“That sound wasn’t an electric fly swatter. It was a gunshot!”  

Wow! Most of my guests on my #MakeYourMark podcast have great stories, but when you hear of ex-NFLer @Hakeem Valles’ ordeal in Haiti, you’ll be drawn right in. Hakeem and special guest Max Valles jam so much entertainment and stories in less than an hour!

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Hakeem’s story impresses me because he made the bold move to retire from the NFL early mostly because he was doing so well in real estate development, and it was too challenging to balance learning his playbook while looking at leasing opportunities and multi-family building.

Max is still playing football, and we get to hear both brothers’ experiences surrounding football, and where both are headed going forward.


It will be hard to find two nicer guys, each with a great story of their journey to the NFL, and how each brother has a different path in life.

This episode stands out for its mood shifts, chill vibe, and great advice for athletes. You’ll truly enjoy hearing (and watching) this episode beginning to end!


Some Topics we talk about in this episode:

4:23 “We were always on the sidelines watching” [Growing up in Sicklerville, NJ]

7:37 “Monmouth was the only school that stayed faithful to me” [Hakeem’s recruiting process

9:25 “They had us lifting weights when I was in the eighth grade before I even went to the school” [Max’s high school football experience]

10:45 “It was a blessing in disguise” [Playing at the University of Virginia]

11:45 “Five slices of pizza at the end of every meal” [Hakeem’s switch from wide receiver to tight end]

14:18 “We were playing volleyball every night with a jump rope we tied to a clothing line” [Missionary work in Haiti]  

18:21 “That sound wasn’t an electric fly swatter. It was a gunshot” [Haitian bandits’ attack on the compound]

22:27 “Both of my shoulders feeling like they’re almost popped out because my arms were tied so tight behind my back” [Aftermath of the attack]

24:42 “That was definitely the best moment of my life so far” [Max’s NFL draft day]

26:25 “When they didn’t draft me I was pretty happy” [Hakeem’s free agent signing]

28:17  “At the end of the day you’re a puppet controlled by 32 of the wealthiest people in the world” [Lack of job security in the NFL]

33:35 “I’m looking at my in-season playbook and half of the page is Dallas Cowboys who to scout this week, and the other half of the page is investors to call, brokers to call, properties to check out” [Hakeem’s transition from football to real estate]

37:36 “We couldn’t fit the stairwell through the front door, but the window was big enough on the second floor” [From house flipping to property managing]

44:14 “It’s a big humbling experience … but I like Tim Horton’s” [Max’s move to the CFL]

48:25 Hit Your Mark

How to get involved

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  • If you would like more information on how I can get you unstuck and moving forward with your transition, let’s talk. We can see whether it makes sense to work directly with me, or I can give you other options, but don’t let your transition wait another day, let’s connect!

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How are YOU going to Make Your Mark today? Go get ‘em!