This past week it was my honor and privilege to join dozens of other area professionals in support of the Christian Brothers High School (CBHS) Career Day. The mission of Christian Brothers High School is to provide young men a college-preparatory education in the Catholic and Lasallian traditions which they have successfully done in the Memphis area for over 140 years. I must say that I was not only flattered to be part of the event but also a little intimidated, particularly after I met some of the other presenters. Talk about some power players! You name the occupation and they were there- doctors, lawyers, famous journalists, financial services executives and even a federal judge.! And I couldn’t help but think that about "back in the day.” I’m sure that they all made a whole lot better grades at CBHS than I ever did!
So maybe with some additional motivation I worked hard to prepare a message that I thought would be meaningful to the students as well as offer advice that could be useful to them in the future. My presentation was initially focused on technology (which was my assignment) where I talked about the latest in videoconferencing, audio visual, distance learning and telemedicine/healthcare. The students seem to really enjoy hearing about the latest gadgets as well as the wide range of career opportunities available in the technology industry particularly as it relates to electronic medical records, software etc.
Additionally we also discussed the wide array of opportunities to become a “technology entrepreneur” even with limited funds and while they are going to school. I noted that years ago that Michael Dell started his highly successful technology company (with very little money) out of his college dorm room at the University of Texas. Another part of my presentation focused on “what it takes to succeed” (in both business and life) and what I feel is the key ingredient which I believe is resilience or essentially the ability to bounce back from adversity. I mentioned to them that we all go through it at one time or the other and that what separates the ones that “make it” and the ones that “don’t” is resilience.
To emphasize my point, I shared my own personal story with them about the start of my senior year at CBHS (August 1973) when I got the news that my oldest brother was killed in a car accident outside of Dyersburg, Tenn. I told them that there were many days that I didn’t even want to go to school, much less think about the future, college etc. But as I told the students, despite the tough times, even at 16 years old, I had to make a decision about how to respond and move forward which is what I did graduating college four years later and building a successful business career. All in all, it was a wonderful experience being back at my old school for Career Day and I hope that in some small way I was able to help some fellow “Brothers Boys” gain some insight that can help them build for a successful future.