Darryll Fortune works to uplift the human spirit, one segment of his motivational broadcast “A Brand New You” at a time. The program debuted on 860 AM WNOV in 2018 and will switch formats to an OnMilwaukee-sponsored podcast later this month.
As the name implies, the overall theme of “A Brand New You” is to improve listeners’ lives through positive thinking and actions. Fortune focuses on goal setting, personal growth, overcoming stress, rebuilding after setbacks and relationships.
“I encourage people to feel good and empowered so they get a sense of direction and then are able to plan that direction,” says Fortune.
Fortune approaches every topic with a mix of experience and empathy. He readily admits he’s not a therapist – although his guests often are – rather a person who has deeply reflected on his life and is refreshingly observant of others.
“I have 50-some years of paying attention, of making mistakes, of having successes. And that continues to this day: it’s all trial and tribulation and I am very open about and interested in all of it,” says Fortune.
Fortune grew up in a Kansas City housing project. He is the youngest of nine children – eight boys and one girl – and his father was killed when was 3 years old. He knew very little about his dad until he took his first job as a shoe shiner and customers who knew him shared stories.
His mother, who passed away from COVID-19 in April of 2020, worked tirelessly to provide a childhood for Fortune that he mostly remembers fondly.
“We were poor, but I didn’t know we were poor,” he says. “And even though we faced tragedy and death – losing my dad, my grandmother and four of my brothers – we still had a lot of fun.”
Fortune was incarcerated a decade ago, and this taught him a critical lesson: he never wanted to return to jail. Instead, he went on to graduate from the University of Kansas with a degree in Broadcast Journalism which polished his passion for storytelling and problem solving. Fortune has also kept a journal for most of his adult life to capture moments in his life and society.
Today, he has five decades of professional experience in communications, including strategic public relations, media relations, crisis communications, marketing, branding, internal communications, sponsorships, community relations, social media and fund development. Fortune currently works as Communications and Fund Development Manager at the Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy and sports an impressive record of previous employers including Johnson Controls, Northwestern Mutual, Sprint and the Milwaukee Center for Independence.
Fortune lives in Hartland with his wife whom he’s raised two daughters now ages 25 and 21. Despite the lack of diversity, Fortune says he “surprisingly” likes living in the Waukesha County village.
“Prior to living in Hartland we lived in Franklin and became best friends with four other families in the neighborhood. Our kids were all the same age and we spent a lot of time at each other’s houses,” says Fortune.
When his Franklin neighbors started to migrate to the northwest, the Fortunes eventually followed and today, two of the five Franklin families live near each other in Hartland.
Fortune is a devoted Christian and a committed church member, but “A Brand New You” is not a religious podcast. Although he sometimes incorporates themes of non-denominational spirituality, at its core the show is based on truth and authenticity, and Fortune’s intent is solely to motivate and empower his listeners while sharing his own ups and downs as a human being.
“I don’t want people to think that I know everything or that I’m an expert at life, I just offer my experiences. I talk very openly about my own fallacies, my screw ups and my struggles – along with my successes,” says Fortune. “Sure, I exercise three days a week, but then I will go and have wings and drink Hennessy. It’s all about balance.”
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.