We had the good fortune of connecting with Gary “Trey” Taylor and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gary “Trey”, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I started my business Uphold 31:8, out of necessity. Essentially, it was my second business but my first independent entity. I needed to establish some form of organizational structure due to the community engagement and organizing along with speaking engagements I was participating in. People would come around and ask me what organization I was with or did I have a business card and I did not. Thus, Uphold was born and has developed into a brand and entity that incorporates more than just community organizing and speaking.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My career in the social work field has unlocked new passions and opportunities of which I never even envisioned for myself. I am proud of creating out of the box ideas and providing education and awareness to the black community about Mental Health. I wrote a book called “You Good Fam?” about Mental Health in the Black community, facilitated workshops on it and now in private practice that works with African-American Men, via individual therapy or support group fashion which is called “The Goodfellaz Project”. This call has been rewarding for me because they are not many Black Male therapists in the field and not many therapists who can relate to the black experience. That was my call to answer the bell and provide my experience and clinical expertise to change the narrative in my community and reduce stigma. Now, I have friends or family member who come up and use my slogan “You Good Fam?” or making sure my mental health is good. That is rewarding to me. It took me 10 years to get to his point and I have overcame struggles in regards to a grueling gradate school program, working full time and taking 19 credit hours in undergraduate to graduate on time, to failing my licensure exam twice only to pass the third time. I would not be able to achieve what I have today without overcoming those roadblocks. Nothing is a failure to me, only a learning experience. I also am proud of creating new projects that blends my hobbies with mental health, Taking my love for sneakers, coffee and cars while fostering a community of folks who also loves those same hobbies and just having dialogue around it to take our mind off the pandemic and the racial and social justice issues happening. We needed a break, I needed a break so I turned to the things I love, thus born was the OG Sneakerhead Chronicles that showcase people’s favorite sneakers and why they were their favorite. This was created by me and my homie Kenny Bundy (Liteshot Media) and Brandon Lee (B Lee Media). You can follow the hashtag on Instagram and Twitter at #OGSHC or #OGSHC2 I’ve learned many lessons along the way, the one that sticks out the most is your wise counsel could be the reason you do not act on your goals and dreams. Be intuitive and receptive to what God has given to you, sometimes the plan isn’t for you to tell others until it has come to fruition. I’m just regular country boy from Virginia who parents instilled in him that he could do anything as long as he put his mind to it. My brand and story is the same as everyone else, I had to work and grind it out in order to achieve it all.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Man, well I live in the country. So outside of chilling at my house, cooking on the grill, playing some music and watching shows and movies. We would probably go to Richmond, VA for some food or to hang out, maybe hit Urban Hang Suite for some coffee and light lunch.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My wife, Shauniece M. Taylor, she has supported me through my highest and lowest moments. She is just as responsible for my success as anyone else due to her speaking life into my ideas and vision. She is a phenomenal black woman!
Instagram: @Retro_GT (https://www.instagram.com/retro_gt/)
Linkedin: Gary Taylor, LCSW (https://www.linkedin.com/in/gary-taylor-lcsw-28a71384/)
Twitter: @Retro_GT (https://twitter.com/retro_gt)
Facebook: Trey Taylor
Kenny Bundy, LiteShot Media