Jade Tinner is affectionately known as “The Brand Enhancer,” and considers herself as an influential millennial leader, commUNITY advocate, and relationship cultivator. She is the Founder and Executive Director of the One Unified Resource Foundation, Inc., a globally recognized 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization that supports the holistic development of young men through mentorship, scholarships, and technology in the DFW Metroplex and the country of Ghana.
In conjunction with the mentor program, she curated the Men About the Culture (formerly, The MEN’S Brunch) platform. The MAC platform highlights and showcases men who uphold and uplift the culture through their work through podcasts, events, and connections.
She continues to serve her community through civic engagement, leadership development, and social service as the chair of the economic empowerment committee of the DFWULYP.
She is one of four co-host for the NOFB Show, where competition makes headlines, but community makes a movement. She is also co-founder of the Dallas HBCU Invitational, maximizing exposure for HBCU athletic programs. Lastly, she serves as a member of the Dallas Prayer Breakfast Young Leaders Board and EmpowerDFW program committee.
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.
Growing up I was empowered to be the best version of myself by my mother, grandmother and great grandparents. I grew up in a predominately caucasian community and was what we call today the “token Black girl”. I was always an active and involved student. I was a tri-athlete, playing volleyball, basketball, and track while participating in competitive choir and student government. Basketball served as the outlet and opportunity for me to attend college on a full-ride scholarship to fund the education to secure my bachelors degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing. Upon graduation from UMKC, I continued to play basketball professionally under the WBCBL until 2016. Throughout my life I have been blessed to have family, friends, administrators and business professionals pour into me and allow me to hone in on my creative and entrepreneurial spirit.
Was there any turning point in your life that changed your journey? If so, what was it? Please tell us the backstory behind it.
The turning point in my life was after my injury in 2016. I dislocated my kneecap during the championship game of the Pro-Am tournament. After sustaining this injury I had to figure out who Jade was without basketball. The majority of my life has been centered around me being an athlete. During this very uncomfortable season I had to dissect who I wanted to be, the things I was passionate about, and how I can make a living for myself based on my experience and education. Because of my sports background I had met so many people with diverse backgrounds that gave me insight and different perspectives on how I can take up space in the world. I was still stuck on being an athlete and started working as the marketing director for the WBCBL. The owner of the league gave me the creative freedom to run the marketing initiatives for the league as a whole, representing over 40 teams across the country at that time. I believe that is the opportunity to kickstart my career in entrepreneurship and creative impact.
Every industry that is now a large-scale, top-notch business once started as a small idea in the minds of entrepreneurs. What was that idea or motivation that made you start your business /initiative? What motivated you within to say “YES, go for it!”
I would consider myself as a big picture person and am always looking for ways to make a large impact on those around me. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would run a globally recognized nonprofit organization or platform for men. When asked why, I always start with because God said so. Before founding the One Unified Resource Foundation, I worked with other local DFW nonprofit organizations to host small events, fundraisers, and donation drives. During one of these events a young man spoke about his time living in an abusive home and overcoming his circumstances to be heading to college. At that moment I realized that men go through situations and trauma in their lives that without the proper outlets and positive influence shape the men they become. It was at this moment I knew that God called me to be the connector. The OUR Foundation serves as the connector for mentors and mentees while we also provide opportunities and resources through our scholarship and technology programs. For the foundations to only be 5-years old and making a global impact, I know none of the work we do is in vain and is so much bigger than me.
Everyone has their own set of challenges when starting an entrepreneurial journey. Still, the most essential part for others to learn is how you deal with those. Would you like to share with us your challenges and your coping mechanisms?
Many entrepreneurs face the same challenges when starting their journey such as financial support, systems & organization, finding the right team and so on. During my journey the majority of the challenges were financial. As a nonprofit founder, I had to realize that I had to run my organization as a business that happens to have tax-exempt status. In order for the OUR Foundation to generate funds to support its mission, the students, and the individuals helping to run the organization I had to create sustainable programming and events that showcased the impact we hoped to make in the DFW community. Most of the work throughout the past 5 years has been supported with funds out of my pocket, donations, grants, and events. As we enter our 5th year of service and global expansion, our focus is strictly on grants and community engagement. For those who are entering their journey as entrepreneurs, my advice would be to just do it with an intentional goal. You can figure it out as you go. If you don’t start you will never know how great you can be.
While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level?
Outside of catching every strand of COVID-19, the pandemic was a blessing in disguise to my businesses and nonprofit organization. During the time of quarantine, my team and I were involuntarily given the time to narrow down our focuses and the best way to impact the young men we serve through the OUR Foundation. We have honed in on our core focuses of mentorship, scholarships, and technology and we teach a FRAMEwork around finance, relationships, appearance, mental and physical health, and execution and goal setting. This is what we are going to be great at because we now have a plan of sustainability and a dedicated team.
Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?
I have been blessed to accomplish a lot of goals in my life and am thankful for the life I have been given. There are so many more things to accomplish that the other things don’t really matter. I would say being invited to share my story on the Fuzia platform is a big achievement. The network that Fuzia has built for women around the world is amazing and I’m excited to be a part of it.
Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?
The change I would like to see in the world is everyone taking responsibility for their communities. That is the whole reason for the name of OUR Foundation. Although we have a specific focus with assisting young men, we are intentional about the work we do. Even though these young men may not be our sons or related at all, it is our responsibility to assist in the development of our next generation of leaders. If everyone finds their passion to help the community and own it the world would benefit tremendously.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your personal life and professional journey? What is your personal motto in life?
Take care of yourself! YOU CANNOT POUR FROM AN EMPTY CUP! As a servant of God and people it is important that you take care of yourself mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally and financially. You can’t carry a community on your back without breaking down once in a while and when you do break down that stalls your progress. Self-care is a must in your professional journey and personal life.
Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women’s leadership today?
Women are multipliers. That is our super power! As leaders, whether at home or professionally, we make things happen. Women are nurturers. We turn ideas into reality, houses into homes, marriages into legacies. It is undeniable that women lead regardless of their title or position. The women who are chosen to lead from the front have a responsibility to showcase the many diverse ways we do so while opening doors for the next woman. I’m blessed to be connected to so many powerful women who are changing the face of leadership and proudly showcase their superpower.
With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?
Do it! If you’re scared, do it anyway! God has given you a vision that only you know and it’s up to you to bring that vision to life. If you are in alignment with who you are and what you want, the journey to bringing that vision to life will be easier than you think. Believe in and take care of yourself because you ARE needed and you ARE enough!