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My Inspiration To Be The Best I Can Come From Three Sources ‒ Interview With Dr. Frank Lee Harper

Dr. Frank Lee Harper, Jr. is the founder and world champion of agile leadership concepts. He is President ‒ UBTS International Corp having strategic affiliates in over 55 countries, Provost / Associate Professor ‒ Cambridge Corporate University, having branches in over 25 countries, while serving on for-profit and not-for-profit advisory boards. He is an award-winning IT leader and published author who is adept at influencing and teaching strategic transformations across multiple countries, industries, disciplines, and technologies for businesses having global revenues ($1+ Trillion); savings/growth ($10+ Billion); with budgets ($4+ Billion). His favorite motto is, "Leaders Are Born To Be Made."

Prof. Dr. Frank Lee Harper, Jr, President and Global Chief Governance Officer

Please introduce yourself to the reader.

My name is Dr. Frank Lee Harper, Jr. I am a former “street hustler” who, through God's grace and mercy, transformed into a “Strategic Hustler™.” Growing up in New Haven, Connecticut, the second oldest of five, I lived in a public housing complex on a block categorized as part of a red zone by the police because it was one of the most crime-ridden inner-city areas in New Haven. Anything that you can imagine was a regular activity in the area. I had my moments where fate kept me from becoming a statistic. These experiences contributed to my "street smarts.”

To take save haven required making a ten-minute walk from my hood to the campus of one of the most prestigious universities in the world, Yale University. But as fate would have it, that ten-minute walk to Yale University as a spectator would become one of being a participator. From the fifth to the eleventh grade, I participated year-round in the Ulysses S. Grant Foundation Program sponsored by and held at Yale University. Attending this academic program exposed me to higher education, athletics, and social mores. These pre-teen and teenage experiences were significant contributors and the turning point in developing the leadership necessary to become a first-generation high school and college graduate.

Sports played a significant role in my personal and professional growth, giving me many life lessons. The biggest lesson was one of resiliency. Van Spruill, a semi-professional football player, and my youth league football coach gave me my first lessons on becoming an outstanding leader. In leading the team to Coach Spruill’s first championship, the coaches and the team awarded me an "Outstanding Leadership" trophy. My leadership skills continued to sharpen when as a senior attending James Hillhouse High School (New Haven, CT), I was ranked 10th in a class of 279; named "Athlete of the Year," along with other athletic (football and track) honors such as a team captain of both sports; and academic awards, including the "Bausch Lomb Optical Science Award” which was the highest science award given to high school students nationwide. I graduated as “one of the most highly decorated student-athletes in James Hillhouse High School history.”

Though offered academic/football scholarships to schools like Yale University, West Point University, Boston College, Harvard University, University of Connecticut, and Wesleyan University, I accepted a preferred walk-on offer to play football at Purdue University. A significant misstep resulted in my becoming a football scholarship walk-on at Virginia State University, a historically black college and university (HBCU). Eventually, I overcame many trials and tribulations to become the first African American graduate with a BS in Computer Technology (Cum Laude) from the University of New Haven (UNH)—debt free. I also was the first African American undergraduate from UNH to be named Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. Later I became the first African American to graduate from UNH’s Dual Masters Program with an MBA in Marketing and MSc in Industrial Engineering.

Besides being blessed with a storied professional career, my community service has been just as gratifying. For 22 years, I served as a youth league and high school football coach for at-risk kids. In addition, I taught Sunday School for 14 years to kids whose ages ranged from 4 to 12 years old. Finally, for over 30 years, I have been a lifetime member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated, serving on various committees fulfilling our cardinal principles of Manhood, Scholarship, Uplift, and Perseverance.

My dad, Frank Lee Harper, Sr., aka "Frank Sr." was my role model and hero. He was a spiritual man born in Royston, Georgia, with a 3rd-grade education who loved the Lord. “Frank Sr.” always encouraged me to “Put God First.” His wisdom, guidance, and discipline kept my family together as my mother had mental health issues, and my siblings suffered. My dad worked 43 years at Winchester in New Haven before retiring as an award-winning Chief Gun Inspector. He served as the Director of the Men's Choir of Immanuel Missionary Baptist Church, the oldest missionary Baptist church in Connecticut. He was my biggest cheerleader as I overcame many hurdles to become the family’s first high school and college graduate who would eventually earn a doctorate. My passion for leadership, serving people, and living my best life are because of this fabulous role model—who I affectionately called “Ole Buddy!”

What is your business name, and how do you help your clients?

I serve in executive leadership roles in the following business:

Universal Broadband & Technology Services (UBTS) International Corp.

President and Global Chief Governance Officer

UBTS is a global tech & data think tank architected to design, develop, and deliver telecom infrastructures, digital platforms, and economic development programs to least developed and emerging communities. A collaboration between UBTS and a local telecom licensed affiliate company focuses on executing the economic development program.

Intelligent Systems Services LLC

Founder, Chief Learning Officer, Principal Consultant

Intelligent Systems Services was founded based on my career and recognition as a disruptive organizational & technology thought leader. The company is a boutique advisory, consulting, and training firm that trains, coaches, and mentors “champions” in businesses, governments, and civil societies to deliver on transformation ambitions to result in breakthrough outcomes.

Cambridge Corporate University

Provost & Vice Chancellor; Associate Professor of Agile Leadership and Project Management

Cambridge Corporate University is an international scholarly research and teaching University based in Lucerne, Switzerland. CCU is recognized in over 25 countries across four continents as the world leader in corporate education. The University’s world-class faculty enables students to earn, online or onsite, accredited degrees and certificates to solve real-world problems in their regions of the world. Executives and professionals attend CCU because they are educated, equipped, encouraged, and empowered to create a better world in business, government, and civil society.

What kind of audience do you target your business towards?

UBTS International Corp. services and lines of business target customer segments located in the least developed and emerging communities. The specifics for each segment are determined using Adaptive Design Thinking (ADT) techniques. UBTS Cameroon, SA is the first government-licensed telecom affiliate established in Douala, Cameroon, located on the continent of Africa. Over 10,000 Cameroonians have been connected to a fast, affordable, reliable broadband network using WiFi6 and WiFi 6E, OpenRoaming™, and other emerging technologies involving artificial intelligence and machine learning. Leveraging ADT, the services offered to customers serve as a strategic roadmap to creating a Digital Economy consisting of the following:

Digital Infrastructure

Create a comprehensive, transformative, inclusive, homegrown, and collaborative broadband infrastructure to support a growing digital economy.

Digital Financial Services

Financial services (e.g., payments, remittances, and credit) are accessed and delivered through digital channels, including mobile devices. These encompass established instruments (e.g., debit and credit cards) offered primarily by banks and new solutions built on the cloud.

Digital Entrepreneurship

Empower and encourage creating a business online, selling services or products without investing in physical spaces.

Digital Skills & Literacy

Implement knowledge transfer programs within digital transformation projects enabling locals to learn skills, obtain knowledge, and get hands-on experience to sustain and grow a digital economy.

Digital Platforms

A digital platform is a business and technology collaboration to create the software necessary to allow consumers and producers to create value for each other. Digital platforms have different abstraction levels, including computer architecture, an Operating System, or runtime libraries.

Intelligent Systems Services LLC training and mentoring services target a global audience seeking customized training to solve daily problems in their respective industries. The company partners with global training companies to deliver proprietary online and onsite training and follow-up coaching and mentoring in agile development, quality/process improvement, project/program management, enterprise IT governance, business transformation, operations excellence, and organizational change management.

I am most proud of the large percentage (92%) of professionals, executives, and leaders employed in Fortune 1000, startups, B2C, B2B, and governments, worldwide who have passed their certification exams (PMP, ITIL, CGEIT, SCRUM), on the FIRST try! One of my students earned the highest passing CGEIT grade in the world! Others have scored in the top 20% in the US!

Cambridge Corporate University's target audience consists of executives and professionals working for businesses, governments, and civil societies in Switzerland and from abroad. These students apply for admission to one of the undergraduate or graduate degrees, programs, or certifications at the different schools and institutes in the University. They are intrigued by the University's reputation for graduating SUPERHUMANS who govern the future.

Who inspires you to be the best that you can be?

My inspiration to be the best I can come from three sources.

The first source of inspiration comes from my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. At an early age, my dad and his ministry instilled in me that I was "a child of God, and the anointing on my life is for success. You must keep the faith and serve by putting the Holy Spirit (God) first in all you do!” So as a pre-teen, I understood the importance of being a servant leader. Also, I learned that a focused vision is not a human concoction. A focused vision comes from the Holy Spirit (God). My ability to survive, grow and thrive from the street room to the school room to the board room and all the points in between are based on my understanding. Also, I believe, “What God produces, God parents and purifies, because I am predestined.” In the end, I trust God!

My following is the second source of inspiration. Each follower could be a relative, friend, student, former player, professional, executive, or fan. The lectures, speeches (keynote and guest), webinars, and radio & TV appearances have allowed reaching over 500,000 in over 35 countries across four continents. The inspiration motivates me to disseminate the correct and uplifting information to educate, equip, encourage, and empower them so they can dare to dream, achieve, and transfer.

Finally, my third source of inspiration is my desire to be the best. I have played high school and college football for Hall-of-Fame coaches at both levels. This phrase has driven me throughout my life:

“Good, Better, Best. Never take a Rest.

Until your Good is your Better and your Better is your Best!"

My lifelong ambition is to earn that ultimate proclamation, "Well done, thy good and faithful servant!"

What is your work inspired by?

A friend and mentor, the late Dr. Moses C. Norman, who, while mentoring me to create an award-winning computer literacy program called CompuKamp™, said to me, “Never be afraid to be great amongst the greatest of men!” These words inspire my desire to help create a better world.

Tell us about your greatest career achievement so far.

My greatest career achievement so far is being able to master the agile leadership and management skills necessary to direct the growth of the following three organizations:

Cambridge Corporate University (CCU): My CCU journey began when hired to join the University’s international faculty as an Associate Professor of Business Administration, Agile Leadership, and Project Management. During my nine-year career, in addition to my professorial duties, I have progressed from Senior Academic Board Member to Vice President of Academic Affairs to my current roles as Provost and Vice-Chancellor for this Switzerland-based University whose model for corporate education is recognized worldwide. I serve a crucial role in leading an unprecedented expansion and business transformation strategy that enables CCU to reach students in more than 25 countries worldwide.

I enrolled in the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program to conduct research within CCU's corporate education model. After two years, I am a doctoral candidate researching innovation management and digital transformation. My accomplishments at the University earned me a Presidential Scholarship which covers the program's total cost. My doctoral work will focus on structuring the agile leadership concepts I had founded within a framework that can be applied to create and grow a Digital Economy.

UBTS International Corp: As a Founding Member, President, and Global Chief Governance Officer, I am the visionary and architect of a global tech & data think tank empowering communities in the least developed and emerging regions worldwide using the transformative power of technology. Leveraging our global ecosystem and local talent, we have connected over 10,000 people in Africa using the latest WiFi and Broadband technologies.

Intelligent Systems Services LLC: As the Founder and Chief Learning Officer, many executives and professionals (500,000+) worldwide have been trained in agile leadership concepts, agile development, quality/process improvement, project/program management, enterprise IT governance, business transformation, operations excellence, and organization change management.

Tell us about a pivotal moment in your life that brought you to where you are today.

A pivotal moment in my life that brought me to where I am today was when I decided to write and self-publish the first edition of my first book, entitled “A.G.I.L.E. L.E.A.D.E.R.S.H.I.P. with a G.R.I.P.™ A TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY JOURNEY: From Street Hustler to Strategic Hustler™.” This writing aimed to help aspiring and seasoned leaders turn their dreams into reality.

The book received excellent reviews worldwide from thought leaders, executives, professionals, and entrepreneurs. One reviewer, an award-winning author, and a technology executive stated the book was a "leadership bible." In contrast, another, who is a globally recognized strategy thought leader in Belgium, wrote, “I recommend for everyone who is looking for an in-depth book about leadership!” The book’s Facebook page reached a following of over 165,000 living in over 35 countries. The thousands of followers (8,000+) living in Egypt caught my attention.

I reached out to a LinkedIn connection, who was a former Presidential Candidate for Egypt, to learn more about leadership in Egypt. Building this strategic relationship resulted in being offered an Associate Professorship within the international faculty of Cambridge Corporate University located in Lucerne, Switzerland. I have since emerged and been recognized as the founder of Agile Leadership Concepts worldwide.

My position at CCU has made the world my oyster as my life’s mission aligns with the University’s mission to work hard to create a better world. Not bad for an inner-city kid who once was labeled a statistic. All I can say is, "Look at God!"

Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!



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