Jeremy Weisz

What was life growing up in the ribet? Robert Taylor homes, what was that like?

John Griffin

So I moved on third grade. And I just go to Coleman school, I remember that. And I and I remember, it’s been a community where we just, we had fun, we should go out there and we just run around and play. But I know as a place that my grandfather my mom want us to get out of and they want to go somewhere we got better schools and a better opportunity. So growing up there, it was nothing like it is now the reputation is now they’re still concerned. I didn’t notice I said a bag because I was great. So I’m like, you know, just

Jeremy Weisz

your reality.

Dr. Denitra Griffin

So a lot of times, and I know I could speak for John and me because I explained to john like, I didn’t realize how much I did have right until I went to college. And I wonder why my roommates had like matching bath towels. And matching linen. I was like, you know, this is really nice. I kind of took inventory. I was like, well wait a minute, just like

Jeremy Weisz

you don’t realize at the time because it’s your reality.

Dr. Denitra Griffin

Yes, my reality and I think what you know one one thing that John and i both shared although we lacked access and resources, we were still filled with a lot of love. So you detection and protection, so you didn’t realize what you didn’t have? Because that’s all you knew. All you knew.

John Griffin

It was one episode when I went to fun town in a fun town was great Chicago. Fun town. Fun Time for the kids in us like 94 dystonia Avenue. So I was like, stony Island. So fun town. So we went there, my mom took us there. And I saw these kids getting kind of candy and popcorn. My mom’s like, well, I can’t afford that. So you guys got to share content and share popcorn. And that was the point I realized, man. Oh, Mom. Oh, yeah, I want to go on all the rides. And I remember that, you know? And, you know, that’s how I became, you know, aware of my situation financially. Yeah,

Jeremy Weisz

I mean, oftentimes, I find, you know, that’s what drives like just a fire inside some of the entrepreneurs I talked to, which is just that moment, like, I don’t want I want to give my kids as much popcorn as they want under, you know, some thought,

John Griffin

exactly. That’s what that’s what really drove me to really want to provide that for my children. And, and sometimes I give my kids too much. She says, you give them too much. So when I was so poor, I wanted to make sure that, you know, it’s a balance,

Jeremy Weisz

right? I mean, part of the reason that shaped both of you was your upbringing, and probably your drive. And so, how do you navigate that with kids? Right? I watched your son, one of your sons speak about you John’s like, I model my dad. He was in like a nice bow tie. And he was just, he was just saying, you know, my dad comes home people don’t see how hard he works when he comes home. So how I mean, you obviously have instilled that in your kids, despite giving them you know, giving them a lot.

John Griffin

Yeah, we, my wife is unrelenting. She said that, you know, you have to be ready to work hard for what you want. And there are no accidents. You don’t just become an A student. You’ll just become a million You just you just grow a business out of osmosis. And she always told our children because he’s the rock of our family that you have to always give back as service to your community service to others. So we taught that talk, yeah,

Dr. Denitra Griffin

daily, you know, I would ask them, you know, how did you make the world a better place today? You had to be able to respond to that. What did you do to make a difference?

John Griffin

They were. Hate that. I hate that.

Dr. Denitra Griffin

To the point that even you know, like, when they were in school, I’m like, Well, you know, what did you learn? And what? How are you going to take what you learn to make an impact? And they’ll say, Oh, you know, I didn’t learn anything. And then I’m like, Oh, well, let me just call the principal and let people know that you didn’t learn anything. And they’re like, Well, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. But it was it’s important that they understand, you know, that they have to make a contribution to society. Absolutely. Um, you know, it’s our role to set you up for success. But you have, I mean, it’s just the the life cycle, you have to put out what you get in you. Got it? That’s right.

John Griffin

You’re and you’re responsible for that you you’re obligated do that.

Jeremy Weisz

Dr. G, you know, you know, you saw something in John. Right. And there’s a, you know, there is a really interesting story of how you came to be in met and dated and got married. But what did you see? Because you saw something off? What did you see that really made you gravitate towards him?

Dr. Denitra Griffin

Yeah. And so it was really interesting. So outside the initial attraction was was his appearance, very low, grown, nice dress with hair. Yeah. And he did wear glasses there. But even after the conversation evolved, just a strong commitment to family. When I met my husband, I met his brother. And he was in on my college campus, and my dorm room and Viet Minh Lee spoke about his brother, wherever I go, my brother goes with me, like I take care of my brother. You know, that’s my best friend. And so I was really attracted to his commitment to family. And one thing that another thing that John had, that I was really impressed with was his understanding and awareness of black history. And so when I was growing up, I did not unfortunately, I didn’t I get history lessons that explained to me, the life of African Americans before slavery. So all the years, I grew up thinking that that was our history, and having those type of conversations with john, at a college level, you know, to just really tap into what I learned in high school, African American History class, you know, really attracted me to him, because I felt like he can teach me something. And so outside of the appearance, dedications of family and the black history, he had a job.

Jeremy Weisz

What was your job?

Dr. Denitra Griffin

I didn’t know it was the mail. But back then. So it was the early 90s. And, you know, back then, it was a big thing, if you can, you know, call somebody at their job. And when he said, Oh, you know, you can call me here’s my work number. I was like, I was like, Oh, he could receive phone calls.

Jeremy Weisz

is currently my corner office number.

Dr. Denitra Griffin

Right? He didn’t tell me it was in the basement in the mail.

Jeremy Weisz

small details. You know, when I was listening to your story, also, one of the things that stuck out, it was like a dagger when I first heard this line, Dr. G that you said, actually, and I was like, oh, god that like hurts. Okay. I don’t know if you know what I’m gonna say right now. But you said to John, I feel sorry for you. Oh, so take me back to that time and what was going on?

Dr. Denitra Griffin

Yeah. Yes. So we were he was at always say we but so he was at a crossroad, where he had to make a decision if he was going to continue to pursue his career as a county State’s Attorney, investigator, or if he was going to take the business for lawn and you decide his Yes, very difficult, you know, I’m not I’m a male and head of the household. So the, it probably would have set with me differently. So knowing his role in our family, he was at a crossroad. And you know, either By myself sometime because I have more faith in people sometimes when they don’t have the same amount of faith in themselves. And when he was conflicted, I was irritated that he was conflicted.

John Griffin

Oh, mad at you, cuz

Dr. Denitra Griffin

I’m like, you know, just don’t know how great you are. And with you, you know, you pray every day I see you pray every day you practice your faith religiously. So where is all of that? And, you know, that’s why I said, I feel sorry for you, because you just don’t know how great you are. And so I see the God in him. And you know, when given the platform, the space and the timing, I know what he’s capable of.

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah. Yeah, John, so I want to hear your thoughts. Because when I first the first part, when I was listening to it, I feel sorry for my own mic. That’s a dagger to the heart. And then, and then you say, because you don’t know how great you are? I’m like, I don’t even know how to take that. No, that’s my mind doesn’t comprehend. You know, it’s like it’s a compliment. right afterwards. So. So john, you know, my initial reaction, probably, if I heard that, I would be totally defensive. If someone said that to me.

John Griffin

Well, she, she saw my soul, I was like, and I could, I couldn’t come back. And oftentimes, as you know, she’s my spouse, she’s my, my life partner. She knows me better than I know myself. So when she said those words, she walked out, she went to work. And I set

Jeremy Weisz

the mic drop right there

John Griffin

and drop out, you know, she was out. She said, I feel sorry for you, because you’re not great. At this took me hear me do a lot of introspection. And I was just, you know, I sat there and I thought all day and, and when that was said to me, gave me the nudge that I needed to get going. So what she told me that I said, Well, I checked my slacks. Because now how to actualize? Well, I’ve been teaching my boys and my girls about, you know, making tough decisions, and, and especially being a man, you make decisions, and you live with them. And it was time.

Jeremy Weisz

So what was the first step that you took? So you said, Dr. G, to John and John, you are like, okay, like, I’m ready to go.

John Griffin

Yeah, ready to go. Talk to her. I told her that I was gonna go ahead and resign my career. Because I was almost at 20 years, I wish I was trying to get a pension, and all that stuff. She’s like, you know, and I was scared because AGB was not a stable business. He’s making about 1.5 million or so. So it wasn’t really a lot of money. And I was like, Well, I’m not stable. I’m not gonna survive this, you know, cuz it is tough, you know, run the business. And I was like, you know, and with a government job, you know, every two weeks, you get paid regardless. And I knew I had, my son was in high school is a Catholic High School De La Salle. I had a mortgage. I had children, and people depend on your dad, you know, that his dad has security facilities. So, um, I talked to my attorney, and we wrote a resignation. And I resigned. I was resigning and in good standing and get my retirement credentials. And I look back.

Jeremy Weisz

How long were you running the business on the side? while you’re working full time?

John Griffin

nine and a half years? Wow. A lot. A lot of work. You know, I would come home. Going my office, I work our, you know, hire people.

Dr. Denitra Griffin

We had a full staff. That’s super impressive. So there was a full fledged office receptionist, people running, you know, directors. I don’t think we call them directors at that time. But yeah, it was it was an office building

John Griffin

officers cars to name it and I was had to run that. And you know, it’s tough.

Jeremy Weisz

Dr G you were just like, Listen, we built this. Let’s just you just saw it could grow so much faster.

Dr. Denitra Griffin

I just go for it. Yeah, because I knew security, the technical skills and security. he mastered that. And so I knew it. I just knew it. And I knew if you put yourself make 100% commitment of yourself into the organization, I knew what it would go. I knew where it would go and I explained to John, I’m like no one can outsell him. No one can outsell him. So you go there do that full time. I’ll carry the insurance. I will still working for Chicago Public Schools. I’ll carry the insurance and continue to you know, support on the side. But you got it and It man, the revenue tripled within a very short window. Yeah, yeah.

John Griffin

Your father, so you talkt to man who has four mouths looking at him, you know, at college in four years for the oldest boys

Jeremy Weisz

pressure. Pressure, for sure. And I know Dr. you have to hop off in a minute. And but I wanted to ask roles wise. So now, you know, things have probably evolved. Talk about your your individual roles.

Dr. Denitra Griffin

So for me, as the President of AGB, I really manage the day to day really operationalizing those strategic plan, all of the PnL the dashboard, the people, making sure all processes and initiatives are cohesive, and make sure that we’re monitoring um, you know, our cash flow or at DOD gross margins. I’m just operationalizing the entire business. Yeah.

John Griffin

And my job is asked her you marry you? I yeah.

Jeremy Weisz

There’s a funny story you tell. John is, I think you were out put taking the garbage out and you get a phone call from Dr. G. Like, I just left the house.

John Griffin

I just left I went to the curb, the rolling garbage can out and all by fall rains, right? Should like, hey, like I say this rule the guy ain’t got him our car yet.

Dr. Denitra Griffin

I love him so much

John Griffin

you know, you know what this is? We got to talk. So I had to get a car, all the way. All the way. up the house. The garbage? The garbage cans. Oh, my God, you know,

Jeremy Weisz

just Case in point you answer to her. You know, that’s, that’s how it goes. And

John Griffin

But as a CEO, what I do is a vision, you know, we build on a SOC, a Security Operation Center. And I am creating, they just said, john, I need you to create it for you to create because you’re creator, and then we’ll make it happen on this level. So it’s not just so much to me creating is now has evolved to what we’re creating. Yeah, transformations equal partner. Yeah. So I said, Hey, I want to build a school. Hey, I want to build a SOC. I want to this is the growth strategy. And now it’s more like, yeah, we’re doing that. But what’s in your mind? Yeah. Because she’s also great. You know, and together, we just, we just, that’s a powerhouse.

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah. And Dr. G I know, whenever you need to pop off, hop off. I want to talk about values and culture. Like, you know, culture is huge for you. Hiring is huge for you. I’m wondering, what do you look for? Talk about the hiring process.

John Griffin

Yeah. So all my people, all our people that we hired, we know that none of us was born to sit in the seats. You know, I never been a CEO of 1000, man, license 1516 states, and I never did this for. So my only criteria is gnarly integrity, and morals. But are you open to better, if you are open to better, then we can teach you what you need to know. And most positions in a GB internal and external, we had to grow with it. And now that we’re bigger, and we bring a lot of talent in, you know, consultants in, you know, to help us go places we haven’t been before. But those are, you know, you’re having integrity, hard working, and, you know, morals, because you’re gonna be exposed to a lot. And we want to make sure that you grow your payroll.

Jeremy Weisz

How would you look for when you’re in the hiring process? Because sometimes people put their best foot forward, what are you looking for in that interview process to make sure, okay, this person’s opened up better, and they have integrity that you want to be in on the same team with?

John Griffin

Yeah, so what we do is that we, we, it’s a feeling that I get, you know, my gut feeling this is I’m speaking on a senior management position, because I don’t know, you know, the officers and that stuff pushed out on a lower level. But I’m diligent opposition. We spent a lot of time recruiting people that we believe they would be comfortable in our, you know, in our group, because you got to be able to because we’re very parochial, you know, the senior leadership team is very parochial is like this, you know? So, we ask them, scenario questions. We give them tough questions to ask them about how did you spot that is, tell me about a difficult situation you had to deal with and as you as you go about, look at their mind process, how you work, and you can tell script from reality. A person has been authentic. They’ve been passionate. You can tell or the script is Just trying to put on fluff to get the job. And that’s how I can tell if these people are really, you know, but then we bring a leadership team in, and leadership team interviews to people, and then they get and we step out and let them get there. Have them individually see if they are, you know, apropos for our team.

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah, if you watch if anyone watches the videos, there’s some videos of kind of like showing some of the, the training that you guys do, and it seems very extensive. Absolutely. Talk about some of the, you know, the background of the people that helped put that that together. I think they’re part of your leadership team. I was reading on you have like US Marines on the you know, I have staff and other retired.

John Griffin

Yeah, these guys work because my backgrounds law enforcement, so I went through, you know, I was a safe they started detailed a secret service, you know, worked in and went to detective school, CPD, scalpels, Barber, I want to share department, I went through regular police academy, so all this training, I gather, and I knew I’ve been a four or five academies. And I knew that I need to make sure that I bring my security officers, the guards to a certain level. And I knew that the elona journey Doc, I met people that was in academies, that was instructors, we became colleagues and friends. So when they retired, I said, Hey, we’re doing a 16 week Academy for, you know, security, you might come back and teach you guys how to properly shoot, how to start a stress response team, how to take down people, how did how to use verbal judo. So that was very important to me. So what I did was, I brought all people together. I mean, Brogan retired us Secret Service agents told us about how you do protection, cyber protection, but they didn’t know people, you know, different things. So that was very good. These guys got top notch training. Yeah,

Jeremy Weisz

that’s not normal training in the industry.

John Griffin

No, sir. Yeah, no, sir. That’s what separates AGB from anybody else. I think the way we treat people, and our training, and technology, those are very important mechanisms.

Jeremy Weisz

Talk about a story you’re especially proud of that. Some, you know, someone from the company kind of warded off, like a dangerous situation because of the training. What? What’s, uh, what’s something that that sticks out to you?

John Griffin

So we were at one of our, I won’t name names.

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah, you don’t have to name names.

John Griffin

Yeah, we’ll never name but we were we were actually doing interviews, and one of our major clients, and there was a shootout. Mm hmm. Wow. Right, like 10 feet from us. Because, you know, we work in large dangerous areas in Chicago. My officers, we sit around, and we’ve been interviewed by the media. And when it goes, shots rang, my officers took action, they just, we were able to long story short, after him, assailants recover guns, and to come down as all of them because the film crews actually filming what happened. Because, you know, believes can the company was able to respond like that, um, those kind of stories, none of my clients on the federal level, we were hired, the highest level federal government, I can’t name names, we were in a very sensitive situation where some information could have gotten out, if we had not found it to the to the proper authorities. And make sure that these weren’t safe words, our job was to protect the perimeter from any leaks, and were able to do that successfully. catastrophic. You know, so we do that.

Jeremy Weisz

JOHN, talk about the evolution of the offerings, right? How did it What was it? What did it start? And then when did you add on the services?

John Griffin

So yeah, 2001 it was investigated company, you know, our, you know, subpoenas, arm, witness, locates witness interviews, things like that. I was told by one of my colleagues and industry, hey, you know, you really need to get a security license because you could begin to make more money, because investigation is very saturated as a security but as you have more offers, you can do both. So I realize that security is security officers, they’re from there. Hey, you know, you need fingerprinting, because fingerprinting landscape fingerprinting is really, really good. You need to add that because you will be all these everybody. So we had a last line scan. And then hey, you know, as security company agency, you should do your own training your own on ARM training. So we got certified to do arm training, that hey, you did a concealed carry, because that’s that’s that’s what’s hot. And then we grew the training division into AGB Institute. And then hey, you just really add a Security school, you know, because you need to have a school that’s going to be able to not only teach people internally but offer soft skills, active shooter, workplace violence, terrorism threats. Very basic Microsoft skills, no PowerPoint, Word. All that. So we did that. So we, we began, but my growth plan was always cybersecurity. because well, Secret Service Task Force, I was in forensics, I did. forensics, computer forensics. And I knew that that’s where it was, those security was we bought into more of a cyber. So I went to went through a Goldman Sachs program. I was in Chicago, the first cohort in Chicago. And I learned, I wrote, I wrote a plan about how to develop a cyber company. And we start moving toward that. So we everything day by day. So we are now a complete company, from the virtual to the physical. So people probably example John,

Jeremy Weisz

like a cyber security, you know, if the name names or anything, but what’s a common thing that you’d have to deal with? Or maybe, you know, just to give people an idea, when you say cybersecurity, what is a company trying to? attacks that

John Griffin

that happened? Oh, my God, very basic. How about starting from the desktop, with with with virus definitions, vulnerabilities. I’m Montana networks, reporting, you know, network packets that that appear to be or maybe been a bit of watch, or there’s something on the network penetration testing, all that. So we’ve had clients that come in and say, Listen, I believe it was a victim of I’ve been hacked. And we first we go to their computer, we found out they have no definitions, no virus protection on the computer, you know, that nothing is meant. So now someone enter the computer and go throughout the whole network? How do you get rid of that? So we had a lot of client lot of small, larger companies, dental, dental offices, medical offices, you know, to small companies. Yeah. So, you know, getting them ready, understanding, you know, be intelligent about your cyber needs.

Jeremy Weisz

I see what you mean. So, for an example, let’s say a company comes to say, John, we need your help. You may have, you know, officers on premises watching and then like, Well, listen, are you protecting your infrastructure? No. Okay, we can provide the cybersecurity. And then if you want, they want a whole view. I think I was reading that you even have like, drones or that you deploy.

John Griffin

Yes, sir. Yes, my son John is our third. Yeah, my son Jonathan fifth. Third is a couple people are licensed drone pilots, Part 107. drone pilots and because people a clients won’t drones sometimes you can have a more aerial view, you know, and speak back to the security officers on the ground. Hey, you know, now this way, there’s a potential gang war going on. Or there’s some guys that look nefarious. So this will give you opportunity to go check. So my mic just went out and saw the timer. There we go. So we

Jeremy Weisz

try to make sure it and you’re like low key, the lights go out, like my words, you say drone, the lights go down.

John Griffin

So all that so really dark from the virtual to the physical, we do the whole thing. And these guys, you know, these guys, I work with me are former special agents are retired, you know, armed forces. And they know, cybersecurity. They know security.

Jeremy Weisz

Isn’t that is cool. Wow. Like you could really see a lot I’m sure. Like, the stuff that you record and see is totally private to that company. But you’ve seen way too much. You know, no idea with just sort of, you know, the surveillance that you do? Yes, somebody does.

John Griffin

Yes. You have no idea, sir. We’ve seen a lot. But we’ve been involved in I can show you films we’ve been involved in hostage. Um, is this with backup CPD. And we went in some fam and CBP officers say, Hey, you know, ABK back back us up. We knew we were okay. They had the police they trained down still, how to approach the protocol. So yeah, you have to work closely

Jeremy Weisz

with with all of those organizations. Yeah,

John Griffin

absolutely.

Jeremy Weisz

You know, I want to talk about hiring and culture because there’s a few people you’ve hired, I love you to highlight but before we do, I know you’re a big fan of quotes. And so I love for you to share a few of your favorite quotes and some of the people who said those quotes some of your you know, mentors, whether they’re in person mentors or distant mentors. Right? Right. Right. So I love quotes also. So, what are some of your favorites?

John Griffin

Well, one is success is not accident says intentional, Muhammed Ali. That’s very important. I teach my I tell my team, you know, we don’t just accidentally be successful. There’s work, you know, Tiger Woods, talk about the short game, you know, everybody hit the ball four yards, but it’s a short game short game for me is been excellent, my details. See, that’s what happens. You have a team that does big things, well, what about the small things is most important? So we deal with that, um, so many, so many, no backward steps. Meaning, you know, even when we make mistakes, and we fail, those are more valuable nuggets than our successes, you know, so we put those those positive affirmations in our daily life. And you know, we do an autopsy, you know, we fail we get together. Okay, what happened? What did we learn? How are we going to prove? That’s what good company does? You know? And we really looking at the Steve Jobs, he said that, you know, we don’t hire smart people to tell them what to do. We hire smart people tell us what to do. You know, so we, you know, we, we saw our hire you, I got to do your job. So if I get it if I can’t trust you, you’re a smart person. And he’s supposed to do this and I’m teaching you then when you’re in the wrong seat, you know, so those are the spirit calls that believe in

Jeremy Weisz

you have any favorite I’d love to hear any favorite leadership or business books that like that, I’d love to hear about

John Griffin

John Johnson, the founder of you know, sell sheet bt sell sheet yet, succeeding against the odds. I’m a TD Jakes a big fan of TD Jakes. You know? No, have you ever heard a pastor TD Jakes? Oh, my God. He’s his business document is off the charts, huh? Um, plus we read we were doing a we’re doing on my wife is gonna have us do a leadership cycle now. And we read books on the book is escapes me. But the book we’re reading right now is dealing with servant leadership. Hmm. And that’s what we really done. We went on a retreat, he told our senior team, you got to service you have to service your people. How do you do that? So we all don’t leave your support. We read a book. And we get together every month and we talk about the chapters and we want to see it in action. So we do stuff like that. But yeah, those those were, you know, Muhammed Ali, which is my idol, his books on you know, callus on my soul and things like that. These are great motivational books for these guys came from my community. So I can relate to those guys know, my wife, read, you know, I grew up I think, you know, the Walt Disney CEO, Bob Iger. I go Yeah, Bob, I love buying all this stuff. You know? So she’s read books that we share, we share. I read principles by the 800 page book. I forget the author’s name, but it was very good. He’s a billionaire. So Ray

Jeremy Weisz

Dalio, Ray Dalio,

John Griffin

Ray Dalio Ray Dalio Yes, love Ray Dalio. I read Call Me Ted Ted Turrner CNN Founder, just call me Ted. I read his books. Man, I read so much, because that’s how I learned. That’s how you learn.

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah. When’s your book coming out?

John Griffin

Oh, my God. I’ve been asked to write a book Doc, I’ve been asked to write a book when you know, that I’m telling you, it’s very difficult. Because you’re busy. You have 1000

Jeremy Weisz

over 1000 staff.

John Griffin

But it’s fun. You know, we know if 1000 people and it’s fun. And we’re building our portfolio. We build in a SOC, and we just roll up. I will one day get to write in a book.

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah. Good. I’ll buy it. I’ll read it out. Spread the word on it. But um, I wanted to talk about Willie Odom.

John Griffin

Yes. Willie, Odom came to AGB as a $10 an hour employee. Willie Odom was a member of the geisha disciples brigade.Willie Odom came to AGB with braids in his head. And you know, with the different color, rubber bands, saggy pants, um, and I said to him, Are you open to better? He said yes. So we’ll do them. I said, Well, if you want to do better, let’s first clean you up. Because in my community doc and security being low barrier to entry, people come in any kind of way, you know, looking very kept unclean. And that’s not my motto my brand. So when I told them that Your uniform, your appearance must command respect. You can’t like the average Joe, because you’re different. And minimum AGB means different. There’s opportunity for you. Willie cut his hair? Willie start dressing nice. Willie start being on time has been a game piece to read, as read these books about all these African men who came from nothing. So that’s an excuse, because I came from the projects. So let’s get rid of that. So when you when you talk about your cave, I’ve been there. I’m Willie, begin, I noticed when he was very good with numbers, and his writing ability was stupendous, as well you will learn how to write well, he said, Well, I always wrote and read. So we talked about polishing his writing skills a little bit more. Willie took that on, and when he began to rise to the ranks. Willie makea six figures today? Willie met his wife at AGB? Willie he has two cars? A home in the suburbs? He has three children don’t do well? Willie has been with me for 12 years and one of my superstars amazing. So will you know well?

Jeremy Weisz

How soon when you met him? Was it right away when that he basically that you said are you open doing better and you made some suggestions or to take a little while to break through for him to start to make those changes?

John Griffin

Well, I’m when I saw him we had a we had my wife is doing Feed My Starving Children. She was doing a fundraiser she was doing with raise money for kids and packing food. So I came to my staff says, Hey, you guys, were will be this high school in South San Chicago packaged meals for kids. And you should come out. Well, he was one of four people that came out at a at the time. 50 employees when he came out. He’s moving to tractor trailer. He’s involved and I said, Hmm, okay for him to take that on the volunteer. Then he’s okay. Let me come back. Oh, she’s awesome. Well, we will be able to get on. So I was telling my boy Yo, my first few months, our children, you did that to my children. And when he was there, he was working the tractor pulling things out. So I said this guy, he volunteer, he volunteered you remember? So I took Willie and I said, I’m going to help you. And he began to buy into the AGB way. The cleaners, the grooming the ryan ability to understand how to do security. And he’s been me for almost 12 years now. He’s the director and he’s manages a team of about me, you know, he has his photo.

Dr. Denitra Griffin

He has a little over 2 million.

John Griffin

Yeah. We’re not know when should we take our 4 million? Yeah. So he’s, uh, he’s doing well. He’s got a wife. His wife was a lieutenant working here. So you met her and one of the sites he managed. So and we have a, you know, no fraternizing unless you go to HR and say, Hey, I’m dating her. So you know, that way we know. And it keeps legalities. So he came, he declared to HR, hey, I’m dating this woman. And

Dr. Denitra Griffin

they married them before they were ready to

Jeremy Weisz

you married? Yeah, exactly.

John Griffin

So Willie was the one who really who came in and really took advantage of are you over to better?

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah, I mean, from the get go, you know, people judge other people very quickly. And when he walked in, in the beginning, you saw through, like you mentioned, he had a certain look in certain way dressed in certain way acted. What did you see in him to say, yeah, we’re gonna hire this person. Because I bet there’s other companies that wouldn’t have hired that person.

John Griffin

Yeah, he spoke well, and he came in and at the time, I was was involved in I was involved in those, that lower hiring because there’s the hiring of officers. And when I told him, I said, when you came in with the earrings, and the, you know, braided hair and, and the saying, as a brother, you know, you can’t know, you know, he’s a big guy. So I say, you know, we need big guys of security, you know, and I said, I need for you to be open to getting your hair cut. Yes, I will know, and I want a job. I want to take care of my family. Gotta do paints. And I think he had a daughter at the time, just one daughter. And

Jeremy Weisz

so maybe if he reacted differently, maybe if he said, No, you know what, you crazy? I’m not going to cut my hair then it may have gone it may have gone differently. Yeah, but he was open to changing.

John Griffin

I remember, when we first started, I told you that. You know, your integrity and morals. Are you open to better? Yeah, because we can teach you what you do know. We can teach you Here we have a program a curriculum, we can teach you how to be a civilized man and woman. We can teach you that. But if you’re not open to it

Jeremy Weisz

doesn’t matter. Rajah Welcome

John Griffin

Rajah beautiful young lady Rajah Welcome started with us as a temp, just we were, it was seven years ago. And we had a lot of we had to do a lot of converting over to our 1000 to virtual. So she’s just graduated her master’s degree. So she’s already a civilized woman graduate. But she couldn’t find a job. So we said we need somebody to come in and, and we had a temp service command just scanned documents, all employees files up into the cloud, not cloud service. No cloud server. We came in we saw Rajah working very digitally always on time. Always professional, my wife to get like it to her, they belong to the same sorority. So we call her our daughter, um, every bit her parents and our parents and we had a bit of a party or something and a mother. And a father came and was telling them how far we are their daughter. She’s good young lady. Well, today Rajah has been with us almost seven years. She runs. She’s a manager of procurement. She met her husband here. Who Who is the finance, the payroll manager, a payroll. And they’re getting married getting married in New Jersey

Jeremy Weisz

this year. Wow. is amazing.

John Griffin

Yeah, she’s already she’s she’s a superstar. She’s she runs all procurement. So contracting a proposal proposals. She’s in on some other presentations. So she does all that federal, state and local. She’s very skilled at that now.

Jeremy Weisz

Thanks for sharing both those stories. And I want to talk about always giving back as far as the internships and scholarships but before I ask it, you know, Dr. G, when you’re gone john, I were talking about his favorite leadership books and business books. And so I love for you to share a few of yours and I and he was mentioning you do kind of like not really a book club, but almost like a training for the leadership staff. So if you could share some of the your favorites and

John Griffin

that’s all about you and Bob Iger Becoming the best

Dr. Denitra Griffin

Becoming the Best by Harry Kraemer, Harry Kraemer. So that’s a good book. Um, that that’s that’s the book that we’re going to rehab a professional learning cycle where we’re not just reading the book, but we’ll actually observe each other implementing strategies and techniques that the book has articulated as best practice. So

John Griffin

talk about your books. Oh,

Dr. Denitra Griffin

oh, so one of one of my favorite books, um, well, the rut of my favorite readings are Marva Collins’ Way, which is this African American educator, who was well renowned in the 70s and is a strong advocate for the underserved and so I use that really as an inspirational book. Um, another one of my favorite reads is Oprah Winfrey, The Path Made Clear, really understanding where you fit in the life cycle, and your purpose and extrapolating your purpose into practice. One of my books that have become my favorite reads for 2020 was Strategize to Win by Dr. Carla Harris. And so because john and my role, oftentimes we are mentors by default, man, and so that book by Dr. Carla Harris is a really good read. I tell all of my mentees to read it, especially those that are just graduating from college. Read the first two chapters, it’s gonna change your life.

John Griffin

I told my Rob Iger,

Dr. Denitra Griffin

Rob Iger, I think it was the road to win or something like that. But of course, he’s the ex CEO of Disney, you know, and he really talks about having that internal drive and that relentless pursuit of perfection that you have to have as a leader and of course, as an entrepreneur. So those are some of my favorites. Um, you know, the,

Jeremy Weisz

there’s a lot people to chew on. I’m sure that gives a lot for people to chew on. I love those. Yeah, I mean, I I wrote them all down. I’m an avid reader. So I am selfish is selfishly and then for anyone listening, I’m sure they could check it out. So I could put in my audible cue. Um, I have I have two last questions about internships, scholarship, always given Before I ask it, I want to point people towards a AGBinvestigative.com And I know you have AGBinstitute.org. A where else should we point people towards online? Any other places?

Dr. Denitra Griffin

Yeah, AGBfd.org. That’s the foundation. So if you are interested to just see how, what we learn and what we do for adults transcend down to young people, their children and others in the community, then Always Giving Back Foundation will give you a great representation of Agbfd.org

Jeremy Weisz

d.org. Got Yes. Okay, great.

John Griffin

We’ve given away Dr. so far about 50,000. Yes.

Dr. Denitra Griffin

$50,000, scholarships,

Jeremy Weisz

scholarships and internships, what impact Have you seen, maybe there’s an individual story and maybe talk about, about the foundation and what you do there?

Dr. Denitra Griffin

Well, the foundation similarly to AGB’s mission to disrupt the cycle of poverty. And we do that through educating young people on their role as a philanthropist and the community, on their role of understanding financial literacy, and as well as workforce develop. That’s right. And so we want to disrupt the cycle of poverty within underserved communities, we have to teach our young people how to begin thinking that way. Yeah. And so we really invest. The lion’s share of our program is really around workforce development. And so we want to make sure that our young people are hireable. And for employment or self employment and what that looks like, as it relates to financial wellness, you know, we have our own secure podcast where we talk about entrepreneurship and how that’s important home ownership, as well as life insurance. So when we think about generational wealth, those are typically the three buckets of how you can transform wealth. And of course, as you grow as a young person, once you know you’re obligated to give and so you must be a philanthropist.

Jeremy Weisz

I love it.

John Griffin

Yeah, all right. Again, I didn’t say drawn.

Jeremy Weisz

First of all, I want to thank both of you for your time for what you do in general for society and everyone should check out the websites AGBinvestigative.com AGBinstitute.org and AGBfd.org. And, and I want to be the first one to thank you so much for being here.

John Griffin

Oh, thank you. To me, yeah.