Tyler Perry: The Making of a Leader
”You’re not truly successful unless your success is having a positive impact on the world.”
Tyler Perry excels at many things: he’s a world-renowned producer, director, actor, screenwriter, author, songwriter, entrepreneur, employer, and philanthropist. But do you know who Tyler Perry is at his core, and what makes him a Leader Worth Following? As we began to learn more about the man behind the image, we discovered there was so much to share about his past, present and vision for the future. So we chose three of the values most often used to describe Tyler, that exemplify the characteristics of a true leader, regardless of his title, industry or role:
The odds for success were not in Tyler’s favor. Even his teachers tried to dissuade his dreams, telling him he’d never make it. They told him he was “too dumb, too black, too poor.” So Tyler looked inward; he has said that he heard a still, small voice that told him he could do it. He didn’t allow his critics to discourage him. Instead, he found a passion and drive to prove them wrong. Tyler overcame each obstacle he faced. Sometimes it took years, but he broke it down into daily discipline, work ethic and pure grit.
Tyler doesn’t hide from the pain of his youth. Instead, he uses it as a source of inspiration and connection to others. He taps into the hurts of his upbringing as a source of authentic storytelling that inspires a loyal fan following. Tyler’s creative spark was driven by his need to keep those he loved safe, and it grew into a mighty flame that did indeed help lift his mother out of poverty and abuse. It didn’t stop there; Tyler’s willingness to be open and his dedication to creating new work has become a point of inspiration and economic opportunity for many.
Due in part to his upbringing, Tyler has found a variety of ways to give back to his community and the world. He regularly contributes to and works with Hosea Feed the Hungry, Charity: Water, Global Medical Relief Fund, and Feeding America, among other organizations. His foundation – The Tyler Perry Foundation, focuses on turning “tragedy into triumph,” particularly in the areas of education, women’s rights, clean water, and globally sustainable economic development. His “beyond you” leadership style is also evident on his movie sets. Ask those in the business and they will tell you there is a true, positive difference when working Tyler’s productions: a sense of camaraderie; an environment of feeling valued and treated with respect.
Infused With Inspiration: Leadercast Live
At Leadercast, we’re constantly curating insightful, inspiring leaders from a variety of industries, roles, backgrounds, and more. Yes, we want our speakers to move you and motivate you; but more than that, we want you to be armed with clear, tactical steps and solutions that you can apply to your own leadership growth.
We see Tyler Perry as the person to do just that. More than an entertainer, we see a leader in business, in his community, in his faith, and in his purpose to create an inclusive culture.
With so many ventures, Tyler is a testimony to singularity of purpose. He knows how to align his gifts and creative energy with a dedicated focus. That focus has made him one of the most prolific writers of the last 20 years – and he doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon. In fact, he has said that he is in continual growth mode.
Observing Tyler’s vast media empire and entrepreneurial successes, you might assume that he was an overnight success. Far from it. Tyler did not travel an easy road. In 1992, after scrimping and saving his earnings from a variety of jobs, Tyler made the audacious move of producing his own stage production called I Know I’ve Been Changed, renting out the popular 14th Street Playhouse in Atlanta, known for its support of emerging artists. The way Tyler saw it was if 1,200 people came to his show over the weekend, he could recoup his investment. Instead, only 30 people attended the production, all of them friends and family.
Still, he did not quit. His faith did not falter. Yes, he had his moments of disillusion, disappointment and discontentment. But at every turn, Tyler’s failures only strengthened his resolve and purpose. And six years later, that same production played to a sold-out audience at Atlanta’s historic Fox Theater.
He went on to introduce the world to the now beloved character of Madea: first on the stage in his 1999 production, I Can Do Bad All By Myself; and then on the big screen in his 2005 film, Diary of a Mad Black Woman. The combination of perseverance and purpose helped make Tyler’s dreams a reality.
On May 5th, when Tyler takes the stage at Leadercast Live, hear more about the story behind his success, and the actions you can take to pursue your purpose.