Dr. Willie Jolley has always been a doer. He has not just talked the talk he has walked the walk in his hometown of Washington, DC. He is a product of the DC Public school system graduating from Roosevelt HS. His mother taught for 42 years in the same system. Willie followed in her footsteps and became a substance abuse counselor for the school system. He had a higher calling and became a public speaker. Willie is a rare breed of men from the inner-city, he is armed with common sense-street sense and book sense These three tools are difficult to find in brothers and sisters who have lived on the fringes of all three boundaries. He knows how to play the game with the best of them. His comfort zone has no limitations when it comes to people, walking into a boardroom in Silicon Valley would be no different from him taking a walk on Hanover Street in “The Hood” in NW DC.
You would think he grew up in a Boy Scout troop whose motto was “Be Prepared”. He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in Faith-Driven Achievement from the California Graduate School of Theology, a master’s degree in Theology from Wesley Theological Seminary and a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology from American University. Willie understood the DNA of being Black in America, so he decided to be prepared and make it difficult for the system to say ‘NO’ and when they did say no he kept saying, ‘Yes I can.’ His best selling book “It Only Takes a Minute to Change Your Life” he talks about turning failure into success–failure is only a mindset. My favorite nugget, “A Setback Is A Setup For A Comeback” been there and done that!
Make no mistake about it, Dr. Willie Jolley is comfortable in his skin. For example, in April 2012 I found him holding court on a bright sunshiny day in front of the landmark Howard Theatre in Washington, DC. The theatre was having “Open House” after decades of lights out. It was a Who’s Who (old-timers and hustlers) hanging out to see who they could see and maybe get to take a tour of the theatre before the Grand Opening for DC’s movers and shakers (politicians and wannabes) arrived. As I approached the group Willie spotted me and yelled: “Here comes my hero.” He disarmed me completely, all I could say was, “How in the hell are you, Dr. Jolley”? His greeting was just saying, ‘Be nice Harold Bell.’
I didn’t understand the greeting until I saw my old friend TV 4 anchorman Jim Vance standing across the street with a cameraman covering the opening. Jim and I had not spoken in two-decades. To my surprise he would leave his cameraman to say hello. For two guys who had been inseparable in the community since his arrival from Philadelphia in 1968–this was a reunion of two. The conversation was short and to the point, “Hey man lets do lunch call me”! My wife Hattie was elated when I came home and said, “Guess who I saw today?” She was fond of Jim. The late Pete Wysocki (Redskins), Hattie T and Jim at my annual Kids In Trouble Celebrity Fashion Show.
I remember Hattie having an appointment at Sibly Hospital in Georgetown and I suggested after her appointment we should stop and holler at Jim since we were in the neighborhood. I was thinking we could “Kill two birds with one stone” confirm a date for lunch and I would get a face to face with Jim for the first time in 20 years. The receptionist asked if Jim was expecting us and I said, “Just tell him its Hattie and Harold Bell”, several minutes later he came through the glass door with that award-winning smile hugged Hattie and we shook hands. We spent about 15 minutes talking about nothing and we finally got around to making a date for lunch at a seafood restaurant on K Street NW. I called the day before to remind him and he said, “Everything was still Go”. The next morning his assistant called and said Jim had to cancel and he would re-schedule. I think Jim wanted to say, “Harold Bell thanks for saving my life” but he didn’t know how–five years later he was dead (Gone too soon).
Jim and I are seen here being mentors to inner-city youth at the Roy Jefferson (NFL) reading center on K Street in NW DC Jim and I were tennis partners and he could often be found participating in my annual Inside Sports Celetbrity Tennis Tournament.
I remember hanging out with my Spingarn HS teammates on the weekends in front of the Howard Theatre before Willie Jolly was born. I was just a nobody trying to be somebody, but those were definitely “The Good Old Days”, thanks to gentrification and the Pandemic Coronavirus I will never see those days again in my lifetime.
There are many motivational speakers, and then there is one, the one and only, the incomparable Dr. Willie Jolley. He has been described as a world-class, award-winning speaker and singer, businessman best-selling author and media personality, he is armed and dangerous to negativity in our community. He keeps hope alive!
Dr. Jolley uses his public platform to pursue his mission of empowering and encouraging people to rise above their circumstances and maximize their God-given potential! Many know him as the speaker Ford Motor Company called on when they were on the brink of bankruptcy. His work helped Ford reject a government bailout and go on to earn a billion dollars in profits!
Dr. Willie Jolley has achieved remarkable heights in the speaking industry, having come from humble beginnings as a fired singer, who was replaced by a karaoke machine! He has gone on to be named “One of the Outstanding Five Speakers in the World” by the 175,000 members of Toastmasters International, inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame and achieved the distinction of Certified Speaker Professional by the Nation Speaker Association. He’s the recipient of the Ron Brown Distinguished Leadership Award, named “One of the Top 5 Leadership Speakers” by Speaking.com and Business Leader of The Year by The African American Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Jolley has inspired me in all my walks of life. He has been there to support me in my community endeavors, radio sports talk shows and my recent documentary “I Remember Muhammad Ali.” In 1974 Ali beat the undefeated and undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the world, George Forman–he stunned the world. Ali had promised me in Chicago that after he beat Foreman I would be the first to interview him on his arrival back in the U. S.–he kept his word.
It took me 45 years to get the exclusive one on one interview to the big screen. The Miracle Theatre on Capitol Hill 45 years after the fact would be the host (November 1974-November 2019). Dr. Jolly and his wife Dee were front and center.
Dr. Jolley has built a reputation of being captivating, compelling and life-changing! No matter the venue, from his Dr. Willie Jolley’s Wealthy Ways podcast on iHeart Radio to his SiriusXM Radio show, to his audiences like Walmart, Comcast, Verizon, Marriott or The Million Dollar Round Table, Dr. Jolley keeps it moving with high energy, high content and great enthusiasm. He delivers memorable nuggets and usable strategies on how every person can live a better life, one day at a time!
His latest challenge could be his most difficult and inspiring. His new recording “We’ll Get Through This” could surely uplift the entire country. The song hits home along with a great video that shows the heroes and sheroes, the first responders, and family keeping hope alive for their loved ones with as much tender loving care as possible. I start my day with this inspiring song. The first thing I open up on my computer each morning “We’ll Get Through This”.
Willie Jolley has also written a popular new marriage book, co-authored with his wife of over 33 years, Dee Taylor-Jolley. The book’s title, Make Love, Make Money, Make It Last!
HB, Hattie, Dee, and Willie at our home in Suitland, Maryland keeping hope and love alive during these difficult times hoping and praying, “We’ll Get Through This.”
Noteworthy: see Black Men in America.com / Face Book LIVE on Friday-Saturday and Sundays from 9 pm until 11 pm for the Legends of Inside Sports Uncut / You Tube Channel Harold Bell’s Inside Sports-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAZVZjGeYpY