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Episode 96: From Struggles to Success: Just Cordell’s Unwavering Faith in God’s Plan

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In this episode, I’m thrilled to share with you the highlights of a recent episode where I had the pleasure of interviewing Just Cordell, a gospel hip hop artist with an inspiring story. And in this week’s career clinic, my special guest Carly Roszkowski, Vice President of Financial Resilience Programming at AARP and I talk about the journey to success after 50.

A Difficult Beginning and a Life-Changing Calling

Just Cordell, a former United States Marine Corps serviceman, began his music career in 2016. His journey, however, was not an easy one. Born under challenging circumstances and losing his sister at a young age, Cordell faced significant adversity. But he credits his faith and the unwavering belief of his mother in his calling for helping him overcome these challenges.

Growing up in the church provided Cordell with a safe haven, especially after the tragic loss of his sister. His faith also helped him navigate the struggles of PTSD following his service in Afghanistan. Cordell’s story is a testament to the power of faith and the importance of counseling in healing and growth.

The Power of Gospel Hip Hop

Cordell’s music is a unique blend of “fun expressive gospel music” with a whimsical feel. He draws inspiration from artists like Kirk Franklin, Mystikal, and Chance the Rapper. His latest project, “Just in Time,” is a testament to his faith, inspired by 1 Peter 5:6. Each song carries a message of trust in God’s plan and protection.

One of the standout tracks, “Ice,” is a personal testimony of Cordell’s journey from seeking approval from others to finding acceptance and love from God. Jess’s music emphasizes the importance of community and the power of faith in shaping one’s identity.

Inspiring the Next Generation

Cordell’s passion for gospel music is not just about creating uplifting tunes. He sees his work as a mission to inspire the next generation. When asked about his job, Jess humbly states that he gets to impact lives and make a difference through his music.

For aspiring gospel artists, Cordell’s advice is to have a strong identity in Christ and be rooted in the Word of God. He believes that gospel hip hop can be a powerful tool for bringing people into the kingdom and changing lives, as long as artists portray the gospel authentically and allow God to get the glory out of their lives.

Success after 50

Carly Roszkowski has a heart for giving back. After graduating college, she rode his bike 400 miles from Montreal to Portland, Maine, to raise money for AIDS research. This dedication to helping others extends to her work at AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), where she advocates for and assists older adults with employment and business ownership.

Advocating for Older Adults with AARP

AARP is committed to helping older Americans overcome age-related barriers in the workforce. They offer a wide range of resources, including a free job board, an employer pledge program, and a resume tool. They also support veterans through their AARP Veterans and Military Spouse Job Center.

The organization recognizes the changing job market and offers support for individuals looking for hybrid remote work or part-time opportunities. Their goal is to empower individuals to navigate and compete in the job market, providing a comprehensive range of resources to help them thrive in their careers.

Wrapping Up

Just Cordell’s journey from the Marine Corps to gospel hip hop artist is a testament to the power of faith, resilience, and the importance of giving back. His music and his dedication to inspiring the next generation make him a truly inspiring figure. I hope his story encourages you as much as it has inspired me. If so, please leave a comment and share your thoughts on the show.  To connect with Just Cordell on social media and stream his music, visit his Link Tree.

If you or someone you know works with youth, please sign up for my Success On Your Own Terms for Youth program.  Let’s empower the next generation together.  Until next time be informed, be empowered and be accountable.

Carly Roszkowski is the Vice President of Financial Resilience Programming at AARP is helping workers over 50 enjoy success in their careers.
Carly Roszkowski, Vice President of Financial Resilience Programming at AARP


The Journey of Overcoming [00:01:37] Just Cordell discusses his personal journey of overcoming challenges, including being strangled by his umbilical cord at birth and losing his sister in a car accident at the age of 15.

Dealing with PTSD [00:04:14] Cordell talks about his experience with PTSD after serving in the military and how he initially denied the impact it had on him. He emphasizes the importance of counseling and seeking help.

Starting the Day with Worship [00:07:43] Cordell shares his daily regimen of starting the day with worship and staying connected to God’s promises. He believes that worship sets the tone for the day and impacts how he interacts with others.

The Worship Conversation [00:09:00] Discussing the importance of worship and having a community of believers who can speak into your life.

Introducing “Ice” [00:09:36] Cordell talks about his favorite song “Ice” and how it reflects his personal testimony.

Lightning Round [00:10:44] I ask Cordell a series of rapid-fire questions to get to know him better.

The journey to gospel hip hop [00:19:35] Cordell discusses his inspiration to pursue a career in the gospel music industry.

Advice for aspiring gospel artists [00:21:10] Cordell shares advice for aspiring gospel artists, emphasizing the importance of having an identity in Christ and staying rooted in the word.

Working with Emanuel [00:24:04] Cordell talks about his experience working with Emanuel, formerly known as Da T.R.U.T.H., and the mentorship he has received from him.

The journey to AARP [00:28:39] Carly Roszkowski discusses his career journey, starting in the nonprofit world and eventually joining AARP.

AARP’s commitment to older adults [00:30:31] AARP’s commitment to advocating for and assisting older adults with employment and business ownership.

The Back to Work at 50 Plus program [00:36:20] Carly shares the success story of a woman who participated in AARP Foundation’s Back to Work at 50 Plus program, which offers coaching and support for individuals reentering the workforce or switching careers.

Resources for Job Seekers [00:38:34] Discussion of the various resources available for job seekers, including job boards, resume tools, webinars, and more.

Hybrid Remote Work and Part-Time Jobs[00:39:31] Exploration of the interest in hybrid remote work and the availability of part-time job opportunities for job seekers.

Support for Veterans and Military Spouses [00:40:44] Explanation of the AARP Veterans and Military Spouse Job Center, which provides resources and support specifically tailored to veterans and military spouses transitioning to the workforce.

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