with me it doesn’t mean they are wrong. I see that I should think about the value I placed on thinking logically. If my goal is to reach people and people aren’t making decisions with logic then I need to be OK with not being logical all of the time.

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. 🙂

Daymond John Founder of Fubu. His story is outstanding and I admire him as an entrepreneur and a businessman. He is a very vocal CEO. I can watch his content on Linkedin, watch Shark Tank and learn from him. He doesn’t know it but he has been my mentor for years. Haha.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Connect with me on linkedin

Or follow me on facebook

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

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