The Perennial umbrella of companies is a 10-year-old, certified member of the industry elite. Representing star athletes like the NBA’s Josh Smith (Atlanta Hawks); Derrick Favors (Utah Jazz); NFL’s Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers): Kris Jenkins (New York Jets), and the NBA’s referees’ union — among others — is the creative thinking of Lamell McMorris.
The founder and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based group of companies bearing the Perennial name; Perennial Strategy Group, Perennial Sports and Entertainment, and Perennial Law Group, McMorris is a graduate of Morehouse College where he earned a bachelor’s degree in religion and society. He later attended Princeton Theological Seminary where he earned his master’s of divinity in social ethics, with a concentration in public policy.
In addition to offering strategic insight and external affairs to some of the nation’s leading decision-makers in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, he manages an in-house team of experienced government and public relations professionals, lawyers, and sports agents, offering a multitude of services to clients in a wide range of disciplines and specialty areas.
Having recently announced Perennial’s 2012 Youth Business Competition for high schoolers, McMorris imparts words of wisdom for rising business professionals and entrepreneurs. –yvette caslin
What was the most useful lesson you learned from your mentor and how has it impacted your career?
Don’t be known as a “gadfly” — here, there, and everywhere. At some point you have to sit down and demonstrate that you can build something.
Why is important to secure a mentor?
Mentors help guide the way and make all the stuff you learn in an education setting real and practical. It’s one thing to read about someone building a business and another thing to go down to their office and see them working.
Why is important to be a mentor?
It’s important to be a mentor because if people are not exposed to various career options, business acumen, and solid values then how and why would we expect them to model their lives and careers a certain way. At some point, we have to be the sermon and not just preach it.
What excites you about your job?
The opportunity and the blessing to build is what keeps me up at night and gets me excited, to see something evolve from absolutely nothing.
What are the five attributes critical to achieve your goals?
1. Follow up
2. Follow through
3. Work ethic
4. Strong faith
5. Having a rock solid team that consists of family, friends, and the people you work with every day.
How did your academic career prepare you for corporate life?
My academic career provided the foundation for me to believe I could be or do anything.
What would you like your legacy to be?
I would like my legacy to be not only did I build successful businesses the right way; I also opened the doors for an army of people who will do the same thing for others.
How do you define success?
What is your secret weapon in the battle to secure clients and how are you deploying it?
Doing the stuff you can’t put on a nice website or a glossy brochure. Being the thing and having the services that you can’t quantify. [I] embraced the intangibles.
What preparations, if any, are you making to carry the company into the global marketplace?
[We’re] engaging new media, film, and television.
Are there any last words that you’d like to share with the readers?
Work when everyone else is asleep.