From band director to consultant, from father to city councilman, from businessman to personal mentor, Cyril Jefferson is a man of quite a few titles and talents. Today, he wears his many hats with ease, even partnering with us here at High Point Discovered to develop our storytelling reach. And today, we want to call attention to the consulting firm he successfully operates here in High Point, rooted in the belief that the youth of our city deserve the best of us.
Change Often, a “socially-responsible consulting firm committed to education and youth development,” as Cyril describes it, was first born from Cyril’s own career in education. As a former band director at T.W. Andrews High School, Cyril was moved by the idea of inspiring his students’ growth beyond their musical pedigree.
“We wanted to see [our students] grow as well-rounded scholars who would dare to be ambitious and commit themselves to the hard work that is requisite for achieving their wildest aspirations,” Cyril explains. “I saw lives transformed and trajectories adjusted for the better.
I knew that we could save the world if we focused on saving our youth, and to really do that in a major way, we sought to work with organizations and professionals (teachers, coaches, counselors, etc.) that are working directly with youth.”
And thus, Change Often was born. The name harkens back to a Winston Churchill quote: “To improve is to change. To perfect is to change often.” Cyril says these words embody the growth mindset he hopes his organization promotes.
“While in education, I noticed that there were passionate professionals in the field who could have a stronger impact on the youth they were serving if these professionals were working within the right systems and being coached a little more,” Cyril says. “And while there were certainly other options for consulting and coaching available, there weren’t many who championed growth mindset as the avenue to deliver their services.”
Today, Change Often provides a wealth of coaching, consultative, and professional development services to organizations that focus on serving youth. Read on to hear the rest of our interview with Cyril, and about some of the biggest victories and challenges in managing Change Often.
Q. What was one of the biggest obstacles you had to overcome for your business, and how did you overcome that?
A. My biggest obstacle came from trying to develop the business and secure opportunities while only devoting time to it in an ancillary capacity. Some business ventures can be pursued on the side while you work another full-time job, but this was different. I had to find the courage to step out on faith and devote the appropriate time to Change Often. Having a strong support system of friends and loved ones was paramount to me actually being able to do that.
Q. What has been one of your proudest achievements or biggest highlights from your work?
A. Change Often has played an integral role in the recent formation of Resilience High Point – an alliance of public, private, and non-profit organizations collaborating to develop integrated infrastructure that empowers all individuals and families to thrive. Our leadership holding the quarterly convenings for this effort and developing the strategic partnership with Communities In Schools of High Point is something that I believe will prove to be essential to improving the lives of many High Pointers.
Q. Who encouraged you and made it possible to get to where you are today?
A. First and foremost, I credit my Christian faith for everything that has happened in my life. Next, I would have to recognize my wife, Raven, for being the best life-partner I could ever dream of having. After that, there are a host of family members, friends, mentors, and trusted associates that have contributed to this journey. Far too many to list, and I would hate to leave anyone out.
Q. Why did you choose to locate your business in High Point?
A. High Point is home to me and my family. Along with my wife and two sons, we have developed a network and rapport that are special. I couldn’t see myself taking root anywhere else.
Q. How do you see your company contributing to High Point’s community?
A. We are committed to being advocates for the protection and promotion of our city’s most valuable resource. We will continue being that Champion for Youth.
Q. If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting out in High Point, what would it be?
A. Spend time getting to know folks and try to figure out how the service that you’re providing contributes to the collective benefit of our city.
Q. Where do you see your company/organization in the next 5 years?
A. Change Often will establish itself as a formidable voice when it comes to youth, as we involve ourselves in many of the critical initiatives and efforts being undertaken to keep the topic of youth engagement and education at the forefront of conversations.
Q. What are you excited about for High Point’s future?
A. Our city has the opportunity to capitalize on the momentum we’ve gained from all the positive things taking place and to address the challenges that are still present before us.
If you want to learn more about Change Often, or perhaps know an organization that would benefit from their services, visit Change Often LLC.
We’re with Cyril and Change Often that our city’s future will reflect and be driven by the level of our dedication to mentoring our city’s youth. And mentoring the growth of our students is a mission we’re happy to support!
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Photography by Maria West Photography