Name: Terrance Stroud
Profession: Government Operations
Social Media: Twitter: @terrance_stroud
One Word That Describes You: Determined
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
I am humbled and honored to be selected as a recipient of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction award. I applaud Black Enterprise and the Graves family for debunking stereotypes and highlighting the positive and inspirational work that men of color are involved in every day. As a father of two young boys, it is imperative that they are exposed to positive role models. I always encourage them to follow their dreams. This award is proof positive that with hard work and determination dreams do come true.
What are you doing as a BEMM to help support black male achievement now or in the future?
I help support black male achievement by serving as a positive role model in my community. I currently serve on the advisory board of my alma mater Brooklyn Tech, which is an elite specialized high school. The board is focused on diversity and inclusion programming to ensure that underrepresented groups have a seat at the table.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
When I entered the workforce, like many people I struggled to find my footing. I was not sure of the type of role that would suit me. In the end, mentorship and sponsorship helped me enhance my strengths and reduce my weaknesses. I’ve had great mentors that have empowered me to challenge myself as well as sponsors who’ve played a crucial role in vouching for my talent and abilities, and this has fast-tracked my career and encouraged me to consider and accept new challenges.
How do you ordinarily impact?
I have the pleasure of working for the greatest city in the world. I am deeply committed to public service and I can’t think of a better way to give back than to play a role in providing my community with critical services. Currently, I work at the Department of Housing Preservation & Development, where I serve as the Director of the Continued Occupancy Unit, which is responsible for the day-to-day operations of a 100+ team that administers the Housing Choice Voucher Program. It is the fifth largest in the nation, servicing approximately 34,000 participants and 9,000 landlords. Government operations gives me the opportunity to strategize on new and innovative ways to streamline how we can deliver these services.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
I am blessed to have the support of great friends that have been there for me through the peaks and valleys of my life. They possess the most important quality that I can ask for in a friend: loyalty.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
I am a proud graduate of Brooklyn College and Indiana Maurer School of Law. Last year I set a goal to create an educational pipeline for BC students to attend IU, which is a top 10 public law school. With the unwavering support of BC’s president and IU’s dean, we created a strategic partnership called the Indiana-Brooklyn College Bridge Program, which provides deserving students with guaranteed tuition and mentoring opportunities. It is truly humbling to know that this year’s new IU class will include BC students who will make their own contribution to the legal community.
What is the best advice you ever received?
The best advice that I ever received was from my mother. She told me that the only person I should compete with is myself. I watched how hard she worked when she came to this country. She knew that education and determination were the keys to success. She forged her own path and became a dynamic leader in the labor movement. The example she set inspires me to push myself to be the best that I can be.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
If you truly want to make a difference think about all the things that you wished you had been exposed to and make that happen for someone else.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
Research is the key component in preparation for any event. Before you attend any event, you must research the organization to ascertain their mission and determine how that aligns with your short-term and long-term goals. I also reach out to my network to see if I can get an inside perspective.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
My family is from Trinidad, and I try to take my boys there as often as possible. I remember how happy my elder son was when we took him there to celebrate his fourth birthday. As his little cousins sang him happy birthday, I sat back looking at the next generation of our family content that the legacy that my grandparents left is alive and well.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
My wife and I visited Ghana separately during our post-graduate years. As a Caribbean American, I always felt a close connection to the motherland and I was privileged to go to Ghana during law school to clerk for their supreme court. My wife and I look forward to taking our boys there to experience that country’s beauty and history.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I would like to thank my family, friends, mentors, and sponsors for making me the man I am today. I promise to always support you the way you’ve supported me.
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Come celebrate the BE Modern Man 100 Men of Distinction at the first-ever Black Men XCEL Summit, Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.