Did you know that Penn State has the highest graduation rate in that state? Hamilton Raymond & Associates specializes in these type of statistics, as your professional educational consultant. Head honcho, President, and CEO Hamilton Raymond has been in business for nearly a decade; assisting in professional experience surrounding educational counseling, program development, and veteran and student affairs. Read more about Hamilton Raymond & Associates below from the boss himself.
What is a day to day like for the President/CEO of Hamilton Raymond & Associates?
Take time to plan: My day usually begins right around 5:30 in the morning; starts with self-affirmations, a workout routine, and dropping my daughter off to school. By 7:30 am, I can be found in my office with my cup of Joe drafting out a plan for the day. I like to have some time to myself, free from distractions so, I make sure that I am the first to arrive in the office. I typically draw up a grid divided into four sectors: Team, Strategy, Product, and Growth. Then I list out the tasks that need to be accomplished in each area. This helps me make sure that I touch all of the major aspects of my business and don’t let anything slide.
Touch base with the team: I still have a relatively small team, so I am able to engage with everyone one-on-one on a daily basis. Once in the office, I make the rounds and get a feel for where people stand, physically, mentally and emotionally. The goal of these check-ins is twofold, first, it gives me the opportunity to see what everyone is working on and make sure they are on track. Second, it enables me to see how people are feeling and address any issues that they may have before it becomes a real problem. I have found that challenges of all kinds are easier to deal with when you provide clear channels of communication.
Communicate with your stakeholders and clients: This is by far the most important aspect of my day; after the team check-in, there is usually a conference call with members of my board to talk strategy. I have found that this is the time for me to work on the big picture and deepen relationships with our investors. After meeting with investors, my team and I begin outreach to gain clients. Being that I am in the business of higher education and my product serves students in the K-12 system, we have to strategically contact them, due to DOE school hours. Therefore, outreach occurs via email and/or text messaging mainly. A big portion of my duties includes writing grants to our investors in hopes of getting funds. Even though I am the CEO, I still have a boss. I work for my shareholders and clients, and this becomes my time to engage with them.
Focus on the product: Next, I spend time working on our product, which is providing information on college admissions and helping with the application progress. We brainstorm, debate on exactly how to deliver proper, realistic, and accurate information to our clients.
Thinking and writing: The end of the typical work day for me marks just the halfway point of my day. After picking up my daughter and heading home for dinner to spend some quality time with the family, I focus on writing and building the HR&A brand. I push myself to write every day and it is invaluable time. Much of this writing never sees the light of day, this is very much my time to reflect, decompress and prep for the next day.
What was your inspiration behind the brand?
With the aim of giving a voice to the underserved who have aspirations to gain academic achievements in higher education, Hamilton Raymond & Associates (HR&A) brand was inspired to help the underserved community, in particular men of color to gain college access and become prominent members of society.
Talk about your background.
I was born on March 31, 1985, by a 17-year-old single mother, who from day one saw something in me that I was not able to see until my later years in life. I was born in the United States, however, at 3 months my mother had to make the heart-breaking decision of parting from me and sending me to live with my grandparents in Haiti as she completed her schooling here in the states. Upon coming back to America, I began to understand the culture and became obsessed with black leaders and how they gave back to their community after undergoing such challenging times in this country. As I grew up I develop aspirations to become a leader in my own community and began to develop a method on how I would accomplish such goals. However, the obstacle of growing up in an underserved community, it took very little time for me to gain influences of the things that most would consider detrimental to my academic, professional, and personal life.
Eventually, those influences became overpowering and landed me in trouble with the law. After that experience, through prayer and focus, I regained control of who I was and dedicated the rest of being to becoming the individual I wanted to become since the age of 8 years old. I began to observe my community to get a sense of how I can be of help, and the recurring concept that I saw within my community was that individuals that looked like myself had no interest in education, or saw the value in it like I did. I began to groom myself for success by going back to school and completing my masters, authoring the book Invisible me; The Disappearance of Black Men in College, and entering a Doctoral program. Through that experience, education has changed my life and has opened doors that I would have never seen if not the path I took. At that moment I understood my purpose, our young men of color needed guidance in understanding how to market themselves and see the world through education, and I am here to ensure that happens.
How important was education growing up?
Growing up education was extremely valuable to me. Being that I grew up in a third world country, I was able to experience how hungry people were in wanting an education. This remained in me for the rest of my life. Also, being that my grandfather owns a school in Haiti, he has implemented that value in me. I sincerely and wholeheartedly believe that education is key to success, and it will get you places in which your heart desires.
Personally, why do you believe black men do not college?
It is often proclaimed that educational attainment is extremely low for black men, however, the historical, academic and social trends that lead up to this theory have received little attention. Analysis of historical and current data shows that the college completion rate has evolved differently for black men. Black men have tended to delay completion of a college degree, which has allowed them to fall far behind. Some theories behind this phenomenon include a lack of understanding of how to develop students’ goals, having a jaded background that includes a challenging academic and/or personal life. Lastly, societal norms play a significant part in the lives of black men in the pursuit of education. Society portrays and sends media messaging depicting the black men to be, uneducated, over-sexual, aggressive criminals, and all that we are ever good at is entertainment (i.e. Professional athlete, artists, and most recently Instagram stars). The way for this problem to be fixed is to help build the esteems of black men, and have more resources available at colleges and universities that allow more faculty and staff interactions with this student cohort
In your own words, how do you describe the current state of America?
Currently, in one word, I would describe the state of America as comical. Comical because we as a people have decided to elect a leader who is clearly not fit for the position, and utilizes his platform to deliver what appears to be comical relief to the people of America. However, this current state also teaches us a lesson, voting. Our people of color are beginning to realize the importance of voting, and that in itself gives me hope for America’s future.
What is your biggest hope for the future in our communities, especially in our current climate?
My biggest hope for the future in our community is for our leaders, or individuals who are agents of change to lift as they climb. A young man will only know what they want to become depending on whom they are exposed to. “It is easier to build strong children than to fix broken men” – Frederick Douglas.
Which aspect of your career is most rewarding to you? Speaker, counselor, communicator, or facilitator?
While this is a difficult choice, if I had to pick one it would be the aspect of a speaker. I feel as if there is nothing more powerful than sharing knowledge with young people. They are our future and it is our duty as humans, to arm them with the knowledge that we have obtained as adults, in order to protect and guide them toward success.
“Strategy that delivers.” Elaborate on that slogan and what that means to you.
This slogan simply guarantees that we will invest our time in you. Unlike, a high school counselor who may not be able to individually provide that one-on-one due extreme volumes of students in their caseloads, we provide that. We understand that no one student is alike, and we work with you at your pace to find the right strategy to getting you a college home.
Learn more about Hamilton Raymond & Associates here.