Young, Dumb & an Optional Experience

Our special guest for today's episode, Lee Johnson, is a successful pharmaceutical sales manager, father and art collector who we were absolutely elated to speak with. For this episode we decided to take a small detour from our normal "Mildly Qualified" protocol and bring on an individual who for what it's worth had all their shit together early, remained focused and is doing remarkably well as a result. Again, Lee's life wasn't and isn't perfect by any means, but what makes his story all the more compelling is that as a young Black man who grew up in the hood, a near tragedy where he was within a split second of losing his life served as an epiphany to him realizing life is short don't waste a minute of it.

Lee attended Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University where he finished their revered business Master's program. The entire five years that Lee was enrolled in school while in Tallahassee he neglected all juicy social aspects of traditional college life (partying, pledging, drinking, fraternizing) and dedicated himself to a relentless grind holding off on the spoils until he had achieved his goal. Lee stated that at a prestigious university such as FAMU he knew he wasn't the smartest person on campus but he dedicated himself to working harder than everyone else would be willing to. During his final years of high school and his entire matriculation through college Lee was selected to participate in Inroads. Inroads is a non-profit organization dedicated to fixing the lack of diversity in corporate America. In high school he was a part of the Pre College Component and in college he took part in the Talent Pool where as long as he maintained above a 3.0 GPA he would have the opportunity to intern during the summer with an Inroads partnered corporation that aligned with his major. That company for Lee was Bayer Pharmaceuticals and was how he got his start in what turned out to be a great career in pharmaceutical sales. Subsequent to graduation Lee relocated to New York to work at Bayer after they offered him a full time position.

While living in New York, the city that never sleeps, is where he begin to cultivate a love and appreciation for fine arts. He began attending local art shows, collecting pieces that resonated with him. One of his hometown neighborhood buddies Gary, ironically an aspiring artist, was also residing in the city at the same time so Lee would work with him collaboratively to create some of his first collector pieces that grace prominent areas of his humble abode today. In this dynamic episode we talk about focus, resilience, appreciating and not wasting the time you have, tapping into your creative space, as well as minorities understanding the intricacies of collecting fine art. 

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Ashlea ArcherComment