Today we’re talking about persevering through our struggles and creating the life we want regardless of circumstances.


My first guest, J.C. Cooley, is a dedicated business owner, motivational speaker, author, and community activist whose primary focus is on our youth development. He joins me today to share his story of adjusting from city life in the projects to a tiny farming town in the country and back again, and the life-changing lessons he learned along the way.

James also discusses the demand within our national youth community to help the youth at risk and how the J.C. Cooley Foundation is working to equip the youth of today for the challenges of tomorrow.

My second guest, Ray Leonard Jr., is a talented motivational speaker and the Co-Founder & CEO of Launch Team Consulting who has a major passion for charitable work and community and youth development. He joins us today to discuss living an action-based life and the power that being of service and maintaining a positive attitude can have on our confidence and overall life.


We Discuss:

  • Choosing to have courage in the face of difficult situations, circumstances, and life experiences
  • Why circumstance doesn’t make or break a person and how we can create the life we want
  • Creating a strong sense of perseverance and a solid foundation to become all we’re meant to be
  • Getting “unstuck” in life and knowing that our current situation isn’t our final destination
  • Changing our environments and exploring alternate avenues in life regardless of the discomfort
  • The four C’s of building a great character and the importance of living an action-based life


“Education is very important, as well as discipline, having the right role models around kids, and making sure that they develop a strong work ethic and know that they can do anything that they set their mind to.”  –  J.C. Cooley


About J.C.:
Image of James "J.C." Cooley

James Cooley was born in and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee where he grew up in one of the dangerous projects in Chattanooga and had a rough start to life.

At a young age, he was removed from his mother’s care and placed in a home with distant relatives, where he lived without the modern conveniences of electricity, an indoor bathroom, or in some cases hot water.

At the age of 11 years old, James returned to rejoin his mother and siblings back in Chattanooga, TN. Through the constant encouragement from his teachers, and his pursuit of a better understanding, dedication, and extreme work ethic, Cooley excelled in school and later joined the Navy to further his opportunities.

Cooley began his Navy career as an enlisted sailor. Through hard work and extreme dedication to excellence, James worked his way up through the enlisted ranks to reach the rank of E-9, Master Chief Petty Officer, prior to closing out his enlisted record after 15 years. 

James Cooley was then selected and served as a US Navy commissioned officer of 8 years and obtained the rank of Lieutenant (LT/03E). After 23 years of military service, Cooley retired and worked for the U.S. Government and DOD aerospace industry, and started his own company as a U.S. government contractor.

Currently, he is a dedicated business owner, motivational speaker, author, and community activist whose primary focus is on our Youth development. He has been the featured guest speaker for several major companies, the U.S. military, various Rotary Clubs, churches, Boys and Girls Clubs, several high schools as well as middle schools, and local community events.

James realized the demand within our national youth community to help the youth at risk. Coming from a hard childhood himself, Cooley identifies with the situation and has made it his life’s goal to dedicate himself to helping the youth of today.

He has created the JC Cooley Foundation, an organization established to helping youth in need through partnerships with local schools, churches, clubs, and other community outreach centers.


About Ray:
Image of Ray Leonard Jr.

Ray Leonard Jr. is a talented motivational speaker and ambassador, the Co-Founder & CEO of Launch Team Consulting, and a member of several governance and advisory boards.

He is the CEO of Leonard Sports & Entertainment, a full-service sports and entertainment management company specializing in pairing celebrities with corporations.

Ray has managed medium to large-scale projects globally providing diversity training, team building, and business consulting. Ray has provided vision and goal-focused team strategies for Coca Cola, Polaroid, Everlast, EA Sports, and many other Fortune 500 Corporations.

Ray works closely with managers and staff to strengthen internal capacity, navigate complex relationships, and manage organizational processes. He has a strong collaborative approach and a facilitative style and has been responsible for creating effective and sustainable management development programs that have improved managerial effectiveness at several organizations.

Ray excels at coaching managers, leading inter-disciplinary teams to build a companies internal capacity to manage and train staff, facilitating meetings and retreats that focus on employee engagement, team building, readiness for change, and performance development.

Charitable work and community development is also a major passion. Ray is currently on the board of directors for Walking Miracles and he served as Co-Executive Director for the Youth Recreation Association of Philadelphia for 2 years and has been a mentor for the Magic Johnson Foundation and The Walking Miracles Foundation.

Ray is a native of Maryland and has a Bachelors of Science from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. He was a two-sport division 1A athlete, excelling in football and track and field. Ray currently resides in California with his wife and four children.


Tomorrow’s not promised, and if we keep talking about what we’re going to do tomorrow, it can cause us to become stagnant. Why put off until tomorrow what we can do today?”  –  Ray Leonard Jr.


Check out the video below to watch our live interview:


Resources Mentioned:


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