Nov 26, 2018
Today we are very lucky to have with us Dr. Joseph Tait, a very unique and gifted man, whose many accomplishments include that of having been a respected veterinarian, University of Pennsylvania graduate, community activist, a groundbreaking leader in the creation of educational initiatives for at risk youth and adults alike and the former long-time president and current Board Director at Harlem Commonwealth Council. Joe and I have sat together on the opposite and same side of the table for roughly 20 years, and together, along with my three older sons and many wonderful volunteers from all walks of life, helped put together a very successful charitable event for Harlem Commonwealth’s myriad of amazing programs back in our youth. Whether consciously or subconsciously, Dr. Tait has long channeled the legendary Sam Cooke and his song “A Change is Gonna’ Come,” and for that matter Eric Clapton’s song “Change the World,” as he continues to be an agent of change for the betterment of those around him.
At 2:30, Dr. Tait notes that he always “argues” with aphorisms and talks about the importance of optics and perceptions. At 3:59, Tait discusses teamwork, leading by example and communicating clearly. At 5:44, he views life as a series of challenges and opportunities to learn from, and notes that the only constant is change. At 7:26, Tait shares a story about his mother teaching him a lesson at 9 years old with the overlying message of, “Be nice. Work hard.” At 10:10, he dives into diversity in the workplace and conveys that “If you limit your bench, you limit your possibilities, and even the ability to win.” At 10:53, Tait said, “I don’t advocate diversity for diversity’s sake. Everyone has to make a contribution. Everyone has to earn their keep. Everyone has to be an integral part of the team.” At 13:08, he informs that he came to this country back in the 1960’s from Jamaica, and noted that we need to have more tolerance to be more educated in our outlook. At 16:43, Tait channels Winston Churchill and describes how he has benefitted from kindnesses, beginning with him coming to this country with $1,500 in his pocket, and how he thereafter attended and formed relationships at NYU. He also shares his persistence in his job search, and why ultimately he went back into Harlem. At 20:31, he enlightens us about being the only African-American veterinarian in New York State in the late 1960’s. At 21:26, Tait discusses Harlem Commonwealth Council’s creation of educational programs, with the mission of keeping kids out (and off) of probation (in addition to creating programs for foreigners who are not literate). At 22:34, he touches upon how he fights to create opportunities and open doors for others. At 24:13, Tait explains that one must recognize talent in others, and that life in its entirety is a learning experience. At 25:50, in regards to kids reaching their full potential, he believes that parents are not setting the proper example for kids at home, and that the breakdown of our home is the pathology of our nation. At 28:08, Tait talks about his mindset in regards to risk and due diligence. At 30:30, he discusses his happy place of “where I am” (not a geographic location). At 32:13, Dr. Tait closes the door singing Bob Marley’s “War.”