What piece of advice changed your life?
To be the change I wanted to see. The advice was to be empowered to have more say in my own fate. When I was a freshman at Babson, other black students were talking about transferring. I thought: If we transfer, Babson doesn’t get better. If this place isn’t inclusive to the point where people want to stay, how do I make a change? How do I help improve it so it’s better for those who come after me? Sophomore year, I was elected president of the Black Student Union. My first priority was to get black alumni back to campus for a Black Affinity Conference. There were a lot of naysayers. Twenty years later, we had over 200 people registered for the 19th Black Affinity Conference. It’s amazing.
How has being a member of the Babson community helped impact your career?
I went from working 60-hour work weeks as an employee to working 20–30 hours as a franchisee so I can give more time to Babson. So I can do student interviews. So I can work with the Black Affinity Network. So I can serve on the alumni board of directors. So I can serve on the centennial planning committee. My passion is being able to give back and seeing what the seeds I plant grow to become.
Why does the world need more leaders with an entrepreneurial mindset?
Too many people are set with, “This is how it’s always been done,” even when they can clearly see that how it’s been done isn’t working anymore. They don’t have the wherewithal to pivot and ask, if this isn’t working what do we need to be doing? My second year at Babson, we took a class that asked how change friendly we were. I got the highest marks. Being in a situation where no matter what happens, I can figure out a way to make it work is important, especially with how quickly industries are changing. You need to be able to pivot in your work and in your life.
What do others need to know about Babson?
I interview prospective students a lot. I talk to them about who they want to be and the life they want to live. A lot of times, students in high school don’t necessarily know what they want to be, but they have a picture of a lifestyle they want. Like traveling. If you want to travel the world, does this career path give you the opportunity to do that? That’s backing them into design thinking, which is a uniquely Babson thing. I’ve heard it in other places, but they don’t do it like Babson.