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Alumni profile: Beating the cat with 9 lives

9:00 AM  Sep 5th, 2017
by Gita Balakrishnan

Alumnus Elverage Allen says his professional career is a perfect case study for good mentoring and adaptability.

It’s the reason his friends tell him he has more lives than the proverbial cat with nine.

From being a star high school and UD football player to being a high school athletic coach, rental property manager, banker and finally landing in his niche of marketing, Allen says his twisted career path has taught him the power of perseverance.

It’s paid off. He recently received the Advertising Sales Executive Award from The Diversity Discussion — a high honor in advertising and sales.

But, he says he would never have reached this point had it not been for good mentorship.

“I didn’t see myself doing this,” he said. “In high school, there was no course ahead of me. I didn’t really know who to ask for help. I thought I wanted to be a school teacher. I didn’t know my talents were in other places.”

So, he went from job to job.

That changed when Allen became an operations manager at The First National Bank of Chicago. He says his supervisor taught him about corporate America, how to dress, talk, carry himself and helped him to “lay out the next stages of my career,” which included earning his MBA from the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University.

Allen has been an executive in marketing and sales in media programming for nearly 20 years.

With all of his success, Allen admits life was not always a series of wins.

“It’s easy to handle success,” he said. “Anyone can do it. But a person that can handle failure successfully really has the power to do anything.”

He’s also learned that success is more than an award, salary or recognition.

“Whether at work or in your personal life, always strive to be the best person you can be. Work hard, be considerate of others and be spiritually grounded. If you do these things, you will always be successful,” he said.

One Response to Alumni profile: Beating the cat with 9 lives

  1. Ray Watkins says:

    Great Story! I’m not surprise that Elverage (Sonny) has been successful. His conviction of striving to be the best person he can, has always been embedded in him.

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