Throughout his lifetime, Jemal Omar Gibson has been called to teach, to speak, to serve, to lead and to inspire. A man full of determination and resilience, Gibson is a talented author, much sought after motivational speaker, corporate executive and philanthropist, whose goal in life is to inspire others to live their best lives regardless of their circumstances and surroundings.
In his first book, Drugs: My Curse, My Savior, Gibson chronicles how he escaped the surroundings that unapologetically threatened to destroy him. He recounts his humble beginnings and tumultuous journey through the dangerous streets of Chicago’s west side, his unlikely college experiences, his military triumphs and his ascension up the corporate ladder. Born to drug addicted parents, he was forced to navigate through the toxic world of illegal drugs, poverty, and violence in search of a better life.
As his parents struggle with their drug addictions, Gibson is forced to live with six different families and attend 11 different grade schools before graduating high school. After being accepted into Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU), Gibson traveled to Tallahassee with a friend and the friend’s family to start his journey towards a college education. With only $20 to his name when arrived on FAMU’s campus, Gibson would go on to manage billions of dollars in his professional career.
Ironically, while illegal drugs destroyed his family, Gibson found success selling legal drugs as a pharmaceutical sales executive. It is an incredibly intertwined duality of legal and illegal drugs, a delicate balance that Gibson manages daily as his loyalty to his family and friends constantly pulls him back to the streets.
Drugs: My Curse, My Savior has received rave reviews and Gibson has received a Best Selling Author Award. He was recognized as a featured author at the 2011 National Book Club Conference and presented alongside Walter Mosley, Judge Glenda Hatchett, Roland Martin and Kimberla Lawson Roby.
After graduating from college, Gibson served as an Infantry Officer in the United States Army. He was selected to the Commandant’s List for graduating in the top 10% of his Infantry Officer Basic Course and also completed the elite US Army Ranger and Airborne schools. As a soldier, Gibson was a standout among his peers and acknowledged for his honorable service and excellent leadership skills. An old injury sustained after being shot while in college and a parachute malfunction, led to an honorable discharge from the Army.
In 1995, Gibson joined Pfizer Pharmaceuticals as a sales representative in St. Petersburg, Florida. He has won numerous sales awards, and was one of Pfizer’s youngest regional managers in the US with the responsibility of managing a team of 160 individuals and delivering billions of dollars in sales. Currently, Gibson is a Customer Business Director for AzstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals.
Throughout his professional career, Gibson has proven to be a gifted communicator with an unparalleled ability to inspire and motivate. He commissions individuals to reach their full potential and optimize their lives. He has trained thousands of individuals on a variety of personal and professional leadership development strategies. He has spoken at countless workshops, and for various organizations and corporations including Kraft, AT&T, Pfizer and the National Sales Network just to name a few. In March 2012, Gibson was invited to speak and lead panels during the Steve Harvey Disney Dreamers’ Academy in Orlando, Florida.
In April 2012, Gibson received an especially humbling honor when the FAMU National Alumni Association presented him with the prestigious Distinguished Alumni Award. This award is an outward display of gratitude by FAMU to publicly acknowledge supportive alumni who have distinguished themselves in their respective professions. Gibson received this award for his professional achievements, community leadership successes and his contributions and support to FAMU.
In 2010, he established the Jemal Gibson Suit Scholarship Mission, which provides $30,000 to FAMU’s School of Business and Industry (SBI) to purchase business suits for students in need. The suits are a requirement for specific classes and forums within SBI. In 2011, Gibson created the The Men of FAMU Fine, Fit & Forty+ 2012 calendar, featuring fellow FAMU alumni. All calendar proceeds were donated to the University to supplement its’ scholarship programs.
Gibson’s desire to see people reach their full potential leads him to spend as much time as possible supporting various community initiatives. He financially supports organizations focused on helping and counseling children whose parents are struggling with addictions or recovering from substance abuse. He has donated hundreds of books to substance abuse centers, community organizations and book clubs aimed at inspiring others to rise above their circumstances, and to help improve literacy. During Hurricane Katrina and the 2011 tornados that devastated parts of Georgia and Alabama, Gibson helped secure corporate donations and volunteered his time to help others recover.
Gibson currently resides in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia with his wife, Lisa and three beautiful daughters: Iman, Zhara and Nadya.