Saturday, October 29, 2011

NEW VIDEO: Ed Hill: Nobody Owes You Anything

Prommis Solutions Senior Vice President, Ed Hill talked with Grady High School students about the lessons he learned, the mistakes he had made, and about finding a path towards success. 

Ed tells the story of the consequences he endured from making bad choices early in his adult life.  He now feels like he has been blessed as a result of making better choices and tell the students how working on their attitude and work ethic will inevitably lead them to a happy life.

He discusses the trap of "Employee Entitlement" and tells how he often sees young people who believe that they are owed something.  He says that it's not where you start that's important, it really about where you finish that counts.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

NEW VIDEO CLIP: Ed Hill on Ways to Be a Valuable Employee

Ed Hill: Ways to Be a Valuable Employee
By Ben Gross

Ed Hill, a business executive and vice president at Atlanta based Prommis Solutions, shared insight and advice with a group of seniors at Grady High when he stopped by the school to participate in the Grady Talks program.  Hill began with a personal maxim he coined as a young man to help guide himself through the ups and downs of life: good decisions lead to blessings; bad decisions lead to consequences.  Everyone has made a number of both, Hill continued, and everyone will continue to make bad decisions here and there.  What really matters, Hill said, is that you take responsibility for your decisions; that you enjoy your rewards as the fruit of your labor and own up to your mistakes.  Hill shared stories of some of his own poor decisions with the students.  He told them about his choice to drop out of college and his struggles with alcohol and drugs as a young man.  He told them that his poor decision-making and the resulting consequences led him to feel, at times in his twenties, that he could not and would not ever succeed. 

That changed, however, when Hill reconnected with a distant cousin, who taught him about the value of taking responsibility for one’s actions and thereby regaining control over one’s life.  His cousin helped him learn to face up to his struggles and take ownership of them.  It’s never too late, Hill learned, to change for the better and to break away from a negative cycle.  Hill urged the students not to blame the world for any problems they might encounter as they grow older; instead, he urged them to spend their energy making positive choices and looking for practical solutions.  “Take the word entitlement out of your vocabulary…No matter where we start, it’s where we finish that matters.  We may have been dealt a bad hand, but we have to own it and embrace it…Attitude and work ethic determine success,” Hill told the class.  Hill continued, “You are the sum total of all of the decisions you have made.”  Hill ended with a few simple words of advice.  He told the students to avoid complainers, keep a good attitude, and work hard – all while always remembering the importance of every decision they make. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ed Hill to Speak October 26th for Grady Talks

Prommis Solutions Senior Vice President, Ed Hill, will speak to today at Grady High School as part of Grady Talks.  Ed is in charge of Trustee Services at PrommisPrommis provides processing services for the residential mortgage industry.

Ed is provides executive leadership for Prommis' west coast companies. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

NEW VIDEO: Suneel Mandava: Write Your Own Story

Suneel Mandava, Managing Director at William Blair and Company, tells the story of how his father's choices made all the difference in his life, and the lives of his children.   When you are in high school, it's hard to imagine how your choices will have an impact on future generations,  but that's exactly what happened in India many years ago when his father was growing up.  He tells how "working the fields" was his family's destiny for thousands of years. That all changed when his dad got the chance to go to school and chose to work hard.

Suneel's story gives hope and inspiration for each of us to change the future in a positive way.  He shares the three daily tips he uses to keep his own kids on track.  He says "believe in yourself", "do your best and accept the results", and "have compassion for others."

Suneel is good friends with our chairman, Denis Brosnan who asked him to speak to the students at Grady High school, as part of the Grady Talks program.  He explains that when he was younger, he volunteered  with the Upward Bound, program that gives high school students exposure to business professionals.

Friday, October 21, 2011

NEW VIDEO: Jeff Johnson Talks About Your Future

Atlanta Personality, Jeff Johnson, talks about the characters in his life and how they play a role in shaping his life.  As an entertainer, Jeff uses his talents to motivate high school students to take the first step towards building their future.  He asks, "How are you going to go out today and start that process of making this world a better place to be?"  He tell of a concept he uses as a way of looking at life. He calls his metaphor, "Splashing Through the Puddles of Life" and describes how he uses it to deal with the unknown.  Enjoy Jeff's entertaining stream-of-consciousness and see if he motivates you to "go for it!"

More about Jeff Johnson
Jeff's Blog, Splashing Through the Puddles of Life

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Jeff Johnson: Asking Adults for Career Help

Jeff Johnson: Asking Adults for Career Help
By Ben Gross

As a Grady Talks contributor, Atlanta personality Jeff Johnson brought his unflappable enthusiasm to the halls of Grady High.  Johnson asked the students to think back to the halcyon days of early childhood: imagine, he said, that you are taking a walk on a hot summer day, and right in front of you is a big, deep, puddle.  What would the younger you have done?  Johnson told the students what he would have done: jumped as high as he could and landed right in the middle of it.  Sometimes the puddle was clean and clear; sometimes it was muddy and murky.  But, Johnson said, he would still jump, be the consequences what they may.  Which is a lot like life, Johnson told the class.  Life presents us with clean puddles and dirty ones: with challenges and rewards, successes and failures, struggle and peace.  While a little more circumspection might have saved Johnson’s family some laundry detergent in his younger days, life, Johnson said, differs a lot from puddles in that respect.  You can’t spend your whole life on the sideline.  Eventually, Johnson stated, you have to deal with life; you have to just jump right in.    

Life is all about relationships, Johnson continued.  Jumping into life, he said, means building relationships at every opportunity to do so.  Network, he told the students, intern, mentor.  It’s not easy, but it’s not too hard; and the rewards of such proactive relationship building, Johnson advised the students, are fantastic.  People can be applied to the puddle metaphor, too, Johnson said.  Good influences are like clean, sparkling puddles – seek them out.  Bad influences are like shallow, muddy puddles – step right over them and keep doing the good things you’re doing. 

Johnson told the students that jumping in also means practicing your craft, learning new things, and honing your skills. Find what motivates you through life, and go for it, Johnson said.  Don’t sit back and expect success to come to you, Johnson said; instead, think about what you want to do for your career and do it now – if you like it, keep doing it and getting better, if not, look for something else!  “Practice your passion!  Every day is a gift,” Johnson concluded by saying, “open up each day the best way you can.  Live it the best way you can.  Enjoy that gift, it means so much.”

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dave Walker: You are the Narrator of Your Life

Atlanta Business Attorney, Dave Walker, a member of the Grady Talks/Talk About Your Future team, instructs the Grady High class on the nature of relationships. He provides a great way to look at your daily interactions with others. He says you need to build up characters in your life that give you positive energy. You can avoid negative energy and stay out of trouble, by minimizing time with people who bring you down and letting the people around you know what your story is.

If you build up a cast of characters in your life while you are still in high school, you will have an easier time of it later on. Build relationships with the adults you meet while you are young. Give them positive energy and they will care about you and help you when you need them.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Suneel Mandava: Three Mantras for Daily Life

Suneel Mandava: Three Mantras for Daily Life
By Ben Gross

Suneel Mandava, Managing Director at prestigious Chicago investment bank William Blair and Company, flew down to Atlanta from the Windy City to address a group of Grady High students.  Mandava, who came to the United States from India when he was 3 years old, told the story of his father, a man who overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to change his destiny.


Mandava told the students that in a culture where conformity is expected (India has a 4,000 year old Caste system, which dictates that the children of every new generation should perform the same exact social function as their parents) his father dared to be different and write his own story.  Education, Mandava said, was the turning point for his father.  Living with his parents and 7 siblings in a two-room shack, Mandava’s father worked hard every day to be the top student in his high school class, to win a scholarship to medical school, and to finally bring his family to the United States.  Mandava’s father did not have many opportunities as a child, but what few he did – notably access to education – he took full advantage of.  And, he always asked his teachers and principles for help and guidance, which they readily gave him when they saw his determination to succeed.  Thus, by believing in himself, working hard, and never hesitating to ask for help, Mandava’s father changed not only his own destiny, but that of his son, his son’s children, their children, and so on.  “When you change the course of your life,” Mandava said, “you change it for every following generation, too.”
After telling the story of his father, Mandava shared what he called “his three simple mantras” with the class.  He told them:
1) Believe in Yourself – if you don’t believe in yourself and your abilities, who will?
2) Do your Best and Accept the Results – you can’t always be better than everyone else, but you can always do your personal best, and when you do so you should always be proud.
3) Have Compassion for Others – often the most successful people are not the smartest or the most talented, they are the ones who can show others that they care.

And, he reminded them, when you succeed, you improve not only your life, but the lives of following generations, too…and in these days of global warming, economic recession, energy shortages and other such issues threatening to pose serious problems in the future, following generations could certainly use some good news!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Talk About Your Future, Inc.

Grady Talks is a project that is owned by a new start up non-profit organization called, "Talk About Your Future, Inc.". Last week, we put out a press release announcing our new website, Wow, what a response! We got picked up by media organizations across the country. If you do a Google search on "Talk About Your Future, Inc." you will see our results.

We've also filed for official 501c3 status with the government. If we receive the designation, you will be allowed to make a tax-deductible donation to our organization. Here is how we described Talk About Your Future, Inc. in the filing:  

TAYF is a Georgia non-profit corporation in good standing, which has been and will be operated exclusively for charitable purposes, particularly educational purposes and combating juvenile delinquency. TAYF provides mentoring and career counseling to urban high school students, with an emphasis upon at-risk populations. TAYF’s two principal initiatives are: (1) a series of motivational talks given by business, civic and political leaders, as well as celebrities and athletes, and (2) career coaching in small group sessions and workshops. Today, TAYF operates a pilot program at Grady High School, an urban high school in the City of Atlanta public school system. TAYF is presently funded by donations of board members and individual donors. TAYF is seeking an exemption under Section 501(c)(3) to facilitate the solicitation of charitable gifts, which would allow TAYF to expand its operations to other City of Atlanta public schools. For more information about TAYF, see

TAYF aims to give Hope, Guidance, Inspiration, Motivation, Direction and Connections to high school students and show them the possibility of moving forward in directions they never dreamed possible. Far too many students are not sufficiently engaged enough in school to stay after the legal drop-out age of sixteen. Many young students have had no meaningful or positive exposure to the world they are about to enter and as a result do not see their own possibilities. Our program aims to open up that broader world to them, and help them make decisions and choices now that will set them on a path to fuller and more productive lives in the future. 

TAYF began as small volunteer effort by a parent to provide free career coaching to high school students, and has evolved into a weekly speaker series featuring an impressive list of corporate leaders, celebrities and professional athletes. The consistent message from the speakers is: “Find something that you love to do and are good at, and make that your future.” 

The speaker series kicked off in September 2010 with basketball superstar, Chris Webber, talking to a packed auditorium of 300 Grady High School freshmen about achieving their dreams. Public Broadcasting Atlanta’s recording of Chris’s talk is available HERE

Other speakers include representatives from a wide variety of prominent companies, organizations and institutions such as The Home Depot, WSB-TV, Chick-fil-A, Turner Studios, Georgia Tech and the CDC, as well as leading law firms and other professionals.