Reboot Podcast Episode #150 – Behind the Mask – with Ashanti Branch

The Reboot podcast showcases the heart and soul, the wins and losses, the ups and downs of startup leadership. On the show, Entrepreneurs, CEO’s, and Startup Leaders discuss with Jerry Colonna the emotional and psychological challenges they face daily as leaders.


Ashanti Branch

Ashanti Branch

Founder and Executive Director of Ever Forward Club

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Episode Description

In this 150th episode, we are privileged to share Jerry’s conversation with Ashanti Branch, Founder and Executive Director of The Ever Forward Club, whose mission is to transform the lives of underserved youth by providing safe opportunities for academic, personal, family, and community development. Ashanti reflects on his experiences as a young black man, the pressure he felt to conceal his true emotions from his peers, the ways in which men are conditioned to neglect their feelings, and why his own memories compelled him to create a protected space for the young men of his classroom. Jerry and Ashanti discuss the importance for men to find trusted circles in which they share their true feelings, and why removing the masks we wear allows us to become better partners, leaders, and community members.

Ever Forward Club | The Mask You Live In | Lead by Mary Oliver | It Didn’t Start With You | The Warrior by Hafiz

Show Highlights

Top Quotes:

“I realized that my job was to take off this authority hat. That I don’t need to have power over, we’re gonna have power with.” – Ashanti Branch

“I work within the container of entrepreneurs in leadership, but really, I’m just smuggling in consciousness.” – Jerry Colonna

“I was creating what I knew I needed when I was in high school.” – Ashanti Branch

“What I learned in that circle was that you can trust men. I mean, I didn’t grow up with a father in my house so, I didn’t really trust men.” – Ashanti Branch

“Sometimes we create what we need.” – Ashanti Branch

“Young men are not talking about how they feel on a regular basis in my community. In my community, it’s seen as weak, soft.” – Ashanti Branch

“When men are boys, they’re told, ‘Suck it up. Stop crying. Don’t show emotions.’ And then we wonder how they can be adults and be emotionless.” – Ashanti Branch

“For those folks who are listening who don’t identify as men, the men that you love in your life are hurting, because the vast majority of us don’t know that we can trust other men.” – Jerry Colonna

“There’s nothing masculine about toxic behavior. By pushing at that notion, what I’m hoping to raise is consciousness about what is healthy. What does it mean to truly be a good man?” – Jerry Colonna

“Some people don’t deserve to be in your life. If they’re treating you poorly, then you need to move to another place.” – Ashanti Branch

“What are the things that you can let people see? That you gladly let people see. What are the things that are behind the mask that you don’t get to talk about?” – Ashanti Branch

“I think collectively, as a society, among the many, many things that we still haven’t come to grips with is what happened to our ancestors. I don’t know how we heal unless we reconcile with the experience of our ancestors.” – Jerry Colonna

“I’m gonna give my best today. I’m gonna give my best today to help young men in our community find their voice.” – Ashanti Branch

“I don’t know how those systems of oppression change unless the people who benefit from the systems of oppression call bullshit.” – Jerry Colonna

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