CNM Students, Employees Inspired by Pulitzer-nominated Author Clifton Taulbert Visit

October 12, 2017 -- Clifton Taulbert, Pulitzer-nominated author, business consultant and motivational speaker, captured the enthusiasm of CNM students and employees during his visit last week to the college.
October 12, 2017

“He sent a message that people can rise above their challenges, use their imagination and accomplish whatever they want,” said Donna Diller, dean of the School of Business & Information Technology (BIT). “The students really listened to him and were inspired.”

Diller was part of a five-member team that arranged Taulbert’s three-day visit to CNM Oct. 3-5. Others included Linda Shul, BIT instructor; Debbie Johnson, CNM Education & Entrepreneurship Community director; Dawnn Moore, senior program manager of CNM Ingenuity, Inc.; and Sionna Grassbaugh, BIT director.  

BIT invited Taulbert to meet with audiences consisting of students from CNM, the University of New Mexico (UNM), Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) and the College and Career High School, as well as Albuquerque business leaders and community members. One of his most popular books, “Who Owns the Ice House? Eight Lessons from an Unlikely Entrepreneur,” is the basis for the curriculum of CNM Entrepreneurship courses and the CNM Ingenuity's Entrepreneurial Mindset Program.

He started his visit Oct. 3 with 170 students from CNM, UNM and Albuquerque Public Schools.  It was an informal discussion where Taulbert listened closely to the students’ comments. He told them about how, as a young man, he left his home community in Mississippi because he saw no opportunities there. One student commented that he did the same thing, and that’s how he wound up in Albuquerque.

Taulbert emphasized the importance of family and community in a person’s life.

On the second day of his visit, Oct. 4, he spoke at a business breakfast attended by about 35 Albuquerque business leaders who were particularly interested in his consulting work with major U.S. companies.

Later that day, he gave a keynote address, “Accelerate Your Imagination,” to an audience of 130 people, mostly CNM students and some UNM business students and City of Albuquerque employees.

On Oct. 5. he toured the CNM FUSE Makerspace at Innovate ABQ, accompanied by students in CNM’s Entrepreneurial Mindset Program (EMP). He gave a lecture, “The Process to Accelerate Your Imagination,” attended by EMP students, FUSE Makerspace members, Rapid Prototyping and Innovative Design students and Albuquerque community members.

Taulbert also made a special trip during his visit to meet with the University of New Mexico basketball players and head coach Paul Weir. 

Taulbert was born in a small Mississippi town in the racially segregated south, a place where he couldn’t even use the public library because of his color. He grew up picking cotton and traveling long distances to attend school every day. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Oral Roberts University and a graduate degree from Southwest Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University. He is the author of 14 books – the first of which, “Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored,” was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and was made into a movie. He is now director of an Oklahoma bank and president of two companies. He’s lectured before the Supreme Court, United Nations, Air Force Academy, Department of Defense, many academic institutions and Fortune 500 companies.

His visit to CNM was made possible through the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act of 2006 and additional grant funding through CNM Ingenuity.

The following are student Impressions of Clifton Taulbert’s Front Porch Conversation.

Student: Felix Madrid
I attended the Front Porch conversation on Oct. 3. This was the first time that I have been to something like that, and I honestly liked it. The story Taulbert tells is so convincing and inspirational. It is nice to hear from people who are shining from their hard work. It made me appreciate the hustle more, and it’s something that made me realize that “the impossible is possible.” I just have to put in my time and continue to work for it. I would definitely recommend an event like this to anyone who just needs that extra push for any time in life. I will definitely be attending more shows like this.

Student: Michelle Gomez
I attended the Front Porch Conversation with Clifton Taulbert on Oct. 3. I appreciated the personal introduction and found the discussion to be both inspiring and motivating. Mr. Taulbert spoke so highly of his childhood and how much he appreciated his humble beginnings. It was so inspiring to hear his story about going to the bank with Uncle Cleve and having to enter through the back. He stated that because of that experience, he would one day own a bank and did. I will never forget the quote, “Effort is the currency that you use to pay for your dreams.”