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ForCollegeForLife Podcast Ep. 19: Marlon Gibson

TRANSCRIPT

Casey Cornelius (00:07):

Hey everyone. And welcome to the latest episode of the ForCollegeForLife podcast. My name is Casey Cornelius. I am the founder and president for college for life, and I have the distinct pleasure of getting to interview our speakers and our consultants, the people who make us great. And we have absolutely loved putting these episodes out into the world and hearing your feedback like the, the normal things that you’re supposed to do with podcasts, you know, like, like sharing and liking and reviewing and all that other kind of stuff. But also what we’re hearing informally from you too. They’re not going anywhere. We’re we’re gonna continue to put out good content to the world, and we’re also going to be coming up with some creative ways of doing it. So please make sure again, that you subscribe and that you connect with us on social media so that you can know when these podcasts are being released today.

Casey Cornelius (00:58):

I get the pleasure of interviewing someone who I have known for years. I won’t tell you how many years. I’ll just say that maybe we met when we were really, really young but someone who I admire a great deal. One of the cool things also that I get to do with these podcasts is even though I might have known someone for years and years, I always learn something new. So if you don’t yet know this person, you’re gonna have the opportunity to today. If you already know this person, you’re gonna have the opportunity to learn even more. Let me tell you a little bit about Dr. Marlon Gibson. He currently serves as the director of community engagement for CAPA alpha order in this inaugural role for KA Marlon develops and facilitates the curriculum for educational initiatives related to fraternal values, alignment, diversity, and inclusion.

Casey Cornelius (01:46):

For over 20 years, he has worked extensively with headquarter staff collegians and alumni across the country in the area of sorority and fraternity life. Previously, he was the director of sorority and fraternity life at Emory university. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English, creative writing, and a master’s degree in higher education administration from the university of Toledo go rockets. He most recently completed his doctorate from the university of Georgia and college student affairs administration. He’s married to his far better half Dr. Sheree Williams Gibson, and they have a son, Adam Patrick. He’s a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity incorporated. Andy 20 21, 20 22 for college for life consultant of the year. Without further ado. Let me go ahead and bring to the mic. None other than Dr. Marlon Gibson, Marlon. You ready to do this podcast?

Marlon Gibson (02:40):

Absolutely.

Casey Cornelius (02:41):

<Laugh> so I referenced I referenced at the beginning that you and I have known each other for for a minute, for a minute.

Marlon Gibson (02:48):

Yes <laugh> yes, yes. We were young, very young.

Casey Cornelius (02:53):

Yeah. So, you know, I, I normally don’t pull back the curtain this much, but I think that we, we met in 1998. Does that sound correct? Yes,

Marlon Gibson (03:03):

Absolutely. In the academic house,

Casey Cornelius (03:06):

In the academic house at the university of Toledo that was your first year, correct?

Marlon Gibson (03:13):

It was my second year. Well, second year as a student first you’re living on campus and first year not being a context student,

Casey Cornelius (03:25):

Huh, there you go. So this, this is gonna get real nerdy for anyone who yeah. Is not from the university of Toledo. I, I was actually in my first year as a resident advisor at the academic house. For those of you, who’ve known me for a long time. There’s such irony in that statement, but at the academic house, the university of Toledo, and I first got the opportunity to meet Marlin and Marlin. I wanna ask you about something that, that you did back then, and I think you still do it to this day. You committed yourself to meeting new people and getting to know new people each and every day. Is that correct?

Marlon Gibson (04:02):

Absolutely. My friend I had a goal to be our student body president at the university of Toledo. And I had talked to silver with Colleen Danar and I said, I’m just going to seek 25 people a day and I would have full conversations. Right. Like they, weren’t what I would just call them. I used to call it the Miami of Ohio grading. Hi, how are you? Great, thanks by, I would really get to know commuters and non-com commuters and even about their families. So it was really cool, but ended up being chapter president instead of SGA president.

Casey Cornelius (04:39):

Let’s let’s hard pause for just a second. So even as as an undergraduate student, you committed yourself to meeting 25 new people a day. Yes. Yeah. And, and I mean, on a scale of like one to a hundred, hundred percent like consistency, how, how often did you reach that goal?

Marlon Gibson (05:03):

Oh, every day. And I remember, I would tell chapter brothers because <laugh>, there were chapter brothers who would leave me on Centennial mall or ride in the flatlands were like, you will never get to class because I would always stop and talk to people. And I remember once actually sitting the SHA office and the current vice president at the time was like, so do you like skip class to do this? I said, absolutely not. That’s the perfect opportunity to continue meeting people right. As I’m walking out of these buildings. And so it was really cool just to see how many people I could meet and it wasn’t like I’d hit 25 and stop. Right. So if I still say you were 25 and I saw a whole group of people, I still want to introduce myself to them as well. Even at the end of the day.

Casey Cornelius (05:52):

So when as a, as a peer at the time, Marlon, I, I think, I don’t know if I’ve ever told you this. I remember thinking my first instinct was well, that’s different <laugh>

Marlon Gibson (06:05):

Yeah.

Casey Cornelius (06:05):

Yeah. And then, and then over time I thought, well, that’s kind of cool. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> and now looking back at it I’m like, that was genius. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>, I mean, you were like a super connector at the youngest of ages. And I, I think, you know, now we fast forward to today, I feel like, you know, everyone.

Marlon Gibson (06:22):

Mm.

Casey Cornelius (06:23):

Yeah. Was that the goal, like, was that the goal I know to be SGA present, but was that the goal to be able to, to go anywhere and to, to always have, have someone, you know,

Marlon Gibson (06:33):

You know, it’s funny that you asked that Casey, because I was talking with Cher recently and it was celebrating anniversary and I was like, did you ever anticipate like this being the life that we would live, we first started dating back at the university of Toledo and she’s like, oh, absolutely. And it was like, I was so stuck in the moment. I never thought like that far ahead, which I think is a difference between first gen and non first gen her being fifth generation educated. Whereas me being first gen, I literally was stuck in that moment of driving a shuttle bus, getting to know people, getting to learn campus. How can I complete this degree where she always knew she would have a doctorate at the age of 30? I never even thought about a doctorate until after she completed hers.

Casey Cornelius (07:28):

You know, you, you referenced something there that you and I also have in common being, being first gen students proudly first gen. Yes. Can, can, can you talk a little bit about what that was like you know, coming to campus, learning, learning the ropes, kind of the, the formal and informal rules of how to be successful in this thing? Like, can, can you remember what those sensations were like?

Marlon Gibson (07:56):

Certainly I will never forget the moment when I was at Comac and I actually went and was at subway and I like went to pay for my food and they’re like, well, let’s see what’s on your card. And I was like, well, there’s nothing gonna be on my card. Well, there was like enough, they’re like paid for it. And then I said, well, how much is on there? And they showed me like, I think a thousand dollars. And I was like, where did that come from? And they’re like, well, that’s from your refund check. I had no clue what all of that meant, like in the loans that I was taking out now, I definitely know <laugh>

Casey Cornelius (08:40):

Right, right,

Marlon Gibson (08:40):

Right. And I wish that I would’ve had an advisor and it wasn’t until I navigated myself to financial aid my second year and met Lisa Housel, short who to this day, I’m still friends with, but I would meet with her every semester. And I wish that everybody had a Lisa because Lisa not only helped me navigate my financial aid, but like, could I live on campus? What was that gonna look like? How would I actually have funds to live on campus? These are all questions that my parents never could have answered. Least also kept me on track to making sure I graduated within that four years and who I needed to be talking to. So it’s a longer answer, but I wish that more places had, I think they call it a rocket center, which the rocket center wasn’t really a thing. Then I just made that part of campus where I started learning a lot of people from financial aid to the registrar. And then that became like my own little rocket center, which now I think the solution center is the best thing that could first end students,

Casey Cornelius (09:52):

You know, very similar to you somewhere along the way. When I, I found myself being pulled toward gravitating toward a career in student affairs. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> I remember the first time I realized that this could be someone’s career, like as a, as a first gen student, you’re like, oh, there’s someone in financial aid. And maybe I’m the only one, but it didn’t, it didn’t connect in my mind that this is someone’s career. Like this is what they do. But then you went into a path of being a, a student affairs professional as well. Can you talk a little bit about what, what that was like for you?

Marlon Gibson (10:34):

Well, I’m loving this because similar to you, I didn’t get it. Right. So I think it was probably my third year where I was English education and I was doing fine in my classes, but I thought, do I wanna teach seven periods of English every day? <Laugh> for the next 30 years. And I met with Dr. Ma who was our vice president of student affairs at the time,

Casey Cornelius (11:05):

An icon, an icon at the university. Ofdo yeah.

Marlon Gibson (11:08):

And do you remember EPO?

Casey Cornelius (11:11):

Yeah. Yeah.

Marlon Gibson (11:12):

Yes. So we met at EPO. Yeah. A little Chinese restaurant. That’s literally the size of laptop and it was to talk about a career student affairs. And he asked like, was it something I was interested in? And I said, I don’t really know, because like you, I didn’t know it was a career. And I said, so how did you get to where you are today? And he said, well, Marlon, you would need to get a master’s degree. And I said, oh, more school. And he’s like, yes. I said, so you have a degree in hanging out with students <laugh>

Marlon Gibson (11:49):

And he was like, what’s a little different than that. It’s called college student affairs administration. And how do you administer and become an adminis, an administrator on campus? And that’s when I remember my homework from that EPO was think about where you would want to go for your masters anywhere that you ever would want to go, which no one ever had that conversation with me in high school. And so I was like, well, it could be Toledo. It could be Miami of Ohio, or it could be UT Knoxville. And so I visited all three. I started that fall, or I’m sorry, I started that January at the university of Toledo. And then I kept there until that summer. And then that fall, I started at Miami, Ohio, and I was there for a year and I loved it. Great time, great cohort.

Marlon Gibson (12:42):

But it wasn’t my family as an only child only grandchild, I wanted to return back to Toledo and I did that’s where thankfully, you know, finished my master’s met. She but it was at that point where I learned more about the field because when I came back to Toledo, I was the advisor for pan Lin. I lived in the Greek village, so truly immersed in that experience. So my first job at coastal Carolina as assistant director of activities, leadership and Greek life, I was absolutely prepared because my supervisor had been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. And so it left us running the entire Greek village of 14 houses, all 28 chapters with just myself and one other graduate assistant which was a lot as a grad student. But professionally, when I walked into my first job, I was relatively bored. I remember going home at night and being like, I don’t have homework. Like I don’t have that piece to think about. Right.

Casey Cornelius (13:46):

This is all I have to do today. Yeah, yeah.

Marlon Gibson (13:48):

Yes, yes, yes,

Casey Cornelius (13:49):

Yes. Yeah.

Marlon Gibson (13:51):

Yep. And they’re paying me this. Wow. Okay.

Casey Cornelius (13:55):

And for those who aren’t familiar with coastal Carolina and Myrtle beach is eight miles down the road.

Marlon Gibson (14:00):

Yes, absolutely.

Casey Cornelius (14:01):

That, that wasn’t, that wasn’t rough. Yeah. That

Marlon Gibson (14:03):

Wasn’t tough. Yes. And my supervisor was from Bedford, Michigan.

Casey Cornelius (14:10):

Okay. Very cool. So all the dots connect.

Marlon Gibson (14:12):

Yes. And I was like, this is where I need to be. And I remember Matt Mor who was a Sigma Sigma Kai during our interview talking about like the adjustment from the Midwest to the south. And Matt had been there for years. And that was really comforting and helpful to have someone who literally was from Toledo as my first supervisor out of graduate school.

Casey Cornelius (14:39):

That’s wonderful. That’s wonderful. So let me, let me see if I can connect the dot. I think I’m using the word connection quite a bit in this episode. But let me see if I can connect the dots a little bit. So Marlon you’re proud fraternity man, Cal Kappa alpha PCI fraternity. You have worked in sorority and fraternity life as a, as a on campus professional. I want to skip ahead a little bit and then we’ll backtrack you now work for Kappa alpha order and that, that is not your organization. But you are the director of community engagement for KA. Can you talk a little bit about that role? I know it’s the, the first of its kind, but then, you know, I guess, I guess I want to ask this question, I, I wanna do it in the most respectful way possible, you know, what is it like doing that work as the first person of color at KA as well?

Marlon Gibson (15:34):

Yeah, I, so I love, I absolutely love it. I tell Larry and others all the time, Larry’s the executive director of KA and afforded me the opportunity initially as a consultant and then afforded me the opportunity to create my own job description and truly live my purpose. Right? So it’s the beauty of working with college students, traveling, visiting with college students and alums and administrators, and having conversations around the country and not being weed or tied to the politics of one specific campus, but really seeing the light bulb go off for alums, students and administrators when we’re connecting and programming together. It really is an awesome opportunity, as I always tell people to really connect connecting is the word of our day,

Casey Cornelius (16:41):

The word of the day. Yep.

Marlon Gibson (16:42):

Yes. Connecting with individuals in a way in which they would’ve never imagined. So when you think about cap, apple order started in 1865 at Washington college, people always say that Robert E. Lee is a spiritual founder. Absolutely. But Robert E. Lee was not named until 1924.

Casey Cornelius (17:05):

Wow. 60 years later. Yeah.

Marlon Gibson (17:07):

Yes. And he passed in 1870. And so, and was named by the actual founders. And so one of the pieces that has resonated with me since the beginning is after that initial conversation with Dr. Maven, I actually wanted to be university president. And that was my trajectory and goal. When I finished my master’s and started the doctorate is I wanna be university president. And I make that connection because Robert Lee was the president of Washington college. Now, Washington and Lee, and the founders of KA admired his leadership and admired what they saw in him from a student lens. Not saying he was perfect. None of us are perfect. I’m sure Shari could share many things with you.

Casey Cornelius (17:58):

<Laugh> that should be on the next podcast. Yes,

Marlon Gibson (18:01):

Yes, yes. About me. But what they valued about him as a leader and a gentleman and a scholar, and those were the attributes as to why they chose him to be the spiritual founder of KA. So to go around and talk about that with chapters around the country is fascinating. Right. And also to even have dialogue about it where some agree some disagree, but we can have a conversation about it and talk about what does, what does the organization do for you? What have you gained from KA to meet those that are legacies? I mean, that’s the really cool part is for, to go to campus. And people say, my dad, my grandfather, my uncle, and all my cousins are K’s. And to talk about their lived experiences, to talk about how their experience today is different and somewhat similar to what it was of their father or grandfathers. It’s really an awesome opportunity to do that work and to also be a trailblazer if you will. Because I’ve never had a moment in K where I brought something up and people were like, they shut it down. It’s always welcomed and welcomed in a conversation of, we hadn’t thought of it that way. And how can we continue to strengthen the organization?

Casey Cornelius (19:30):

I, I think what you’re referencing there, which is really important for, for all organizations that is having, having an outsider’s lens. I, I think all too often over time, organizations have typically put people in leadership roles from, from within that organization, right. Re regardless of, of what, what type it is, but having an, an outside perspective on some of these questions allows for insights that, you know, otherwise might be taken for granted. Am, am I hearing that correctly from you?

Marlon Gibson (20:04):

Absolutely. And that’s the beauty of the consulting that I’ve been able to do for other organizations as well is there’s no judgment. And one of the pieces and programs I do is on grace and civility. So there’s no judgment. I’m always graceful. And it’s, how can we work through this together where you’re not in a media storm? You’re not in the face of adversity through the lens of your advisors and or alums who are being very critical of you. How can we come to this point together and talk about, and learn and grow together with the lens of it’s all in the name of the organization. And if our founders were here today, what would that conversation look like? Knowing that each of organizations were founded for various reasons, it may be like half alpha PSI where they were the only black men in that community. Right. And so how do you talk about that from the lens of today? And then how do you talk about it from the lens of when the founders were starting the organization and really have a great conversation about it?

Casey Cornelius (21:20):

I, I wanna, I wanna dig a little deeper on that. First of all, I, I do, I do wanna make a little plug if, if you’re interested in Marlin’s work and is speaking and is consulting please for college, for life.com/marlin can, can learn more there, you know, Mindy Sofer. And I have had this conversation several times and actually we had it on, on our podcast. And that was, you know, when we think about the founders of our organizations and, and the things that they launched into permanence, right. You sometimes forget that they were also relatively young people, still figuring things out as they were doing it. Does that strike you as well? Like when we think about these organizations, they have thousands and thousands of members and have been around, you know, KA for, for example, since would you say 1865? Yes. They were young people trying to figure out the world around them. And oh, by the way, did some pretty extraordinary things, does that ever strike you?

Marlon Gibson (22:19):

It does. And I always think of, I dunno, who actually said it, but the famous quote of when you actually empower and believe in our youth of today, the amazing things which come forward.

Marlon Gibson (22:36):

Mm. You know, as a father of someone who is under 10 years old, I always say little humans and the magical power that they have and what they say and what they do. I’m often struck as I’m like, you’ve been in this world before. And were you one of the founders of my organization? And now you’re reincarnated as my son. Right. Like, I didn’t wanna go that deep, but I mean, literally we’ll say things and I’m like, you have to have been in this world before. Cause I would’ve never said that at your age when I was growing up.

Casey Cornelius (23:11):

Right.

Marlon Gibson (23:13):

And so when I think about them and when I look at pictures of some of the founders, it’s like, they looked a little bit more mature if you will. More seasoned is probably the kindest way right. Than some of our current undergraduates today.

Casey Cornelius (23:34):

Yeah. And, and it seems like there was something, something about them, like as, as you, as you look back and I mean, I don’t know. I, I think about you and I trying to, to navigate the university is as first generation students, I, I can’t imagine ever envisioning an organization, like the ones that, that we joined that we’re members of that that would, you know, change people’s lives. I, I wanted to ask you another question. You referenced something in one of your answers, which struck me. And I, I, I said at the beginning that in these podcasts, I always learned something that I, I didn’t know before. So your, your path was to be college president. I don’t know if you know this, but that was my goal as well.

Marlon Gibson (24:18):

No, huh.

Casey Cornelius (24:21):

But both you and I have founded, <laugh> a diversion. I guess you would say to to life off campus, I can you, can you talk a little bit about what you have experienced and the difference from working on the organizational side and the, the speaking and consulting side versus the, the campus based side.

Marlon Gibson (24:43):

I have a dear friend and dear mentor who, when I was completing my doctorate said, what’s next? And I said, you know, I’ve been telling people, I just wanna sit and stare at the degree. <Laugh> because there have been many days where I thought will I actually complete this goal. And the person said, well, I know you love family. And do you really want to be in this person was a past vice president of student affairs. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>. And they were doing that role at the sacrifice of spending time with their child, ended up getting a divorce.

Marlon Gibson (25:28):

And they said, I know how much you love adore, SHA Adam, you have to think of what will afford you the opportunity to be with family and to truly value them. Right. And I have found that sweet spot, not so much, you know, I could easily be a president or vice president and making whatever salary that would be, but would I have an opportunity to go Friday evenings to see a movie with my son or on a Saturday morning, have breakfast that I hop with my wife or Sunday, make sure that we’re at church and after church, we can talk about what is it that you actually talked about today, Adam, during your Bible lesson, those are the things that are so important to me versus talking about who was on duty, the duty calls and the different things that happened the night before I don’t miss. Because, you know, as they always say, and you know, Casey, as a father, you’ve heard it too, the nights are long, but the years go quickly.

Casey Cornelius (26:41):

Yeah.

Marlon Gibson (26:43):

And I didn’t fully understand that until I keep looking around. I’m like, you’re really growing up and I don’t wanna miss a second of that. And this has allowed me to do that while also still engaging with college students and still staying connected to the field. But it not being my entire life.

Casey Cornelius (27:06):

I suspect that there are some folks who are listening right now who might have said amen.

Marlon Gibson (27:11):

Mm.

Casey Cornelius (27:14):

Yeah, that was, that was very much my experience as well. It was, you know, what is this costing? Mm-Hmm, <affirmative> you know, the, the wake up in the morning and be processing the, the 10 meetings on your schedule that day and thinking about budget reports and all the, all those that go along with pointing toward that goal of being a college president. Right. One of the things that I realized, and I don’t know how many college presidents are gonna listen to this episode, if, if you are please chime in. What I was finding was that the more folks that I interacted with who had ascended to those highest levels, the fewer seemed happy.

Casey Cornelius (27:55):

And I don’t know, I, I don’t know if that’s been your experience as well, but, but many of the things that you talked about time away from family divorces other, you know, bad habits that go along with not really, you know, taking good care of yourself in, in your mind and your spirit. Those were the things that I was seeing and I was just like, wow, is this, is this really I’m racing toward this? Like, this is the goal. And it sounds like you kind of had the same epiphany too, that like, you know, we could do good, important work, but not necessarily be on campus every day to do it.

Marlon Gibson (28:32):

Yes. And even more so now. Right. Like with COVID I think we have definitely learned to appreciate what does it mean to work remotely and still be able to get your work done and feel good about that. And then be able to be like, okay, I’m gonna go for dinner.

Casey Cornelius (28:52):

Yeah.

Marlon Gibson (28:54):

You know, as a young professional, I had this guilt that if I didn’t work all hours of the day and then get up and check email, and then go right in and sit at the desk at eight 30 and make sure that I was there for a full day and then stay for all the late night programs that I wasn’t a good professional. And I had to work through that.

Casey Cornelius (29:19):

Do you think we’re, we’re getting a little philosophical here folks, and like, we’re, we’re not in a therapy session, but we’re getting a little, you know, we’re getting a little deep here. Do you think that some of that is rooted in that first gin experience as well? Like, cuz I had the same thing. It was almost like, I hope no one finds out that I’m, I’m figuring this out on the fly

Marlon Gibson (29:38):

Mm-Hmm <affirmative> oh absolutely. A lot of imposter syndrome, right? Yeah. and if I just bury myself within the work, they’ll never know that this is who I really am. You know, I think part of that was also when I pledged the fraternity, right. Like I didn’t want people to know that I didn’t have the wealth that they had, so it was easy and this goes deeper and I’ve learned this through my own therapy sessions. It was easy for me to just delve myself into the student loans and create this image that I want other people to think of who I was.

Casey Cornelius (30:17):

Oh, tell me, tell me a little bit more about that. That’s that’s interesting to me go

Marlon Gibson (30:23):

It’s and I, I saw it in students when I actually started working with students of how they would join organization that has an image of being pretty voiced, like he alpha PSI and that’s not who they grew up as, but in order to fit in and fit for the image and perception of what people wanted them to do, they would take out loans to live that lifestyle with the clothes and going out to eat and being able to do all of these things act the expense of paying off those loans, the rest of their life,

Casey Cornelius (30:59):

Where, when, when we were young and where I grew up, we would call that Fronton

Marlon Gibson (31:04):

Yes, yes.

Casey Cornelius (31:06):

Yep. Right?

Marlon Gibson (31:07):

Absolutely.

Casey Cornelius (31:09):

Mm-Hmm <affirmative> go on please. I, I know, I know you were saying more there.

Marlon Gibson (31:12):

No, I was, was that when I worked at Emory, a student told me, I didn’t realize I was poor until move day here because I she’s, like, I thought we were fine as middle class quote unquote. But when I got to Emery and I was like, oh, you flew here and you had all of your belongings shipped

Casey Cornelius (31:34):

<Laugh>

Marlon Gibson (31:35):

And you and your family are going to the mall to eat my family. We drove here and we are eating our we’re unpacking our sandwiches or looking for the free meal on campus.

Casey Cornelius (31:50):

There are different experiences.

Marlon Gibson (31:52):

Yes,

Casey Cornelius (31:53):

Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>, you know, I, I think I’m gonna guess Marlin that this also informs a lot of your work. You, you have been a leading voice on this topic for, for a long time. So I, I want to, I want to give some clearance for you to talk about sort of the evolution over time. Like when we think about diversity, equity, inclusion, allyship, belonging, all other kind of stuff, you know, what do you value the most in, in doing that work today for sorority and fraternity and in student organizations? What, like what, what value have you seen over time in the evolution? But then also as we sit here today

Marlon Gibson (32:36):

Inclusion is the first piece that comes to mind and how we can truly have an opportunity to be inclusive. Right? So the most recent conversations I’ve been with binary non-binary and the example that I use is there’s a resource that I shared recently specifically around binary non-binary and the lives of binary non-binary individuals. And one of the individuals says being non-binary truly is freedom. The freedom to be who I’ve always wanted to be. So if I wanna wear a dress one day, I can do that. If I wanna wear a pants one day, I can do that. If I don’t wanna wear earrings, if I wanna wear earrings, I can do that. And I bring it up because as I challenged the group, I was speaking with, why do we continue to not allow people to be their authentic selves and live their truth for years, we know what that looked like for black and brown folks in the fifties and sixties and some chapters even today, what are we gonna do to make sure that as binary non-binary trans neuro divergent minds and voices come into the spaces that were being inclusive and not shutting them away or pushing them away as we’ve done in the past.

Marlon Gibson (34:15):

Those are just a few of the reasons why I get up to do the work every day is to truly make sure that the voiceless are represented at the table because I have been invisible for long enough. I know what it’s like when people quote, unquote, look right through me and don’t see me. And so this is an opportunity to make sure that those voices and individuals are heard, seen, appreciated, loved, supported, valued, and maybe they’ll actually be a part of the new bylaws. Hmm. Yep.

Casey Cornelius (34:56):

You know sometimes as, as I’m, I’m doing these interviews, I think to myself, what’s going to be the sound bite. Like what’s gonna be the thing that’s created in the graphic goes out and all that. I think, I think you just, you just did the sound bite Marlin mm-hmm <affirmative> I want to ask you a personal question related to your answer. Sure. Do you, do you find yourself as we’re sitting here today, more optimistic or less optimistic?

Marlon Gibson (35:23):

Definitely more optimistic. Always remain hopeful. As a previous supervisor share with me years ago, she said, when you find the bad in someone, please let me know. Cause she’s, you always find the good in every one and everything. And I’ve always taken that with me.

Casey Cornelius (35:48):

Wow. I, you know having known you for as long as I’ve known you, that that statement just really resonated with me cuz I was like, yeah, that I, I can’t, I can’t recall a time where you didn’t one find the best in people. But also in situations, even ones that are incredibly complex folks, I, we, we could go on for hours. I, I do want to encourage you again, please check out Marlon’s work forcollegeforlife.com/marlon. If you wanna learn more about his signature programs in terms of speaking or consulting work or so forth, please let us know. Marlin. I, I want to get you outta here on some some rapid fire questions. You wanna have some fun?

Marlon Gibson (36:30):

Yes, absolutely.

Casey Cornelius (36:31):

Okay. So this is for, you know, I, I think this all the time about our folks, but for you, this is I’m sure hypothetical, but let’s imagine for a second that you have an entire day to binge watch anything you want, what do you choose

Marlon Gibson (36:46):

<Laugh> so I’m laughing cause Adam went to sleepaway camp for nine days this summer and Ooh, Ooh. Adam, he went away and we had an opportunity to basically watch whatever we wanted. And we watched, I think it’s called like American missile or American, but it was the entire five series through Netflix. And I mean to the point where we didn’t even wanna like leave the Airbnb to eat <laugh> and so like we would like leave, grab something to eat and then run back and then keep watching it and then she would fall asleep and I’d be like, oh my gosh, I got two more episodes in. I’d tell her about it the next morning. Right. And so, so it was just an awesome opportunity to watch something that we laughed. We cried, we connected with their story. But truly loved watching it. I think it’s called like American missile or something, but was

Casey Cornelius (37:55):

On a American missile on Netflix. We’re I have to check this out. I’m just envisioning you hurrying back so that you can get back to the episode. Yeah, that’s great. That’s great. That’s awesome. Again, that’s the hypothetical nature cuz you’re so out of practice from from being able to have the <laugh> those, those opportunities. All right. Second question. Marlin. What is the most used app on your phone?

Marlon Gibson (38:24):

<Laugh> I, I, I laugh because you will definitely, it shows how I’ve adjusted to living in a large city Instacart.

Casey Cornelius (38:35):

Oh, okay. So I, I I’m familiar, but for those who aren’t tell us about Instacart

Marlon Gibson (38:42):

So Instacart allows me to get all of our groceries from Costco. Sam’s Publix delivered right to my doorstep. And so the other day Adam was going on a play date and this car pulled up and they were like, oh, who’s that? And I was like, it’s Instacart. And they weren’t familiar either. They still go to the grocery store. Like some people mm-hmm <affirmative> I just don’t have the time. And so it’s just awesome. Kind of like Amazon, right? Like that they just deliver groceries right to your front door and you don’t ever have to go into the grocery store.

Casey Cornelius (39:17):

What a time saver. That’s awesome. Yeah. A plug. And by the way, if Instacart is listening to this, Dr. Gibson would be happy to, to be a spokesperson for, there you go. Marlin, who would you most like to have dinner with?

Marlon Gibson (39:34):

Huh? You’re gonna laugh when I say this every time I present for Kay. Specifically, I always say Robert E. Lee, I would

Casey Cornelius (39:44):

Love. Okay. Okay. Okay. Hold on. Hold on. Not in a million years. Would I have anticipated that? That would be your answer

Marlon Gibson (39:52):

Mm-Hmm <affirmative>. Yep.

Casey Cornelius (39:55):

And, and maybe even those who know you, who are listening to this would anticipate that be your answer, but why Robert E. Lee,

Marlon Gibson (40:05):

I just, after doing so much research and speaking about him, I would love to just meet with him in the context of today because I’ve gotten a little bit of it from his great grandchildren and how they feel about the Lee family and moving forward and wanting to be on the right side of justice. And they have met with the Sy effects family who are descendants of slaves that Robert Lee freed before he left this world. And it was really cool to see the grandchildren to do that. I just think that it’d be fascinating to actually sit down and just hear his perspective based on all that I’ve read. I think it’d be an amazing conversation.

Casey Cornelius (40:53):

It’s really profound. That goes back to the your instinct to see the best in everyone. I think that that’s a, a manifestation of that as well. That’s a great answer. Marlin, what do you do to wind down? Like, do you have any rituals or, or things that signal to you like, okay, the day is over, I can now relax. It’s time to wind down.

Marlon Gibson (41:15):

So <laugh>, you’ll laugh at this. So yes, when Adam goes to sleep and we can actually like look into each other’s eyes, it’s literally talking through the day. But then if Sheree’s asleep before that I always go through Craigslist furniture and what are people selling? It’s the most unique thing, but you find some really good bargains on there. Right? And so things that people don’t want anymore, they have to move really quickly. And I found some great pictures, some great pieces of furniture that people don’t want anymore and have become our treasures.

Casey Cornelius (42:00):

If I had a nickel, every time someone said, I go through Craigslist at the end of the day I would have, I would have literally a nickel Marlon. I would, that’s a, that’s a great wind down. That’s

Marlon Gibson (42:14):

Yeah.

Casey Cornelius (42:14):

I love it. I love it. I love it. There’s there’s layers to you, my friend. I I, I appreciate that. Again, last time, please, if you haven’t yet learned about Marlon his, his signature work, please visit the website forcollegeforlife.com/marlon. Last one, Marlon will get you outta here on this one. How can listeners best connect with you? Is there an app or anything that you prefer more than others?

Marlon Gibson (42:38):

Whenever I end my speech, I always call out my cell phone number. Right. And so but if, you know, I think the best is through email. I’m on all social media. So I’m on Instagram, Facebook, which I’m on Facebook is really current for this generation. Definitely on Twitter. And so I’m on all of those LinkedIn as well. And so through all those mediums, but then also email I check pretty religiously too.

Casey Cornelius (43:08):

Well, don’t give out your phone number, but do you wanna give out your email?

Marlon Gibson (43:11):

Oh, of course. Yes. So M Gibson, M G I B S O n5879@gmail.com.

Casey Cornelius (43:19):

There you go. Excellent. I’m glad you didn’t give out your phone number. I thought for a second, you’re gonna be like, well, and here’s my phone. I was gonna be like, no, no, no, edit that part out. I gotta tell you. I knew that today was going to be fun. I knew that it was going to be fun. But I really enjoyed getting to chat with you and learn more about you. I appreciate my friend.

Marlon Gibson (43:39):

Same here. I appreciate you.

Casey Cornelius (43:41):

I also appreciate everybody. Who’s taken the opportunity to, to listen to this episode, to listen to all the episodes where we highlight the work of our speakers and our consultants. It means the world to us. And again, we’re gonna be coming out with some, some new content varieties in this, this this mode, this podcast mode so that you can listen to them at your, at your leisure, at your discretion at whatever speed you want. I actually heard somebody say that that these episodes are really good on like 1.5. I don’t know how my voice sounds on 1.5. Maybe I sound like a chipmunk. I don’t know, but I’m just glad that you’re listening and glad that you find this content valuable. So until next time we hope that you’re well, and we look forward to our next opportunity to chat. Thank you so much. We’ll talk then.

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