Oral Pottinger

Oral Pottinger

Company Name: Mayer Brown LLP
Industry: Law
Company CEO: Paul Theiss
Company Headquarters Location: N/A
Number of Employees: More than 3,600
Your Location (if different from above): Washington, DC
Words you live by: “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” –Frederick Douglass
Who is your personal hero? Arthur Ashe
What book are you reading? Grace and Justice on Death Row by Brian Stolarz
What was your first job: Paperboy for Minneapolis Star & Tribune
Favorite charity: Hope and a Home (Washington, DC)
Interests: Sports of all kind (particularly tennis, basketball, football, baseball, hockey, and golf) and travel
Family: Nyree (wife); Morgan (daughter); Dean (son)

I Look for Opportunities to Give Back

I think it is vitally important for those who are more established in their careers to reach back and mentor the next generation. I truly believe that without mentorship in the legal or business world, one cannot fully reach his or her potential.

I have had so many mentors during my career, and I continue to have mentors. You never reach a point where you are not learning and growing. I have had mentor/mentee relationships as the mentor, where I have learned just as much from my mentee as I hope I passed on. I also think it is important to have diverse mentors. I don’t just have African-American mentors. Some of my biggest advocates have been white men and women.

I grew up in a family that immigrated to the United States in 1972 from Jamaica. My parents instilled in me and my two brothers the importance of education and of doing what was necessary to sacrifice for the next generation, so they would have greater opportunities than you did. I was fortunate that the places where we lived, like Rochester, New York, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Fargo, North Dakota had great public school systems which gave my brothers and I excellent resources and the opportunity to elevate ourselves. As a result, we now enjoy careers as a lawyer, a pharmaceutical sales executive, and a college professor.

But beyond our careers, I believe the three of us are people who look to give back to others. How does this tie into mentorship? Showing the next generation that education can be a path forward to elevate yourself is so vitally important to mentoring the next generation. So often, the young do not have the same opportunities I had in great public school systems. Often, even the basic resources are lacking. So I look for opportunities where resources are lacking, and I give back as much as I can and hopefully I guide others to do the same.

I live by this verse from the Book of Luke, “To whom much is given, much will be required.” Hopefully, I will leave my small portion of the world better because I do.