Place of ResidenceGreenville, South CarolinaGraduation Year2004MajorBusiness FinanceCurrent OccupationSupply Chain ManagerFamilyWife: Alicia; Children: Sheldon, Weston, and Emmett
Since graduating from BYU-Idaho, what have been your greatest personal and professional accomplishments?
After graduating from BYU-Idaho, I was blessed with an opportunity to work for an investment bank on Wall Street. This in turn led to an opportunity to trade on the trading floor in London and then back again in New York City. After four years, I left the profession to get an MBA from Harvard Business School. Since graduating, I have been working in a general management role with a Fortune 500 company, and thoroughly enjoying the experience and opportunity.
How does being a BYU-Idaho graduate help you be a leader in your workplace?
Through participation in university associations, sports programs, Church callings, and team projects, I developed my own personal foundation of leadership. At the time I did not fully appreciate how these skills would benefit me in the future.
The activities and programs that BYU-Idaho uniquely offered led to a foundation of leadership that many of my coworkers from other schools did not have the same chance to build. This foundation created career opportunities. These led to important experiences, which in turn created more opportunities, and so on in a virtuous cycle. As I reflect on my career successes, I trace many of them back to the small and simple opportunities of service and leadership that BYU-Idaho so uniquely offers.
How does your BYU-Idaho education help you serve in the community?
While working on Wall Street, I deliberately took steps to become involved in college recruiting for the bank. I offered my assistance in providing company presentations, interviewing candidates, and screening college applicants for internships. While the bank had historically only hired from a select number of schools, I spearheaded an effort to search for qualified candidates from any of the BYU schools. With help from others, we successfully turned BYU schools into a “target” university for the bank. That first summer, 10 interns were hired for investment banking, something that had never taken place in the past.
This deep passion to give back and build the university was instilled in me during my four transformational years at BYU-Idaho. President Henry B. Eyring’s prophecy is both motivational and inspiring to me. Assisting in bringing that prophecy to fruition for many BYU-Idaho students has become an important personal goal.
How did your time at BYU-Idaho prepare you for service in the Church?
In New York City, I worked for over three years with a handful of underprivileged inner-city youth who faced extraordinary challenges in life. Every Friday I met with them in the evening to work on Scouting, but more importantly, to discuss important life goals and paths to achieve them. These boys lacked role models and father figures, and we worked diligently to instill the basics of the gospel.
We helped them prepare for important exams in school, visited them in their homes in the projects, discussed the importance of priesthood service, and tried to be examples of happy families and healthy relationships. By the time I left, some had succumbed to external pressures, but some were advancing in the priesthood and in their testimonies with the spirit of the gospel burning in their hearts.
While BYU-Idaho is an extraordinary academic institution, I have come to believe that its true value lies in its spiritual preparation for leadership in the world. BYU-Idaho is the Lord’s “boot camp” to become a true disciple and witness of Christ throughout the world. More important than the academic degree for me, BYU-Idaho has provided a model to pattern my life after.
What service have you rendered in the Church since graduating?
While Latter-day Saints represented a small percentage of the 900 students in my MBA program, I was open and vocal about my membership in the Church. The culture at the school in general was one of openness and curiosity of others’ beliefs. I took the opportunity to organize and invite the 90 students in my section to an event entitled “Mormonism 101.” Seventy of my peers showed up, and I covered everything from prophets and the Restoration to temples and missions.
Their feedback was highly enthusiastic, and from this stemmed dozens of subsequent discussions and questions. Seven of them later attended sacrament meeting to see with their own eyes. From this excitement, other Latter-day Saint students attempted something similar in their own sections with equally successful results. By the end of the year, some 300+ students had received a one-hour spiritual presentation on the Church. This has since turned into something of a tradition, with attendance increasing in the past two years to around 400+ students per year.
Spending four amazing years in college with thousands of others who feel and share the same values and priorities was motivational and energizing. Throughout my college experience and beyond, I have become deeply proud of my religious heritage. BYU-Idaho offers the quintessential experience defined by the fruits of the gospel, and I am excited to share this fruit with others.
How does being a BYU-Idaho graduate help you lead your family?
The first years working in New York and then later in my MBA program were challenging and time consuming. While taxing on the family, my spouse and I knew that these were periods of investment and that their duration would be limited. In short, these were the years of paying my “dues.”
However, since then the deliberate allocation of my time has shifted. Sacrificing dinnertime and an evening with the family is a rare occasion. This is a conscious choice, not a coincidence. I have faith that these are the right decisions. These decisions come in the form of declining extraneous business trips and navigating career promotions in a way that allows for regular and frequent time with my family.
The source of my conviction in these daily work decisions takes me back to my training at BYU-Idaho. Two years of inspiring devotional talks and spiritual class discussions ingrained in me the importance of aligning my priorities with the Lord’s priorities.