GCM 226 | Inclusion Barriers

 

When you walk into a room full of different people, don’t go towards the people you feel comfortable with. Go towards the people you don’t know or the people that you find interesting. There needs to be some inclusiveness because that is a barrier that is hard to break. This is something Mike Meyer has been advocating for his whole life. Mike is the Manager of Meyer Music and the Chairman of the charity, Band of Angels. He believes that music has no color or discrimination. He helps donate musical instruments and set up music camps for the less fortunate. Join Rodney Flowers in this conversation with Mike about breaking barriers for inclusion. You can make a difference, even by doing the little things. Be the one to make the first move.

Listen to the podcast here:

Mike Meyer On Driving Change For Inclusion By Breaking The Barriers

I have Mike Meyer in the studio with me. He is a Kansas City native who has worked in his family business for many years. Along with his parents, older brother and younger sister, he has helped to grow their family business which now has 75 employees and works with students and schools in a 100-mile radius around the Kansas City Metro. He runs the Kansas operations for Meyer Music and is also the Cofounder of a charity called Band of Angels, which he started in partnership with Fox 4 television in Kansas City.

Their goal is to collect used music instruments and provide them free of charge to students so they can participate in school music programs. Band of Angels has given away over 2,500 instruments to kids and schools and has sent 315 students to summer music camps across the United States at no charge. The charity, which operates alongside Meyer Music, has had a community impact of nearly $1.5 million since its founding. I am very elated and proud to welcome, Mike Meyer, to the show. Welcome to the show, Mike.

Thank you, Rodney. It’s wonderful to be here.

It’s a wonderful thing that you are doing in Kansas City with the kids. A lot of people may not realize the impact that music or a musical instrument has on the life of a kid. We talk about a lot of resilience tactics, how to bounce back, meet your goals and grow into the person that you want to be. There are kids out there that don’t have certain opportunities or they are underrepresented. Sometimes giving a kid the opportunity to have a musical instrument and play in a band or some type of musical program can bring about confidence, change and opportunities for a kid. It sounds like that’s exactly what you’re doing in Kansas City.

It’s been a wonderful ride. I always tell everybody I’ve worked for our company for years because my mom and dad started it. I was in the bassinet in my mom’s office because it was a small family business and that’s where we were. I’ve gotten to have an incredible ride and watched my mom and dad work super hard and create a thriving and bustling company. My brother, sister and I came into the business years ago and we’ve elevated it again. Along with the opportunity to grow the business and make it a success, there came this cool opportunity to change our whole company culture and give back and do more things that we always wanted to do but maybe the opportunity to do it wasn’t right there. That’s where Band of Angels came into the equation. I wear a couple of different hats but it’s been a pretty cool ride.

What drove you to start collecting musical instruments? What’s the story behind that?

The story is that my mom and dad were from small towns and did not have a lot of money. When they became successful in the business, they had always thought that we should give back, that if we can, we should and that we had been very blessed. Like a lot of small businesses from the time I was about ten, I was out renting instruments in schools and trying to help kids get started in band and orchestra. Inevitably, when you’re at those events, you’d have people sit across from you asking to get an instrument. Unfortunately, their finances were not there for them to be able to do it. We would be making a difficult decision and probably not a very smart business decision to give them an instrument that they weren’t going to pay for. We, unfortunately, had to tell them no.

GCM 226 | Inclusion Barriers

Inclusion Barriers: Shift your company culture from just commerce and profits to helping others. Don’t be there just to take; you need to give back, too.

 

Most good things start out of a pain point that somebody had decided to try and correct it and that was my pain point. We had to sit across from those parents and students, who wanted to learn music and do it and financially, unfortunately, it wasn’t in the cards. Like most things, I spent a long time trying to build my network of people that I’m connected to in the community. One of the people I was connected to was a woman named Carrie Hibbeler from Fox 4 television here in Kansas City. They were doing a lot of stories about the arts being cut in schools and they wanted to help and wanted to do something about it but they didn’t know what to do. They knew that I knew the arts and my family was entrenched in that in Kansas City.

We sat down and collaborated. Their original idea was, “Let’s start a fund and we’ll collect money and then at the school make band uniforms or set for a musical or something like that.” That was fine and I said, “That’s a wonderful idea but unfortunately, there are some barriers there. One, collecting the money is not going to be near as easy as you think it’s going to be. Two, I don’t think you have any idea how expensive band uniforms are or sets for a musical. It’s very pricey. I have this other idea that’s been in my head for a long time. It was that my family has been selling these instruments to students for 45 years in Kansas City at that time.

There are a lot of kids that started in middle school or elementary school that has now gone through high school. Maybe they went away to college to pursue a different degree or they didn’t go to college and they started off on the mark. It went under the bed or in the closet. If we can get on the air and get those people to bring them back out of the closet, I sit across from the person who needs it on a regular basis and I can make that connection. I have all the facilities to fix and repair all that stuff and get it ready. I know the teachers in the schools who can help identify the students and then I see those students face-to-face. “What if we collected the instruments and we just gave it to them?”

We knew that we couldn’t help them because in my mind they weren’t going to be my customer anyway. They weren’t going to buy anything from me anyway. There was no downside to it. It was helping somebody who needed to be helped and wanted to learn music. They thought it was a great idea that was kind of how it started and then we were all blown away by what ended up happening and what’s continuing to happen now, which is that the community embraced it. It has shifted our company culture from one of commerce and profits to one where we’re here to help, not just to take but to give back. It’s been very exciting and also surprising to me that I didn’t know of more companies doing something like this. I thought that most companies were doing something and as I’ve gone along, I found that maybe they weren’t. Take a simple idea, solve a problem like anybody and you’d be surprised what can happen when you approach it from that angle.

What are some of the impacts that you’ve experienced as a result of collecting these instruments and providing them to students?

There are so many. I can tell you from the beginning to the end. I’ll tell you a story that happened. It was when we first started it. The first year we got on television and we said, “We’re collecting these instruments. We’re creating this charity called Band of Angels and we’ll give that instrument to a student in financial or emotional need.” The first lady that showed up at the store had a guitar and she said, “This was my brother’s guitar and he was a music student at the conservatory here in Kansas City and was a professional musician. He got cancer and, unfortunately, he passed away. I’ve been sitting with this guitar in my house and I didn’t know what to do with it. I can’t sell it. This is my brother in this guitar but when I saw you on TV, I knew this is what I need to do with the guitar. They will take care of it and they will give it to somebody good.”

That was an impact. We didn’t realize that the emotional connection we would be and the closure that we could be giving to people to bring that instrument in. A good story is when we had a young man and his mother who showed up at one of our stores the night after they had been at the school where they would typically get an instrument. They were one that we had to sit across from and say, “Unfortunately, we can’t rent something to you but we have this program, Band of Angels.” It was early on and honestly, our company didn’t understand exactly what it was I was trying to do. This mom walked in and she said, “I was at this show last night and I spoke with Tom Meyer,” who is my brother. She said, “He said that you have this program you might be able to help us get a trumpet.” I said, “Okay.” This was the first one that that location had done and I said, “Tom, do we have any trumpets that have been donated?” He said, “We’ve got one downstairs.” I said, “Can you go down and get it?”

I printed off the application for the person to be able to get the instrument and I handed it to Linda, who’d worked for us for many years. I said, “Linda, would you help them fill this out while I go down and look for the trumpet?” She said, “No problem.” I go downstairs and then I said, “Jen, we got this trumpet donated. Could you vacuum out this case, polish it up and make it look pretty for the student?” She’s like, “Yes.” “We got a Band of Angel upstairs. We’re going to give it to him.” “No problem.” I turned to Susan and I said, “Susan, I need a mouthpiece for this. Do we have a mouthpiece around here?” “I’ll get one.” All of a sudden, what happened was our whole company surrounded this little kid and they didn’t know him. I can assure you he didn’t look like the picture probably most people are picturing in their head.

If you've been blessed with resources, you should always give back. Share on X

We went back upstairs and we handed him the trumpet. He was so excited and his mom was appreciative and then they left. When we read the application after they left because we always have them write a story on it about why they need the instrument, we found out that she was a single mother of two. His father had been incarcerated for most of his life and he was a cancer survivor and had undergone five different surgeries to solve his cancer issues. This little guy had a rough road. Our team surrounded him and we were going to take care of him. We didn’t know anything about him. We didn’t know the story before we handed him the trumpet. We just knew that there was a person standing in front of us that needed help. That was a huge impact. It changed our team. They understood what it was we were doing there.

We’ll go to the next story, which was a woman that was sitting in my office. She came into the store and one of our employees came to me and said, “There’s a woman here who would like to talk to you.” I said, “Okay. Come on in.” She had been on our late payments list and everything. She came in and she said, “Mr. Meyer, I’m here to tell you that I’ve returned the viola.” I said, “Okay.” Everybody thinks I know that everything that they owe but I didn’t know her and the situation. She said, “I have to tell you I can’t pay you what I owe you.” I said, “What’s going on?”

This is a young African-American woman about 35 years old probably. She said, “I operate a daycare in my house.” She had a pipe burst in the place that she was renting to have her daycare and it flooded the daycare. She said, “I couldn’t get it all. We couldn’t get the cleaning people in to get it and then there was some mold that developed right away. All of a sudden, here I am. I’ve got to move houses. By the time I move houses, I have to go through the entire certification process again to get recertified to have a daycare with the state and get licensed. It put me in a bind.”

I said, “I understand.” She said, “I told my daughter we got to take that back. It’s not ours but Mr. Meyer, you need to know something. This is not who I am.” She started to cry. I said, “It’s okay. Everybody has something that they go through. Let me ask you a question.” At this point, she’s not asking me for anything. I said, “Does your daughter still want to play the viola?” She said, “Yes. She loves to play and she loves being in an orchestra at school but I told her, unfortunately, we can’t do it. She’s going have to quit.” I said, “I got these instruments that these people brought in to me and they told me to wait for somebody that came along that needed it. You’re that person. It’s not going to be as shiny as the one you had but it’s a good instrument and it will play. Your daughter won’t have to quit. All you need to do to fill out this application so we can keep our records straight and everything.” She was completely floored.

I thought like, “Here’s a person who’s doing the right thing. You’re not trying to steal. She’s not trying to run off and hide from anybody. She’s making the tough choice. It was our responsibility on the other side of the equation to do what we can do to help make that tough choice better.” There’s one person’s fault that it isn’t in this whole equation and that’s the student. In this case, it was not anybody’s fault. Their pipe burst. What are you going to do? Those impacts that you can make on people that give them that little piece of help that they need at that moment can be impactful.

The last story that I’ll tell is about a girl that we gave a trumpet to in fifth grade. Her name was Destiny. We gave her a trumpet and then two years later, we started this music camp scholarship program and she was one of the first kids that we sent to music camp. When you go to music camp, they ask you about getting a better instrument. Most of the kids are playing on better equipment than at beginning level one when they go. I had this silver trumpet that had been donated. I called her band director and I said, “Todd, do you know a student named Destiny?” He said, “Yes. She’s in my band.” I said, “Can you tell me about her?” He goes, “Mike, I’m going to be honest with you. She’s a good kid.” I said, “I’ve got this better trumpet that I’m thinking about giving her and she put in an application to go to music camp.” He said, “She is not the best player that I have but I’m telling you this. There is nobody that works harder than her in that class.” I wish that people could see the student because the last picture that I have of her is her holding her full scholarship letter to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff to go to school free of charge for music. It’s a variety of different outcomes for a variety of different situations but it’s a game-changer when you can do something so simple to help somebody.

Mike, one of the things you are hearing me preach on this show and I know the readers know that we’re all on this field of adversity. It seems like resistance is opposition. It’s trying to prevent us from fulfilling our respective roles. We’re all on the same team and trying to succeed. We have roles to play and as we fulfill those roles, not only do we get what we want, score and win but the entire team wins. As a matter of fact, it’s necessary that we bring forth our contribution, get over the opposition and the resistance in order to bring that contribution forward. Having done this and created this charity and had that impact on those people, what have you gotten out of this and learned? What are some of the takeaways from going through that experience that you would like to share with us?

GCM 226 | Inclusion Barriers

Inclusion Barriers: Giving people that little piece of help that they need at that moment can be so impactful.

 

It is something that feeds my soul. It has given me far more than anybody would ever know. It’s knowing that you have stepped out of the norm and done something. I thought everybody was doing it but maybe isn’t. It certainly makes you feel good but it’s given me a lot better sense of not rushing to judgment on things and an incredible understanding of the barriers that people face. We’re in an environment, which I don’t know whether to say happy that we’re in the environment of this big discussion of diversity and inclusion and underserved and barriers of happening because it should have been happening long ago. This has given me the opportunity to tell, quite honestly, other people in the white community about some of these barriers that they don’t even understand or know exist.

It gives me the opportunity to educate and meet people from other specific instances that are facing a hurdle or a barrier that I couldn’t even begin to understand. One of the first applications that we got early on is this kid who had moved eight times in three years. That’s something that the general population cannot even begin to understand. It’s always given me purpose and I’m the type of person that wanted to help but it’s also given me a greater understanding of humanity, how I can change things and make a difference. Especially as a white male were all standing going, “How can we make the change and difference?” When I can stand up in front of a room full of people and talk about these different things, barriers that exist and wrongs that have been set forth that we can undo and help. Talk about making you feel good. It does. I’ve gotten so much more out of it but a greater understanding of humanity, people, circumstances, barriers and how I can change that and make a difference.

I was talking to someone about diversity and inclusion and there’s a lot to unpack when you talk about diversity. Given the landscape that you’ve had the opportunity to experience, what would you say are some of the steps we need to take on going forward in order to be a more diverse and inclusive community?

The first thing is and I’m coming at this from a white male’s perspective, quit being worried about bringing it up and asking somebody of color to go to lunch and tell them, “I want to go to lunch with you because you are a person of color and you have a set of eyes that I don’t have. I want you at the table because how can I serve the faces at the table if I don’t have those same faces at the table?” For me, it’s been actively seeking out communities of color and trying to reach out to them and set up lunches, ask questions and learn. That’s the biggest thing. People that face challenges, especially from those communities of color and underserved, one thing that’s been surprising to me is they aren’t always willing to talk about those things. They’re not willing to ask for that help. We tend to think that, “We’re throwing everything at this and they don’t care.” It’s not true.

I was speaking to a woman who, when she was a kid was in foster and she said, “I’ll be honest with you, if you had this program, I’m not sure I’d even come to apply for it because I don’t want to be embarrassed and ask for that help.” Learning that like, “I need to be the one to initiate this. I need to be the one to start this dialogue and this process.” When I’m sitting with people who are from those communities of color and those different faces. Unfortunately, right now it’s all been about communities of color but there are different communities beyond that about sexual orientation and body issues. I’m thinking about the trans community and things like that. There are differences across all of these things that we all need to learn and understand. I’m very out there. In fact, my own kids, they’re like, “Should you say that?” I said, “John, if I don’t say that, who’s going to say it?” If I don’t reach out and learn from somebody that grew up in an environment that I didn’t, how am I ever going to get better? How are we going to get better?

You bring up a very important topic because we have these conversations in a vacuum. That doesn’t do us any good, yet we don’t have many opportunities where we can come together as a community or as a diverse group and have these types of discussions, which is a starting point. If you don’t have those conversations, you build a narrative in your mind about different ethnic groups and what they’re about or based on what society demonstrates. If you don’t have anything to go against that, you start believing that, that becomes your perception of that group and that’s what your belief is. You tell other people about that and they have that same experience and they’ll start believing that. It’s not until we can sit at the table face to face and be open to, “Here’s how it is. Here’s how I think about you based on my experience and my upbringing. What is it that you think about me? Why do you think that? Let’s get candid about who we are, what we believe, where we come from and what our culture is openly. Not to compete but more so to educate so that you can see this is who I am and this is what I’m about.”

We can go from there because there’s a lot to gain from each other and there’s so much unknown that it causes a lot of fear. That’s preventing us from having the conversation, which is perpetuating the situation. Like this conversation, we talk about communities of color. Automatically someone reading this could think, “Underrepresented and low income” That does exist but that doesn’t make up the entire community of color. For someone who is from the black community, when they think about white people, they may think what they think about racist or they have a bias against black people. That exists but not the entire community of black people. There are some people that don’t feel that way. There’s this idea or conception that that’s what it is. That’s the barrier that we have to break down and so we have to start communicating with each other.

Most good things start out of a pain point that somebody had decided to try and correct. Share on X

One of the beautiful things that I have the luxury of being in is music because music doesn’t have a color. Music is everything for everybody. There are many different shades of it for sure but it’s a place where everybody can belong and be a part of it. As you talk about these conversations that you have with people, do you know what I found when I come away from that meeting and I go, “That guy or woman is like me.” They walk away from it going, “He’s like me.” How blessed am I that I’ve got a music company because we represent the top economically all the way to the bottom economically? We work with about 60 school districts across a 100-mile area. From inner city, rural, country and urban, we cover it all.

The thing that I have found and learned in most of this is that the parents in these communities, it doesn’t matter where they are, they love their kids, want their kids to have opportunities and learn music. That has been a blessing. One of the other things that we tried to do from Band of Angels because I’ve been preaching the diversity issue for years that we’ve been expanded. I’ve tried to get our board to be represented in that way. I’m not even going to lie. It’s a challenge. It is hard but because I was so out front with it, we’ve achieved it and we’re continuing to get better.

We have a big fundraiser here in the Kansas City area. What we do is we take all the musical instruments that we can’t fix or that are deemed unusable and we give those to local artists who will turn them into pieces of artwork and we do a silent art auction to raise money to support the cause called Art That Blows. This is a fun summer party. It’s held in the downtown area of Kansas City. When we started getting it going, there was not a very diverse group of people that attended it. It was mainly all white people. It’s frustrating to me because I was trying to make our events more inclusive and diverse.

We ended up starting this program called Band of Angels Rockstars. Through the Rockstars, we were able to be intentional about the group that we picked and make sure that we did have representation from all the different colors and faces of Kansas City. When we did that, they went and invited their friends to the party and suddenly the party changed. We went from 325 people to 780 in one year. The diversity at the party was completely different.

Interesting little side note, as long as we’re talking about habits that we need to break because what happened at the party was we were all there, all the colors were at the party. As each person walked in the door, they went right to the group of color or people that they felt the most comfortable with and look like them. All of a sudden, you had now 15 little parties in 1 big party. What we’ve got to do as a group is to stop walking into the room and going to the people that looked like us or the most comfortable place we can go and push out and meet those other people. We’re trying to tackle two issues and raise money to help kids find music in the process but it’s been a neat thing.

You bring up that topic of connection and engagement and having the comfort and the confidence to seek out people that are different from you. I have conversations with them, it’s a challenge. I get it. You don’t know how to interact with them and that’s not going to be your first choice of behavior unless you’re consciously aware that’s what you need to do. It’s going back to education and having those conversations, finding that comfort level because we’re still separated.

We’re in the same room but we’re not connecting and engaging with each other. We’re still having our little parties in the midst of the big party. That’s happening in corporations, teams and communities. That’s where we start when we talk about being more diverse and inclusive. We have to start with those conversations and ourselves to be more willing and open to having those conversations with people that are different from us.

GCM 226 | Inclusion Barriers

Inclusion Barriers: Everyone talks about inclusion and diversity, and it should be happening. People need to see the barriers that they don’t even know exist.

 

Also, a big part of that is to invite somebody to coffee, sit across the table from them for 30 minutes and talk because then when you walk into the party, there’s somebody you feel comfortable with. You won’t not go to that group or that person. That’s what it has been for me. I have found that when I have sat down and had a meaningful discussion for 30 minutes or an hour with somebody over lunch or coffee, suddenly that any color and sexual orientation barriers that exist doesn’t exist anymore, at least not for me. It does take me reaching out first. I have to make the first move and all people need to work for that and make the first move.

Call that person you find interesting and then ask them, “Tell me your story.” That’s what I do when I reach out to people. I say, “I don’t want to buy anything from you and sell you anything. I just want to sit with you and hear your story. They’re shocked. They’re like, “This can’t be real. This guy doesn’t want to hear my story.” I am blown away by the stories that I hear and the things that people overcome. I sat with a woman from El Salvador and the Spanish community. She told me the story about her mom and dad moving here from El Salvador in the ’90s and there was a lot of unrest there. The husband was trying to get out of it and get away from it. He convinced his wife that they were going to come to America and go to Disneyland. When they got here, he said, “We’re not going back.” What a story. Had I not reached out to her and asked her to go to coffee and tell me her story, I would never have known that. I would not be the person I am now if I don’t know those stories.

There are so many ways that we are different but yet many that we’re the same and we allow our differences to create gaps between our similarities, which is creating a barrier between us. Mike, great discussion and good work on you and your team for doing what you’re doing. Continue to invite people to coffee and make the choice to be a leader. That’s what that is. You’re making a choice to be a leader and to lead in a time where there’s so much unrest, bias and barriers to our human ability to come together and work as a team, group and unit versus have this discussion on race and division.

Here’s the good news, Rodney. In the next many years, you’re going to see a seismic shift because these lines are getting more blurred every day. I can’t tell you the number of people that I have sat with and had coffee with that their dad was black and their mom was Japanese or their mom was white and their dad was Hispanic. With each one of these categories that we have to fit into on an application, they’re going to get blurred. The blur is going to help to make things better.

That brings up a question. Do we even need that category? Is it necessary at this point? Why does it matter anymore?

I don’t know the answer to that. When we were picking our Rockstars, we did put that category on the list because if I’m going to be intentional and try to mix up this pot, I need to have all the pieces of information. I’ve been surprised and I met with a girl to whom I said, “How do you identify? What is your nationality?” She said, “That’s something I’ve struggled with my whole life.” In her case, her dad was black, mom was white but they divorced early and dad wasn’t in her picture so she grew up in mainly a white family. She’s like, “Would I write down black or would I write down white or what would I write down?” I thought that it was interesting how she answered that question for me. I won’t forget that one soon.

If you’re a company and you’re hiring based on merit and qualifications, why does that matter? Why do we need an identifier? I want to talk to someone about that because I want to understand why you would need that category. Maybe there’s something that I’m not aware of at this moment. If we’re hiring or selecting someone based on their qualifications, that’s why you should hire and make a selection. You should judge someone based on their characteristics, qualities and what they can bring to the table. The color has nothing to do with it. Why do we need to know that? Who cares?

Music doesn't have a color. It's a place where everyone can belong. Share on X

We don’t put on applications what sexual orientation are you so why would we need one for a race? Back to your original question, “What has this done for you?” Starting this charity and working to help people opened my eyes to a whole world of things that I never thought that would open and I could not be more blessed for having that happen. It’s incredible.

Mike, how can people reach you if they wanted to learn more about the charity or about your business?

There are two ways. The business, MeyerMusic.com, that’s our family’s business in Kansas City. BandOfAngels.org is the charity. You can reach me at Angels@MeyerMusic.com, which comes to me or my email address MikeMeyer@MeyerMusic.com, either way. I’m on LinkedIn so look me up on there. I love making connections and I can’t wait to see who reads this. Hopefully, when they’re thinking of a person to reach out to, I’ll be that person because I want to learn more and have more conversations.

Thank you for that. This has been a great conversation, one that warrants further exploration.

You probably didn’t think it was going to go this way when we started.

I did not. However, the topic was fresh on my brain because I had a conversation with someone about it. It’s ironic that we went in this direction but it’s good because you can take something like music and create inclusivity and diversity. That’s what people need to see because sometimes diversity and inclusion can seem like a difficult topic. It’s subjective, seemingly difficult to implement and execute. Here you are using something as simple as musical instruments and I shouldn’t say simple because music is a very powerful thing. You’re using this to bring about change and opportunity and also this level of diversity and inclusion, which you probably didn’t have that awareness that this was what that was going to do at the time that you started it. It’s an example of what’s possible when we talk about how we can create that connection and engagement with others.

We did not keep or ask for any demographic information for the first five years that we founded the charity. It wasn’t until we were being approached by grant people that they were wanting to know the statistics that we had to start asking that but I was reluctant to even ever ask because I was like, “That doesn’t matter.” To me, it doesn’t matter whether that person’s at. In our city there’s an area, 18th in Brooklyn, a housing project, rough area in Kansas City or they’re at 1st and Main in a little country town called Garnett. The dad is a day laborer on an orchard. It doesn’t matter to me. I don’t care. He fell off a ladder and broke his back. Now they’ve got a financial situation and we can help change that by providing music instruments or this person is in this part of the area and they’re from a low-income situation. We’ve helped students from military families where the parents are suffering traumatic PTSD and this musical instrument is a place of calm for their family and that student. I didn’t expect to think a lot about it. I wanted to help kids. I didn’t care where they were or who they were. I knew they needed to be helped. That’s who I wanted to help.

Thank you for doing that.

GCM 226 | Inclusion Barriers

Inclusion Barriers: You can’t serve people if you don’t have them at the table.

 

Thank you for doing what you’re doing and your story is incredibly inspiring to me. I feel like I would pale in comparison to the story that you have. It’s fantastic.

Thank you. I appreciate it. We all have a story and a contribution. What I like to see is when people bring their contribution forward. Regardless of the odds or the challenges that they face, they still show up and create an impact. It helps other people. That’s how you change the game. That’s how you put momentum in your favor. That’s winning in my mind. Thank you for coming to the show. Before we end, I want to ask you the Game Changer Mentality question of the day. If you want to leave your last few words of wisdom with us as it relates to overcoming challenges, bouncing back and continuously winning in the game of life, what would you say is your words of wisdom to allow us to do that?

Stay in the game long enough to be successful. Often, people bail out too early. They start an idea, it doesn’t immediately take off and then they bailout. One thing that I always tell my kids is that my 90% of being successful is being around long enough to be successful and staying after it. That would be my probably business advice then from my personal advice is as far as from philanthropy or giving back but if you can, you should and if not you then who? Make sure that you use your time and talent to do that and you’re that one little snowflake that can change the entire side of a mountain.

Mike Meyer on the show. Thank you so much for coming to the show. It’s been a pleasure.

Thank you, Rodney. I appreciate it.

There you have it, another successful episode. It doesn’t take a lot to make a big difference but little things, that contribution that you may have deep down in your heart, that sometimes feels like it’s small, not that big of a deal or not going to create that big of an impact. You’ll never know. You don’t have to change the lives of thousands of people. Your contribution may change one person’s life. If you can change one person’s life and impact one person, what could that create? That person can go and impact someone who can go and impact someone. Your contribution is very powerful. Stay in the game long enough to bring your contribution forward. If you can give back, do it. Why not? Change the game not just for yourself but for those around you. Until next time. Peace and love.

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About Mike Meyer

GCM 226 | Inclusion BarriersMike Meyer is a Kansas City native who has worked in his family business of 55 years since 1990. Along with his parents and older brother and younger sister he has helped to grow their family business which now has 75 employees and works with students and schools in a 100-mile radius around the Kansas City Metro. Mike runs the Kansas operations for Meyer Music and is also co-founder of a charity called Band of Angels which he started in partnership with Fox 4 television in KC.

Their goal is to collect used music instruments and provide them free of charge to students so they can participate in school music programs. To date, Band of Angels has given away over 2500 instruments to kids and schools and have sent 315 students to summer music camps across the united states at no charge to them. The charity which operates alongside Meyer Music has had a community impact of nearly 1.5 million dollars since its founding. When not in pandemic times Meyer Music gives over 2000 music lessons weekly to students across their three locations.

Mike is a graduate of the University of Central Missouri with a degree in Graphic Arts. He currently resides in Overland Park KS with his wife Johnna and has three grown children. Mike is past president of the National Association of School Music Dealers and is active in Rotary International.