Although the season of giving may have passed, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give year round.
My friend Andre, a fellow entrepreneur and an impressive young mind, reached out to me after discovering an article about The Anthem Group and myself. Although he was still in high school when he first connected with me, I saw my ambitions and younger self within him – he was eager to learn and sincere. Raised in a tough area of Baltimore, Andre was full of ideas but had had little exposure to entrepreneurship and lacked any true business mentor. Having spent the beginning of my career without a mentor, and after learning how earnest and intelligent he is, I felt a strong desire to help him.
My own curiosity and empathy drove our relationship from formal to personal. The nature of our relationship soon grew from lengthy email exchanges advising him on the basics of business to more elaborate topics of branding,strategy and growth. Andre, now an upperclassman in college, has successfully launched two businesses and is aiming for more. I like to think that I played a small role in helping him act on his entrepreneurial dreams and goals.
Mentoring others while growing your business and doing your job is a balancing act, but the satisfaction received is immeasurable. I had to feel this out for myself and it was not always easy. Starting a venture is like walking a tightrope. If we can help someone not fall, then not only is it a desire but it is a duty. However, a business must first take care of itself to be of any service or worth to others. It’s important to strike a balance in your business activities while recognizing the importance and need to help others.
Early on, Anthem has made giving back to the community and to other individuals a priority. Our background collectively started as a small boutique event company that continues to grow, expand and move into new industries – in some cases entirely unrelated to the company’s origin. Yet the same core tenants and the “Anthem way” of leadership, managerial practices and ethics are applied to each company regardless of industry. With respect to helping others and our emphasis on it: we never forget the challenges or how long the odds were at times. Mentoring others helps us stay focused and reminds us what is needed to be successful as we grow.