Imagine having “MBA” on your résumé. What about titles like “general manager” and “entrepreneur”? Think about all the opportunities that often come with this type of experience. Now, imagine having all these — yet you’re homeless and jobless. If it sounds impossible, think again.
I met MBA graduate J. Wesley Day at the 35th Annual National Black MBA Association Conference and Exposition in Houston last fall. He had earned two master’s degrees, an MBA. in marketing and a masters in human resources management and was the sole proprietor and general manager of the OrganiX Food Lounge in Atlanta. However, he arrived at the NBMBAA conference with almost nothing. Day had been sleeping in his car during the conference to save on hotel fees.
As an entrepreneur for more than 10 years and head GOTO Lady, I’ve gone through lean periods during which I struggled financially and emotionally. That’s why I think it’s a moral and social responsibility for all thriving entrepreneurs or executives to give back and encourage people who have fallen off track.
I worked with the NBMBAA to get Day housed for the remainder of the conference and make sure his résumé was circulated among the top companies at the career expo. He made a very good impression with companies, however, he left the expo without any job offers. Upon returning home, he sent thank you letters and participated in additional rounds of interviews with all four companies.
Two months after the NBMBAA conference, Day’s hard work finally paid off when he received and accepted a job offer from The Schwan Food Co. One month later, Coca-Cola contacted him with an offer of employment as well. Although Coca-Cola was his first choice, he declined the position because of his job with Schwan.
Now at Coca-Cola, Day quickly earned a place in the company’s leadership academy program designed to fast-track managers into executive positions.
It’s up to entrepreneurs and executives to recognize when talented people are facing difficulty and assist with helping our peers get back on track. There are various risks, challenges, and roller coasters in pursuing one’s goals, but with colleagues and peers who are willing to lend moral, financial, or emotional support, we can help improve someone’s life in ways we can’t even imagine.