By Willie Jolley
As someone who has pursued business ventures since he opened his first lemonade stand as a kid, Randal Pinkett’s favorite television commercial growing up was from the financial firm, Smith Barney. It had a famous line, “We make money the old fashioned way, we earn it!” The underlying message was that while there are plenty of ways to make money, the admired way is to actually earn it.
And that tagline speaks to the work ethic of Randal Pinkett, who was the first African American winner of The Apprentice with Donald Trump on Season #4. With an educational background in engineering and business, Pinkett is both a Rhodes Scholar and a Walter Byers Scholar, holding five earned academic degrees. His MBA and Ph.D. are from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Before appearing on The Apprentice, Pinkett had already established a career in business. He is considered a “serial entrepreneur,” having founded his first company, MBS Enterprises – selling compact discs and cassettes out of his dormitory room in college.
From there, he went on to start and grow numerous businesses, then sell them and go on to his next venture. From his compact disc company, he moved on to start a business to improve the lives of high school students. This evolved into his second venture – a training and development company for emerging and seasoned professionals.
Next, there was the Inner City Consulting Group, where he helped small companies grow their profits and performance. From there, Pinkett co-founded Access One Corporation, with a mission to ensure that affordable housing was equipped for the 21st by implementing innovative, sustainable broadband network and telecommunications solutions.
All of this lead to his current consulting business that he co-founded called BCT Partners. This is a multimillion-dollar, management, technology and policy consulting services firm. They work with corporations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations to improve organizational effectiveness and support strategies for change.
BCT Partners is a minority-owned and operated, federal 8(a), small business enterprise. He has been a stalwart for sharing the excellence that small minority-owned businesses can bring to the marketplace. BCT Partners have positioned themselves as one of the leading firms in the country with expertise in the areas of: housing and community development, economic development, education, government and human services.
Randal Pinkett’s belief in God has always been his source of strength and kept him grounded. He grew up attending St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church (A.M.E.) in Hightstown, N.J. When he returned from England as a Rhode Scholar, he joined the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, and later, First Baptist Church of Lincoln in Somerset, N.J., where Pinkett is an active member today.
He is the author of three books: Campus CEO: The Student Entrepreneur’s Guide to Launching a Multimillion-Dollar Business (Kaplan Business 2007), No-Money Down CEO: How to Start Your Dream Business with Little or No Cash (Trump University 2008), and Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness (AMACOM Books 2010) with his college roommate and business partner, Professor Jeffrey Robinson of the Rutgers Business School.
In addition to his business ventures, Randall Pinkett speaks to corporations around the country, including Pepsi and Walgreens; universities such as Duke and the University of Virginia; government agencies, including the U.S. Small Business Administration, plus national conferences, including the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference.
Pickett has signed radio and television commercial deals; served as spokesperson for Autism Speaks and made regular public appearances on behalf of Verizon to support their “Fiber Optics Services” (FiOS) services and their “Verizon Shotcaller Showdown” business plan competition for minority high school students around the country.
During my SiriusXM interview with Pinkett, he shared lessons learned and earned as an entrepreneur and first African American winner of The Apprentice. Dr. Pickett says:
• You can do anything you set your mind to do if you are willing to work hard to achieve it.
• Start by envisioning your success on the inside and then go to work to create it on the outside.
• You must create your own opportunity rather than waiting for it to appear.
• Success is what we accomplish for ourselves, while greatness is the impact we have in the eyes of others. Strive for both.
• The key to success is to bring value to world; then figure out how to monetize it.
• Use your creativity, be resourceful and persevere! Never give up.
• You must grow your courage. Courage makes you willing to take the first step. No first step, no ultimate success.
• Don’t be afraid to fail because failure and success go hand and hand. The cleaner “Formula 409” was named 409 because it was the company’s 409th attempt. It happened after 408 failures!
Willie Jolley is America’s #1 Inspirational/Motivational Speaker/Singer/Author! He is the host of the #1 Motivational Show on Sirius XM Satellite Radio and the opening speaker on the national “Get Motivated Business Seminar Tour.” A member the National Speakers Association’s Hall of Fame, Jolley was named “One of the Outstanding 5 Speakers In The World” by Toastmaster International. He is the author of several best-selling books and can be reached through his website (www.williejolley.com).