Today we’d like to introduce you to Paul Lawrence Vann.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
As the oldest son in a family of ten children born to two hard-working parents, I learned about side hustles at the age of ten. My parents designated me to work in the family community grocery store to help earn extra money for our family. When most children were playing sports and had after-school activities, I was stocking the shelves in Vann’s Grocery, waiting on customers, working the cash register, and receiving orders from the bread delivery company, milk, and sodas. Even though I did not have the title of a leader, I was leading the store at a young age as an intern. Fast forward, five years later it was off to play high school football and participate on the track team in Henderson, North Carolina. Again, I received a heavy dose of leadership from the football and track coach and I adapted to sports very fast. I was the first child to earn a high school diploma and I attended Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. I participated in the two-year Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program and two years later I graduated with a degree in business and accounting and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force. I served over twenty years in the USAF in various leadership positions and retired and today I lead Wealth Building Academy, LLC, I provide leadership speeches and leadership development training to organizations to assist them in retaining their talent and increasing their bottom line.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
My first major challenge was securing funds to attend college. My parents were factory workers and with ten children they didn’t have any money to provide funds in support of my college education. I did what was necessary so I got a job at the recreation department in my hometown. I applied for grants and I received enough to get me through Shaw University. That’s not all I worked as an electrician assistant my first semester of college, then when the school year ended I applied to work part-time for United Parcel Service (UPS). I went back to my hometown and I worked in a factory for three weeks, and then UPS contacted me to work in Raleigh, North Carolina, and did so for over three years. Between my junior and senior year of college, I attended a six-week USAF summer encampment prior to joining the AFROTC program. The experience changed my life. I had never flown on a plane before attending basic training and the first plane I ever flew on was the C-5 Galaxy which is the length of a football field. Three weeks after my first flight, our USAF encampment was flown to Columbus, Mississippi and we experienced flight orientation and flew a USAF jet with an instructor pilot and it sealed the deal for me to join the AFROTC program. There were challenges in survival training, learning to march, waking up at five in the morning and more, overall it was a lot of fun.
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
I have always understood the importance of being a leader even without having the title of a leader, such as a president or executive vice president because employees and managers can also be leaders, just as a plant manager or CEO. I specialize in leadership because I am an expert having served over twenty years as a military officer in the USAF, retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel. I served over twelve consecutive years in the Pentagon in various leadership positions and I attended every leadership school the USAF offered. I have a diverse background, having served as a Capitol Hill Fellow, and assigned to work for a member of Congress in the U.S. House of Representatives, as a legislative assistant. Organizations should work with me because I have a vast amount of leadership experience and I know how to maximize the human potential of an organization through my leadership development workshops, coaching, digital courses, and book on leadership. As founder and President of Wealth Building Academy, LLC, my objective is to empower leaders to develop their entire staff and company with high-impact leadership development programs that will result in increasing their revenue. As an international speaker and two-time number-one international best-selling author, I deliver stellar business management consulting to provide organizations with a competitive advantage over the competition. My vast experience positions me to be an easy-to-work-with leadership expert. My brand is, “Leadership Is Influence,” A Three-Pronged Approach to Develop Other Leaders in The Organization.
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
My best piece of advice for readers is for them to look inside themselves to find out what they really want to do to make a difference in life, and success will find them. Many of us attend college and major in a subject and discover it is not what we are passionate about, this leads to searching within, and over time, we discover what we really love to do and we cannot wait to wake up in the morning to get after it again. For example, I always wanted to work for a Fortune 500 company and after eight years of service in the USAF, I separated and Mobil Oil recruited me to work for them and I did so for two years. I enjoyed working for Mobil Chemical Company and two years later, I was working and an officer from the Pentagon called me and stated, we are recalling you to active duty and you will be working in the Pentagon. I learned a lot at Mobil and after returning to the USAF, I found my stride and I became a better officer as a result of my corporate experience and my career flourished and I discovered that my true passion was making a difference for the USAF, DoD, and the American people, I am a servant leader and I would not have known had I not separated and returned to the USAF. Success found me and it was a full-circle experience.
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
To me, the word success means I have looked inside myself and I have answered the question of who am I and what mark I want to leave in the world. Success is different for everyone and for me it was all about dreaming big, I ensured my dreams scared me because success is aligned with dreams. My parents had a philosophy I followed growing up, it entailed going to the sanctuary every Sunday, doing good in school, and respecting myself and my elders, it is a wonderful trinity. I attended the sanctuary every Sunday and today my success is attributed to my personal relationship with God. I did my best in school, I was the first child to earn a high school diploma, then I earned a bachelor’s degree in business and accounting. After entering the USAF, I earned a master of arts in business management, and a master of science in contracts and acquisition management. I have self-respect and I respect my elders, so when I look back on my upbringing, I followed my parent’s philosophy. Today, I have two children, one is a freshman in college and the other is in the tenth grade and yes, they follow the philosophy I inherited from my parents.
What’s next for you?
I am going to continue marketing my speeches and leadership development programs to organizations because I know the challenges they are facing with top talent in the workforce continue to be of great concern. I will continue delivering in-person and virtual speeches, and leadership development workshops. I am creating digital leadership courses, diversity courses, and coaching, and I am on track to write three books this year to add to the three I have already written. My YouTube Podcast, Leadership Is Influence will continue to grow, along with Wealth Academy Podcast. I want to continue to be on the cutting edge of helping shape the new workforce, it is going to be dynamic and exciting and I want to ride the wave as it transforms. I look forward to working with corporations, organizations, associations, and military and government agencies to assist them in the post-pandemic workforce.
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more?
Discover more about Paul Lawrence Vann and Wealth Building Academy, LLC at https://linktr.ee/paullawrencevann
Phone: (800) 341-6719