Especially in the last year, we’ve seen a lot of supposedly real Shelton Haynes portrayals appear online. That’s inexplicable, given that the man’s not a chameleon. He’s real, but most recently, his Hampton alumni newsletter, nudges out a whole new, almost surreal persona. One Roosevelt Islander calls it, “Another sad display of complete delusional self-promotion…”
But does that doesn’t do it justice?
by David Stone
Hampton University’s October 2023 Alumni newsletter features Alumni Highlight: Shelton Haynes ’00. The positive here is that it overturns my doubts about whether Haynes really graduated, but the rest is like swimming in soup. Alphabet soup and without a spoon.
Would the Real Shelton Haynes Please Stand Up?
Is this the RIOC President/CEO we know? Or is it the man who 92% of Roosevelt Islanders want out in a recent survey? Let’s take a look at the guy in the newsletter.
- “While studying, Haynes began his own business as an on-campus barber. In those barbershop conversations, Haynes developed a strong emotional intelligence and increased networking– all the tools necessary to make a President and CEO of a major organization.”
RIOC is, of course, not “a major organization.” It’s a barely controllable, bloated NYS patronage dump. In fairness, it may be harder to manage than a major organization when you consider the herding cats analogy. Herding a corral hobbled by underachievers in high places earning way too much money…?
That sounds hard.
Sadly, though, Haynes never brought his barbering skills to Roosevelt Island. There’s no competition.
But are “…a strong emotional intelligence and increased networking– all the tools necessary to make a President and CEO of a major organization…?” Is it possible the writer missed a couple of attributes there? Oh, like leadership skills, imagination, integrity, openness, that sort of thing.
- “I refer back to emotional intelligence because people did not understand that value, especially in these senior leadership roles,” he says, showing his early penchant forward forward-thinking.
But Daniel Goleman published his landmark Emotional Intelligence in 1997, three years before Haynes’s graduation. It’s possible that a few others besides our pioneer understood “that value.”
- “Haynes shared that he feels it is a privilege and responsibility to hold his current position. ‘I can walk in any room and feel comfortable. I don’t change my voice, and I don’t cower. I go into each room to provide an understanding that I belong.’”
Really? Which rooms?
- “When we spoke with Haynes on his listing in the 2022 and 2023 Manhattan Power 100 list, he shared that he had no idea how he made the list.”
But one reader objected: “To get on these lists, someone has to nominate you- your mom, a friend, or a coworker. We can guess he probably nominated himself.” Considering Haynes’s lack of achievements and his lawsuit playing the race card as a helpless victim, nothing registers as the sign of power in Manhattan – Kansas or New York.
- “‘I’m the first person from my corporation who has been a part of it, to be honest,’ Haynes boasts. ‘And the very real answer is without tallying ourselves, the work will show. And so, for me, just paying it forward is a big deal to me.'”
File under things that make you say, “What?”
- “Haynes adds that young black men aspiring to be CEOs and thought leaders should establish their goals, cultivate a strong work ethic, and never underestimate the power of mentorship, networking, and embracing challenges.”
If “power of mentorship” didn’t make you gasp, you probably don’t know that, according to multiple sources and lawsuits filed against him, Haynes secretly recorded a phone call with his mentor, Susan Rosenthal, and played it back for other African-American co-workers at RIOC to undermine her.
That recording played a major role in her being fired, and guess who got her job?
When you think about it, in a twisted way, that may be one result of the power of mentoring, especially for the mentee.
- “As a student of his craft, Haynes believes not only is it his duty to serve the community but a calling that has led to a fulfilled life.”
That “fulfilled life” now includes an extended medical leave as he deals with stress from perceived racial discrimination and a floundering state agency awash in chaos and agitation.
The larger story though is that, while the alumni article is so disjointed it barely misses surreal, you can read from it that Haynes knows what doing the right thing is. He’s so close. Maybe a life-changing turnaround is possible.
Unlikely, but possible.