Remarks by MBDA National Director Henry Childs II at the MBDA 50th Year Celebration

as prepared for delivery

51 years ago, today, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated – murdered! 50 years ago, today, MBDA was born. In the next 50 years, we will be celebrating on the moon!

Now I know a lot of you may be expecting a commemorative speech. Looking back over the last 50 years. But that’s not me. The question the market wants to know is who is MBDA and why should we care? To me, MBDA is about helping people on their pursuit of economic freedom. We want to develop business and help the United States remain the economic superpower. In order to do that, we have to see opportunities and run through barriers. One of the barriers we are running through is diversity and inclusion.

Unfortunately, too often, diversity and inclusion have become buzz words. I’ve been speaking to CEOs and their diversity and inclusion team. And after one of the events, one of the tech giants, comes running after me and starts bragging about his three-person D&I team. He’s like, “Henry, I love your energy, man. You’re going to be so excited. Let me tell you about our new team is totally devoted to D&I. It is a game changer. What do you think?”

So, I took a deep breath, and I did what any self-respecting subject-matter expert would do. I talked down to him. I was like, bro, are you serious – three people? That is not a team. That’s not even a boy band!

It is time to get serious about diversity. Like lives are in danger type serious. Does anyone remember the Thai cave rescue – the twelve boys trapped in a cave in Thailand? Do you remember how the world stopped, the 24/7 news coverage? Do you remember how it ended?

Rescue divers go into the cave. They locate the boys. They put some rescue gear on them. They tie the boys to their bodies. And they begin the long, treacherous journey out of that cave. Eventually, the boys and the rescue team make it out, alive. That is a miracle!

To save those 12 boys, it took over 10,000 people. I’m talking about divers, government agencies, police, even soldiers. They had to pump 1 billion liters of water out of that cave – one billion liters. But that is what people do when they are serious about saving lives.

It is time for a rescue mission. The minorities are coming!

According to the Census bureau, by the year 2044, minorities will be the majority population of the United States. And they are coming with clout. Black buying power is about 1.3 trillion dollars. Hispanic buying power is about 1.7 trillion dollars. Asian buying power is about a trillion dollars. What do you think is going to happen if minorities ever decide that they will only invest in diverse companies?

Now, I know some of you are trying. I want to give a huge shout out to the space foundation. MBDA invested 400,000 in the space foundation to connect minority entrepreneurs with opportunities in space. It is huge! But it is not enough. And the truth is that it is not all on industry. So, let me turn my attention to my brothers and sisters in the minority business community.  I wrote you a letter.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I love you. I really do. But can we please go just a little bit harder? I know it’s been hard. I’m in the trenches. But come on!

Get mad! Tap back into that hunger, that hunger you had when you wanted to be somebody, that hunger you had when you wanted to help somebody, that hunger you had when you wanted to change the world. This world needs change. Stop playing catch-up!  Lead!

We, the people, have the power. The power to create a better world, a freer world. We, the people, have the power to create jobs and make life better for our people.

So, what are we going to do with this power? What is the plan? What is the blueprint? I want to offer up three rules to win the future.

Rule number one, start sprinting! In today’s world, speed is power. No more, ready, aim, fire. No! in today’s world, it is ready, fire, aim. You don’t have time to sit back and gather all of the data. By the time you build your perfect plan for your 1.0 rollout, your competitor will be on version 2.0. if you aren’t ten years ahead, then you are behind.

Just the other day, a guy started talking to me about broadband. I was like broadband, 4G? Bro, I’m thinking about 5G. Next year, I’ll be thinking about 6G.

Slow and steady won’t win you the race. It will leave you broke.

One day I’m talking to one of my interns and she starts telling me how her favorite story growing up was the story about the tortoise and the hare. How she loved the fact that the tortoise won.  I turned to her and said, “that is a fairy tale.” Fake! Do you know why the turtle won? The turtle won because the hare fell asleep. In real life hares don’t sleep, they win! Don’t be a turtle! Be a hare!

Rule number one, start sprinting. Rule number two, be relentless. Growing up, I loved watching Nolan Richardson’s Arkansas razorback basketball teams.  They were relentless. They sent waves of players at you all game. Full court press all game. They called it 40 minutes of hell.

Well, that is the attitude I take to work every single day. No cheat days! Every day you have to grind, execute, dominate! You have to be in two-minute drill every day.

Now some of you think that you’re killing it because you are putting in 60 – 80 hour work weeks. I don’t care how many hours you are at the office. What are you producing? Are you coasting or are you sprinting? You know what they call people who sprint their marathons? Winners!

This country needs you to win. In America, where is the Black Facebook, the Asian Amazon, or the Hispanic Google? Where are the minority FANGS? It is time to grow, scale, dominate!

Alright, I’m closing. And I’m always closing. ABC, a – always, b – be, c – closing. Always be closing!

The next 50 years could be historic. Imagine that we are celebrating on the moon, looking down at earth. Looking down, at the people. The people who were saved. The men, the women, the children, who were saved. Who were given hope, joy, and opportunity. How does that feel?

Together, let’s win the future!