Joel A. Freeman, Ph.D
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Raised in a small town in Alberta, Canada, Joel A. Freeman brings a rich reservoir of personal experience blended with contagious enthusiasm, clarity and down to earth humor to empower people from diverse walks of life with improved communication skills and maximized productivity (Click: Joel’s-OnePager). “Dealing With People Who Drive You Crazy!”® is not only the brand for his company, but also is the title of the most requested seminar experience… with a book in the works.
The Freeman Institute® (TFI), of which Dr. Freeman is CEO/Chief Mischief Maker, is a company with nine main arenas of expertise:
i. Workshop / Seminar / Retreat Facilitation / Keynote Addresses
ii. Reality-Based Organizational Culture Change
iii. Executive Success Coaching / Critical Incident Debriefings
iv. Black History Presentations / Diversity (Diversity Day) & Cultural Awareness
v. Entrepreneurship / Business Intelligence and Creativity
vi. Open Registration Seminar Events
vii. The Freeman Institute® Foundation / Rosetta Stone Replica Project
viii. freeman publishing — books, DVDs, films, ebooks, magazines, graphic novels, etc.
ix. Freeman Institute Tours — all-inclusive, educational tours of Israel & Greece
Dr. Freeman being interviewed on Canadian TV (2007)
Freeman participated in a Pan African Conference (Fall, 2002) addressing tribal warfare, AIDS and conflict management, with well over 100 African Kings and Queens in attendance (Benin, West Africa). Dr. Freeman is currently working on several films including, African Kings: A Journey Into The Past, Present and Future of African Kingdoms.
A seasoned, well-traveled veteran, Joel has an impressive list of satisfied clients ranging from the Prime Minister of Grenada (and his senior advisors), top government official & business professional of Nigeria, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Permanent Secretaries of Barbados to the White House Communications Agency (WHCA), Keller Williams, Secret Service, Defense Security Service (DSS), Rutgers University, National Security Agency (NSA), E! Entertainment Television, Blacks In Government (BIG), NASA, Verizon, FBI, GE, Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), EMI Music Group, Ikea, NRC, CDC, NTSB, YPO, DISA, NIH, Coakley & Williams Hotel Management, Association of International Schools of Africa (AISA), National Counterterrorism Center, US Sentencing Commission, Billboard Music Group, National Counterterrorism Center, Nigerian National Assembly Service Commission, Black Public Relations Society, European Council of International Schools (ECIS), many pro athletes and executives around the globe (Click: Joel’s-OnePager).
Dr. Freeman’s most popular seminar/presentation titles:
– Leading With “Why”
– The Curiosity-Driven Life
– Connecting Now With Later
– Diversity: The Value of Mutual Respect
– Enhancing Your Emotional Intelligence
– All Stressed Out And Nobody To Choke!
– The Surprising Benefits of Unselfishness
– A White Man’s Journey Into Black History
– When Strangling Someone Isn’t An Option!
– Dealing With People Who Drive You Crazy!®
– If Nobody Loves You, Create The Demand!®
– Lessons From Blades of Grass in a Concrete Jungle
– IGNITE (or re-ignite) Your Entrepreneurial Passion
– How Your Personality Impacts Your Personal Success
– When “Hurricane Bigotry” Collides With Common Sense
– Business Wisdom and Life Lessons from an NBA Chaplain
– The Mysterious Rosetta Stone: Cracking the Code to Your Team’s Success
– Professional Bloodsuckers: Dealing With the People Who Drain You of Your Time, Energy and Patience
Freeman Publishing. With about 750,000 copies in print, Freeman’s seven books and three DVDs have received rave reviews worldwide, endorsed by notables like Steve Forbes, Julius “Dr.” Erving, Cathy Hughes, Brian Tracy, Joe Frazier, Teri Woods, Ken Blanchard, Les Brown, Peter Shea, Rich DeVos, George Fraser, Pat Williams and Billy Graham — books published in 28 foreign translations:
1. RETURN TO GLORY®: The Powerful Stirring of the Black Man (book/audio book & film)
2. KINGDOM ZOOLOGY: Dealing With the Wolves, Serpents and Swine in Your Life
3. LIVING WITH YOUR CONSCIENCE WITHOUT GOING CRAZY
4. When Life Isn’t Fair: Making Sense Out of Suffering
5. A White Man’s Journey Into Black History® — (2-hour DVD)
6. Professional Bloodsuckers: Dealing With the People Who Drain You of Your Time,
Energy and Patience — (26-minute video VHS)
7. Dealing With People Who Drive You Crazy!® (4-hour VHS album)
8. If Nobody Loves You, Create The Demand® – (book/workbook/audio book combination)
9. Finding the Open Man: The Surprising Benefits of Unselfishness (coming soon)
10. GRIT: Blades of Grass in a Concrete Jungle (coming soon)
For 20 wonderful seasons Freeman worked in player development as veteran mentor/chaplain for NBA’s Washington Bullets / Wizards (1978-1998) – serving as a sounding board for the players of the team, some in upper management, members of the coaching staff, and also players from other teams. Survived six coaching changes.
Duties involved team meetings before every home game, counseling, studying with them, golfing, hanging out, spending time together discussing top-of-mind issues, helping new players and their wives feel welcome and a part of a new team culture, keeping in touch with their parents, and so much more. Absolute confidentiality. Kind of a combined player development assistant, empathic listener, kick-butt coach, mentor, counselor, spiritual adviser, pastor and confidant.
Quite a number of pro athletes from basketball and hockey to football and baseball have consulted with him on a variety of personal and professional matters.
Read the article Dr. Freeman wrote as a tribute to former Bullet’s player, Manute Bol who died on June 19, 2010. Joel was interviewed in the well-reviewed film about Manute aired on TV in Spain.
Dr. Freeman currently serves as a United States Secret Service chaplain.
Dr. Freeman’s 1978 NBA World Championship ring
Dr. Freeman making the audience laugh at Diversity Day event for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Freeman has served as mentor to Sports World (’98-’04), at the time an organization with ex-pro athletes who speak to close to a million young people every year. Freeman is a Diplomate member of the International Sports Professionals Association (ISPA).
Listed in Marquis Who’s Who in the World, Dr. Freeman holds a master of science degree in the field of counseling from Loyola College (Baltimore) and also a Ph.D. in the same discipline. A number of his Ancient Egyptian photographs have been published by McGraw-Hill, Teaching and Learning, Rosh Gadol (Israeli science magazine for kids), Nelson Educational, the Pharaoh’s Curse video game and utilized in countless educational settings.
As a State of Maryland Board certified professional counselor (intentionally inactive) and behavioral analyst, he specializes in equipping individuals with the tools to create proactive, motivated personal and business environments. His initiatives in government agencies, the corporate world, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations have received exceptional evaluations and references because of his articulate, entertaining, and thought-provoking style of communication.
Black History 365®
Dr. Freeman is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of BH365®, LLC. Joel is co-author (with former Superintendent, Dr. Walter Milton, Jr.) of the comprehensive K-12 Black History 365® curriculum, available for public schools across America (launched for Fall 2020). The main purpose of BH365® is to provide tech-savvy educational resources that will invite students to become:
- critical thinkers
- compassionate listeners
- fact-based, respectful communicators
- action-oriented solutionists
Unit One of the BH365® textbook documents the genius, creativity and productivity of the peoples of ancient Africa. We started in this manner, because we do not want to reinforce the notion that Black History started with enslavement. The engaging timeline (in the following 9 Units) continues on through the past 4 centuries, up to contemporary times and topics. We have included an entire Unit about the North Star and our connection to Canada through the Underground Railroad.
Images of documents and artifacts from The Freeman Institute® Black History Collection are used exclusively throughout the entire BH365® curriculum. Read more about Dr. Freeman’s personal story. (Email for more information.)
1. Authentic, priceless slave ball, with handle (50 lb.) — #3 written on it, for “trouble-makers”, manufactured late 1600s — used on the London-based slave ship, Henrietta Marie, the oldest identifiable slave ship wreck in the world (summer, 1700) ; featured in National Geographic’s (Aug, 2002).
2. Three Wedgwood jasperware black on white Anti-Slavery medallions, with the bound slave on the front, and the words “Am I Not A Man and A Brother?” around it. Also, a rare 1800s antique bronze figure of man (weighs 18 oz.) in medallion.
3. One-of-a-kind signed letters/albums/contracts/sheet music from Nat King Cole, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Louis Armstrong, B. B. King, Ethel Waters, Pearl Bailey, Miles Davis, Fats Domino, Quincy Jones, Earl Hines, Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis, Jr., Grover Washington, Jr., Count Basie, Mills Brothers, Ozzie Davis, Lena Horne, Four Tops, Cicely Tyson, James Brown, Charlie Pride, Bo Diddley, Bobby Blue and others…
4. A rare 1838 (third edition) copy of Phillis Wheatley’s book, “Memoir and Poems of Phillis Wheatley, A Native African and a Slave” — Includes memoir, George Washington’s letter to Wheatley, preface by John Wheatley, plus poems by another slave, George Moses Horton, with introduction and letters. And also the 1773 edition of the Gentleman’s Magazine — first published mention of Phillis Wheatley’s book, first printed in the UK, paid for by the Countess of Huntingdon.
5. The actual check Pearl Bailey was paid for her part in the movie, “Porgy and Bess. The check was signed with two signatures — Pearl Bellson and Pearl Bailey.
6. The actual signed contract for Ethel Water’s book, “His Eye Is On The Sparrow.”
Many documents and artifacts from The Freeman Institute Black History collection were showcased in the United Nations’ 75-day “Transatlantic Slave Trade” exhibition (both 2011 & 2012) held at the UN headquarters in NYC.
Well over a total of a million visitors reviewed both exhibits at the United Nations (2011 & 2012).
Also some of Freeman’s items have been featured in the ongoing UN-sponsored exhibition traveling around the world (Madagascar, Switzerland, Turkey, Bolivia, Sierra Leone, Colombia, South Africa, Mexico, Cameroon, & more.
Freeman has also exhibited items from The Freeman Institute Black History Collection in a number of other venues around North America, including the White House Communications (WHCA), Rutgers University, Harlem Book Fair, US Department of Justice, NSA, Frostburg State University, NOAA, EPA, NASA, NPR, Howard University, Blacks In Government, Eastfield College, FBI, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, US Secret Service, NTSB, and many more sites.
Dr. Freeman has been the recipient of numerous awards, citations, and honors. An example of one is the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “We Share The Dream” Award, with Baltimore Mayor as keynote speaker and the Maryland Governor as another honoree at the oldest annual MLK awards dinner event (est. 1988) in the Baltimore/Washington region.
Training two different delegations of High Commissioners from the Nigerian National Assembly Service Commission
Commission is responsible for hiring, training, motivating, disciplining and firing all government workers in Nigeria
Dr. Freeman is a popular speaker on the topic of Black History, speaking at Blacks In Government, NASA, Department of Justice, NIH, Verizon, ICE, Frostburg State University, Walter Reed Medical Center, AISA (Association of International Schools of Africa), SSA, FBI, ASALH (Assoc. for the Study of African American Life & History), Baltimore City Community College, Los Alamos National Laboratory and many other organizations around the world. On certain occasions, Freeman will bring 20-30 pieces of the TFI Black History Collection when invited to speak on the intriguing topic, “A White Man’s Journey Into Black History“®.
Freeman collects and studies vintage handwritten letters and first edition books, especially from the 16th century all the way to mid 20th century. He’s a big fan of primary source material. Dr. Freeman has cobbled together an a comprehensive article “Confessions of a Budding Truthcentrist.” In it he seeks to provide an even-handed definition and critique of both Afrocentrism & Eurocentrism. Read it here.
Dr. Freeman with one of his full-size replicas of the iconic Rosetta Stone
Ever the educational entrepreneur, Dr. Freeman has developed a number of models of the famous Rosetta Stone, including a stunning full-size, museum-quality 3-D replica, a “lost wax” fine art bronze, a 3-D digital holographic image, and more. One of his Rosetta Stone replicas was used on the set of the movie “Night At The Museum 3.”
Another massive project is the “Mysterious Rosetta Stone” traveling exhibit, designed for museums and science centers throughout North America, SE Asia, China, Europe and South America. Overview
Dr. Freeman officially launched the Rosetta Stone replica project at the Library of Congress (DC) in 2009, with his popular presentation, “The Mysterious Rosetta Stone” A Code-Crackin’ International Treasure.” Freeman has presented on that same topic at the National Security Agency (NSA) and other entities. There are many organizational wisdom lessons to be learned by your group about cracking the codes to: problem-solving, collaboration, leadership, team work, conflict resolution, cultural competency, creativity and productivity. He also has developed a short film, “Rosetta Stone: Replicating a Mystery.” [Video]
Captivating an audience of over 1,200 students at an “anti-bullying” event in DC.
(When you call, ask why he is holding the Shaq shoe)
As the Editor-in-Chief of the 32-page everyday matters® magazine, Freeman has developed a unique model designed to strengthen families by addressing felt-need issues like child rearing, emotional intelligence, dealing with aging parent, cyberbullying, etc. — along with compelling interviews with such notables as Joni Eareckson Tada, Manute Bol and more. The goal is to create regional distribution pockets with this free magazine throughout North America and then the rest of the English-speaking world.
Dr. Freeman is the host of “The Entrepreneurial Connection” — a set of 72 free radio 5-minute programs being picked up by radio networks around the world.
As a member of the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities (APCA), Dr. Freeman loves doing presentations on college campuses on various topics: the entrepreneurial journey, leadership, historical & contemporary significance of the famous Rosetta Stone, multicultural competency, emotional intelligence in corporate life, and more.
A number of years ago, Joel promised his children that when they reach the age of 15 each one could go anywhere in the world with him. Feel free to read about these trips and view some pictures.
“No matter where I travel, the human experience is similar and familiar. Parents want their children to receive a good education and marry a fine match. People of all nations yearn for the same things: economic independence, safety, housing, basic human rights and a greater purpose for their lives.” — Dr. Joel Freeman
TRAVELS: Dr. Freeman has traveled to 55+ countries around the world. Here are the top international travel experiences of Freeman’s life so far (in no particular order): 1. Great Pyramid at the Giza Plaza in Cairo and Fort Rashid (where Rosetta Stone was found by Lt. Pierre Bouchard) 2. Three-day safari at the Masai Mara Game Preserve in Western Kenya — unbelievable experience! (twice) 3. Northeast Thailand. 4. Montrose Jazz Festival, Switzerland. 5. Paul’s Prison and Catacombs in Rome, Italy…plus Venice, Naples, Pisa and Turin. 6. Hiking throughout the Qumran Caves and ruins of Jericho, and then swimming (floating) in the Dead Sea, Israel. 7. Red Square, Moscow. 8. Berlin Wall, Germany. 9. Budapest, Hungary. 10. Pyramids of Mexico. 11. “Fire-n-Ice” Iceland and the Blue Lagoon. 12. Beaches of Barbados. 13. David Livingstone’s home site, Botswana. 14. Badagry (Nigeria) slave port and also slave ports in Benin, Ghana, Togo, Mombasa (Kenya) and other similar sites. 15. DMZ, South Korea. 16. Scuba diving off the Great Barrier Reef, Australia — Ayer’s Rock and other sites in the Land of Oz. 17. Isle of Krk, Yugoslavia. 18. Around the coast of Northern Ireland. 19. Majdanek Nazi Concentration Camp in Lublin, Poland. 20. Gliding through the jungle on a zip line, Belize. 21. Panning for gold in northern Maine. 22. Beaches of Dominican Republic. 23. Sifting through some of the archaeological debris at the Temple Mount Antiquities Salvage Operation in Israel. 24. Fishing for salmon in Alaska & British Columbia, or fishing for northern pike in Alberta…or just plain fishing.
A younger Freeman, with Alcatraz in the background, while on vacation in San Francisco with his wife & family
25. Banging drums on a lazy summer Sunday afternoon in the Woodstock, NY town square with about 50 others…some old time hippies. 26. Hanging out with the family at home. 27. White water rafting for 15 kilometers of rough rapids & waterfalls in the Dominican Republic. 28. Off-road 4-wheeling 40-50 kilometers around the ancient hills of Jerusalem. 29. Cruising in the water around the Maldive Islands. Much more…
Of added interest, Freeman’s grandfather (on his mother’s side), Gerhard Schroeder, was the Volost Secretary of the White Army during the Russian Revolution (view the tribute and some photos).
Freeman has been quoted or written about in many articles and periodicals including: Washington Times, Maryland Gazette, Loyola Magazine, Diversity, Inc., JobWeek, Nation News (Barbados), Atlanta Constitution-Journal, New York Times, York Daily Record, Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, The Guardian (Lagos, Nigeria), The Guardian (Nassau), The Tribune (Nassau), NBA News and many other media outlets (e.g. Fox News Channel, ABC, NBC, CBS…).
Dr. Freeman has special interest in the archaeology, history, geography and topography of Israel, Greece and surrounding countries in the Middle East. His depth of knowledge of that region of the world permits him to function annually (every Spring and Fall) as a leader for groups traveling to that area. If interested, click here to check out his next trip to the region and then contact him.
A student of human behavior, Joel gets great delight out of watching “the lights go on” as people of all shapes, sizes, and hues increase the quality of their understanding about themselves and others.
“…Inventive. Intelligent. Smart. Brilliant. Creative Genius. A little weird, but strangely Einsteinish.”
One journalist stated, “Dr. Freeman is a man with a big heart and of varied interests…with a number of arenas of expertise. Some have called him a renaissance man…” To the casual observer it may seem that he is scattered all over the place with many projects. Ten miles wide, three inches deep. His close friends know that he has a strategic purpose for everything he does. In fact there are no more than two degrees of separation between any two projects that have inspired his passion…and execution.
Freeman is a bulldog with a smile. He only starts projects that are worth finishing. And then he finishes them…even if it takes longer than previously anticipated — inspiring others to take advantage of the developed resources. He has said, “I love working on big ideas and once I have purposed to take on a project, I am willing to hear ten thousand no’s to hear that one yes.” Freeman goes on to state, “And it’s also a lot of fun accomplishing, with God’s help, what others have said couldn’t be done.”
As a social entrepreneur, Freeman believes in doing good while doing well. Utilizing the multiplication principle, his whole purpose and motivation is to reach millions in this generation with win/win, high-impact, relevant resources and educational/inspirational projects that are multicultural-friendly, easy to duplicate, and are economically sustainable.
The next time Freeman speaks at your organization, play a very special version of Bingo. Let him know that you are playing and he may even help you win. Also, review one of Dr. Freeman’s finest, most popular and widely requested presentations — click here. By the way, you might also want to view a picture of his Pride and Joy. Remember, mischief is in his DNA.
After 65 years of marriage, Dr. Freeman’s parents (Katherine, 90 and Arthur, 91) passed from this life into eternity only 33 days apart (in early 2009). Joel has cobbled together a tribute site to honor them both — click here. You are about to meet two incredible people. Joel, his brother (Steve) and two sisters (Nancy and Beth) have pledged to continue the legacy of their parents with integrity, generosity, perseverance and with extravagant gratitude to God.
Long-haired hippie: Joel grew up in a small town of about 2,000 people in western Canada (Three Hills, Alberta). Left home at the know-it-all age of 17. Gave parents a whole lot of heartburn. By the time this picture (>) was taken, Joel had hitch hiked thousands of miles for 18-20 months around North America. Alberta. British Columbia. Washington. Oregon. California. Montana. New Hampshire. Vermont. Massachusetts. Maine. And much more.
Slept beside the road many nights. Met many fascinating and kind people. Asked a lot of questions. Learned much about people at street level — the good, the bad and the ugly. Experienced a lot and lived to talk about it. Life turned around in Maine…late 1972. Repaired relationship with parents about a year later. Developed a brand new passion and purpose for life.
A mere seven years after this photograph was taken, Joel became one of the first chaplains in the history of the NBA. Imagine how much juvenile thinking and behavior Joel had to confront to be able to function for 20 seasons at the NBA level.
Still a hippie at heart — cleverly disguised as an educator/innovator, entrepreneur & professional facilitator/speaker — motivated by the curiosity-driven life…
Joel at 18 years