Owning Your Trajectory
I am the child of army parents and lived in many states before settling outside of Atlanta in a city called Hampton. At just five years old, I could recall the pride my parents had for my brother who was an ROTC cadet at Howard University. That was my dream at five, and at seventeen it came true.
As a cadet in ROTC for four years, I trained to lead and have discipline, which suited me well, because I knew I had the discipline to be successful in the military. My fellow cadets and cadre always told me that I’d be a great officer. I was so far in the ROTC program that I even had orders to Los Angeles Air Force Base. My life was set. My dream to become an officer was derailed though after receiving a D in my ROTC course, which was cause for dismissal. I already had 3 conditional events (strikes) due to my marginal performance in my major courses of Computer Information Systems. So, I joined the Air Force after being kicked out of Air Force ROTC and was mandated to serve two years of active duty service as an enlisted E-1 in order to pay back the Air Force for the four years of education they paid for.
By the age of 23, I thought I was such a failure. I was living a life I did not desire, but I understood that it was all external proof of what I designed. At the time, I thought my potential for the successful life that awaited me was over. However, I still maintained a strong belief that I could be successful. While in the military I was continuously evaluated at the top 10% of my peers. But, after uncovering my past history in college, I was unable to secure a recommendation letter to be advanced to officer training.
After being continuously rejected, I quickly realized that if I didn’t own my trajectory someone else would determine it.
So, I put in applications to Fordham University, was accepted, and granted release from active duty one year early.
While at Fordham, I maintained a full-time job as tech support for conferences, where I learned that most of the presenters had stage fright. To me, this was eye-opening, because I thought millionaires and billionaires never struggled with anything. Almost one year after working there, I took a job at an investment bank in a Human Resources capacity, which was my ultimate goal. I wanted to place myself in the corridor of opportunity because I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur that impacted the professional transitions of many of the highly skilled veteran workforce.
I realized my purpose when I learned that the military provided training allowances to veterans during on the job training and apprenticeships, which would double salaries of veterans (for up to two years) and allow them an opportunity to transition into a role that is meant for them to grow. Far too often transitioning veterans take jobs to “get by” that don’t optimize their opportunities to advance. When there is a roadmap for success that aligns with our skill sets, we have more opportunities to get closer to the ultimate vision of ourselves.
I started Banneret because I realized that 99% of employers were simply not set-up with the government to permit veteran-centric job opportunities, while 100% of major universities are setup to accept the same funds provided from the government for education and training. That’s like your roommate getting a year of free rent because they know something you don’t. Wouldn’t you at least ask why? Unfortunately, most businesses don’t know about it, which is why I started educating businesses in 2016. I am currently working with my largest client, Bowery Valuation to develop talent pipelines focused on veterans in the tech, finance, and hospitality industries.
Before Banneret, I always had an infatuation with real estate and the craft of developing living spaces. This led me to owning homes in the south at the age of 25, but I always wanted to learn how to scale my real estate business. After research, and talking to real estate professionals, I learned that Columbia University has one of the best Real Estate Development programs in the country, which is why I’m excited to say Columbia University will soon be my alma mater. I am currently attending Columbia University’s Master of Real Estate Development program due to my interest in real estate development, specifically modular construction in urban and rural environments. I’m elated to say that upon graduation, I will be working with the most amazing architectural design firm, LOT-EK as a general partner of real estate development.
I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to impact the communities I am part of. I realized that mindset and proper perspectives helped me change my direction in life. Through my story, I hope to inspire others to take charge of their lives by being obsessive and relentless about accomplishing their goals.