At the end of the day, I saw two highly qualified candidates.

Hiring An Inner-City Kid Took a Chance and Reached Out to Me for an Internship - Here's Why I Gave it to my Friend's Son Instead

By Peter Casciato

At the end of the day, I saw two highly qualified candidates.

While pursuing Shlinkedin this week, I noticed that I had one unread message in my inbox. It was a message from Darrius Smith, a young black man, who was just looking for a chance. He had grown up in the projects, had to fight and scrape for everything he had, and here he was, hat in hand, asking for the opportunity to prove himself. All he wanted was an internship, to get his foot in the door, and I’m proud to say that after much consideration, I decided to offer the internship to my friend Bradley’s son Tanner instead.  

What really drew me to Darrius’s story was how he was able to overcome such adversity. He’d had the deck shuffled against him from day one, being born black in America to a single working mother. He had to drop out of highschool, in order to get a job to help support his 3 younger siblings. He took night classes, and through sheer force of will, was able to get his GED, and was able to enroll in community college.  

But Tanner has had struggles as well. Can you imagine what it was like for him to go to Brown, when he comes from 4 generations of Princeton men? Many of us couldn’t survive a trauma like that. But in spite of everything, he pulled himself up by his bootstraps, and asked his dad to ask me if we had any openings at the firm.

You see, I was incredibly impressed by the grit and tenacity that Darrius showed by reaching out to me. It takes a lot of cajones to put yourself out there like that, and to try and build a better life for yourself. However, Tanner showed an equal amount of Grit and tenacity last week at the club, when he used a 4 iron for a 20 yard chip-in. His ball may have ended up in the rough, but it took guts to attempt a shot like. 

At the end of the day, I saw two highly qualified candidates. One of them had fought against inconceivable odds to get to where he is today, while the other was in the same fraternity I was in. And I was forced to pick between them.

As A CEO you face a lot of hard choices - is it my job to help a man full of potential, who, with the right connections, could take the world by storm? Or is it my job to avoid any awkwardness on our yearly ski trip with Tanner’s family? It was tough, but I decided to make the call, to do my part to right a historical wrong, and gave the Job to Tanner. After all, the poor kid did have to go to Brown.