OCCUPATION: Chief Executive Officer at The Crossroads Center
STYLE: Polished and professional
You’re CEO at The Crossroads Center, the former Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Language Services for TriHealth, and on the boards of directors for multiple organizations. Where does all of this passion stem from?
The passion stems from serving and being a servant. I come from a family where my grandfather was a pastor of a church for 31 years. He passed away when I was 5, but the impression he made on my life exposed me to a servant and service role. How he had an impact on people and how people migrated to him sowed that seed that’s in me now to help, serve, and be impactful, not only in my own life but in the lives of others.
You’re an experienced professional in multiple areas, and your attire shows that. How does your style affect what you do day-in and day-out?
My outfits are my business card. Coming from humble beginnings where you have two pairs of jeans and one shirt you wash every day to have for the next day, you understand that your presentation says a lot about your representation. The style, the dress, and your attire are your brand. It’s what you represent and attract.
Your Instagram bio says, “Driven, Determined, Polished, Professional.” Tell me more about how those adjectives have shaped who you are.
That bio is a part of your brand management. When I do speeches or mentoring, I talk about the “elevator speech”—the three to five words that describe who you are in a short conversation that ultimately could lead to a longer conversation. You are reminded to be clear on what you represent, where you came from, and where you’re going. It has helped me personally and professionally to open doors and move into a variety of roles while also advocating for those who don’t have the voice or platform that I have.
You are a man of great faith. How does that influence your work and fashion inspiration?
Everything. John 15:5 says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” It reminds me I need God in everything. In order for me to do anything—like washing my car, going to work, or posting on social media—I need God. For me, that means as I think, breath, move, plan, go into a conversation, I need the Lord. I’m not perfect every time, but if I live out the scripture it means I am constantly seeking the Lord for his wisdom in all I do.
When putting together an ensemble, what do you care about most?
The first starting point for me is accessories. I always build around the shoe and watch or if I’m wearing gold or silver. I’m big on pocket squares and cufflinks. I’ll spend more money on those items than the actual outfit. I am a thrifter, so I’m less inclined to spend money on name brands because I can create an outfit that I have spent less than $30 on because I went to the clearance or thrifted a French suit for $9. But the accessories are what build and make it. It all starts with accessories.
I have heard you’re especially into cufflinks. What’s your favorite pair so far?
One of my favorite pairs are these bulldogs, which I’ve had for probably 15 to 20 years. When I found the bulldogs, I was at a point in my career where I needed to be more aggressive. Whenever I would go into a meeting or an area where I felt like I needed to be more aggressive, those were my go-to cufflinks.
See more of Jamahal’s style in this video.