We asked for insight from Marcus D. Carson, MBA, Founder and CEO of Growing Kings. He is a native of Birmingham, AL, and grew up in the Titusville neighborhood.
After two years of living in Charlotte, NC and working as a financial analyst, Marcus soon realized that his passion lies in helping young men who have similar backgrounds of his own, but lack the direction and/or support that were provided to him by his family and through his faith. The lessons learned growing up in an economically disadvantaged environment, coupled with the life skills and exposure opportunities presented to Marcus during his collegiate and professional career provided the framework for a vision that led to the founding of Growing Kings.
Marcus graduated Magna Cum Laude from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, FL with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management in 2006 and a Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance in 2008.
Marcus is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, Birmingham Urban League Young Professionals, Association of Fundraising Professionals, UAB MHRC Young Professionals Board, Leadership UAB, and the FAMU National Alumni Association.
Q: What piece of advice or tip were you given early in your career that has helped you the most?
A: “Work hard.” That was something that was engrained in me growing up, so I understood how that separates you from your counterparts. One of my favorite rap artists, Jadakiss -and of course I’m sure he got it from someone else- said “hard work will always beat talent if talent don’t work hard.” So I always try to ensure that even if I do have a talent, I want to add that hard work to it.
Q: What is something you believe millennials struggle with, and how can they work to improve it?
A: Instant gratification and patience. I think that of course, even with myself, understanding the importance of the “long game” is critical to realizing the level of significance that you envision. Having a long view on things and not being disappointed if things don’t happen as quickly as I may desire them to. A great gospel song-I’ll keep the music thing going – “It may not come when you want it but it will be there right on time.” Your timing may not be the right timing.
Q:What is something you believe is a strength unique to millennials, and how should they leverage it?
A: History is a strength to millennials. We’ve been fortunate to have thousands of years of documented evidence of what has worked and what hasn’t. So as long as we remember historical occurrences and use them as wisdom and guidance, more specifically on the wisdom piece, I think that would help us avoid a lot of missteps. Also, trying to analyze trends that have happened historically to see what the next wave may be. I think that the notion of history repeats itself is true, it just manifests differently.
Q: Millennials are not oblivious to the fact that some of their older colleagues are cynical towards their generation. In your opinion, what’s the best way to break through preconceived notions and develop meaningful working relationships?
A: I think hard work and patience are essential. I feel that cream rises to the top but it just takes a little time; so if you are dedicated to understanding wisdom and building relationships it’ll help you rise to the top. Hard work but understanding how you have to maneuver, I think that puts you in good favor with the old school. To finish up my music theme, I have a signature on my email from the great John Mayer that says “if you have to tell someone how bad you want something, then you haven’t shown them how hard you already work for it.”