As we approach February, we embark on another opportunity to celebrate the contributions of African-Americans throughout our global community. This recognition was first made popular by historian/educator Carter G. Woodson with the observation of Black History Month. This month, First Fridays spotlights a Twin Cities face that is very familiar with Woodson's efforts to promote self-reliance, black history and the societal advances of African-Americans.
Robert "BJ" Browne is easily recognizable when it comes to the Twin Cities' community and social scene, largely due to his tree-topping stature (6' 8") and his participation in educational and community service ventures. Browne's daily life is filled by employment at a local defense company in Minneapolis . He works in human resources as a senior learning & development representative. In this role, Robert manages the training and development needs of employees in various departments. Robert also leads the group in innovation and in the field of e-learning.
Lastly, Robert is also very active with the company's diversity committee. He credits most of his work accomplishments to the strong background he received during his undergraduate and postgraduate years at the University of Minnesota.
During his time as a Gopher, BJ -- as most of his friends call him -- honed his passion for scholarship and uplift through his membership in Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. BJ is a third-generation Omega man and joined the fraternity while at the U of M. (The aforementioned Woodson was also a member of Omega Psi Phi.) BJ is currently active in the local graduate chapter, Epsilon Rho, and has chaired numerous fundraisers that have provided many scholarships to college and college-bound students. One of his's most recent fundraising accomplishments was "Yes We Can Twin Cities," a fundraiser for then-Senator Barack Obama Presidential Campaign.
In addition to fundraising, BJ's association with the fraternity has also provided an outlet for his mentoring, volunteering and other forms of community service.
BJ's best parting advice is to remember to stay positive because "It's your attitude, not your