Curtis Walls is more than what meets the surface. As one looks at Walls from the inside out, it is easy to realize that he is much more than a wide receiver and businessman. Does he love football? Yes, but it’s not his life. Is he a businessman? Yes, but he also loves reading philosophical books. In fact, the Charlotte native always had a passion for changing the world.
“I always wanted to influence the masses,” Walls said.
As a man of God, his ability to do so became evident through his leadership roles and experiences on the field and in life.
While studying at the North Carolina Agriculture & Technology, Walls wanted to do three things which were to play football, join Alpha Phi Alpha which is the first black fraternity within the National Pan-Hellenic Council and become the Student Government Association’s president. By senior year, Walls accomplished all, but one thing on his Aggie goal list.
He served as a leading wide receiver and captain of the Aggie team. He received a NCAA leadership award for his involvement in sports. He also gained the opportunity to play for the Black College All Star Football game. He became a member of Alpha Phi Alpha serving leadership positions in his fraternity. Walls’ senior year in college, he ran for the president of the Student Government Association. Walls won the popular election by 49%, but loss the re-election by three unique votes.
However, an opportunity opened for Walls to serve as the president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council. The National Pan-Hellenic Council was the second largest body of student government on the campus. He was able to meet great leaders and sat in meetings with other prominent leaders on the campus including the Student Government Association’s president.
“It ended up being a blessing,” Walls continued.
Blessing in Disguise
After graduating with a degree in landscape architecture, Walls was torn between playing football and entering corporate America. The opportunity to play in the all-star game while in college became a pivotal moment in Walls’ life. His original plans after college was to begin a career as a landscape architect, but he realized the possibility of actually turning football into a career.
He chose to pursue a career in his major. He moved to Aspen, Colo., where he worked at Design Workshop. He was the first black landscape architect in the company.
In disguise, football would enter back into his life while in Aspen. In 2008, he was laid off from Design Workshop. It was at this moment, he knew this was his opportunity to pursue his dream of playing professional football.
Walls said, he left corporate America and went back to the football field.
He moved back to Charlotte and started training. He was able to play for a Canadian League football and Arena League football in Pittsburgh, Penn.
Walls as a Businessman
Walls has several titles to his name including Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of TIME as well as managing partner of both the Charlotte Greek Picnic and NXL21 Charlotte Marketing Agency.
TIME stands for Taking Initiative Moving Efficiently was created while Walls was brainstorming during his student government presidential campaign. TIME was just a theory, but it would eventually develop into much more.
TIME started while the creator was in college, he said.
There was a police incident in one of the dorms, and a group of students went to address the 21st century students and bring awareness to the community of the different issues, Walls continued.
The young leader joined forces with the president of the Student Government Association who also had an initiative called MOVE to create a variety of platforms geared towards the men in the community. The rest is history.
TIME’s mission is to “take the initiative to provide efficient programs and solutions that will revitalize our community, social and economic value – EMPOWERMENT” (http://www.timetoempower.com/mission-vision/).
It is a service-based organization with a broad number of issues that are addressed, Walls said. There are three main concepts of TIME, which are the following: exposure of the mind, the next step and the state of.
The organization hosts YOUth EmpowHERment and YOUth EmpowerMENt Summits for middle and high school aged boys and girls annually. This September, the organization will kick off their MENtor Empowerment Network for 7 to 12th grade boys in Charlotte to “develop a bond built on goal specific engagement and empowerment” (http://www.timetoempower.com/news-events/).
Currently, TIME is planning its inaugural Single Mother Empowerment Symposium this year.
Walls, who briefly was raised in a single family home, explained he realized the importance for a program of this caliber based on the assessments gathered from to the boys and girls empowerment summits.
“We developed a concept of hitting each family member – one at a time,” Walls said.
The event will be hosted by Yasmin Young of Power 98 and will feature a celebrity keynote speaker, dynamic panel of single mothers and a five star meal.
This is an opportunity to provide single mothers with resources for their children and for them as a woman, Walls said.
Walls’ upcoming projects with TIME are far from all that he is doing right now. He is also preparing for the annual Charlotte Greek Picnic weekend. The weekend officially begins September 5 and ends on September 7. This year, the weekend will feature a stroll-off competition in partnership with the University of North Carolina – Charlotte’s National Pan-Hellenic Council. The weekend will conclude with the picnic at Marshall Park and the finale party at Re:Public in Charlotte.
He said the overall mission of the Charlotte Greek Picnic is to revitalize the Greek culture in Charlotte and allow doors to open for everyone.
The planning committee members are expecting everyone to have a great time and leave the concept that the Charlotte Greek Picnic has arrived.
“We are officially creating our own weekend,” Walls said.
On September 29, NXL21 Charlotte Marketing Agency will host a Freestyle Comedy Show at the Comedy Zone in the Music Factory in Charlotte. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Passion for football and chasing dreams
By now, Walls’ passion for football is apparent. He loves the game of football beyond the plays, the number of touchdowns or yards, but rather because of the commitment and discipline of the game that can be used in everyday life.
“Football is life, but life isn’t football,” Walls said.This is a quote he learned while playing in college.
He realized the quote could not only be applied to the field, but in life as well.
Football requires commitment and discipline and experiences in life require the same, he explained.
Walls also has a passion for coaching.
The value of coaching is developing a well-rounded man versus an athlete, he said.
He hosts various coaching camps in Charlotte for young boys and individual coaching sessions with youth athletes.
As a philosophical thinker, Walls is passionate about inspiration from a conceptual level and acting on possibilities.
“We all have dreams,” he said. However, few act on it.
Hope for a fulfilling life
Walls hopes for a satisfying life where he wakes up to do what he wants to do. He also hopes to eventually start a family.
A woman of God who is confident, doesn’t have to be totally involved in his career, and he can support her dreams are the qualities Walls is looking in his future wife.
“She knows her husband is invested in making her feel fulfilled,” he said.
Respect regardless of situations
Respect is “the value of being respectful to people regardless if they respect you or not,” Walls said. “As long as my actions are sincere, they will eventually see.”
Despite the circumstance and situations, respect can change perceptions.
Empowered by adversity
Different points in Walls’ life empower him to continue to move forward because the possibilities are limitless.
Walls explained that he’s experienced many blessings, setbacks and adversities, but they are all processes in life.
“I’m empowered by all processes,” he said.
Walls compares the instant rich person versus the person who becomes rich over time.
The person who becomes rich instantly misses the life lessons to understand how to stay rich versus the person who becomes rich over time will understand how to keep it, he said.
Walls’ calls those life lessons “moments of glory.”
Ambition to keep moving
Similar to Walls’ passion, hope and empowerment, he is ambitious to keep moving. He wants to continue to maximize his potential, which in turn equals quality.
“Quality is never an accident,” Walls said. “I never saw three years ago, I would be doing what I’m doing.”
Walls’ drive to keep moving and pushing towards his goals is what makes him the man that he is today.