Farr's Best – Better Together: “#1 Urban Family”
When I met André Farr, Chairman, and CEO of Farr's Best, as a student at UCLA more than 30 years ago, I knew he was an extraordinary individual. His confidence shone in his teens as brightly as it is shining today, putting a stamp on what he calls Black Brilliance. Today Farr heads several businesses and continues to sponsor and host magnificent entertainment events that keep attendees talking for years to follow.
A few years ago, Farr told me about his nonprofit Farr's Best. I was immediately impressed as he shared the family premise that we are better when working together to accomplish similar goals. On his website in his chairman's address, he writes, “Our core values begin with Faith, Family, and Foundation - we promote and support these values throughout every phase of our organization.”
When Farr talks about family, he is not only talking about blood; he is talking about the people God puts in your circle to help you become your best self and to accomplish the vision God has for your life. Farr's best is for family and extended family. In the same address, he writes, “Here at Farr's Best, we purposely engage extended family members because we know change can begin with one person or even one tribe, but evolutionary change must include us all. “
I talked to some of Farr's Best family and extended family. They are impressive movers and shakers in their communities and the world. They all recognize the power of collective effort. Here are just a few of Farr's Best to encourage you to always be “Faithful, Accountable, Respectful, and Reliable.”
Dr. Lenora Levias
There are times when you meet someone, and it feels like you have known them forever. That is the feeling I got when speaking with Dr. Lenora Levias. While talking to this amazing woman of God who holds a doctorate in theology and eschatology, I found out that Levias is one of Farr's best members who does indeed have Farr blood running through her veins. Her paternal grandmother was a Farr. But according to Levias, that is not a prerequisite to be a member of Farr's Best.
“You don't have to be blood-related; you only have to know someone who is related.
Ultimately we are all family. That's what the Farr's are emulating. Because we are family, we are going to have that love and commitment, Levias proclaimed. “When I met André for the first time, all I could feel was the love for family. This family is like a huge pot, and everyone that becomes a part gets mixed into that huge pot of love,” Levias gleefully shared.
When asked what part of Farr's Best she appreciates the most, Levias had a list of reasons she is an active part of the organization. As the head of the Women’s Ministry, Levias definitely highlighted the newly convened women's ministry as “her heart.” She also stated that the family service on the first Tuesday of each month is one of her favorite programs. On the first Tuesday of February, she will be sharing a word with attendees. The different initiatives and fundraisers also keep Levias active and grateful to be a part of Farr's Best. Finally, she stated the Saturday morning messages are not to be missed.
“Ever since I tuned into the first Zoom meeting, I have not missed one.
It's been unbelievable. I have also introduced others, and they feel like if they miss a meeting, they are going to miss a blessing.” One of her friends she invited said,” I need to pay cousin André for what he said.” He added that the knowledge he receives is as good as what one gets from seminars you pay to attend.
Through Levias, I learned that the organization has a place for anyone who feels connected to Farr's Best and is Faithful, Accountable, Respectful, and Reliable.
Frank E. Brady
Frank E. Brady, Educational Consultant, Youth Development Expert, and Poet, heard about Farr's Best through his mentor. “André Farr is my mentor. I learned about Farr's Best through him. I have been consistently involved on the Saturday calls and with some of their general initiatives,” Brady shared.
“The first piece that drew me to Farr's Best is that André Farr has been my mentor for 13 years. I knew whatever he put his attention to was going to be executed at a high level and is going to have an impact on people's lives and would be done with integrity,” Brady affirmed.
When asked what he has learned from Farr's Best, Brady stated, “The most significant lesson to learn is to see what a healthy family unit looks like; what does it look like to build a healthy family spiritually, emotionally, and economically.”
Of the Saturday meetings that start at 7:30am PT like clockwork Brady had this to say, “I look at Saturdays as a recharge or jump-start to my battery. I am a little more effective and efficient after the call.”
Brady, one of the Distinguished Men, attended the wedding and had this to share about the event. “It was incredible and mind-blowing. I've been blessed to watch the process of their love unfold. The bride, Jay, really has André's back. The wedding was like the culmination of the process of love. It show's what it's like to build love over time, not to just fall into love.” That was beautifully said and is not surprising coming from a distinguished man and a poet.
Dr. Shekena Farr Moore
Dr. Shekinah Farr Moore is the Director of Communications for Farr's Best and the founder of Formidable Woman, an international confidence and women's empowerment brand.
“André reached out to me about 1 ½ year ago. I heard the vision, and I was immediately on board. I started bringing my bricks to the table. Now I am a board member and a shareholder.” Farr shared with the confidence you would expect from a member of the #1 urban family in America.
Since Dr. Moore has been a part of Farr's Best, she shared that her “personal development has increased by leaps and bounds.” She credits her growth to the sincere celebration and edification one receives as a member of Farr's Best. “It is very rare that you have people that speak into your life and are genuine and edify you. It builds a spirit of safety and fosters a sense of belonging that you just don't often get”, Dr. Moore added.
One of the highlights about being an active member for Dr. Moore is to see people's growth. “We want to see you doing your best. One of the biggest things for me is watching people become shareholders and stakeholders with Farr's Best. For a lot of African Americans, employment is the only thing they have known. They never dreamed about being owners of a company.”
Farr's Best's impact on the community is also significant and why Dr. Moore continues to bring her bricks. “To see the impact in the community where other families are saying, 'How can we connect with Farr's Best? How can we do what they are doing?' is one of the reasons why I am proud to be a part of the #1 urban family in America.”
Bobby Robinson, ESQ.
Bobby Robinson is an entrepreneur and a Trademark and Social Media Attorney. Of his connection to Farr's Best, he shared, “I was introduced to the family through Monte S. Brooks, who has been a Senior Advisor to André Farr for more than twenty years.” Brooks and Robinson attend church together in Charlotte, North Carolina, and were both in the Farr wedding as distinguished men and groomsmen. They are a part of his close circle.
What made Robinson, a successful businessman, and family man, stay connected to Farr's Best after his initial introduction, “I really connected to the family. It's rare that you see Black families love on each other, encourage, inspire, and worship together. That's why I'm connected,” Robinson explained.
“I didn't have a big family. But now I have one, and they welcome me with open arms. We all have something to offer a skill, a gift, a talent. We use these gifts to build everything but our family. Farr's Best gives us an opportunity to bring our gifts to the table. There's enough room at the table for everyone to contribute.”
Robinson is such an integral part of the Farr family that he was asked to be a groomsman. “I was honored to be asked by André Farr to be a distinguished gentleman and groomsmen. I know that was a very intimate decision,” Robinson humbly reflected. “Everyone he selected represents him and the nature of the relationship,” he added.
“The wedding was a world-class event. It was a clear reflection of the Farr's and their standard of excellence, “ Robinson affirmed. The Farr wedding was filled with dynamic people. The people chosen to be in and at the wedding are why it was so spirit-filled. As Robinson said, “love, gratitude, and appreciation” are what Farr gives to those God has chosen to journey with him. These same characteristics make up Farr's Best.
Among the many distinguished guests at Jay and André Farr's wedding was Khalid David, owner of TracFlo. Many people may recognize his name as the recent recipient of the $1 million start-up investment awarded by Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic at the end of 2021. I know his name because before receiving the start-up award, Suite Life SoCal Publisher Sarah Harris and I were invited to hear him pitch TracFlo to other potential investors and mentors to help him tap into community investments. I remember the impression he and his lovely supportive wife made that evening.
David shared how he became a member of Farr's Best. “I heard about Farr's Best through André. In 2021 as I was beginning this public fundraising campaign, I thought about mentors who could be helpful. I reached out to him. He was a bit upset because he wanted me to reach out sooner.”
David was a part of the DRE Program in 2009 as an undergrad at Columbia University. He explained how a $300,000 deal fell apart before reaching out to Farr for his mentorship. “In 2020, I began touching base more often. I began thinking about my business and the type of partnerships I wanted, David reflected.”
“When we were on the fundraising campaign, we decided to do a six-city tour and to stop in LA as a part of Farr's Best. I asked André if Monte S. Brooks could be my advisor.” Advice from Brooks was essential to David because he had come to know Farr's Best as a space to affirm that Black families could take care of you and be genuinely invested in your success. Support from family is something he had not found.
During that meeting in Los Angeles, David learned to “activate the culture; I'm talking about Black investors. Bobby Robinson and Monte S. Brooks modeling for us at what they call “cottage parties.” You ask a friend to invite people over, and you pitch to them. In the evening, he (André Farr) invited friends over so Robinson could pitch again to create an environment, and for the first time, it was demonstrated how unapologetic he was to find Black investors.”
David was then called up to pitch Trakflo. “It started rough, but it became this thing that demanded more. I had to break out my investor presentation. Brooks asked tough questions so I could demonstrate my expertise and practice raising money.”
That evening, I remember being so impressed by David and his wife that I told David that I wanted to invest in him and that I believed in him. While we were talking about the impact of that evening organized by Farr's Best, David shared the effect that my desire to invest in him and my belief in his business made a profound impact on him. “I was educated on what investing from my own community would look like,” David humbly shared.
“Farr's best was creating a space for me to be ready to receive that, the community invested in me,” David said insightfully. Eventually, David and his team raised more than $400,000 through equity crowd-funding. After winning the pitch competition, these investors were able to see a return in their investment when David and his team were awarded the start-up funds.
“Farr's Best gives you permission to not only go where you're seen but to not play small because you're afraid to rattle the social networks that you were born into. I became a public figure around the idea that we need to galvanize the idea,” David explained.
When asked about Farr's Best's impact on his relationship with his wife and family, David appeared most gracious. Being a part of the organization has provided him and his wife with excellent examples of husbands and wives who work together. Through those relationships, David's wife, who is responsible for creating the face of TracFlo, was able to see her role clearly, and the two decided since she is already working for TracFlo, she might as well be hired by the company to do what she has been doing to grow the company. Today she works full-time for TracFlo.
David's story is profound, and the impact of Farr's Best is evident in his story. His story affirms what other members have shared. It was tough to end my interview with David. The knowledge and wisdom he has gained as a student of life, intern of the DRE Program, and member of Farr's Best are overflowing. He is the product of what it looks like when you find community and have a supportive tribe behind you. Farr's Best is changing lives and is an example of Black Brilliance.
Monte S. Brooks
Farr's Best came to fruition two years ago; however, the idea of an organization like Farr's Best was shared with Monte S. Brooks, André Farr's Senior Advisor, a prominent businessman, and respected mentor many years ago. "André always has these mind-boggling ideas floating through his head, "Brooks shared.
According to Brooks. Farr shared that he wanted to create an organization that brings his family together. When he explained the vastness of the organization, Brooks shared that he asked Farr if he had that much family, and André responded, "No, but we are going to invite everyone."
Brooks was impressed because, as he stated, "that changes the definition of family." Many conversations about microeconomics and how to change the internal negative bias that African Americans have about doing business together have taken place between Farr and Brooks. Farr's Best is a byproduct of those conversations.
Brooks talks about Farr's best like a proud Father. "Our core has grown. It's phenomenal. It's laying the foundation for success in the future." Brooks reports. He is most proud of the tremendous growth Farr's Best has seen.
While reflecting, Brooks said, "The most impactful part of being involved with Farr's best has been "the snowball effect. It's seeing the snowball as it begins to roll down the hill. It started out as this little ball in a hand, and by being committed, true, and consistent, that snowball is now unrecognizable."
One of the things that Brooks echoes is that the mantra, "bring your own brick," really means something in Farr's Best. According to him, people are bringing their bricks and looking to find how to place their bricks, so they build community. They are also committing to do what's necessary to be consistent in bringing their gifts to the table.
Brooks shares Robinson's view on the honor that came with being in the Farr wedding as a groomsman. "The wedding represented Black purpose, Black power, Black love, and Black excellence. All four of these were in full effect."
At the wedding, Brooks addressed the attendees at the reception on the importance of relationship building. He honored the Farr's for putting people together for the mutual purpose, to benefit one another.
Farr's Best is an extension of André Farr's vision, Jay Farr's commitment to support and build with her husband, and a reflection of the love, commitment, and faith of the people that make up the organization.Visit farrsbest.com to learn more about Farr's Best and connect with the vision.