The Core Projects
The “Core Projects” are the initial projects that James developed as he laid the ground work for the EIK network. They tend to be much larger in scope, are multi-dimensional and include a presence on social media, in books, by use of internet radio and other platforms. They have also served as a springboard for some of James’ public speaking endeavors. Together, they provide general encouragement for individuals and for couples. Cafe Encouragement was the first these projects and James’ first endeavor to reach hurting people. It was founded in October of 2010. James’ hope was to provide encouraging tidbits of information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Drawing once again from some very found memories, James envisioned Cafe Encouragement as a cyber cafe much like a favorite coffee shop or diner that one might visit during those hours when the anxieties were high and a familiar, comfortable setting was in demand. Cafe Encouragement began as a Facebook page and developed into a Blog Talk Radio show with multiple runs that lasted approximately 2 years. During the broadcasts, James offered “chalk talks” of life coaching tips. Between those that listened to the live broadcasts and those that downloaded the broadcast for listening afterwards, the broadcast reached nearly 12,000 total listens during it’s run. That fueled James to think of even more ways to encourage hurting people.
WHEN MEN Speak is the second of the “core projects.” It was developed just a few days after Cafe Encouragement in November of 2010. WHEN MEN SPEAK is a forum that encourages men to have healthy dialogue with other men about their interactions with the women in their lives. The goal: healthier approaches to addressing the issues that develop in the male-female dynamic. Like Cafe Encouragement, WHEN MEN SPEAK started with a Facebook page and expanded it’s reach with the help of conference calls, Blog Talk Radio, Periscope and YouTube. Books were by far the most effective means of expansion with WHEN MEN SPEAK. From those books James developed several one man dramatic poetry readings to speak to the male-female dynamic and other issues at a number of open mic nights in and around the Baltimore City area. James and his poetry business partner, Abdur, also had the opportunity to co-host 2 poetry/spoken word venues in which they recruited poets, spoken word artists, singers, musicians, comedians, and other artists from the Baltimore metro area, from New Jersey, and from parts of Pennsylvania and as far away as California. Under WHEN MEN SPEAK, James is working with a prominent leader of one of Baltimore’s more popular theatres to develop a made for stage presentation of his one man poetry reading entitled, WHEN MEN SPEAK. The presentation will cover the love, lust, laughter, life, and loss of man.
The third and final “core project” James named Jubilee News-A WHEN MEN SPEAK Publication. Jubilee News is the women’s forum and complement to the encouragement based work that James began with men under WHEN MEN SPEAK. Together, they provide a complete work for couples. But unlike WHEN MEN SPEAK, James yearned for something more than Facebook pages and Blog Talk Radio for this project. As a budding blogger, James developed a blog into a newsletter and launched Jubilee News in February of 2013. Jubilee News had a uniqueness in comparison to James’ other projects as well as a uniqueness in comparison to other publications. First, Jubilee News is a by women, for women publication for which James is the only male contributor as well as the publication’s editor-in-chief. Second, it was James intent to publish new editions every 2-3 weeks. Third, the publication remained laser focused to carry content which focused exclusively on improving the male-female dynamic. The publication’s tagline is “by women, for women with an extraordinary passion to strengthen male-female relationships.” It’s goal is “…to start a relationship revolution.”
Jubilee News published 8 Editions during it’s first year and a half. After it’s last Edition in August of 2014, the publication’s operations ceased. The publication laid dormant for 4 years up until April of 2017 after which James recruited a talented team and refired the engines once again. Since April, Jubilee News has published a number of issues. It celebrated it’s official relaunched on Saturday, May 20, 2017 with the posting of it’s 9th Edition. Jubilee News is committed to encouraging and empowering women from all walks of life, from all backgrounds, creeds, countries, cultures, and religion. The publication is poised and the team is hungry to use columns and articles, poetry and spoken word, photography, painting and other forms of visual art to usher in a relationship revolution.
The fourth and last of the “core projects” is an offshoot of Jubilee News-The Daddy Pages. The Daddy Pages is a series that James started as a feature in Jubilee News. It too began as a tool to encourage and empower women but developed into so much more during the life of the newsletter. The two were inextricably tied together until James decided to develop the series into a book. The Daddy Pages is the story of a woman wondering through her middle years who draws strength from the memories of interactions she had with her dad. The character is intentionally colorless in order to bring to light the issues of womanhood free from bias. James wrote the series using his dad’s birth name-James Reed or “Jay Ree” as he was called-as his pen name. James also drew from the incredibly strong bond he had with his dad as well from the bond he has with his four daughters and goddaughter as the characteristics he assigned the dad in the series. The main character, Blossom, is the culmination of attributes of all of James’ daughters. What was originally another work for women quickly developed into a powerful teaching tool for both sexes and has been promoted accordingly. As of July of 2017, the first book in The Daddy Pages series is being used as a Summer curriculum in a public school here in Baltimore City for incoming 6th and 9th graders-an opportunity for which James is thrilled to have and of which he is extremely proud.
The Expansion Projects
The Expansion Projects are encouragement based endeavors developed for specific audiences, on specific mediums. The Quick But Power Reads series or QBPRs is the first of the expansion projects. The QBPRs were birthed to provide encouragement on a variety of topics in book form. The intent was to create a series of books with incredibly powerful, indepth insight, in succinct packaging.
Originally, the series featured books that were only 20-30 pages (of a trade book-5 in. X 8 in). The hope was for readers to quickly get the information they needed in a single setting and then pass the information along to as many others of possible fostering connections and sharing encouragement in the process. Since the creation of the QBPR series, the length of the books have grown to as many as 70 pages. There are 8 books in all with a 9th book set to be released in the next few months.
In early 2014, James was offered the opportunity to have an encouragement base, internet channel that would continuously run 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. All that was required was that James develop the programming and content and upload that content as often as he felt the need. Needless-to-say, James gladly accepted the offer made by a company called FACH TV.
James worked diligently to develop programming that would offer the very same variety of programming found on many cable tv channels. In a very short period of time, the Encouragement Is Key Channel garnered 30,000 views. But unfortunately, that company folded after a few months. Thankfully, James moved his programming over to YouTube were it is currently housed and continues to grow using the same name-the Encouragement Is Key Channel. The Encouragement Is Key Channel currently serves as the depository of recordings for all of James’ live broadcasts that aren’t captured and stored on Tweeter, Periscope, or Facebook live. There are nearly 100 total videos available for viewing presently on the Encouragement Is Key Channel.
Poetry TV is another of James’ creations that was specifically design to showcase James’ love for performing his original poetry. Poetry TV was unique
in that it offered poetic performances along with explanations on how and why the poetry was written. It provided insight into the artists mood, method of operation, motives. The segments of Poetry TV that James recorded are currently a part of the collection of the videos found on the Encouragement Is Key Channel.
Seasons of Storytelling was also created as an outlet for James’ poetry but it was broadcast live on the social media platform, Periscope. Unfortunately, many the recordings of Seasons of Storytelling were lost as the
social media platform changed it’s methodology on housing archive recordings. Only a few were able to be salvaged and can be viewed directly from Periscope. Because there are no time limits for Periscope broadcasts, James leverage that fact to combine his passion for storytelling and his love of poetry to convey segments spellbinding content for his Periscope followers.
Pieces of Poetry is another creation designed to convey James’ love for poetry created for the Instagram audience. The presentations of poetry were tailored for delivery in 58 second intervals as per the allowance of Instagram. Pieces of Poetry began in early 2017 as James sought to introduce his Instagram followers to his poetry projects.
To support the promotional efforts of the EIK network, James relied on his love of art and of graphic design. In his very early college years, James’ supported himself by creating a company that provided resume developing and printing services. That was back in the let 80’s during the advent of the personal computers. And because resume services were quite expensive at the time, James purchased one of the first Apple models of the Apple computer along with a printer and started his very first business. It was quite lucrative and it was the perfect money generator for a kid in college. One of the first big projects James worked on was an offer made by 2 of his college professors that were developing a game and needed designs for the playing cards, the box and other pieces. James accepting the job, delivered the project drawing from his background as a visual artist, and
his love for graphic design was born. That business later produced screen printed t-shirts, hats and other items for sports teams. Those experiences enable James to use his artistic talent to support the development of his projects in the EIK network. All of the fliers, book covers, graphic and logos in the EIK network, were all original designs with few exceptions. After a few years, James realized the his talent, his passion to help others, and his experienced positioned him solidly to promote his graphic design to others for hire. And so, Encouragement By Design was born.
Artistry On The Move is quite simply the label James chose for his performances at open mic nights in and around the Baltimore City area. Whenever
James has a chance to stand in front of groups of people, he seizes the opportunity. James has been the featured performer of several venues since 2014. After only a few times at the mic, James fell in love with the performance aspect as well as with the artist scene and community. He was hooked. Thankfully, he was given his very first opportunity to be a featured performer at a very popular boutique in downtown Baltimore. There, James performed bits and pieces of his growing collection of original poetry. In a dinner theatre format, James wowed a small captive audience as he delivered poetry wrapped in storytelling that produced
gut busting laughter in some instances and tears in others. James was joined by his Wife-Erica and 3 of their daughters, several family members, friends, coworkers, boutique shoppers, and member of the arts community. That was James’ first opportunity of bringing several of his poetry colleagues together-another newly developed love that later blossomed into several opportunities to host & cohost poetry venues.
One of most recent projects that James developed was his Life Coaching Series. It was designed to also run on Periscope multiple times a day. Using the same patient, compassionate
delivery that he used to deliver his “chalk talks” on his radio broadcasts, James deliver similar subject matter to his Periscope audience. James thoroughly enjoyed producing and airing those broadcasts and is making plans to re-fire that format on Periscope very soon.
Lastly, James leveraged the research he conducted in pursuit of this Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and added the 3rd arm of the EIK network designed to support leaders and teams in the workplace. To better understand the leadership-team dynamic and hungry for empirical evidence on the subject matter, James enrolled in Nyack College’s, 13 month, accelerated Master’s program of Organizational Leadership in January of 2009. There James researched the impact that leaders have on improving performance of low, medium, and high performing team members. Not only was the research valuable for the roles James played as a professional, he was compelled to include his research findings into his encouragement based network.
James produced a multi part video series and has spoken on the topic in a number of his live broadcasts. James has used the empirical evidence from his research findings to garner a great deal of success in improving the performance of teams he’s lead in non-profit and for profit settings, for public and private organizations. The educational opportunities and the degree earned continue to add value to the man as he seeks to add value to others.
To view the broadcasts/videos referenced in all of above sections, go to the “Support” page of this site or click the following link: