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By Christopher Hartwell @SILIENCESEEN

A man who has faced adversity and worked hard to get where he is spoke at Las Positas on Sept. 28th with a presentation titled “Staying Ahead of Change: Think Big and Follow Through.” This event was hosted by Las Positas as part of the Business and Entrepreneurship Speaker Series.

When 26 year old Corban Bell, a Senior Analyst with Stanford Management company left home to go to Grambling State University in Louisiana, his parents drove him across the country just so he could have the opportunity to go to college.

Bell said that it was seeing his parents’ determination to make him succeed that pushed him to accomplish the truly extraordinary feat of going from a poor family in a poor neighborhood to ultimately becoming a successful businessman.

“It really was the gravity of the situation to not make their time and make their effort and their money go to waste, really that was the initial motivation,” he said.

His story didn’t have an entirely happy ending, however. Bell noted in his talk that his old friends and acquaintances from his youth were not as lucky as he.

Bell knows a lot of people who died over the years. They are people who “are not here today because they were involved in some of the things that I was involved in.

“The reality is, I think the outcomes of our choices don’t discriminate. You pick up one end of the stick and the other stick is inevitably attached to that. There aren’t many people that knew me then that still know me now, outside of my brother, and maybe a handful of other people.”

The lecture by Bell was in a spirit of not hiding the past, as he spoke about his history and how far he has come from where he used to be.

Bell spoke about his past and how it pushes him to succeed. “That is one of the things that motivates me the most these days, to understand that there are so many people with so much potential that are leaving it unrealized. Knowing where I came from and who I was, that stays on my mind,” said Bell.

Many students were enthusiastic to have the opportunity to hear Bell speak which was apparent in that the auditorium was completely filled, and there was standing room only. Several students who attended stayed standing in the back of the room throughout the entire lecture, just to hear Bell speak.

“Corban is an extraordinary leader who applies a seasoned entrepreneurial mindset to his career and values integrity above all,” said Business Studies Program Coordinator Lisa Taylor Weaver, Ph.D. “I am sure our students will be inspired by his story.”

Throughout his speech, Bell made it clear he feels it is important for people to know what they are capable of doing. So much is possible, and Bell advised that if people just apply themselves, they will succeed.

Bell described how stunning his realization was, that he was going to succeed in life. While in school, he saw “How much better things looked when you realized that, A. you are not a criminal, B. I do have the opportunity to go to school, and really kind of make something of myself.”

At the end of the event, Bell took questions from the audience and was given recognition by the coordinators of the event alongside some gifts and a plaque recognizing his achievement.

“My goal in sharing these experiences is to inspire listeners to think big and follow through,” Bell said.

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