Early Obstacles and Later Success

On September 20th, 2020 I will be moderating an online discussion, Early Obstacles and Later Success, with Triston Francis, hosted by the Wily Network. 

I initially connected with Triston at a Wily event with Harvard Business School, Professionally Telling Your Story at HBS, and recently reached out to Triston after hearing his MASA seminar. I wanted to hear his thoughts on how early adversity has led to his success, as well as gain advice and insights on how he managed early adversity and a demanding educational program.

A first-generation college student who grew up in an underserved community, Triston did not have a lot of access to educational opportunities or guidance. He didn’t think education could help him out of his situation, but a lucky opportunity to go to boarding school changed his life. Over time, Triston received the coaching and support he needed to believe in himself and set high goals.

Triston received a BS from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, and served as president of both the Black Wharton Undergraduate Association as well as the African-American Senior Honor Society. After graduating he worked as an associate on Morgan Stanley’s Multicultural Client Strategy Team. Triston received his MBA from Harvard Business School, where he served as the Student Body President and graduated in the top 20% of his class.

Outside of school and work, Triston founded a professional development speaker series in New York City called Navigating Corporate America, and is involved with the non profits Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) and Sponsorship for Educational Opportunity (SEO).

I wanted to share Triston’s story with my younger brother, who struggles to return to a rigorous academic school while balancing a turbulent family situation. As a young student, it is difficult for him to understand how the challenges he is facing now, inside and outside the classroom, will prepare him with essential life skills. Like many other students, my brother has been presented with many unprecedented challenges he must overcome, while showing appreciation for the resources he is provided. 

Triston and I felt that many students could benefit from hearing his journey, learning about different aspects of measuring growth, and asking personal questions. 

Two months later, I am now working with the Wily Network’s communications team to create promotional media and conduct community outreach. This experience has allowed me to grow my management skills, expand my network, and share with the community a resource that has helped me. I am very excited to host and moderate this discussion, and share this opportunity with my community. 

Early Obstacles and Later Success will take place on Sunday, September 20th, 7:30-8:30 pm EST. This discussion is a great opportunity to learn more about Triston’s story: his take on the power of education, his mindset while overcoming obstacles, and the experiences that were essential for his professional success. These topics are truly versatile, highlighting the importance of different growth forms, whether it be academic or personal. Regardless of your age, educational foundation, or personal background, if you are interested in learning about the positive impact of adversity, this is the event for you. Click here to sign up for the event! All you need is a phone or computer with a stable connection to tune in.

8 Difficulties of Working Remotely

This summer, I am thankful to have the opportunity to intern remotely at Equal Innovation, a consulting company. Like many students, I was left scrambling to find meaningful work for the summer, with a limited number of options for an increased number of applicants. Sadly, students who did secure an internship before the pandemic may have had their program canceled. The College Reaction/Axios Poll, conducted in April found that “38% of surveyed college students who said they had secured an internship or post-graduate work now say those opportunities have been canceled; 37% say those plans have been delayed or made remote” (Forbes). Further, “Of the employers who canceled internships, 64% offered no compensation” (Yellow). 

For the students who were able to rebound and restart the application process, the majority could not meet their potential employers in person for an interview. Luckily, I was able to land my first internship and first totally remote job, just before the semester ended.

I’m three weeks into my internship and some of the privileges of remote work have turned into obstacles I have to overcome. Here are my top 8 difficulties that you may be able to relate with: 


  1. My work depends on my undependable wifi connection. With the average American working from home, we will be testing the “internet networks with one of the biggest mass behavior changes that the nation has experienced” (NY Times, So We’re Working From Home. Can the Internet Handle It?). 
  2. My schedule is more flexible, which makes it easier to get sidetracked. My designated workspace is also next to the TV and front window; on sunny days it is difficult to hold back my urge to go outside and on rainy days it is even more difficult to hold back my urge to go on Netflix. 
  3. Learning is essential to an internship, and I will be forced to learn online rather than from an in-person experience. Like me, “77% of college students say remote learning is worse than in-person learning”(Forbes).
  4. My environment greatly affects my productivity; I cannot get the experience of working in an office environment this summer.
  5. My boss is not down the hall from me to provide support. So, most of my questions are answered via email which allows for miscommunication and little guidance.
  6. It is challenging to network with co-workers and impossible to talk about the job over a lunch break.
  7. I’m not able to have someone quickly look over my work and provide me with feedback at the last minute. 
  8. Since my work was moved online, I am staring at my computer screen for the majority of the workday. I will miss out on fieldwork this summer. 


Although remote work has numerous difficulties, I will be prepared to move forward to work remotely. When you feel frustrated with your remote work, make sure to remember the skills and lessons you will be learning from adapting. Here are some interesting articles of the benefits from remote work: 

7 Important Life Lessons You Can Learn from Working Remotely

4 Lessons I’ve Learned About Working Remotely

What if You Don’t Want to Go Back to the Office?

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