Alumni Experiences: Marcus Butler at Fifth Tribe

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Marcus Butler built his first computer when he was 12. Now, he spends his days building websites as a developer at the digital agency Fifth Tribe

 “I build webpages, do HTML and WordPress, and am moving towards becoming a full stack developer,” he said. 

Marcus first joined Fifth Tribe as an intern when he was in the Georgetown Pivot Program for returning citizens. The first step was to to undergo a host of certifications, including Google Ads and Analytics, along with fellow Pivot intern Marquis Hicks.

“They didn’t realize that they had gone through the training faster than anybody else in our entire company had gone before,” said Khuram Zaman, the CEO of Fifth Tribe, whose mission is “to positively impact the world through design, tech, and marketing.” Their clients range from the Peace Corps to Oxfam to the Halal investment advisor Wahed Invest. 

“These preconceived notions you have of what people’s limitations are?” Khuram said, “Those are just all preconceived notions. They blew past our expectations.” 

Khuram was an entrepreneur in residence at the Georgetown Venture Lab when he first heard about the Pivot Program. “It sounded really innovative,” he said, “so we wanted to become a part of it.”  

The first website Marcus and Marquis helped build was for the Pivot Program. They found bugs, tested software, and made sure the website was ADA-compliant. “Everybody seems to have a desire to help another teammate move forward with whatever they’re doing, whether its a project, a class, a training, anything like that,” said Marcus. “They always want to help and push you to move forward.” 

Khuram says the benefit is mutual: “Having people that are returning citizens be part of our workforce contributes a lot to our development,” he said. “As a company, it just made us stronger, more innovative, and more creative in how we are tackling our clients’ problems.” 

“Everybody loved working with them,” Khuram added. “Pivot is an incredible program. It’s one of the most innovative programs that we’ve been a part of. We’ve been happy to support it and hope to continue to support it. I strongly encourage other employers to join this program and do what they can to make it a success.”

In addition to learning new skills, Marcus said one of the biggest benefits to working at Fifth Tribe is the collegiality: “During the week we’ll go out and have lunch, or go to a happy hour. It’s really close-knit, and they’re really supportive.”

In looking for employment, Marcus advises other returning citizens to “Stay focused on what you’re trying to do, ask questions and really push yourself. Nobody is going to do it for you. You gotta find out what’s in you that makes you want to do this and hold onto that until you get to where you want to get to.” 

Marcus says working at Fifth Tribe has continued to exceed his expectations, except for one serious downside: the candy bowl. “You get cavities that way,” he said.