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Fred Bridges’ Origins
Fred Bridges grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and graduated from Redan High School in the class of 1991. In high school, Bridges was a social student, but he was also a student that yearned for education.
One of his defining traits as a high school student was his trustworthiness to his peers and even the staff. Bridges would spend his time checking on his friend to make sure that they were on the right track.
“With even my principal… if some things were going on, I would go to some of the students or some of the players myself and say, ‘Hey man, you need to tighten up,'” described Bridges.
He took those leadership attributes that he first found in high school and continued to improve them in college, where he built up a solid reputation.
This ultimately led him to an early career in education. Teaching helped him realize that he enjoyed mentoring youth. Bridges also saw how his trustworthiness became a benefactor for his students, “I was a guy the kids could come to,” He stated. “They could trust me. I wasn’t going to let anything harm their leadership skills.”
Life Before 7 Mindsets
Following eight years of teaching youth, he left the field of education in search of new skills to obtain.
Bridges decided this next phase of his career would be in sales, and he became a humble car salesman. He had his start with a Chevrolet dealership in Dallas, and had little-to-no sales experience. But using the people skills he had learned in education, he was able to succeed at the dealership.
Bridges was relieved to be able to put his social skills into marketing and sales, knowing that he could have used them for more nefarious purposes. He also got the chance to work at the front desk and educate himself in customer service.
Sometime later, he was given the chance to work in the education system once more. He told us that it was “an offer he couldn’t refuse.”
As of today, Bridges is the director of sales at 7 Mindsets, an educational consulting business. He directs a team of 10 people who occupy and engage with schools and districts across the country.
We support customers from Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and many other cities…. to be able to survive in some capacity to make sure students have resources.
The Mission of 7 Mindsets
The idea for 7 Mindsets came from Jeff Waller and Scott Sickler. They wanted to learn about the attitudes that breed happiness, and did their research by interviewing people from different walks of life.
During this time, they boiled down what they learned from these interviews and identified seven categories of personality traits that determine who a person is.
Of those mindsets, Bridges says accountability is one of the most important. He says it is a mindset that most adults need to thrive in society. “The greatest gift that you could give yourself is gonna be being accountable for your choices and the consequences that come along with your choices.”
Bridges tells reporters that he would not be in the position he is now without the guidance of those before him.
“Guys like Larry Taylor, one of the first African Americans to have a car dealership in our neighborhood,” said Bridges. Taylor was also a minister for the church, always seeing Bridges playing basketball, tutoring, or at choir rehearsal.
Bridges used to live in a set of apartments behind his church, but it was far from his school. “I could have sold everything and anything that was being moved in my apartments,” said Bridges. “I was blessed to have some influence that took me on a route where I could do legal selling.”
Devon Hudson, an Illinois native, was another person Bridges saw as an inspiration. Hudson was a figure that let Bridges get the opportunity and chance to use his talents.
The Teacher and Student Mindset
When asked about the student-teacher dynamic within the 7 Mindsets program, Bridges says that the program is as much of a learning experience for teacher as it is for the students.
The youth develop literacy skills that help them with reading comprehension. Bridges says that it is important they get these reading skills by third grade, “If they don’t have that ability to comprehend literature, they have a higher chance of being a product of negativity.”
He also talked about the teacher’s mindset, and preparing to become role models in a classroom, “We show teachers how they can be their best selves,” said Bridges. “If we make the teachers feel good, they’re able to bring their best selves to the classroom.”
The Chicago Experience and Meeting Jesse White
Bridges worked in Chicago for a while, with Chicago Public Schools through a couple of their departments. These departments included parent groups, safe havens, and faith-based organizations.
The faith-based organizations are what brought him to meet Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of state, at a minister’s breakfast. He regards White as a person with high standards, for the work done in Chicago. “This is a man that puts his community’s needs above his personal needs, his agenda.”
Bridges was honored to be invited to the breakfast, knowing that he wasn’t a Chicago resident. He was happy to be in a room with people who have the same kinds of objectives for communities as he did. “It was only an hour I was there, but it felt like the most important place I could have been in.”
Written By Daylontie Jasper
Interview With Fred Bridges
Feature and Inset Image Courtesy of 7 Mindsets – Used with permission