A homeless man named Everett Taylor who worked odd jobs to pay his school fees has now become the CEO of a prominent company in the United States.
Everett Taylor, a native of Richmond, Virginia was appointed as the first black chief executive officer of Kickstart, a crowdfunding platform for creative projects like music, movies, art, theater, games, comics, and photography in 2022 after the then CEO, Aziz Hasan, officially stepped down.
During an interview with LinkedIn’s The Path, Taylor mentioned that his earliest career aspirations ranged from being a basketball player to a rapper. However, these aspirations were driven more by his desire to find a way to survive and get out of his community.
“A lot of people where I’m from stay in this small neighborhood, i was always a dreamer. And so a lot of the things that I wanted to do were things that I felt were going to get me out of Richmond, Virginia, even if they weren’t realistic,” he said.
He said when he was 14 years old, he got his first job which was selling illegal drugs and substances. Immediately his mother found out, she got him a job as a junior marketing assistant, promoting bookstores and gift shops for Civil War parks and Black history museums across Virginia.
Taylor said the job got him out of trouble and gave him his first experience in marketing. But in his senior year of high school, he became homeless, a setback he says eventually saved his life and gave him his greatest skill.
“It was one of the worst moments anyone can go through in their lives. But I think it really molded me into the person I am today, I think my strength as a leader is empathy, and there’s no better lesson of empathy than not having anything,” he said.