We hope that you are out enjoying the summer-like, fall weather and reading this post on your smartphone or tablet device with sun rays beaming down on you. Today, I want to introduce a VIP in the D.R.E.A.M. office, our new CFO, Mr. Edward Jean-Louis! I recently had a chance to catch up with Edward and hear his thoughts on a host of topics. Check out what the maestro of dollars-and-cents had to say.
FF: Allow me to officially welcome you to the D.R.E.A.M. Team. Share a little bit about yourself with our readers.
EJL: I was born and raised in Somerville, MA. I lived there until about a year ago when I moved to New York City. I attended the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and graduated with a degree in Economics in 2010. Currently, I am working downtown in Lower Manhattan at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. In my spare time, I'm an avid sports fan and dedicated supporter of all things Boston sports. I also enjoy reading, traveling and spending time with family, friends and loved ones.
FF: Why is financial literacy important?
EJL: Financial literacy is important because it is a critical factor to breaking cycles of poverty and creating wealth for families and communities, alike. While having financial means and resources are important, knowing what to do with these means or resources is equally, if not more, important in my estimation. Understanding the value of saving, learning how to save, and learning ways to create or accumulate wealth and appreciate wealth that has already been accumulated are vital to sustaining financial freedom for ourselves and future generations.
FF: What attracted you to D.R.E.A.M.?
EJL: D.R.E.A.M.'s mission is one that really hit home for me. Growing up in the inner city with parents who were part of a working class just trying to survive, financial literacy was critical for escaping poverty-like conditions in often neglected neighborhoods. However, a major contributor to the continuance of this pervasive cycle is that resources and education are often absent from or unavailable in these neighborhoods. The opportunity to educate and mentor underserved, urban youth in the subject of financial literacy and personal finance was more than an opportunity for me to give back; it was more of an obligation because I know, first-hand, how devastating the effects of financial illiteracy are for youths and families in those positions.
FF: Having a role model is very important, who is your finance or business role model?
EJL: There are a lot of people I look to as examples and role models in business and finance. As a die hard Celtics fan, as much as it pains me to say this, one of these individuals is Earvin 'Magic' Johnson. In his retirement from professional basketball, Earvin has been able to work some "magic" off the court and create substantial wealth for himself and his business partners. What is particularly remarkable and what actually inspires me most is that Magic has made helping people in low-income neighborhoods a focal point of his business model. Often times people think accumulating wealth and helping others are mutually exclusive events but it is inspiring to find someone who made a living dishing out assists on the basketball court give back and assist those most in need.
FF: What is your greatest motivation?
EJL: I would say my greatest motivation is striving to reach my potential and leaving a tangible impact on the world. There are a lot of sacrifices that were made by other individuals, specifically my parents, for my benefit and every day I try not to waste any opportunities because I don’t want them to have made those sacrifices in vain. My middle school basketball coach used to tell me that “there is nothing worse than wasted potential” and that’s an adage I try not to forget because I’ve seen wasted potential and I’ve seen great potential achieved and I’d much rather reach whatever potential I have, because I believe everyone has the potential to achieve something great.
Very inspiring words from our new CFO. Look out for future posts from Edward providing his take on a host of financial literacy topics. If you would like to get in contact with Edward you can reach him at email@example.com.
About the Author: Femi Faoye is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of D.R.E.A.M. He's also the Founder of Millennial Capital Management, an investment management firm based in New York City. He’s a staunch and passionate financial literacy education advocate.
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