Fall is approaching, and so is the upcoming Louisiana football season.
Since the launch of Cajun Compass, UL Lafayette's premier networking and mentorship platform, hundreds of people from our Ragin' Cajuns community have joined. We want to get to know this community better with our new series—Connect with Cajun Compass. Throughout the series, we'll spotlight members from Cajun Compass and talk to them about their careers, advice, mentoring, and much more.
To kick things off, we're talking with UL Lafayette alumnus Ezra Boyd. Originally from Opelousas, Boyd '16 graduated from the University with a degree in business management. He currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia, and serves as the Sr. District Manager of PepsiCo. Throughout his career so far, Boyd has gotten great advice from his mentors, and he's excited to be able to return the favor to others by using Cajun Compass.
Alumni Association: What does your current job entail?
Ezra Boyd: I oversee a team of about 50 employees, and I have a few managers that report under me. It's definitely a challenge at times, but it is rewarding work. I learned along the way how to talk to different people and learn different things about them. As a leader of people, you deal with different personalities and different walks of life. So, you have to manage and coach them in different ways.
AA: What has your career been? How has it led you to where you are now?
EB: With PepsiCo, I started as a sales management associate, and I basically ended up getting that job by going to the career fair at UL Lafayette. I talked to someone with Frito-Lay and went through the process of getting hired with the help of the Office of Career Services at the University. I started there in the training program and got moved to Memphis. After I did my training, I got promoted to district sales. After about three years in Memphis, I got promoted to my current role in Atlanta, and I've been here for two years.
AA: What is the importance of having a mentor?
EB: When you have a mentor willing to help you along the way, you can ask them anything. And it's important to ask them because when you're young and trying to figure things out, you're worried about not making a mistake. And that's the great thing about having a mentor. They can talk you through what worked for them and what they would have done differently.
AA: What is the best advice you have ever received?
EB: I think the best advice I ever got was not being scared to fail at something. It's okay to fail at something sometimes because that failure can help you do better at something else. Also, mistakes help you unlock something to develop your career. It is okay to take risks.
AA: What do you enjoy about mentoring and helping others?
EB: I think for me, the biggest thing is when you work with these people. You get to learn about their families, what motivates them, and you get to watch and see their progressions. Seeing them come in as a trainee and helping them along the way to get promoted eventually or to help them get another job is wonderful. That is the most fulfilling piece of it for me.
AA: What advice would you give to UL Lafayette graduates?
EB: I think the biggest thing I would tell somebody in school or about to graduate is not to be scared to fail. We live in a world now that just because you get a job out of school, that doesn't have to be your final destination—you can do something else. If there is something you always wanted to do, go ahead and do the research on it. Another thing I would say is just because you graduated doesn't mean you have to rush and find a job. You have time to figure it out. Graduating from college is a significant accomplishment, but getting a job is not the end goal of that degree. Make sure it's something you really want to do.
Visit compass.louisiana.edu to join Cajun Compass and discover the power of your UL Lafayette network.
Photo Caption: Ezra Boyd