Dunston’s Success Tip: Discipline

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The Black Star News’s special business correspondent Brenda J. Wyche recently spoke with 19-year-old entrepreneurial phenomenon Pernon Dunston about how he balances life, sports, business and school. The two met for an early 8 AM session. Dunston is Vice President of National Allotment Insurance Agency, located at 491 DeKalb Avenue, Suite 1, Brooklyn, New York and Dekalb Funeral Services, Inc., at the same address. Wyche wanted to know how fairy tales come true. She found that to begin with, the fruit doesn’t drop too far from the tree.

BSN: Pernon, you have the discipline and charm of a prince. Where did you acquire these character attributes?
PD: Well, people might think I learned it in military school, which I attended from age nine to 17. But actually, I knew all about discipline before I set foot in military school, and that would be from my father, Samuel Dunston. Many kids are sent to military school for disciplinary problems. My dad taught me all about discipline and then sent me to military school for further refinement and development.

BSN: I understand you have done some traveling abroad. Can you tell me some of the places you’ve visited?
PD: China, Germany, Australia, Jamaica, to name a few.

BSN: How did you end up traveling so extensively?
PD: Most of the time I was traveling with my school. My trip to Germany was with a class other than my own. It’s an unusual story, actually. I saw a student from another class selling candy -- a fundraising campaign for a class trip to Germany. Even as a young boy, I had an entrepreneurial spirit. I asked the other student how I could sell candy, too. The other student smirked and went on to explain to me all of these reasons why I can’t sell candy like him. So, I went to his class teacher and asked his teacher if I could sell some candy. To humor me, the teacher gave me one box of candy to sell and in less than an hour, I had sold the candy. I went back to the teacher and he gave me a few more boxes of candy. By the end of the campaign, I had sold more candy than anyone in his class. Although I wasn’t in the class, being that I sold so much candy, the teacher invited me to go with his class to Germany. I called my Dad and asked him if I should go. My father replied, ‘Pernon, seize this opportunity. When I was your age, the biggest trip we got to go on was to the State Fair!’ My Dad, being from the South, back in the day, we didn’t have the same opportunities to leisurely travel as we do today.

BSN: I understand you are a champion swimmer, you’ve been swimming since the age of two, competing since the age of 9, you snowboard, golf, and, Lacrosse to name a few of your recreational activities. Of all the sports and recreations you are active in, which is your passion?
PD: My passion is golf. My goal is to go pro one day. I owe my golfing skills to my teacher, the late Elmo Jones. He introduced me to the game and was like a grandfather to me. He was a great teacher and a good friend.

BSN: Pernon, you fit all this in to your busy life but still make time to help others. Please tell us of some of the charity work you have done.
PD: I have done volunteer work for Cabbs Nursing Home in Brooklyn, New York and Montrose Veterans Hospital. Currently, I am helping to build Music In The Key Of Love, a grass roots performing arts program for children and youth.
BSN: Pernon, do you drive?
PD: Mazda RX8.

BSN: Pernon, besides being Vice President of National Allotment Insurance Agency and Dekalb Funeral Services, what are some of the other businesses you are involved in right now?
PD: Right now, I own Number One Star Management, Inc. It’s a new company – only one year old. We focus on developing models, actors, and artists to get them signed with high-profile agencies. Right now we have two models and one artist.
I am also looking into getting into the franchise business, which shows great opportunity for success and I want to be a part of that success. It’s a business that serves the community. I like that idea.

BSN: What inspired you to get into the entertainment field as a manager?
PD: I can say I have been involved in management ever since I was 12 years old.  While attending New York Military Academy at age 12, I always had the responsibility of other people and I used what I learned from military school being a Lieutenant and in charge of many Cadets. That is how I developed an interest in managing people.

BSN: How do you accomplish so much while still attending college full time?
Pernon Dunston - I set a certain time to work on school and allot the remaining time for business and recreation. Time management is very important when working on a lot of different projects. I live by my Blackberry.

BSN: What is your educational focus right now?
PD: I am a sophomore at Nyack College. I major in Business Management.

BSN: Who are some other people you are inspired by?
PD: My father—that’s it. My father is President and CEO of National Allotment Insurance Agency and DeKalb Funeral Services. When I was younger, he always kept me with him while he did business and while he was in the office. My father taught me to do things the right way and to be honest. He taught me to be responsible and to complete tasks in a responsible manner. I thank him for that now because I enjoy the fact that I have a direction and defined goals early in life.

BSN: Pernon, you mentioned that you attended military school. How has that helped you in the business world? 
PD: The military taught me responsibility, trustworthiness, and integrity. 

BSN: Pernon, do you attend church?
PD: Yes.  Bethel Baptist Church in Brooklyn.  I make sure I put God in everything I do.

BSN: It has been a pleasure interviewing you today, Pernon.  Please share some of your favorite success tips, with us.
PD: Education is very important. Even though I’m already in business, you can never learn too much. Never stop learning. Also, know yourself and stay true to self; don’t try to be like other people just to fit in. Believe in yourself and never give up.

BSN: It has certainly been a pleasure talking with you today. Keep up the excellent work.
PD: Thank You.

To learn more about National Allotment Insurance Agency, LLC, call (718) 622-3888. DeKalb Funeral Services, Inc. (718) 230-3147/3127
Number One Stare Management, Inc. (718) 622-3888
Music In The Key Of Love, (646) 642-5814

Special business correspondent Brenda Wyche is CEO of Winning Strategies Consultancy Group, a Public Relations company in New York City.
(646) 642-5814

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