Imminent Victory, Richmond Cohort 1 Hidden Genius Alum, gives The Hidden Genius Project props for teaching him how to take action and follow through on his ideas. In 2020, that’s exactly what Imminent did when he launched his own nonprofit, Oakland Community Relief (OAKCR), alongside a group of friends to help support and protect the unhoused community from COVID-19, raising over $1,000 in the process. He also found purpose working as a tax preparer, where he was able to help others learn ways to build their own financial wealth. Most recently, Imminent completed his first semester as a Business Finance major at San Diego State University.
How have you been?
I have been extremely busy with school at San Diego State University. However, over the course of my first semester in college, I have adapted and improved on my time management skills. I even created so much free time for myself that I am now able to spend about three hours a day learning about stock investments, including leap year contracts and cryptocurrency. I’ve also had some time to meet up with my co-founding team twice a week about a social music app we are developing.
During the pandemic last year, I started a nonprofit organization called Oakland Community Relief (OAKCR). OAKCR is a group of Oakland youth who help the homeless in our community in need of support and safety during this global pandemic. We support the homeless by creating and distributing care packages of essentials needed to stay safe from COVID-19 I was the founder and head of OAKCR. I saw a need in the homeless community and made a plan to address it. I built a team and assigned roles based on their individual strengths while using social media and GoFundMe to raise awareness and support. I created and edited a short video thanking all contributors.
While running OAKCR, I also worked at a small tax and finance firm in Richmond, CA as a tax preparer, helping people file their taxes and other financial documents. When the pandemic hit, I started working more heavily because there was a huge demand and people needed support. On several occasions, my boss would put me in lead roles to help our clients with their financial projects, and I had to delegate tasks to my team to ensure we completed them on time. Truthfully, the leadership, team management, and innovative thinking skills that I learned in The Hidden Genius Project helped me thrive at my job when it came to managing people and projects. This opportunity really showed me the benefits of starting your own business, and I got a better idea of how our economy works overall. Now, I’m very passionate about how to gain wealth and how I can teach others to do so as well.
How did you first learn about The Hidden Genius Project?
My older cousin, Reginald McFadden, went through the program and told me that I should apply — and I did.
What was your experience in the program like?
In the program, I really enjoyed the weekly trips to big technology corporations during the summer because it inspired me to create something just as big in the future. A trip that left an impact on me is when we visited Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley, where I had the opportunity to pitch my tech project, Electrix Clothing. I felt like I was part of something immense being a member of the first Richmond cohort. I knew I had to come in every day and be my very best in order to set the tone for future cohorts. I also enjoyed the close brotherhood that was built within the 15-month time span. I made connections with people that I still keep in contact with today.
Describe the app you designed during your time in the Immersion Program.
I developed a website called Electrix Clothing which was my own clothing brand. I created a logo and worked with a manufacturing company that helped print 350 shirts which I sold more than 200 at school. What inspired me to create this was seeing the overhyped clothing products that are out there today. My mindset was basically “I bet I could make something cooler than that and more affordable.”
How is The Hidden Genius Project different from other mentorship or training experiences that you have been involved in?
The biggest difference between The Hidden Genius Project and the other programs I have been involved in is that they stick around. Even after four years of completing the 15-month experience and becoming an alumnus, I still have brothers I keep in touch with, I still have internship and work opportunities being presented to me, and still have mentors checking up on me.
What specific skills learned in The Hidden Genius Project have been most beneficial for you?
The biggest skill I learned from The Hidden Genius Project was the ability to take action. Before the program, I would have great ideas but would never follow through. Now I learned how to create something out of a simple idea in my head such as OAKCR or my duties as a tax preparer at a financial firm. I was granted the responsibility of filing people’s taxes and doing payroll. I learned a lot about taxes and how they affected different types of sources of income and how differently they can affect you depending on how you file.
What was the most important thing you gained on a personal level (development, relationship, community, etc.) from participating in The Hidden Genius Project?
I developed a strong relationship with my brothers in the program and we built a community that consistently looks out for each other. We celebrate the success and achievements of one another and we support each other from the losses and misfortunes that happen. Not only did I gain a community but I also gained the ability to go out in the world and build more connections and more communities.
When you imagine yourself before starting The Hidden Genius Project, what’s different between that version of you and the current version?
Before The Hidden Genius Project, I was a very shy yet arrogant guy that had big dreams. However, with the community, the lessons, and the experience the program brought me, those dreams became goals with a clear plan. The quiet, reserved kid became a person with confidence that isn’t afraid to speak his mind. Unfortunately, that arrogant kid is still arrogant but he’s now more willing to open his mind.
In what ways have you remained involved with The Hidden Genius Project since completing the 15-month Intensive Immersion program?
I have participated in Brothers Code, where I was able to introduce kids to the world of coding and the possibilities that coding can create for you. During the height of remote learning, I had the opportunity to participate in a senior panel for UC Berkeley on behalf of The Hidden Genius Project. I talked about the strategies and techniques to overcome the struggles and challenges of distance learning. I empathize and worked with kids on the next steps they can take to become more successful in their academic journey.
I have also stayed in touch with Arnold Lopez [Alumni Coordinator], who supported me during the college application process in 2020. Also, Brandon Nicholson, Ph.D. [Founding Executive Director] wrote me a letter of recommendation which helped me get into San Diego State University.
If you could talk to yourself just before you applied, what is one thing you would say?
You are about to open a huge door with a whole lot of new possibilities and experiences that you never even thought of, so try your best to embrace them and be open to all the new opportunities.
What words of encouragement do you have for future Geniuses?
Make sure you open up yourself and build strong connections with your brothers because those are the people that have your best interest at heart.