What’s your definition of a professional?
Typically, I’d define a professional as someone that’s received a formal education in a certain industry or certain field and applies that learning to that specific profession. It could be a certification or a trade but you’re working in that field.
If someone moved to LA and they are a black professional, what would you advise them? Things you’d do differently, things to look out for--any advice you’d give them?
Before you move, look into the communities where you’re moving. Understand those communities and the networks that are there. Although, work is critically important and we spend 40, 50, 60 hours at work, take advantage of what LA has to offer, especially on weekends. Connecting with people is critical--it’s very important. The community you choose is very important as well. For one, your commute time. If you’re already spending 50-60 hours at work, you don’t want to add 10 additional hours (commuting). Choose wisely where you live from a traffic standpoint but more importantly making sure that you are happy and feel good about where you live and you feel you have access to a network of people you would like to hang out with.
How important do you think it is for black professionals get engaged with people who don’t have the same exposure?
I don’t even know where to begin. Moving from Arkansas where the cost of living is very different. I am still having sticker shock. Los Angeles is a very very expensive place to live. I don’t understand how some people are able to make ends meet when housing is very unaffordable. Having said that, I do know that there’s a lot of volunteer work within the black community. I’m very proud of the organizations I see here. That’s their specific focus to give back to the community to help others. For me personally, mentoring is something I’m passionate about. I’m a touch one person at a time kind of person. Serving on a board and working with charter schools or volunteering at public schools would clearly affect more people. For me, it’s about young people. I’m passionate about helping young people and shaping them and helping them make decisions that put them on a path for success for their future. I see a lot of extraordinary people in the african american community doing that right now.