The NAACP San Diego Branch is pleased to honor Leonard J. Thompson III at our 2019 Freedom Fund Dinner!
President & CEO M.A.N.D.A.T.E. Records Inc.
Leonard J. Thompson III is the youngest of two children raised in a single parent household but by no means at a disadvantage when compared to his peers who were raised with two parents. His mother made it very clear that any hardships he faced in life would never be an excuse to fail but only a reason to prevail and achieve what many would say was impossible. Leonard’s upbringing has always been rooted in the church culture where he learned to depend on God for everything and use his bull- dozing faith along with his God-given talents to excel. Most of his ambition stems from his loving mother and sister who were his biggest supporters and wouldn’t tolerate any non-sense when it came to his education and goals in life. When his dream of playing football was ended with an injury he suffered as a teen, this set back became a set up. As a young and gifted musician in the church Leonard continued to excel in education with notable accolades. From community service and involvement to elected positions such as ASB President, ASB Vice President & Race Human Relations Chairman as well as ASB & Regional President of his high school. In 1983 he ultimately became the first African American valedictorian of James Madison High School an achievement that provided a glimpse into his future endeavors. His educational excellence earned him a full Regent & Chancellor Academic Scholarship to the University of California, Berkeley.
While there he majored in Psychology of Business Management & Productivity while continuing to carry on his community service with the African American Student Union and the U.C. Berkeley Partnership Program where he developed his gift for working with inner city youth and programs. While in Berkeley he accepted his call into the ministry at Mingleton Temple Church of God In Christ and shortly thereafter was named youth pastor. After returning to his home church in San Diego, Greater Jackson Memorial Church of God In Christ, Mr. Thompson joined the ministerial staff and was soon appointed youth pastor and then elevated to the San Diego Regional youth pastor. After completing his Bachelor’s degree in Business Management at San Diego State University and receiving a Masters of Science degree in Educational Counseling from Point Loma Nazarene University, Mr. Thompson was selected as one of four men hired by San Diego City Schools to develop a program to improve the academic achievement of African American males. This program was highly visible and received acclaim throughout the United States. The program has since grown to include Latinos and is now co-ed. Mr. Thompson continues to advocate, train and mentor teachers as well as thousands of youth while still remaining a national and educational business consultant who currently works with major organizations to improve their cultural climate. With the success of this program he also co-founded Changing Paradigms in 1991, an Educational Consulting and Leadership Development firm. This company serviced top educational institutions, major corporations, community organizations and churches. As President and CEO of Changing Paradigms Leonard strategically assisted and trained top executives and their management teams in diversity, cultural proficiency, race relations as well as organizational management, restorative justice and team building.
In 1995 Mr. Thompson founded M.A.N.D.A.T.E. Records Inc., an acronym that stands for (Making A Necessary Difference At The End). A Christian-owned and operated record label that has since grown from a small home-based business to one of Southern California’s premiere labels. Although considered a grassroots company, M.A.N.D.A.T.E. Records has made a tremendous impact on the Gospel, Christian Contemporary and Jazz music communities by successfully creating and producing many concert style events designed to mobilize neighboring communities, cities and states. These events served as platforms that would give visibility and opportunities to their artists and many others. Such events included but weren’t limited to The San Diego Praise Fest, USD Gospel Slam, Praise in the Park, Sunday Night Live and The Fishhook. The label also sought avenues to broaden the reach of its artists and their music by creating The G.R.I.D.I.R.O.N. The Genesis, The Sisters For Souls, Street Smart and Rock the Block tours. M.A.N.D.A.T.E. Records currently co-produces the largest and longest running annual gospel festival at The San Diego County Fair, is the originator and producer of Jazz At the Creek, a concert series, and Bayside Gospel Concert Aboard the USS Midway. For several years M.A.N.D.A.T.E. Records has co-produced the Gospel Brunch at select House of Blues locations. The label has over 40 recording projects to its credit and has remained an artist friendly company to its own as well as others seeking an independent career in music. The label has restructured in order to better serve its artists in the area of artist development, preparing them for worldwide exposure. Mr. Thompson was also instrumental in negotiating the first efforts in 2014 to bring gospel music radio programming back to the city of San Diego on terrestrial radio on Sunday mornings. In addition the label most recently in 2018, launched a 24/7 internet radio station called GODRadio1.com. With a successful format that promotes Health & Wellness using inspirational music programming, informative talk-shows and political community forums with iconic interviews to establish a game-changing format, GODRadio1.com sets itself apart from any others.
To date M.A.N.D.A.T.E. Records has grown to a multilevel entertainment group to include music, TV, and event production services. With over 35 years in ministry and community service Leonard J. Thompson III continues to cherish the opportunity to remain a change agent in today’s society. With the continued support of his loving wife, daughter. granddaughter and extended family he truly believes all things are possible through Christ who strengthens him.
The Freedom Fund Dinner is an annual event that, in addition to celebrating our supporters, recognizes groups and individuals who have contributed to the cause of Civil Rights and racial justice throughout the City, County, State and Nation. This year will be an extraordinary celebration, as we look back on the 100 years since the founding of the San Diego Branch, and look forward to our bright future.
The evening is sure to be memorable and enjoyable for all.