Executive Vice President and Branch Manager

Who is/was your most influential leadership mentor and why? The late Darwin Davis, who had an exceptional career at AXA Equitable. Darwin was a great husband, father, and friend, and highly respected in the workplace and community. Darwin was an example of success for African Americans and he encouraged people of color that success was possible, but you have to want it and you have to work for it. He taught me that there is no obstacle you can’t tear down, break through, or jump over.

Who in your family had the most impact on your success? My father, mother, and wife supported me with unconditional love and encouragement. I was raised in a small community in New Orleans. Both of my parents were active in the church and our community. They taught me the importance of prayer, education, respect, to fear no one, and to stand up for what was right. My wife and I made a vow to walk this road together, and we haven’t looked back.

Headquarters: New York City
Web site: www.axa-equitable.com
Primary Business: Life insurance, annuities and investment products and services
Employees: More than 11,000 employees and sales personnel

What is your definition of leadership? Leadership is much more than management. It is the ability to lead a group of individuals effectively, and help to make them and the organization successful, while maintaining strong principles and ideals. Leaders should have values that are consistent with high moral and ethical standards, and they should know how to motivate others effectively.

What are your most rewarding career accomplishments? Becoming an officer in the United States Air Force and being able to lead, serve, protect, and defend the United States of America for 20 years. Being promoted to executive vice president and branch manager for AXA Advisors and moving to Detroit, Michigan, to mentor new financial professionals.

What advice can you provide for young leaders? Have a vision. Set goals and write them down. Have courage and believe in yourself. Know your purpose and values, and be able to articulate them. Join a professional organization. Interact with positive people and rid yourself of toxic people. Become fluent in another language. Learn about different cultures. Eat healthy. Incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Read. Never stop learning.

What are the personal and professional risks a leader should take? Believe that each goal is attainable. You can’t be everyone’s friend. Encourage others to live a life that is ethically and morally correct. Be ready to lead the pack.