Everyone’s Path is Different

Charmone Adams Grant Thornton

SPECIAL EPISODE: Diversity Matters in the Middle Market. Brought to you in collaboration with the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG).

 

Building a career without coming from a background rich in resources can lead to many challenges and struggles. But it can also develop unique qualities that bring perspective and diversity into the workplace and sets you apart as someone with unique value to your team. Today’s guest, Charmone Adams, a senior manager with Grant Thornton, is the youngest of seven children and the first person in his family to have pursued tertiary education. During our conversation, Charmone gets candid about feeling like he was behind and how lacking resources can hold people back from reaching success. We also discuss why diversity is a tool to grow your perspective and can often strengthen your team.

Key Points From This Episode

  • Some of the challenges that came with being the first person in his family to complete higher education.
  • How having a lack of resources prevents people from being successful.
  • The gratitude and appreciation he has as someone who did not come from resources.
  • How the mentality of working harder and smarter has enabled him to be successful.
  • Why diversity is an essential tool to grow your perspective.
  • The importance of understanding that everyone comes from a different background.
  • Why Charmone believes it is not sustainable to be traditional in your approach.
  • Why it is vital to create a welcoming environment.
  • Where you should look for talent outside of the conventional pathways.
  • Why Charmone would recommend that young students study accounting to understand business.
  • Why Charmone believes resilience is the most important quality to create success.

[INTRODUCTION]

[00:00:01] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to The Diversity Matters in the Middle Market Podcast, where industry leaders share their compelling growth stories and the unseen challenges they have overcome. Our goal is to inform and inspire our listeners to take action and make diversity, equality and inclusion a pillar of your organization. This is a production of the Association for Corporate Growth, ACG and Connection Builders.

[EPISODE]

[00:00:23] AD: Hi, everyone. Welcome to an episode of the Diversity Matters in the Middle Market Podcast. I’m your host, Alex Drost. Today, we’re joined by Charmone Adams, Senior Manager at Grant Thornton focused on advisory services to financial institutions. Charmone shares his experience as the youngest of seven and the first in his family to complete an undergraduate education, and we discuss why everyone’s path is different. Alright, let’s jump in.

[INTERVIEW]

[00:00:50] AD: Charmone, welcome to The Diversity Matters Podcast. I’m looking forward to our conversation today.

[00:00:56] CA: Likewise, I look forward to it too, as well. Diversity is a hot topic. So, a lot of different perspectives and I’m certainly excited to have this conversation.

[00:01:05] AD: Why don’t we just start with a little of your story. Why don’t you share some of your background, who you are, and how you kind of came to be in this conversation here today?

[00:01:13] CA: Yeah, absolutely. I think my background is a little bit different than an arm. I hale from Cleveland, Ohio, on a bigger and much larger family setting where I’m the youngest of seven. In the Midwest, in these day and age, a lot of people say seven children is a lot. But growing up, being the youngest of seven, it was certainly a different type of characteristics and dynamic. Not only being the youngest of seven, but also being the first to actually graduate from college and to retain that college degree from a bachelor’s, but also a master’s, right? So, I kind of was that trailblazer of the family, I have always say, going through and being the first to do certain things. That kind of allowed me to go through my journey to be where I’m at today, from that perspective, not having a lot of guidance, but really being that trailblazer to figure things out amongst the journey.

[00:02:04] AD: So, let’s talk about some of the challenges behind that. You’re the youngest of seven, and first in your family to complete both a bachelor’s, but also a master’s degree. What were some of the challenges that came behind that?

[00:02:15] CA: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, just understanding the dynamics of what’s the requirements, from whether, understanding, “Hey, I need to sit for ACT, and I need to understand SATs type of characteristics and requirements to actually application process.” Understanding that dynamics, and really leveraging my guidance counselors to give me that guidance. I think the challenge for a person being the first is not having a lot of structure and guidance to understand what it takes to go to college, more importantly, what the sustainability of going to college.

So, the preparation that goes into it, the college visits that you partake in. I think for me, it was really, in a general sense of shooting in the dark as they would say. But more importantly, really having that passion and hunger to be successful by meeting any means necessary. So, my path is different. I didn’t have the guidance, growing up in Cleveland, more blue-collar family, and the structure was, “Hey, go work at GM, or go work in the factories or so forth more from a blue collar.” Not sounding condescending on a blue-collar structure, but just my passion and hunger just wanted something different. So, in a short run, it looks like you’re really doing things yourself as truly being that trailblazer, and not having a true structure of what’s needed.

[00:03:33] AD: So, I want to talk on that for a minute, because I think that’s a really important element in talking to listeners for a minute. Just think back in your own education, experience, your own family dynamics, and what brought you to where you are today. We all have challenges. I don’t want to ever discount anyone challenge and I also don’t ever want to discount anyone’s life path and where they go. There’s nothing wrong with a decision to work within a blue-collar environment.

But to your point, you wanted to build a career for yourself, you wanted to lift yourself up and create a better future for yourself. Part of that was having to trailblaze, having to put yourself through all of that process without necessarily having a mentor or having family members that say, “Yup, this is what you do. Here’s where you go. Let me make sure you get here. Let me make sure you get there.” Whatever it might be that helps you accomplish all that, right?

[00:04:23] CA: You take it for granted, right? I go through the same scripture, now my children and my son, the certain things their parents lay out, like go play violin, play piano, go Fintan or go lacrosse, so forth. You had the dynamics of sports, but just the academic preference is not there. I think just growing up in the community, in the environment and so forth, how my cars that was though, which is different. I wasn’t awarded the resources. I wasn’t rewarded the structure that was needed. So, it was kind of, “Hey, go figure it out” type of mentality, but the hunger and the foundation of the drive to be successful is kind of what provided insights for me.

I didn’t have the dynamics to say, “Hey, Mom, what does it take? What ACT score do I need to retain to be able to get into a good institution like the Ohio State, or Wayne State or so forth?” Speaking in terms of more of a Midwest type spectrum. Now, understanding that and really having to figure it out was a huge dynamic and challenge for me, and it kind of really put a different perspective of life and just this journey of career success, I felt like I was behind just from that instance.

[00:05:31] AD: It felt like you were behind, talk a little bit more on that.

[00:05:34] CA: Yeah, it felt like I was behind because, not understanding the importance of academics one. I mean, I’ll be very candid. I think the first time I actually took the ACT, I literally was like the day, it was the day after my birthday, my 18th birthday. And I really went out the night before. That was just, to tell you, the dynamics of my understanding of what it was. I thought you just – my comprehension was you just take the test, and the test, you have to take it just to get into college. But understanding a writing skill was essential, right? And I did horrible.

So, I think the structure of being behind in that understanding that is what I really saw and hinders a lot of different people to be successful when I don’t have the resources. So, speaking in terms of having the abilities to pay for ACT, college prep type course, right? Getting out of college, I hear a lot about those things. There’s strategic, there’s strategy that goes into it to allow you to retain a top score to be able to get into the top schools. No insights into that, right? Or how about just even prepping. I’ve had some people that I went to high school, my last year high school, I went to different high school and I had people that took the test, the ACT, SAT and certain things, their ninth grade year high school, and I took it into out – so just the resource that come behind from a preparation really allow you to be prepared, right?

I didn’t have that. And I think you know, individuals have that structure, I think it can go a long way, especially starting. That started your career, your lifelong journey, of professions and so forth is important within the high school foundation.

[00:07:02] AD: So, you didn’t have it, and many people, unfortunately, do not have it. Would you learn by not having it? How did it make you the person you are today?

[00:07:13] CA: I think one, just being grateful and appreciative of where I am. But more importantly, understanding my foundation. I think the fact that I didn’t have resources, and I was limited, I was always installed to work harder or smarter, and just be hungry. I think me having that mentality has allowed me to be a successful practitioner today, especially in professional services, where I’m very authentic in my relationships, I’m very authentic and technical and learning, I’m constantly learning. I read, I like publications, whether it’s listening to racial podcasts. I’m listening to these too, as well, just to educate myself. I’m forever evolving and learning constantly throughout my career. And I think that was installed to me to understand, “Hey, I always had this mentality, and I’m behind, so I’m always playing catch up. So, I’m constantly just like swimming at like a sponge and every aspects of my life.” Whether it’s professionally or just personally, I’m just constantly consuming things from a knowledge-based perspective.

[00:08:12] AD: I’m going to share a little my personal experience on this to my own perspective. So, I grew up in a household that did not prioritize education, it was accessible to me. But it wasn’t prioritized. It wasn’t discussed as important. There certainly wasn’t any prep or anything around that. Similar to you, I can remember taking the SATs and my best friend and I went up the night before and partied and had fun and showed up and it didn’t really put much effort in at all. I can tell you that my initial scores never would have gotten me anywhere. And the feeling behind was something I can resonate with. For me personally, I actually didn’t start my collegiate experience until I was 21.

So, you want to talk about feeling behind, when everyone else around you is three years younger, and you’re like, “What am I doing here?” What I saw from myself in that situation, and it sounds like you have similar experience, it’s hunger, it’s just like burning desire, like, “Oh, I see that I got to work, I’m going to work hard.” I know that I’m going to work hard and I’m going to prove it. I’m going to constantly invest in growing myself and make up for some of that. Having those roots, having some of those challenges or some of those differences, that diversity in your life early on some of those challenges behind it, I think can really mold you into a very resilient person, but also a very driven and motivated individual. Does that resonate with you?

[00:09:32] CA: Absolutely. I think that’s the good terminology from a resilience perspective, right? You tend to have that resilience, like no is not an option. Determination is a must. Speaking in terms of just from an athlete, I think there’s certain aspects that you learn throughout athletics. It’s just, “Hey, you may be a person, may be smarter than me or so forth, but they’re never outwork me.” That’s always been my mentality, the resilience to get what I need to be is, “Hey, I may not be the brightest from an academic or collegiate perspective in the room, however, you’re not going to outwork me. You’re not going to outwork me.” And that’s one thing that’s been installed in me to say, “Hey, work smarter, work harder, and get it done”, have that resilience that is the foundation of what I’ve driven upon.

[00:10:19] AD: The important takeaway, especially talking to listeners here, if you are a hiring manager, you’re in a position where you influence the people that are brought into your firm. And we talked about the importance of diversity and in trying to find candidates that don’t necessarily fit the traditional mold, I think, stepping back and recognizing that just because a candidate didn’t go to the exact target school and didn’t go through the exact pathway that you would have anticipated to, that oftentimes can actually help you find a candidate that’s nontraditional in nature.

But that nontraditional candidate brings a different set of experiences, and likely brings a level of grit, motivation, and resiliency that others may not have and not discount, not saying that others can’t have resiliency. But there’s a different life experience, when you overcome some of those challenges that maybe others haven’t. Unfortunately, just based on kind of our traditional hiring process and looking at what college did you go to? How was your GPA? What was your pathway? That doesn’t capture some of that stuff, right?

[00:11:23] CA: It doesn’t. I think when I interview candidates or I have conversations, I think within amount of like a conversation within two seconds, I can tell a person what they have and how successful they can be. I think one thing I look for is really the genuineness, but more importantly, the authenticity of the individual. Being authentic to who you are, understanding your foundation, your journey may have been different, but honing in on that and accepting it and understanding it. Because ultimately, everybody’s path is different, and having that diversity to your team is essential. It can be much, much, much, much better from a deliverable and quality perspective, when you think outside the box.

It’s the refresh ideas, thoughts, and so forth from different perspectives. If you still have the same cookie cutter structure, this person come from this best school, we only want to hire from them, you’re going to continue to get the same results. When you diversify, and you look beyond, you look at a different perspective and a different picture. I know one thing we had at our firm is just understanding just a cultural journey. And more importantly, just understanding just like more of unfreezing the mentality of common traits. The commonality of what we’re doing to unfreeze and understand and take a step back, everybody’s journey is different, everyone can have something off.

[MESSAGE]

[00:12:44] ANNOUNCER: Today’s episode is brought to you by Connection Builders, helping Middle Market Professionals connect, grow and excel in their careers.

[INTERVIEW CONTINUED]

[00:12:53] AD: Everyone’s journey is different. That’s such an important important thing to remember. It’s hard too, right? We all only no our own experiences. We’ve never seen outside of our own experiences. We can only see through our own eyes. But also keeping that I think a good word for that is empathy, it’s having understanding, it’s recognizing that people come from different places, that there are different journeys, and that just because someone didn’t follow what you believe to be a traditional path, doesn’t mean that person doesn’t have value data, and candidly, and many times, may actually add more value, because they had that different pathway, that different journey to getting where they are today.

[00:13:29] CA: I would totally agree. I mean, in my experience, I’ve seen the nontraditional route has added a tremendous, much, much more perspective, knowledge, and it’s just been value add from a different nontraditional type of case route. So again, if you do the same thing, you get the same results. When you look and open your eyes and think elsewhere and think differently, the results tend to be different in the results tend to be value. I got to imagine, I mean, the way not just corporate America, but just corporate America, not just domestically but globally is going, the diversity, the whole ESG movement and so forth, you got to look nontraditional. It’s embarking on this, and it’s coming in a lot of corporations is embracing it, but you have to be nontraditional to your approach. If not companies and firms and so forth is not going to be sustainable.

[00:14:18] AD: I think this is a point you’d made to me on a previous call with ESG in particular, that you’re seeing clients asking from – so consulting clients for you, asking to understand DEI is part of the proposal, understand your firm’s initiatives, how the team is going to be stacked around that, and wanting to ensure that you are having a diverse representative in the consulting pool. Is that a fair statement?

[00:14:42] CA: That’s certainly what we’re seeing within our firm and our perspective, but I think the dynamics have been shaken up and changed, recently, within what, the 12 to 18 months, or maybe even 24 when the New York Stock Exchange issued the broader spectrum of requirements for their listed companies to have a diverse board. I instantly knew that it was more a high net for administration perspective. And then all of a sudden, 18, 24 months later, you have this ESG initiative. Now, companies or organizations are looking across the board. They’re looking across their C suite. Now, they’re looking across their vendor listing to say, “Hey, I don’t just want my organization and my board to be diverse. I want to be diverse on how the business, how I recruit, how I interact.” We’re seeing it, right?

I’m seeing it with a lot of my clients, I’m seeing it with prospects, I’m seeing it just having, been golfing on the green with some potential clients or certain events. It’s becoming a hot topic in diversity across the ladder. It’s no longer the top schools or Ivy’s, or so forth is, “Hey, HBCUs, small PWIs, it’s a mix of different characteristics.” Oh, a person didn’t go to school to 21, right? That’s okay. His perspective might be different. He had the real life experience the first four or five years of working where he worked. Now, he can apply that to our day to day efforts. “Oh, this person was a teacher”, and now they’re changing and getting to the consultant spectrum. There are certain characteristics that they can apply and bring to the firm and right to the organization. So, a lot of companies and corporations are really, really shaking up the game right now with this whole initiative and accept requirements, and we’re seeing a big push in our hands as well.

[00:16:16] AD: It’s awesome to see that in, we need to continue seeing more of that. And I think this all kind of comes back to this idea of like, understanding that everyone’s path is different and by embracing those different paths and looking for those different paths, you’re going to build a better, more diverse team, that’s going to not only help with, in this case, the clients and working with clients, but just in general, you’re going to perform better, going to make better decisions, you’re going to ultimately build a better team by embracing that. Again, it comes back to recognizing that everyone has a different path and not placing judgment on someone’s path, because it doesn’t follow what you expect it to be.

[00:16:53] CA: Exactly. Yeah, going back, when I was coming up, it was the concept of, “Okay, you want to be at a banker, you go Ivy, you go to business school, you become a banker.” I think that dynamic is changing. And you’re absolutely right, I think, the dynamics of this and understanding different paths is allowing organizations or if they’re not, you’re starting to have those culture conversations, more in depth to understand what is our culture about? Is it more embracive of the diversity and differences a path? Or is it embrace? Is it against and so forth? So, I think a lot of corporations are having those stories and conversations, and I think it is truly important, and now’s the time.

[00:17:31] AD: So, let’s talk on that a little bit in the culture. I mean, this is the actually conversation you and I had previously, and you’d use this term code switching. And I think that can say a lot about a corporate culture and just share with us, tell us a little bit what is code switching? What does it mean? How does it affect you and your life?

[00:17:49] CA: So, at a young age, I was taught code switching. Code switching came about for African American or blacks within the states, during the Civil Rights Movement, and maybe a little even earlier before then, where individuals had to learn how to code switch. And what code switching is, is essentially learning how to interact with different people. But more importantly, changing or modifying how you approach, how you communicate across not just a class, but the different nationality and different people.

So, for instance, like when you were black in the civil rights movements or so forth, you wouldn’t have a similar conversation with your colleagues that look like you, as such as someone who’s working in an environment that are white or so forth from a different nationality. You would tend to change the way how you communicate, change the way how you interact, and that was essential for blacks in the civil rights movement to be successful. Because what was noticed back then was, they were being boxed out from not just opportunities in a job market. But more importantly, even from a retainer, mortgages or so forth.

So, understanding the importance was essential for any black within the space to be successful is to know how to code switch. So, I was taught that as a young age. When you interact and you go across certain people, you know, whether different or that look like you, didn’t know how to code switch. I wouldn’t have the same conversation with my friends that I have on the basketball court, or even having the interactions, pronunciation clearly, communicate clearly, and make sure you get your points across and look them in the eye and so forth.

I was taught that at an early age, and I think it’s been essential to who I am, but allowed me to navigate. I think that’s been essential to any person of color to navigate to move to corporate America is to know how to code switch. And again, it’s not just a central to just blacks and Americans. I think a lot of other races code switch do it. We talked about you wouldn’t have a conversation with a business development person, how was your friends who grow up, so it’s essential, but for blacks, it’s beneficial just for survival in the States.

[00:19:43] AD: So, so I wanted to get to that point a little more. So, let’s first everyone think to themselves, when you are – who are you in the boardroom versus who are you at home. We all have this part of react a little bit different. The important point though, I think you’re in, correct me if I’m wrong, but I have to assume that if you think back to your childhood and the neighborhood and the people that you hung around with and what it looked like, it probably looks different than your workplace. It probably has a different feel to it, not a good or bad way, but it’s probably a different environment than where you work today, and even in your journey.

So, what were maybe like, as you think through that, where did code switching come in? What do you have to learn? What were challenges that you saw behind that for yourself?

[00:20:25] CA: For me, code switching was essentially going to interview process. When you’re going through the interview process interactions, whether you’re networking on a college campus, or you’re networking and go on to network as a practitioner professional, understanding that code switching from that aspect. So, for me, it was beneficial, just even having a conversation as I moved through the ranks. But more importantly, even just like you said, my home that I have today, interacting with that commercial or that banker to close a deal and making sure I can communicate clearly and precisely in switch up to let them know, “Hey, I am capable. I am educated and I have certain credentials.” I think, again, resonating back in the ‘60s, or to civil rights, it was all about distinguishing yourself to let them know that you are capable, you are competent, you are educated and you can be amongst your peers within the regular civilization, and not just amongst your regular ethnicity group in the way it says.

[00:21:21] AD: Well, and what I think’s important, I hope that for listeners, if you find yourself more among the majority than the minority, try to create an environment that’s welcoming and accepting and understand that everyone is going to be a little bit different, and communicate a little bit different, and come from a different perspective. And, again, this all comes back to everyone has a different path, right? Everyone’s path looks a little bit different. I don’t think that’s going to overnight, wipe out the fact that we interact differently in different environments. I think that that’s very natural for humans in different ways. But it also shouldn’t be a situation where certain individuals feel as though they have to act a certain way or present a very specific way. Or else they’re never going to be accepted into the circle. It kind of comes back to you said authenticity is so important. Well, being truly authentic requires you to not necessarily be acting. You can be slightly different. Everyone interacts different in different circles. But just realizing that if you create that environment for people, you’re not inviting people to show up as their true selves and not inviting them to show up is the best version of themselves.

[00:22:23] CA: I totally agree. I think authenticity is really being captivated right now in the workplace. A lot of people want people to be authentic themselves. But I think when you merge the two being authentic, and then the code-switching element is really the understanding of the dynamics of respect. I think, from a code-switching perspective, there may be certain music that I like from a rap perspective, that I wouldn’t brave to within a board meter, so forth, because out of respect, we’ll have to switch code to understand, I’m not going to, play this particular song, I’m going to play some jazz, I’m going to play certain things, to make sure that I could respect others from a code switching perspective.

I think in terms of code switching in today’s society, given that, civil rights, and there’s still some, some aggression and so forth going through. But I think now, it’s becoming more of a code switching for elements out of respect, because a lot of corporations is really embarking and implementing that authenticity piece. So, as they continue to build upon being authentic to yourself where I could get the best quality of individuals, now is becoming more relevant around just respect to code switch.

[00:23:26] AD: I think that doing it for respectful reason is the right reason to do it versus doing it because you feel like you have to, just even have a shot so.

[MESSAGE]

[00:23:37] ANNOUNCER: Today’s episode is brought to you by the Association for Corporate Growth. The Premier M&A deal-making community with a mission to drive middle-market growth.

[INTERVIEW CONTINUED]

[00:23:48] AD: While we’re on the topic, what’s your favorite rapper?

[00:23:50] CA: I get a lot. Right now, I think Jay Cole is a good artist. I really like Jay Cole. He’s a phenomenal artist, but I do like Kendrick too, as well. Though Kendrick is taking certain topics, but right now, it’s Jay Cole. Historically, you can’t go wrong with Jay Z.

[00:24:07] AD: Yeah, never. Renegade, right? One of my favorite songs. I love it. So alright, let’s go. And I want to ask you a question. I want to take you back to 18, 20-year-old version of you going through college and trying to get a job, and knowing everything you know, today. What do you say to the hiring manager? What do you say to the hiring manager that say, “Hey, I want to find more diverse talent?” What should they be thinking, knowing what you know about yourself in your own journey through everything?

[00:24:35] CA: Yeah, absolutely. I think, one, take the initiative to truly understand HBCUs, Historically Black Colleges University. I think there’s a lot of talent there. Two, I think be open to the nontraditional candidate. I think the nontraditional candidate has a lot to offer, not just from a perspective and technicality, but just a little different perspective of thinking. Thinking outside the norm, thinking outside the box that really can add value to any organization. Those would be the two that I would definitely reiterate.

[00:25:06] AD: Being open to nontraditional talent is a huge element of that. It goes all the way back to the root of everyone’s path is different. The historically black colleges, I think that’s a really important element. And for anyone listening, go back and listen to episode number one in our diversity series with Ernie Lyles, he shares a lot of his experience going to Howard. So, it’s a great, just understanding some of the differences of that. But to your point, you’re saying, go look in other places, go look in places that maybe you don’t traditionally look for talent, that maybe doesn’t necessarily create the traditional talent feeder for you.

[00:25:46] CA: That’s exactly what I’m saying. Do some different or other norm, and you’ll get results. Especially, if you think, when I was 18, you’ll get results that can be implemented and mind blowing from years from now. So, I would definitely say the nontraditional route is the best.

[00:26:04] AD: I totally agree with that. Now, let’s switch who you’re talking to now. Talking to 18 or 20-year-old you, what would you say, I’m sure you have a lot to say, but what would you say in terms of, speaking to someone who is a minority, who’s working to bring themselves through this career path and says, “Hey, I want to go do this.” What advice do you have for them?

[00:26:22] CA: One, I would say, if you want to understand business, and anything can be applied, I would say consider accounting. So, I would say develop their resilience, the foundation of being resilient in any and everything that you do, deliveries, interviews, to be resilient and relentless. I think those are the two characteristics that I was held to any upcoming 18-year-old is to really hone in. So, the three things I really want to resonate is resilience, relentless, and just consume. Learn, learn, learn, I would say. There’ll be the three.

[00:26:59] AD: Resilient, say that one more time. Resilience?

[00:27:01] CA: Resilience, relentless, and learn.

[00:27:07] AD: Consume, learn. I like that. It’s plow through, keep moving, keep chugging along, know that it’s going to be hard at times. But keep moving, keep pushing through it and learn all you can along the way.

[00:27:19] CA: Yeah, and understanding learning doesn’t necessarily have to come from peers or person that looks like you. It’s networking aspect. It’s tapping into Alex, having a conversation I learned from Alex or learning from different nationalities and different individuals, to learn from any and everything, up and down. It doesn’t matter. So, learning and being open to it, it could go long ways.

[00:27:42] AD: I could not agree more. So, I’m going to take a spirit quick summary of our conversation here. You started off, you shared some of your story, you’re the youngest of seven, and the first to complete a both an undergrad and a master’s degree. You were a bit of a trailblazer. And you grew up in an environment that had a lack of structure and you fell behind. But what that created was resiliency for you, drive in motivation and an unquenchable thirst to learn, consume and grow and be a better version of you, which I think makes for one heck of a team member, if I’m sitting at a hiring manager seat.

What we talked about under all of this is really recognizing that everyone’s path is different. And if I’m sitting again, talking to kind of two different sides here, if I’m in a position of influence, a hiring manager, someone that’s finding talent, I need to go look in nontraditional ways. I need to go look at talent that maybe didn’t follow the traditional pathway that I expected or go look inside of historically black colleges and universities, go look at maybe some of these state schools or regional schools that just no one may be looking for talent. And recognize that just because someone didn’t follow that traditional path, doesn’t mean they can’t add value to your team. It doesn’t mean they can’t become a very value-added member over time.

And then speaking to the other side is if you are that individual push through, continue to stay strong, stay resilient, know that the hardest times are what formula and mold you into who you are today, and if you can push through those and continue to learn, continue to consume, that’s how you’re going to come out the other side of your challenges in a better place. Did that capture everything we talked about here?

[00:29:14] CA: You captured it all. I mean, I’m really surprised you captured it all. And it really had us a good summary there.

[00:29:20] DA: Charmone, I appreciate having this conversation. I always enjoy talking on this topic with you. For listeners, how can they get in touch with you?

[00:29:27] CA: They can certainly get in contact with me through LinkedIn. They also can feel free to reach out to me by email, which is [email protected]. I look forward to touching base with the audience here and collaborating in any such fashion. So, please do reach out.

[00:29:46] DA: Charmone, I appreciate it. Again, appreciate being on here. We’ll make sure to link your contact info in the show notes below, and listeners, make sure to reach out. So, it was great talking with you. And I’m sure we’ll do this again soon.

[00:29:56] CA: Absolutely. Thanks for having me. It’s always a blast.

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[00:30:00] ANNOUNCER: Thank you for tuning into today’s episode of the Diversity Matters in the Middle Market Podcast. We hope you enjoyed our content and encourage you to take action today. While no individual will bring all the changes necessary, we can all make an impact. If you enjoyed our content, please share with your network. This is a production of the Association for Corporate growth, ACG and Connection Builders

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