In your own words, what’s your story? How did you get to where you are today?

I started out developing websites in college to pay for rent because I was too proud to ask my family when I needed things. I’ve always been really proud to a fault. It went from a hustle to a big source of my income. Then I graduated in Media Communications from Full Sail University, moved to LA and landed my first job in Beverly Hills as the only Project Manager and eventually one of a few Digital Media Specialists at a digital creative agency that was well past the startup stage.

I was grossly underpaid for what I did but I was this little country boy from Tallahassee who loved design, executed fashion & architecture design concepts as early as 14 years old and was enamored by the idea of being in Los Angeles working at a digital agency with big Fortune 500 clients.

What happened next? What did you learn from that? What did that lead to next?

The agency I was working at did not have proper HR processes & couldn’t seem to develop an amicable company culture. It was extremely understaffed and a few people were underpaid. I was one of them, taking in several digital media projects a day from varying brands and verticals.

I grew frustrated and my employer at the time wasn’t willing to meet a small raise ask and wasn’t willing to adjust a lot of toxic company morale issues so I quit. It was pretty tough in the beginning but I acquired a substantial client list on my own, applied solid organizational & administrative processes I developed when I was a Project Manager and I made it work.

Quitting my former 9-5 was the best decision I ever made and it taught me a valuable lesson about what I look for in leadership. I think everyone wants to be a leader these days but what’s afforded me the opportunities I have is my willingness to also be led. I vet leaders in my life. The right leader will make you a leader one day. A weak leader will stunt your growth.

Any last words/piece of advice/tip for readers?

You cannot keep success without hard work. Never be above learning. The most successful people are the ones who observe, learn and accept wisdom. The student is the smartest person in the room. Do not be afraid to ask for what you want.