Dad 2.0 Summit 2017 Part 2: An Ode to Kia

Yes I’m still having adventures with the Kia Motors America Kia Cadenza. Dad 2.0 Summit was where I first met and became aware of the hashtag #KiaDad . I met John Dominguez as a first time attendee of Dad 2.0 Summit last year. He and I spoke about our children, family and our careers. We didn’t speak about cars. We spoke as men and our fatherhood journey. Yes they helped me get to my destination at my first #Dad2Summit which made me feel like a ‘prince for a moment.’ I mean who gets personally shuttled to an event for the very first time. I was new to this group of fathers, mothers too, the summit and new to it all.

First time meeting Kia & John Dominguez

I’ve been able to learn from a multitude of men, women and beyond from Dad 2.0 Summit. Many friendships have come of it. Some men have cheered me on daily. Seriously. Recently, post this year’s summit I’ve had some overwhelming hate directed at me. Such vacuous thoughts. Rather caustic assumptions. Even threats of harm.

I’m posting this as every voice should be heard. There is a manner in which to express ideas, thoughts and opinions. Unifying humanity is the goal. That is how I best am able to express my desired goal and to be part of my obituary. My purpose. Why I’m here.

The journey and life’s peaks and valleys are the commonalities that I share and express in my social media platforms. There will be times I share something that is my opinion, my beliefs or my views. I will  let my voice be heard. John Dominguez said that to me when I first met him. To be me.

At other event trips I’ve been on, John has expressed that same sentiment. It hasn’t ever changed. He has reinforced in me to really truly be me. It is clear via this blog that I am truly letting you all see/know me, Joël. I’m flawed. I’m a work in progress always, as life doesn’t ever stop letting you learn and grow. I’m many things.


That time I matched the Kia red leather interior….

The summit let me know that I’m not alone in this world. There are places and faces that desire to see little ‘ol me. Many of y’all came up to me and made it a point for us to engage in conversation. You made sure I was aware of who you were. That was a ‘whoop-tee-tah’ moment that kept occurring. Bam what!

This is not a boasting post or self-aggrandizing message. I’m letting you all know that I too am a fragile being. I’m dealing with depression. I’ve been taking on a lot for my family alone. Literally alone. There has been struggle and success. What last year and this year so far has taught me is that I truly do have support out there.


The Kia Cadenza chocolate leather is giving me life!

My world isn’t just what is here in my city in my daily modus operandi. It is sprinkled across the land and even in the UK. I met him in real life too. What a laugh! Totally a moment that I will have in my mind until my last breath has left my body.

The amalgamation of love, support, openness and growth that is ALIVE in Dad 2.0 Summit helped change and educate me beyond a writer, a blogger and a man. It was often I felt like I didn’t belong somewhere where I could make a difference. Being a first time panelist speaker talking about my perspective as a gay man, father and now a social media influencer has helped me make a difference.

Someone wanted to meet me and they made that happen at the event. They had heard of me by word of mouth. Yes it’s the thing on your body that makes sounds that are commonly known as words, sentences if you will and that is audible and the other human hears it. Then they respond. So technology isn’t fully taking over human interactions but it helps those conversations, ideas and beyond be spread across the world.

So in this meeting of someone I did not know at all. There was a moment of how I am making it known that life is just the same for me as it is for them. There is a plethora of differences but it’s the similarities that brought this person to want to sit next to ‘me’ and talk. They put a face, in real life, to the name they had heard about.

Always sleek even in the rain


My takeaway from this, my work with Kia, Dad 2.0 Summit and beyond is that I’m just glad that I’m still here. Even with my current woes I find that letting it all flow and to just be ‘me’ that I still will make a difference. It is beyond the nay-sayers, haters, those that want to cause me harm or wish it upon me.

Plus Kia has been a brand that has been supportive of many endeavors of mine. I’ve been invited to many events, experienced their awesome cars and even a recent event with B.R.A.K.E.S. that changed the way I drive forever. Here is a clip of that and stay tuned as more is to come.

Attitude of gratitude toward Kia Motors USA, John Dominguez and last but not least Dad 2.0 Summit.

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