Describe what you do with the Charlotte Hornets organization.
“I’m the Manager of Digital Development. Essentially, I oversee the positioning and overall look and feel of content as presented on Hornets.com.”
Who or what experience(s) have had the most significant impact on your career?
“For me, it was becoming an inaugural class member of the Marcus Graham Project [in Dallas, TX in 2009]. I think that was one of the defining moments of my career. The Marcus Graham Project’s mission is to diversify the advertising industry with various talent because at that time and to this day, there’s a lot of people in the advertising agency that don’t look like us. That program in its first year, I wasn’t just one of the first classes to go through it, but I was the first person to get a job out of the program. I was kind of the first success story. Being apart of an organization that helped [African-Americans] start their career in advertising and knowing that I was the first to do that, it’s historic.”
What does Black History Month mean to you?
“To me, it’s actually the unofficial start of the year. When I look at February and Black History Month, it feels like the unofficial start because from a non-Black History Month perspective, it just feels like New Year’s Eve and January just move so fast. February feels like, ‘Okay, I really need to focus on the year,’ and it just so happens that February and Black History Month tie together. When I start the year, it’s always with self-reflection. When I start self-reflecting, it’s always during a month when you see members of our community, over time, have created such an impact on society. I’m also learning more about prominent figures from our community that has done something to affect change. To know there are members that have done that and are highly-publicized during this time just means so much.”
How do you see yourself as a role model in the African-American community?
“I see myself as a role model in a way that, one, going back to the Marcus Graham Project and the first to get a job. Showcasing to the second class that, ‘Hey, this is a real, legit program you can take advantage of and move your career forward.’ I think that’s something that serves as an example. Outside of that, where you’re talking about the local community where I grew up or that I visited and had some sort of influence in, I look at it from the standpoint of me being an African-American web developer. Growing up, I didn’t know about African-Americans working in that field. Now serving as one and actually sitting on the board of a technological program at the Rocky River Academy of Information and Technology that specifically trains people on how to code, how to integrate technology in their daily lives and utilize that for a career path, that’s where I feel like they look at me and say, ‘This person actually does this sort of thing.’ A lot of people on that board are influential, but I’m the only one on that board that actually works in the field day in and day out. I kind of see myself as a role model in that regard.”
Are there any influential African-American role models in your life?
“I think the biggest person was my late mentor, Reginald Walston. For me, he was so impactful in my life and I know that may sound strange because you obviously have your mother, your father that you instantly go to. My father was able to teach me by showing me what to do and what not to do just by watching his actions. Reggie had a really hands-on approach and really teaching me, molding me through books and things like that. Not only that, but I also saw that he accomplished great things. He was so respected within his circles that when he passed and I saw the response from everybody, it just made me proud to be one of his mentees, really his only mentee. I’m accomplishing things I never thought I would. If I could go and talk to my 21-year-old self and say this is where you’ll be at, I probably would have never believed it. There’s still a lot of work to do and I know that work and those accomplishments in the future will be a lot because he set that foundation and hands-on approach.”