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Secrets of Success: Fields Jackson, Jr.

We’ve launched Secrets of Success, a new weekly interview series here at’s Small Business Forum. I’ve asked some of the smartest, most innovative, most successful people I know to share their insights and success secrets.

Meet Fields Jackson, Jr., the founder, publisher and CEO of Racing Toward Diversity magazine, which showcases the best diversity efforts and initiatives being made today. Fields is also a Coordinator of Special Projects and Adjunct Professor at Chicago State University, where he teaches entrepreneurial sales and marketing.

Rieva Lesonsky: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Fields Jackson, Jr.: I was asked this yearbook-type question in junior high school and replied, “Aeronautical Engineer.” Don’t ask!

Lesonsky: Why did you start your own business?

Jackson: I had a passion to write a book about the business case for diversity after helping to create one of the largest diversity events commemorating Black History month at the New York Stock Exchange on February 6, 2008. After meeting with more book publishers than I care to mention—none of which thought there was “enough” to publish or market a book—I met with the leadership from the South Bend Tribune newspaper, which published specialty magazines, and Racing Toward Diversity magazine was born.

Lesonsky: Did you experience a pivotal moment on your way to success?

Jackson: About five years ago. I thought Twitter was the biggest waste of time on the planet. My son, Fields III, bought me Twitter For Dummies for Christmas, and my alter ego @fleejack was born.

Lesonsky: What’s the best small business advice you ever gave and/or received?

Jackson: New ideas, new ways of doing things, new products—no matter how brilliant—take time, patience and enthusiasm.

Lesonsky: What’s one “best practice” more entrepreneurs should be embracing?

Jackson: Always make the business case for your product or service. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes: Why does this help? Constantly create opportunities to make your customer’s business better.

Lesonsky: Do you have a 2014 small business prediction?

Jackson: There will always be room for small businesses, because all large business were once very small ones.

Lesonsky: Do you have a favorite movie?

Jackson: The Wizard of Oz, the greatest management movie ever made. It makes the business case for diversity and inclusion—a young woman placed in a tough situation has to put a team together on the run. She utilizes the skill sets of her new executives to navigate and find inclusive solutions quickly and realizes in the end, in order for her to win, everyone else has to win as well.

Lesonsky: Is there a quote you find particularly inspiring?

Jackson: “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” –Henry Ford

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Author information

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at [email protected], follow her on Google+ and, and visit her website,, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.