By Bianca Silva
If there’s one thing that comes natural to Jeff Lindor, it’s helping people succeed despite the obstacles placed by society. From collaborating with organizations such as the Haitian Cultural Exchange to creating not one, but two businesses focusing on helping men of color realize their potential, it seems like the sky’s the limit.
Lindor talks to The Haitian Times on what it’s like to develop professionally and the expansion of his current venture, Gentlemen’s Factory beyond Brooklyn into other cities.
Can you tell me about your role in The Gentlemen’s Factory and Groomed Success in preparing men of color for success? What inspired you to do that?
I’m the founder and CEO of the Gentlemen Factory and I’m also the founder of Groomed Success. My role is managing and operating the company but also helping to create platforms to provide men of color the tools and reflexes and connections to succeed. With the Gentlemen’s Factory, it’s a workspace and community that’s designed to enhance and connect [and] provide the space to communicate and interact and build together. With Groomed Success, I’m a vendor with the city in that we provide professional development training. We go into the schools and universities and also to the prisons to provide academic resources and training so that we can help young men get to the next level.
You previously also worked for the NYC Department of Corrections as a Strategic Advisor and a Strategy Specialist for EmblemHealth. How are those roles different or similar to what you do now?
I have a masters in Urban Policy so that degree helped catapult me for a position on Rikers Island where I was really focusing on the division practices in how to reduce men of color going into jail. I was also helping with the performance on Rikers island. With EmblemHealth, I was in the branding and marketing division where I helped to provide the marketing arms for people to get enrolled into the Affordable Care Act when Obama initially launched it. [Also] having an expansive background in community development where I fund organizations so that they can scale on their healthy living practices. I actually worked with a lot of Haitian organizations to providing healthy eating, healthy living and fitness classes.
What’s your favorite thing about helping people of color to succeed? What are some of the things you enjoy most about it?
Knowing that people of color are so powerful and so smart and bright and brilliant and society does a bad job at telling our stories. Me being in a position through my companies to provide services to the black community, it feels rewarding because I see the instant results. We don’t lack the resources for us to do what we were designed to do and that’s to build. My company, the Gentlemen’s Factory, we provide resources while also providing a community so that we can share amongst each other.
How important in your opinion it is for people of color to see someone of Haitian heritage to launch something that’s meant to build people instead of putting a barrier?
My success is the community’s success and the community success is my success. We don’t grow in isolation, we grow as a community. The higher I get, the higher we, as a community get.
Do you have any plans to pursue other leadership and development projects this year?
Yes. So focusing extensively on the Gentlemen’s Factory and opening up more Gentlemen’s Factory across the east coast. We’re looking at Newark, New Jersey. We’re looking at Harlem, we’re looking at Boston, we’re looking at Washington D.C. and other cities because it’s important that men have a workspace and open community for us to live with each other.