Rashaad Lambert is the Founder of Sporty Marketing Group, dub the world’s only six sigma marketing agency. Through his marketing company, he collaborates with some of the world’s biggest companies such as Uber, JetSmarter, Adidas, NBA, NFL, Forbes, Villa, and Club Corp.
The Philadelphia native has earned the ‘Entrepreneurial Excellence’ award by the Pennsylvania House Of Representatives for his hard work in as an entrepreneur. He was also named an NAACP Image Award recipient for his philanthropy work as a part of his non-profit organization Lambert Legacy Charities.
Lambert is also the founder of For(bes) The Culture, which is a platform that integrates both CultureMakers Inc & Forbes Media.
Lambert recently spoke with The Hype Magazine on how the concept of For(bes) The Culture and how he met his co-founder Vinasia Miles and founding member Mendell Grinter. He also talks about his plans for the platform moving forward.
How did you guys come up with the concept for For(bes) The Culture?
The concept of For(bes) The Culture actually came up with itself. So, I met Mendell two years before I met Vinasia. I met Mendell on one of the Forbes trips to Israel back in 2015, and we kept in contact. I met Vinasia in 2017, the year I created For(bes) The Culture at the Forbes Conference in Boston. I had been to a variety of conferences throughout my life. During my time at these conferences, I noticed segregation, and a lot of it had been on purpose, and rest was what we do to ourselves. Meaning we see someone else that is a person of color, and we do not embrace them as a brother or sister, yet we treat them as a stranger.
During the first conferences in Philadelphia and then when it officially moved to Boston, there weren’t many of us in those conferences, (probably 12 of us to be exact haha!) We all came together because no one would engage with us due to our age and the color of our skin. In 2017, I noticed that there were more people of color attending the conference than I saw in previous years. The reason why wasn’t because they were being specifically marketed, but because they were ready to have a seat at the table.
So, I started talking to a few people about trying to bring us together to have international conversations. Things that only people of color could relate to, create diversity and engage with some of the boardrooms that we are not invited to, as well as, conferences that we are invited to but not necessarily expected to make much of a contribution.
However, this is not a conversation I wanted to have without getting other people of color’s opinion first, and that is why I started this WhatsApp Group and told Vinasia, “ Hey, if you know of anyone that is down to speak on different topics for the culture, then invite them into this WhatsApp. Throughout the day, more and more names began to populate, and I was scrambling to find a place that would take a reservation last minute. So, we finally found a restaurant, and I told them I wanted to make a reservation for 25- 30 people, and the place was called “Anthem Kitchen & Bar” in Boston. If you ever go there tell them For(bes) The Culture sent you and they will take care of you. They gave us the full upstairs for our event, and by the end of the night, 270 people showed up. There was not an original plan to make For(bes) The Culture, an organization, it was only supposed to be a sit down to discuss things, but it expanded into one after time.
What is your vision for For(bes) The Culture moving forward?
So, For(bes) The Culture is built off of three key components that I try to emphasize, the three C’s: Connect, Collaborate, and Change. We have created something within the culture that had to do with my theory of reverse nepotism. We don’t compete or compare yet we connect based on what they have in common and not where they differ. This is not about race or religion, we will focus on things that we can connect on and build on, leaving the disjointed things alone.
Six months from the time of creation, there were a lot of people quitting their jobs to join other companies in the network, merging companies instead of being solo entrepreneurs. Building and becoming our partners, they were giving other members scholarships for college, designing different media opportunities, giving away tickets to concerts and award shows.
One of the biggest things I want to change moving forward is providing a platform for more opportunities in the future. Along with current and past generations, creating opportunities for the next generation is my main goal with this platform.
Do the members of For(bes) The Culture have the ability to use the Forbes name for journalistic endeavors?
Right now they don’t. However, they can apply to be a contributor with Forbes. The only way to utilize the Forbes name is to be employed by them either as a contributor or a staff writer. It would be on individual bases and is not for members.
How many members are a part of the group thus far?
That’s a great question! There are currently over 3200 members of For(bes) The Culture!
What is your educational background?
After high school, I attended the Art Institute of Philadelphia for a couple of months, but unfortunately, I lost my scholarship and then started to work full-time. I then enrolled at one of the local community colleges, where I spent two years. My fourth year was spent at Temple University, where people thought and still think I graduated from, but I was there working in undergraduate admissions and taking classes at night. At that point being that it was my senior year, I was done. After taking different classes and realizing, that I did not need more theory, I needed experience. At the time, I hoped I was right, and later it turned out to be true. I reached my limit learning from established educational institutions and found another source. I started to self-educate from Barnes & Noble University, and ten plus years later it worked out for me.
How did you get started in marketing?
I’ve actually been in marketing much longer than I initially thought. In my teenage years, I was in a rap group, and while we had management and a team, I was an artist and our marketing director. I designed all of our merchandise, album/mixtape covers, logos, planned how to market the music, decided where to market the music, decided how much of each item we needed to sell to achieve top market share in different parts of the east coast, etc. Once that ended, I entered the adult club scene while I was still a teenager, but they didn’t care, they just saw green (money)
Before I got into club ownership later on, initially I worked in promotions which is drastically different than marketing. A lot of people think they’re the same, but in promotions, you are only pushing other people’s ideas after all the real work is done. After all the ideation and negotiation is complete, you take someone else’s idea and convince other people that it’s good. Marketing is the fusion of sociology and psychology; where the rubber meets the road. Marketing is using how people think and why they think that way to motivate them to action.
One of my mentors, Carol, is who told me and showed me that I was wasting my marketing talents in promotions and introduced me to six sigma. That changed my life and my career.
You have worked with numerous brands throughout your career. How has partnering with these brands made you a better entrepreneur?
The short version is that seeing how these brands did and do business inspires me to mimic in some ways and in more ways do it differently. When you see how corporations treat money and people, it puts things in perspective. Barcodes vs. heartbeats is what my team calls it Ha ha. I’ve always thought that was funny. When you begin to oversimplify and treat people like numbers, you miss the most essential core of who and what they are: Complex.
What are some of the traits you look for when you are looking to hire employees?
June 19th, 2019, was the 10th anniversary of my business. (you can clap for that, it’s a big deal for a small business) Over the last ten years, I learned to identify what people value and what motivates them first before I even take into account how talented they are. I’m a chess and Chinese checkers player so I’m always playing the long game. There are a lot of people who are suitable for right now because they’re motivated by quick money and they’ll do anything for it; You can wave enough money in front of them to motivate them to action, and they’ll produce well… until they don’t. But when you work with people who are motivated by success, they will attract more money because of the immense pride they take in their work.
Note: For(bes) The Culture after this interview was completed announced that it has officially joined the Forbes Family.
Originally posted on The Hype Magazine.