Sean George, ’14, opens doors and creates opportunities for the people in his community – a practice he experienced repeatedly at GGC.
GGC faculty and staff frequently encourage students to get involved in one of the hundreds of organizations on campus or run for office in the Student Government Association (SGA).
George did both, serving as a member of the student organization Indian Cultural Exchange, and as both vice president and subsequently president of SGA. He listed multiple benefits he gained from those opportunities, “…connections, public speaking, getting better at communication, working with a team, demonstrating leadership and delegation abilities, conflict resolution, and learning time management and how to manage stress.”
He also lived on campus – steps away from classes, faculty mentors and academic support. He credits the learning community environment for increased focus in his studies, meeting different people with diverse backgrounds and the opportunity to mentor others as a resident assistant.
But it was through SGA that a pivotal door opened when he initially connected with then-president of the college Dr. Daniel J. Kaufman. Later, when George needed to select an internship opportunity for his business administration degree, he reconnected with Kaufman, now president and CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber.
“I wanted to serve under Dr. Kaufman’s leadership and work for someone who’s a huge advocate for higher education,” George said.
He and Kaufman worked together to create an internship that connected George with the director of Small Business Services. There, he helped the Chamber launch a new program to create comprehensive tool kits for small business owners and startups specific to areas around the county. George shared the experience as one his proudest because he was Grizzly-prepared and fully confident to contribute in meaningful ways – strategic planning toward business retention, determining benchmarks and gathering input from chambers, nationwide.
In fact, the program received high praise with invitations to present at other chambers across the nation. It also resulted in part-time work while he finished school, then full-time once he graduated.
Kaufman continued to encourage George, even after graduating GGC, to enroll in a master’s program. George has since earned two – business administration and theological studies.
George also keeps in touch with other GGC faculty and staff who’ve guided his GGC journey, including Dr. C. Douglas Johnson, professor of leadership and management.
“Dr. Doug was not my assigned advisor, but he was always helpful and available,” George said. “Even after graduation, he continued to encourage me through graduate school, and we still meet for coffee to catch up.”
George is paying it forward today, connecting people to resources and encouraging higher education.
As a volunteer priest for Holy Cross Cathedral in Loganville, Ga., he mentors those in the youth program to consider college, and those already enrolled to get involved in campus organizations.
“Being involved on campus helps build more opportunities,” he said.
He also regularly shares experiences from his study in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where he met peers from other countries, backgrounds and cultures, and gained real world, applicable skills and resources.
And it’s through his role as project director for First Community Development in Peachtree Corners, Ga. that he assists organizations in the Southeast, like non-profits, chambers of commerce and economic development councils. He’s currently providing expertise and project management services toward a fundraising campaign to support Hope Clinic in Lawrenceville, Ga. The clinic provides medical care to those with limited or no access to healthcare.
George not only embodies Kaufman’s famous advice to “Go be great!” but also inspires others to do the same to find their extraordinary.
Learn more about the GGC experience and become a Grizzly.