Interviewing the Account Manager/Investor
Where are you from?
What is it that you do currently?
I am currently an Account Manager for Dow Chemical, with North America market responsibility for Textiles and Industrial & Institutional Cleaning customers. Outside of my main role I am a part of our Global African Affinity Network (GAAN) employee resource group at Dow, where I serve on the Global Communications team and I am the lead for the company’s Inclusion & Diversity efforts at Howard University.
What motivates you everyday to do what you are doing?
Yvonne Smith. My mother motivates me every single day. She raised me as a single mother on the southside of Raleigh, NC. Seeing her selflessly sacrifice on a daily basis to position me for success later in life keeps the fire in my eyes.
Who was the biggest motivator growing up that led to the Black man you are today?
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and that was particularly the case for me in a single parent household. Although my village kept me motivated, ultimately the biggest motivator was my mother. She dedicated her time and discretionary income to go above and beyond to keep me busy in extracurricular activities from sports to Boy Scouts to STEM classes at NC State University until graduating from high school in 2012. My mother was adamant about me taking advantage of opportunities and gaining exposure to areas she didn’t have the access to growing up in rural Winterville, NC. Growing up I didn’t understand why she wouldn’t allow be to be like other kids on the block who were allowed to stay out past the streetlights and go to all the skate ranch and Troop 41 parties on the weekend. I used to resent her for it, but as I look back on what that instilled in me to this day, I’m grateful. She didn’t want me getting mixed up in the environment I was growing up in because she saw a future for me that I didn’t see for myself. I’ll be damned if I let all her sacrifice be in vain.
What college did you attend? & How did it prepare you currently?
I attended thee greatest Historically Black College, North Carolina A&T State University where I majored in Accounting. A&T didn’t just prepare me, it completed me. Coming out of high school I used to think white ice was colder in terms of prestige, so I initially applied to PWIs in North Carolina that I believed would provide me with a corporate accounting opportunity at Fortune 100 company. I was so wrong, after orientation I quickly became educated on the history of excellence and legacy of achievement produced by North Carolina A&T and HBCUs as a whole. Attending an HBCU allowed me to be unapologetically black and live in my truth while simultaneously equipping me with the tools and experiences I needed to excel in a world that doesn’t look like me. I wouldn’t be the same personally, professionally or socially without my alma matter.
How important is it to have positive Black people around you?
It is essential for my growth. Seeing is believing for me. I set goals and developed aspirations for my adult-self based on the examples other black men and women set for me growing up. Whether it was my black woman pediatrician I had throughout grade school or my mom’s friend from Morehouse who became an investment manager after graduating with his MBA from Harvard. I aspire to inspire like the figures in my life who shed a light on what was possible as an African American.
What’s a special talent or hobby you love to do in your spare time?
In my spare time I like to go to the shooting range. For me it’s a great way to release stress. I purchased my first firearm back in June and I enjoy sharpening my marksman skills when I can. It’s an expensive hobby but I try and make it to the range at least once a month.
What does being a Proud Black Person mean to you?
Being a Proud Black Person means protecting my family’s name and our culture through my actions and everyday decisions. We all fall short of the glory of God but as a professional, as a man, and as a son, I strive to become better every day. Our ancestors walked so we could run, and I hope to leave this Earth making sure the generation of black men and women behind me can fly.