Today’s guest was Junior Jabbe, the Executive Manager of Business Development and Customer Relationships at Banneker Industries in North Smithfield, Rhode Island. Our ‘Life Skills’ host was Fernando Perez who welcomed Junior to Hope and our ‘Life Skills’ class.
Junior’s story was about ‘change’.
“I was a ‘knucklehead’. My high school experience started poorly. Bad grades and trouble with the principal. But then, I found something I became passionate (my ‘Element‘) about. Or, maybe it found me. Football. I enjoyed it; it made me feel good. As a result, I worked hard to keep playing. I became an honor roll student and stayed out of trouble. I also worked hard in the weight room so I could excel on the field.”
Junior spoke about the opportunity football created after high school. “I was offered a number of athletic scholarships. Bryant University offered me one of the best so I decided to leave my home in Maryland and come to Rhode Island. I didn’t know anyone at Bryant; the student body wasn’t close to the diverse group of people at my high school. So,
I kept pushing myself out of my comfort zone
to met new people who were often smarter and with different interests; many were from different backgrounds and different ethnicities. Some were students and a few were professors. But they were all successful, smart, good people. My network was changing. By college graduation, I had a good GPA and a diverse network of successful, ethical, well connected people who introduced me to their networks. Sure I was often uncomfortable but I soon realized it was good for my development. I had changed from my first year in high school. I felt wiser and more prepared for life. And, the extended network I had been developing out of my comfort zone was now creating opportunities. In fact, it eventually got me an internship in supply chain management at Banneker.“
Junior complemented the students at the end of class.
“You’ve impressed me
with your interpersonal skills. I meet people in business who don’t present themselves as well as you. You met me with a smile, great eye contact, a firm handshake and a greeting that made me feel welcome to your class.
You’ve got great brands!
Keep forcing yourself out of your comfort zone. When you find yourself nervous and uncomfortable, you know you’re in a good place and probably creating a new opportunity for yourself.”
We finished the class with our usual networking session.
The class reaction after our conversation with Junior seemed universal. “Mr Cronin, I’ve never seen anyone with as much positive energy as Junior. He was great!“
Thanks, Junior. Stay in touch, please.