Pivot Fellow Spotlight: Ernest Boykin

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Ernest Boykin considers this past year a tremendous growth period in his life. Through the Pivot Program, he feels that he has finally developed the skills he needs to achieve his greatest potential.

“I came into the program and just really wanted to try to change my life,” he says. “I had invested a lot of time into just doing things to make money and support my family, and I hadn’t invested in my education.”

The Classroom Experience

Along with the other Pivot Fellows, Ernest has been enrolled in six months of full-time classes with Georgetown University professors. Pivot’s classroom component has been validating and motivational, he says.

“Georgetown University has such a prestigious name, so it was kind of intimidating in the beginning,” he says. “But once I started and met the professors, I realized that, you know what, I am good enough. I am intelligent enough to be able to learn at this level.”

For Ernest, one of the best parts of the program has been the Distinguished Speaker Series. On Fridays, Pivot invites local business leaders and entrepreneurs to share their insights with the Fellows

“I’ve learned something from every person they’ve put us in front of,” he says. 

Interning at LINK

After developing technical and communication skills in the classroom, Pivot Fellows began their three-month internship with D.C.-area nonprofit organizations and businesses. 

Ernest currently works as an Associate for LINK Strategic Partners, a D.C. strategic communications and stakeholder engagement firm. As an Associate, Ernest has taken on many responsibilities, including providing support on new projects, attending various meetings and focus groups, and building out reports based on conversations with new clients. 

“On our team, everybody is equal. It’s a very safe, diverse space that stresses equality and inclusion,” he says. “I’m learning how to be a better team player, manage my time more wisely, and really come out of my shell.”

Recently, Ernest has stepped into a project manager role in LINK’s work with the Frederick Douglass Project for Justice, overseeing the organization and coordination of client deliverables. 

This new responsibility has showcased Ernest’s ability to step into new roles quickly and excel at them, according to President of LINK Michael Akin. 

“Ernest’s growth has been exponential. When he began his associateship, Ernest showed early on that he was willing and ready to learn and provide support wherever it was needed,” Akin says. “Now, about a month and a half into Ernest’s experience, he has stepped into the project manager role for a client and has continued to show that hunger to learn and to be successful.”

Looking Forward to After Pivot

Ernest hopes to one day become a successful entrepreneur and business owner. With Georgetown’s Jesuit values in mind, Ernest has committed himself to aligning with social impact ventures and causes that give back to his local community.  

“A lesson that has really stuck with me has been the Jesuit school of thought about helping the community and working to change the world for the better,” he says.

With June’s graduation fast approaching, Ernest says he is excited, anxious, and ready.

“With all the doors they’ve opened up for us, all the situations that they’ve put us in, and all of the lessons that they taught us, once I graduate, I know great things are to follow,” he says.