Provenance: Started out in a trailer park outside Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His mother passed when he was six and his dad, when he was nineteen. “It took a great, great village of relatives and neighbors” to raise me. Learning: First in his family to go to college. Earned marketing degree from Southern Louisiana University, 2002. Pre-Law: Worked for eight years in sales and in career development and training for a mortgage company, a medical supply firm, and PricewaterhouseCoopers, among others. At BC Law: As LAMBDA co-chair, turned vandalism of the student office into a community-wide rally in support of LGBT colleagues. Also, LSA President. Next: Associate at Proskauer Rose, Boston, in private investment funds. No Place Like Home: “I keep a bottle of Tony Chachere’s at home. It’s a local Creole seasoning I cook with.”
Leadership comes out of a sense of duty about giving back. I have been so blessed with so many opportunities in life, so many doors have opened. I came from humble beginnings.
When I was young, my dad told me, “Don’t waste time going to college because you’re going to work at the plant with me.” But it was entirely too hot in south Louisiana to work outside, especially in long sleeves. I knew I had to do something else. I never dreamed I would go to law school. I was surprised I even made it to undergrad.
“It’s not about what you know, but who you know. Particularly with law.”
A week after college graduation, I bought a one-way ticket to New York City. I had never left the state before. I packed two bags, got on the plane, found my apartment, and immediately started looking for jobs. I got one as a singing waiter in Times Square. But I wanted to take over the world, to be an ad executive, run somebody’s company. Two bags packed in New York with no contacts. It was just crazy. After a month, I decided to go home.
I was a corporate trainer working in Atlanta when the recession hit. That’s when my understanding of the importance of networking came into play. I worked for three companies in two years that went out of business, and each time, because of my network, there was another company ready to snatch me up.
In project management at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, there was a crisis every day. You learn that if you focus on the problem, nothing gets done. You have to focus on the solution. It was a great learning experience and translated into really good skills as LSA president later in law school.
I helped establish a 1L boot camp to teach first-years the art of networking. It’s been the highlight of my law school career.
I love being a lawyer because I love being part of a profession. When I go to events and am in a room full of my colleagues who are doing amazing things, and I think of all people who’ve gone before me, I really feel part of something bigger.
Networking is all that’s important to me. Networking. Networking. Networking. It’s not about what you know, but who you know. Particularly with law. On my gravestone, it will say, “Networking. Networking. Networking.”