|Other Titles:||Entrepreneur, Speaker|
The Spotlight is is where we recognize some of the world's most successful black men. We salute African-American men and black men across the globe who strive to attain life's most precious goals. Featured men include authors, technicians, artists, businessmen, songwriters, teachers, engineers, motivational speakers, and military veterans.
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Encouraging others. Inspiring dreams. Instilling hope.
"He’s a person that’s going to change a whole lot of lives."
- Les Brown, Motivational Speaker and Author
Even if you super-size it, you can never get too much of Ken Brown. He is a motivational speaker specializing in hope, joy and encouragement. Though he grew up through insurmountable circumstances and extreme poverty, he has achieved success by becoming the youngest African American owner-operator of two McDonald’s restaurants.
Ken is the product of teenage parents who, by the time they were 17 and 18, had five children under the age of eight. His family was evicted ten times – even twice in one year.
"Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you respond to it," is Ken’s favorite mantra. His vision and hope for the future motivates him and others. His passion and energy is contagious.
A Chicago native, Ken worked his way through college as a bus boy and waiter, graduating from Southern Illinois University. He shares his formula for success through his non-profit organization called FOPPA Ministries.
FOPPA is the acronym of his guiding principles: Focus, Ownership, Purpose, Passion and Attitude. He speaks regularly to organizations, para-church groups and schools. He also serves the community by heading up events like Real Men Cook™, where every Father’s Day men across major urban areas come together to cook and raise donations for charities.
In addition to his speaking ministry, Ken recently released his first book: “From Welfare to Faring Well,” where he shares his amazing story. He has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines and featured on national radio and TV programs. Broadcaster Tavis Smiley has featured Ken’s story in his best seller, "Keeping the Faith: Stories of Courage Healing, and Hope for Black America."
Ken and his wife are active members in their local church and have three children. “I am a servant leader. My passion is to use my gifts and talents to benefit others,” says Ken
More than Mickey D’s – FOPPA!
"My purpose in life is to be a servant leader" -Ken Brown
Ken Brown is a man who understands the power of walking in purpose. As the youngest black proprietor in Michigan of two local McDonald’s restaurants, he has turned a life of service into a powerful ministry. His dedication to excellence is noticeable in everything he touches.
This is his story:
Ken Brown had every excuse to choose a life of failure. In a family of seven siblings born to teenaged parents, he faced extreme poverty. His parents were just 13 and 14 when they had their first child and faced enormous challenges. The family was evicted on ten occasions, two of them occurring in just one year! Eventually the pressure led Ken’s parents to separate.
To see his cheerful smile today, it is hard to imagine the struggles he faced throughout his childhood. That’s because Ken is grateful. He says, "My mother chose life over death for us, people ridiculed her for having so many children, but she never terminated a pregnancy."
Although his parents separated while Ken was just a child, his father stayed active in their lives. Ken credits his ambition to the teachings of his father and grandmother. His grandmother worked in the kitchen at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and his father was a chef by trade. They left a legacy in food services for Ken to follow. As a child he began to nurture a dream to own his own restaurant. He went on to major in food and nutrition at Southern Illinois University. Throughout his education Ken took paid internships and worked as a waiter and busboy in various restaurants. Upon graduation he spent the next 12 years working in many facets of the food service industry.
Ken was working as an executive for a well known food corporation, when he noticed construction on a new restaurant. Seeing an opportunity to offer his expertise as a consultant he approached the owner. Ken learned the owner planned to open an upscale restaurant and while impressed with Ken’s knowledge base he admitted what he really needed was servers.
What happened next is a true testament to Ken’s faith. Although an executive….with a company car, Ken saw an opportunity. He had not given up the dream of owning his own restaurant and he saw a powerful mentor in the owner. After prayer and an amazing talk with his wife, Ken quit his corporate job and became a waiter for the restaurant. The arrangement was only supposed to last five months but ended up stretching into two years.
During that time Ken often served an attractive African American couple. The couple took note of Ken’s dedication and customer service. Little did Ken know their quiet observations would be life altering. Ken would later learn that the wife was the vice president of McDonald’s. She was impressed with Ken’s level of professionalism and later told Ken, "The way you made us feel is the way I want our customers to feel." Her influence in Ken’s life would later lead him to Detroit and to the complete financing of his two McDonald’s restaurants.
Ken’s story is an example of true faith and perseverance. Although faced with every challenge imaginable, he chose to trust God. He told me, "Life is about God’s grace, obedience and excellence.” Ken also believes that there is a formula to this world. His calls his formula FOPPA:
Focus: What you focus on becomes strongest, so have a vision for what your life should be. That vision serves as your blueprint.
Ownership: Own your vision. Don’t allow others to dictate your destiny.
Purpose: Use your gifts and talents to benefit others. Let your life be a light to others.
Passion: Purpose fuels passion. When you know you are living in your purpose you can be passionate about your life. You feel motivated and your passion fuels your purpose.
Attitude: As the old adage says, "Your attitude determines your altitude." Strive to have a positive one everyday. It will make your life work and make others enjoy being around you.
Ken’s ministry has gained national attention, his complete life story is included in "Keeping the Faith - Stories of Courage, Healing and Hope for Black America," a collection of inspirational biographies compiled by journalist and talk show host Tavis Smiley. In addition, Ken has joined motivational speaker Les Brown’s prestigious speaker’s network.
Despite his amazing accomplishments, Ken remains humble, often noting "I’m just Kenny from the block." Ken still works behind the counter at both of his area restaurants and volunteers for local charities.
Jestina Appling has worked for Ken for three years at McDonald’s and knows his kindness first hand. She shared stories of how Ken has served as a father figure to many employees and has gone above and beyond to help others. Appling was able to sum Ken up perfectly, "He has a heart that is unbelievable, he treats me like a human being, not a boss. I’ve worked all over and I have never met a man like him. Not ever. I will never leave. God bless him."
For media interviews: contact Pam Perry or Stephanie Jones at Ministry Marketing Solutions at 313.804.8019 or 248.426-2300.
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