|Photographed at Museum of African American History by Essdras M Suarez / Globe Staff|
Occupation: Corporate development consultant for a private equity-backed portfolio company; treasurer of the board for the Museum of African American History — Boston and Nantucket
Talk about your style. I approach a lot of my style through a tradition in the African-American community that you need to make sure that you reflect yourself through your style. You can look to examples like Lewis Hayden and Duke Ellington, and also to the expressions of today’s youth culture in the African-American community. Beyond that, I personally love my labels like every other person, but what really interests me is actually getting those brand names at reasonable prices, which is usually not full retail. In 2008, I had bought a Cole Haan overcoat for $350 at Saks during its end of season sale, and today, two years hence, you can walk into the Saks store, or you can walk into the Cole Haan boutique on Newbury itself, and that same coat, same style, same design, retails for $795. Like investing, for me it’s all about timing and establishing a limit on what I believe I am willing to pay for value, and that’s kind of like the finance person in me coming out.
What motivates your involvement in the Museum of African American History? There is an important history to be told, that is part of the African American experience here in the United States. I think it is important for society en masse to recognize that African American history is actually American history, and I think that sometimes that gets lost. In terms of the work that I do as treasurer, we’ve actually received a $4 million award from National Park Service through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. And that’s going to be used to not only complete the restoration of the African Meeting House in Boston, which is a National Historic Landmark and the oldest extant black church edifice that’s still standing in the United States, it dates back to 1806. And, at the same time, the money from that grant will also create much needed jobs in the midst of this dour economy.