For Our Edification
018 | To Be Creative and Black

018 | To Be Creative and Black

July 23, 2021

There is no doubt that creativity is ever-present in our lives, but how much do we take away from ourselves when we don't invest in our creativity? And do we take creativity seriously in the Black community? After watching the documentary "The Creative Brain," I had questions.

I turned to a couple of great, creative friends, Khalilah Elliott and Jamal Sterling. Khalilah is the founder and chief disruptor of Gafford Communications, and Jamal is an actor and educator. Both also host the arts and entertainment podcast "Whatever We Want with Jay & Kay." Besides creativity in the Black community, we talk about the creative process, barriers to creative output, finding creativity in whatever you do, and why it's good for creativity to make people nervous.

Jamal Sterling and Khalilah Elliott, hosts of "Whatever We Want with Jay & Kay"

017 | Apple Fried Apple

017 | Apple Fried Apple

June 17, 2021

When 6th grade teacher, Dee Holt, told his class that he was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, they joked that he was a member of "Apple Fried Apple." That moment turned into a tweet that captured the hearts of many members of the Divine Nine. Then Holt decided to take it further and turn seven of his students into a "line" of "Seeds."

That's when Apple Fried Apple went viral. My fellow Alpha brother did me the honor of joining me on "For Our Edification" to talk about how Apple Fried Apple and, most importantly, how D9 members in education leverage their memberships to expose their students to higher education, especially HBCUs.

016 | Motivational Speaking

016 | Motivational Speaking

December 12, 2020

Does motivational speaking get you...motivated? With so many motivational speakers out there, some question whether or not they hold real value. At the same time, maybe there isn't enough motivation out there. 

To talk this out, I turned to an old speaking colleague of mine, Mark Wiggins. Mark is a speaker, author, trainer and host of the "Off the Bench" podcast. We talk about how he got into the business, when he realized that his words were reaching people and what motivational speaking does for folks' identity and value. And Mark also talks about why the word "until" is special.

015 | My Obsession with Narcissism

015 | My Obsession with Narcissism

October 4, 2020

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that, at times, I reference narcissistic leadership (#narcissisticleadership). You may even believe that I have somewhat of an obsession with narcissism. The reason narcissism tends to be such a big deal to me is 1) my professional experiences and 2) I researched narcissism in leadership for my master's degree. What a revelation! In this episode, I break down what narcissism does to followers' identity and value and I also explain why narcissism is an actual epidemic.


014 | Kamala’s Divine Shout Out

014 | Kamala’s Divine Shout Out

August 26, 2020

During her vice presidential nomination speech, Kamala Harris gave a shout out to the Divine Nine after mentioning her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. Many of us were pretty excited that she took the time to do so. But why, on the biggest stage of her career and in a such a critical moment, would she do such a thing?

I know exactly why--identity and value. Alpha Kappa Alpha, like so many of our sororities and fraternities, probably helped her figure out who she is and how she influences those around her. Not only that, Divine Nine organizations are built on causes. Listen to me break it down on this episode.

Some Divine Resources:


013 | Being Better: Eric and Maleka Beal

013 | Being Better: Eric and Maleka Beal

April 14, 2020

In 2018, on the old Eddie Francis Podcast Show, Halima and I thought it would be great to interview Eric and Maleka Beal, a husband and wife team that lost a combined 300 lbs. Their feat was so impressive that the couple had been featured on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "Dr. Oz," in Essence, and People. Their success also led them to start the health and wellness company Better Choices.

In this great interview, Eric and Maleka talk about how their relationship blossomed and served as a foundation for their health and wellness success with Better Choices.

012 | The Psychology of Hazing

012 | The Psychology of Hazing

October 5, 2019

Every September, holds National Hazing Prevention Week to create and share awareness about the dangers of hazing. An instrumental figure in tracking hazing deaths is Hank Nuwer. On the old Eddie Francis Podcast Show, we talked to professional mental health counselors Leslie Brown and Von Eaglin about the psychology of hazing, particularly in the Divine Nine. As a member of a Divine Nine fraternity--Alpha Phi Alpha--I thought it important to talk to a couple of counselors who speak our language, and both came through with great insight about what goes through the mind of potential hazers.


Leslie is no stranger to "For Our Edification". A member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., she appeared on episode 4, "The Mental Health Benefits of Giving". Leslie is a relational counselor with extensive experience working with military veterans, veterans' families, and women/families in substance abuse recovery. She is a doctoral candidate at Barry University where her research interests include the evolution of families, polyamory families, race/class/gender and cultural competency as well as indigenous, and traditional mental health healing modalities. Leslie earned her bachelor's degree from Hampton University in Mass Media Arts and her Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy from St. Thomas University (Fla).


Von is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. who talks about positive psychology on One Life Radio. Von earned his bachelor's degree in Business Administration and master's degree in Education at the University of North Texas. He has experience working with physically and sexually abused youth, couples, men’s issues, anger management, adolescents, depression, anxiety, and addictions. Von is currently a doctoral candidate at the North Texas where his research focuses on formulating a new approaches to couples therapy using men’s groups.

011 | What Is a Philanthropic Identity?

011 | What Is a Philanthropic Identity?

August 20, 2019


August is Black Philanthropy Month, so that means it's Halima time! With such a great celebration, there are many who get into the spirit of giving. One's giving should have purpose, however (thus the supporter of "For Our Edification", the Purposeful Philanthropy Foundation). For this edition of the Write to Bear Alms segment, Halima breaks down how having a philanthropic identity can lead to more meaningful giving.

Halima breaks down the philanthropic identity. She defines it, how it feeds into one's reputation, what it means to protect a philanthropic identity, the difference between influence and power in philanthropy, and how to establish a philanthropic identity.

010 | College Isn’t for Everybody

010 | College Isn’t for Everybody

July 2, 2019

In so many conversations about college, someone inevitably offers up that "college isn't for everybody." There's no disputing that, but we decided to challenge that statement. On this episode for "For Our Edification," we don't challenge its truth so much as we challenge the frequency with which it is said. Specifically, we discuss why that statement does more harm to Black America than any other sector of society.

For this discussion, we lean on Halima's knowledge of education. Having earned her master's degree in Educational Sociology, Halima touches on the history of higher education which includes the complex history of HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). From there, we do a deep dive discussion about what is left on the table by people quickly dismissing college as a viable option for success. Unapologetically, we tie higher education into a critical part of Black America's identity and value.

009 | Throwback: The Daughter Voice and the Dad Lance

009 | Throwback: The Daughter Voice and the Dad Lance

May 12, 2019

Here is a pair of throwback interviews to my radio days when I was a co-producer of and contributor to the award-winning show "Sunday Journal with Hal Clark". In 2010, I was introduced to hip hop artist and educator Voice whose discography includes "Black Maria" and "Voice Presents Cutz". Voice's single "Black Maria" features her mother Zardis 

Later, I had the pleasure of interviewing her dad, actor and acting instructor Lance E. Nichols. By far, this is one of the most entertaining interviews I have ever done thanks to Lance's energy and charm. Lance has appeared as Dr. Larry Williams in "Treme", as Gene Clancy in "House of Cards", and the Preacher in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons". Enjoy!

008 | Understanding Black Philanthropy

008 | Understanding Black Philanthropy

April 17, 2019


It's a throwback on For Our Edification! On this episode, we're going back to the old "Eddie Francis Podcast Show" when Halima had a conversation about Black philanthropy. Her guests were Darryl Lester and Vince Bayyan. The conversation defined Black philanthropy, discussed trends, and the importance of empowering everyday people to be strategic in their giving.

About Darryl Lester


A leading voice in philanthropy, Darryl is the director of Service Year at North Carolina State University's Institute for Emerging Issues. He is also the founder of HindSight Consulting and the Community Investment Network. Darryl had also served as the director of Community Leadership and Programs at the Triangle Community Foundation (NC) and as Trustee of the Warner Foundation. An alumnus of Wofford College(B.A., Economics) and North Carolina State University (M.Ed. in Counselor Education and minor in Psychology), Darryl is a brother of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

About Vince Bayyan


Vince is a former development official at Claflin University and St. Augustine's University. He also has non-profit experience as a former executive director of the YMCA Clarence E. Lightner Youth Leadership Academy in North Carolina. Also a dedicated artist, Vince is the principal partner of Bayyan Ventures and the Arts Conference Event Center. Vince holds a B.A. in Mass Communications from Hampton University.

007 | All the Smoke: Fyre Fest and Narcissistic Leadership

007 | All the Smoke: Fyre Fest and Narcissistic Leadership

April 2, 2019

Social media was abuzz in early 2019 when two documentaries about the infamous Fyre Festival dropped on Netflix and Hulu. People could not believe how the event got so out of hand and how the festival's creator, Billy McFarland, seemed oblivious to the harm he caused several parties in the process. I believe the reason is McFarland's narcissism.

Using my professional experience and information I am gathering for my master's degree research, I lay out the signs of narcissistic leadership using the events surrounding Fyre Fest as portrayed in the documentaries. This isn't about McFarland so much as it is about helping people understand how working under narcissistic leaders can adversely affect one's identity and value. Trust me, I know. Not only do we look at warning signs in this episode but also ways people can protect themselves under narcissistic leadership. 


Click the image above for Dr. Ramani's web site. For her great TED talk on narcissism, click here.


Leader Narcissism and Outcomes in Organizations: A Review at Multiple Levels of Analysis and Implications for Future Research by Susanne Braun

The Narcissism Spectrum Model: A Synthetic View of Narcissistic Personality by Zlatan Krizan and Anne Herlache

How to Handle Narcissistic Abuse by Darlene Lancer

Narcissistic Leaders: The Incredible Pros, the Inevitable Cons by Michael Maccoby

8 Types of Narcissists -- Including One to Stay Away From at All Costs by Kristen Milstead

Narcissistic Leaders and Their Victims: Followers Low on Self-Esteem and Low on Core Self-Evaluations Suffer Most by Barbara Nevicka, Annebel De Hoogh, Deanne Den Hartog & Frank Belschak

The Narcissism Epidemic and What We Can Do About It by Joe Pierre


I made a reference to the Op Ed Project during my "to be sure." Please take time to find out more about this great organization.

006 | Doctor Who? Identity and Value on Halima’s Doctoral Journey, Part 2

006 | Doctor Who? Identity and Value on Halima’s Doctoral Journey, Part 2

March 7, 2019

Halima and I continue to unpack her Ph.D. experience in part two of a conversation about how her identity and value were affected during her doctoral journey. Here, it gets even more interesting as we discuss the value of doctorates to greater society. Halima gives thoughts about how people who engage in doctoral studies shape important social issues. By the way, there are interesting segments where Halima gives her thoughts about how doctoral work had been adversely affected in Black America in the 1990's and cultural representation in scholarship.

Finally, Halima offers words of advice to anyone considering or just embarking on the doctoral journey. Pay close attention to her thoughts on maintaining a sense of mental wellness and wholeness on the quest for knowledge.

One more thing. You'll hear some odd noises at 12:55. Ignore it; we have no idea what was going on. *smiles*

Closing music by Swagg Beats.

005 | Doctor Who? Identity and Value on Halima’s Doctoral Journey, Part 1

005 | Doctor Who? Identity and Value on Halima’s Doctoral Journey, Part 1

March 6, 2019

The year 2018 was a great one for Halima. After defending her doctoral dissertation in November 2017, she received her Ph.D. in 2018 from New York University's Steihardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. Having had so many conversations about the process, we thought it would be a good idea to pick her brain about how the process affected her identity and value.

In part one, Halima discusses why she chose to pursue a Ph.D. and why she chose her research. We find out how her passion for understanding fundraising capacity-building at HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) and being an alumna of Hampton University served as key motivators. This part goes deep as we find out how the inequities between HBCUs' and majority institutions' are more intricate than many realize.

That being said, we learn that the doctoral journey can be a very personal process. Halima also discusses who she was prior to her doctoral journey and her identity and value now.

Closing music by Swagg Beats

004 | Mental Health Benefits of Giving

004 | Mental Health Benefits of Giving

February 7, 2019


In this first installment of Halima's Write to Bear Alms segment, we take a look a the mental health benefits of giving. To do that, we're taking it back to her old "Write to Bear Alms" radio show which aired on the Dallas-based Radio Azad.

Halima's guest was Leslie Brown, a mental health professional who is pursuing her Ph.D. in Counseling. Leslie's mental health work includes stress reduction workshops for various groups and counseling military veterans. She explains the neuroscience behind the feelings of satisfaction that come from giving and how an attitude of gratitude relieves stress. Halima and Leslie also discuss the importance of leveraging giving to help youth develop their mental health.

Not only is Leslie a great friend but she also serves on the board of the Purposeful Philanthropy Foundation.

003 | Sports Infamy: When Athletes Mess Up

003 | Sports Infamy: When Athletes Mess Up

January 15, 2019

What's it like when a player makes a game-ending mistake? Of course, it's painful for us fans but it's obviously way more painful for the players.

David Grubb, a columnist for Crescent City Sports, has a very good idea of the real identity and value of the player who had a tough game. In this throwback interview (from the old Eddie Francis Podcast Show), David talked about the identity and value of athletes beyond the arena on the heels of a mistake that ended my New Orleans Saints' 2018 playoff run. The tables turned for the Saints, however, when a mistake kept their season alive in the 2019 playoffs. Who Dat!

David talked about what it's like the locker room for players after crushing defeats or big mistakes. He also talked a bit about student athletes and how athletes manage social issues. David not only provides great insight but he mixes in a couple of great stories--like that time he almost got pulverized by former NFL linebacker Greg Lloyd in the locker room.

002 | New Year, New Me? Ha!

002 | New Year, New Me? Ha!

January 7, 2019

As yet another new year rolls in, many of us are determined to be better versions of ourselves. A popular social media hashtag has been #NewYearNewMe with folks determined to make 2019 a better year than 2018.

The response? HATERATION!

But not everybody is letting the haters have their way. Take this tweet, for instance:

With so many eager to knock the "New Year, New Me" crowd off their pedestals, Halima and I talk about how the pushback just may affect those who are looking to reinvent themselves. Halima, who teaches sociology, offers thoughts about why she believes there have been such toxic responses to the "New Year, New Me" mantra. We also chat about people who present images of their "perfect" lives on social media and whether or not they're being real. Are they real???

As a bonus, Halima publicly reveals why she tapped out on "Game of Thrones".

Here's an interesting read that we referenced during the conversation:  "How Social Media Affects Our Self-Perception".

001 | Introducing For Our Edification featuring Write to Bear Alms

001 | Introducing For Our Edification featuring Write to Bear Alms

December 29, 2018

Welcome to For Our Edification!

This podcast is about identity and value--who we are and how we influence those around us. The foundation for the podcast's message is the practice of personal branding which was popularized by Tom Peters' 1997 essay "The Brand Called You". While we are not diving directly into the waters of personal branding, For Our Edification promises to deliver guests and commentaries designed to empower you to articulate your identity and value.

For Our Edification's co-pilot, Halima Leak Francis, is the host of the Write to Bear Alms segment which provides insights and information about how giving can build sustainable communities. Being the fundraising mastermind she is, Halima will also sprinkle some helpful fundraising tidbits along the way. Also, check out the Write to Bear Alms blog.

Want to learn more about me and Halima (or just Halima)? CLICK HERE.

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