By Ron Wynn
Indianapolis' John Girton has always believed in creating opportunity rather than waiting for it or expecting others to find it for him. From his boyhood days doing everything from a paper route to being a youth videographer and DJ, to later careers as a tour manager, journalism instructor and heading a diverse and multifaceted business (which he relocated to Indianapolis from Nashville in 2011), Girton has always stayed so busy the word prolific hardly describes him.
He currently juggles motivational speaking, life coaching, media consulting, individual and group counseling on business and personal matters, video streaming and a host of community based initiatives, including mentorships. fatherhood support groups and numerous others that keep him plugged into what's happening in Indianapolis' various communities.
"After over 20 years of being involved in empowerment and entrepreneurship, my biggest goals and greatest joys today are helping others," Girton told me in a recent interview. "I use my company to show others how to maximize their attributes and take advantage of the opportunities that are available today. This is an era where technology and chances to succeed are plentiful for those who know how to find and take advantage of them, and that's really the thing that drives me."
At the same time, Girton operates numerous other things within the framework of Multi Media Inc (formerly Multi Media LLC when it was in Nashville). He's very active in social media, with a much followed Twitter and Facebook page. He publishes a monthly newsletter and is frequently booked throughout the region as a motivational speaker through John Girton Speaks. A former journalism and telecommunications professor at both Tennessee State University and Ball State University, Girton is also in the process of completing a master's degree in urban ministry, finishing something he started back in 1994.
"I took courses for my masters in three different places, at Martin,Trevecca and even Tennessee State, but never completed it," Girton recalled. "I got so busy doing different things and projects. Then I came back to Indianapolis and eventually the folks at Martin asked me about finishing it. They noticed I had a lot of prior credits. I wanted to make sure all the other credits I had would count and they told me they would, so I plunged back in. I'll be completing that sometimes next year."
In addition to all these other things, he's a family man with three children, one of the reasons he's so committed to community activism and putting his talents and knowledge to work on behalf of others. Towards that end, he's constantly pursuing coalitions and partnerships, one of which will soon be with Everything Underground, an entity he sees playing a critical role in filling a important gap in the city.
:"Right now with all the pieces that I've got in and place and all the things that are happening, the one thing I constantly hear from people is where do I go for this and where do I go for that," Girton said. "I see Everything Underground as a place where resource information and news can be made available, as a vital clearinghouse of things so that when there are important events in this city or state, when there are news things going on that people need to know, they can come to Everything Underground as a key place for all that type of material. "
"Indianapolis is such a big place that too many people who aren't in some of those pillars of the city can get lost, and feel like they have no resources or place to go. I certainly see Everything Underground joining forces with us in some of the things we're doing media wise to fill those gaps."
"This is one of the largest cities in America, but there remain some areas where they are behind some of the smaller cities in the South," Girton continued. "There are some things that my company did in Nashville that are just now happening here in Indianapolis. Part of it does have something to do with the size, with people being so spread out and there being more different constituencies that you have to engage."
"But I think also the reality is that there's not always been enough of the targeted, joint coalitions that address the concerns of underserved communities in the organized, coherent fashion that is essential in this environment," Girton added. "That's \ where I really am enthusiastic about Everything Underground, especially as a resource center. There are all types of things we're doing with libraries, churches, other groups where we can definitely use the help of Everything Underground in getting the word out."
"There are also not a whole lot of places committed to presenting those stories and spotlighting people who don't get on the local news or in the mainstream press, and that's another area where Everything Underground can play a big role. It can be that center where people know they'll see stories others have ignored or overlooked."
"The future is going to belong to people who are able and willing to go out and make things happen for themselves," Girton concluded. "We've got to go into these communities and convince people that they can take control of their lives, that they can count and they can make a difference. Right now that's not happening enough. It is one of the things I've been battling since I got into business, and it's still something I want to combat. Hopelessness comes when people feel powerless and unable to change their circumstances. There are so many things that are there that they don't realize they can utilize, and that's been the focus of all the things I do. I look forward very much to Everything Underground becoming a part of that campaign to change things, not just in this city but across this state and even beyond that."