Derrick has mastered the art of turning life’s obstacles into launching pads to spread his message while inspiring and motivating individuals, groups, and workforces into action. His story is packed with trials and tribulations that lead to raging success. He’s a successful community organizer and team builder whose greatest achievements have been the lessons he’s learned from the challenges of his childhood and life.
Derrick Green is a World-Class Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, Life Coach, Husband, Father, Brother, and Veteran who has dedicated his life to the service of others while keeping God as his center.
Derrick’s late wife was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 33. She underwent an immediate lumpectomy and later a mastectomy, while also enduring a brutal chemotherapy regime. Sitting in chemotherapy lounges and watching beautiful humans suffer inspired Derrick to do something to ease the suffering.
Her appetite was minimal and had a difficult time keeping anything down. Derrick decided to create something delicious that could provide enough nutrients, even if only a small amount was ingested. He created a nutrient-packed pancake recipe that was B.R.A.T. (Bananas, Rice, Apples, Toast) compliant that would provide sustainable energy in small amounts. Sadly, her cancer proved to be too great and she lost her battle honorably.
Derrick, rather than being traumatized into being paralyzed was instead traumatized into action for others. He decided to share his findings with the world and converted his pancake recipe into a waffle and the Gourmet Apple Cinnamon Waffle Mix was born.
After serving several years of Active Duty and 6 years of Active Alaska National Guard service, Derrick decided to take a chance on the nutrition-packed recipe his late wife inspired and founded Waffles and Whatnot. He began with a picnic table on the sidewalks of Anchorage, Alaska, and soon after upgraded to a food truck.
Nine months after selling his first waffle to Miss Jasmin Smith, Derrick was invited to Palo Alto to Facebook where he was inducted as a member of Facebook’s Small and Medium Business Council. His social media organic and paid outreach was extraordinary. Facebook had to meet the man that paid pennies for paying customers. They will study his social media outreach for the rest of his life. During his time at Palo Alto, he gained an even deeper value of community as well as how to better reach the people he hoped to serve. It was an amazing experience that motivated him to perpetually ask the question, “What else can I do?”
Derrick prided himself on creating recipes that people would truly fall in love with. So many customers asked for packaged mixes to send to their families that he decided to reinvent WAWN once again. He flew to Seattle where he traveled from Washington to California and then to Michigan, visiting various manufacturing facilities along the way. He returned to Alaska with a working knowledge of how to set up his own manufacturing operation and WAWN Family Products was born.
2018 began a challenging time period for Derrick and WAWN as he struggled to help his mom as she battled cancer and AIDS. He observed her taking handfuls of her daily regime of treatment medications. He decided to try and reduce the number of pills she had to swallow by creating what is now known as the Bad Ass Yard Bird a.k.a. Mama’s Best Fried Chicken batter. With that combination of BAYB fried chicken, Apple Cinnamon waffle, and House Sauce, she was able to get rid of six pills.
Unfortunately, Linda Gilliam lost her battle and passed away on November 1, 2018. Determined to see his goal through, Derrick opened the first Waffles and Whatnot in Eagle River, Alaska on November 23, 2018, just 7 days before a 7.1 earthquake completely destroyed the restaurant’s equipment and food supply. He invested everything he had into that restaurant. Due to the earthquake, the damages were too severe to reopen. Derrick lost his home and Waffles and Whatnot within 24 hours of each other.
Again, Derrick pressed forward although it seemed everyone around him wanted him to quit. He kept his faith and managed to reopen a new location in March 2020. Grit, resiliency, and perseverance paid off as the new Waffles and Whatnot location blossomed into a huge success. It was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives with Guy Fieri who then invited Derrick to Guy’s Grocery Games.
Derrick was subsequently interviewed by Entrepreneur Magazine, Food Network, and Cuisine Noir, and was even featured in USA Today. In November 2022, Waffles and Whatnot became an SEC-registered franchise available for purchase across the US.
Derrick’s vision is as sharp and focused as a hungry falcon locked onto a pigeon. Through faith, gratitude, and informed action, Derrick turned all of his tragedies into determination. The result is what’s remembered. That is what goes down in history books. Sometimes, obstacles are stacked sky-high. It’s your decision to climb.