Dr. Randal Pinkett’s Powerful Lessons Inspire DelVal Students

By Christian Yamulla / Community Engagement Editor & Columnist

Failure, something that every student dreads.

Most see failure as the end of the road in academics, relationships, goals, and so forth.

Not Dr. Randal Pinkett.

In fact, he views failure as the beginning of the journey. During his visit to DelVal this previous Oct. 25, he told students that failure should be seen as the fuel to get back up and continue to try and try again:

“Fail fast, pivot faster. You don’t get credit for failing longer. So the faster you do, the sooner you can try again.”

Pinkett, a regular contributor to national programs such as MSNBC, CNN, and Fox Business News, provides expertise in several areas relating to emerging technologies including “big data” analytics, social innovation, culture, diversity, equity and inclusion.

Pinkett is also an award-winning author in titles such as Data-Driven DEIBlack Faces in High PlacesBlack Faces in White PlacesCampus CEO, and No-Money Down CEO.

He launched his entrepreneurial career when he was a 20-year-old college student at Rutgers.

“There is no stereotypical model or frame to be an entrepreneur. It is the passion, the drive, and finding the ways to do it.”

Pinkett believes that the passion and willingness to work through failure is what drives the possibility of success.

I left struck by the humility displayed by Pinkett. Prior to beginning his presentation, he first expressed his appreciation to colleagues and family in attendance for bringing him to DelVal. His visit was made possible by the Watson Executive-in-Residence program (WEIR).

He holds five degrees, a place in the Academic All American Hall of Fame, won the Apprentice and Rhodes Scholarship award, while also authoring several books. Yet he prioritizes displaying gratitude to those who have helped him reach the position he is in before any mention of himself.

This display of gratitude struck me, as someone of his success and stature can often lose that appreciation and sense of humility towards those who have helped along the way. But upon asking his reasoning for this after the event, he reminded me of the importance that relationships bring towards one’s road to success. 

And as my conversation with him continued, I found an immense amount of gratitude in the opportunity his visit provided. Despite the drastic differences within the stages and environments of our lives, we shared common morals and values. Consequentially, our conversation shifted from what steps were necessary to build a professional career path, to the moments of our life that left an impact on our interpersonal outlook. 

“We are not meant to see through each other, but to see each other through”

This unconscious transition of dialogue towards values, morals, philosophies, and faith, only bolstered the lessons displayed that Wednesday. He said it’s important to use the formula education provides while also finding ways to embrace the greater values that other perspectives and insights provide. 

“Those who can work with diverse thinking, mindsets, and challenges are those who will lead,” he said.

There is no substitution for self reflection and humility when approaching differing perspectives or backgrounds. Dr. Pinkett emphasized the importance we should find in placing ourselves in uncomfortable and new environments. For it is within this discomfort that we build patience, humility, and ultimately success.

“You cannot tell me what’s possible, I will show you what’s possible. “What has been afforded to me is not because of what I have done, but the way I think.”

Video source: Delaware Valley University

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