We are excited to announce the Fall/Winter Semester winner of our $500 academic scholarship, Steven Cochran, a student at Delgado Community College. Learn more about his proudest achievements and academic and career goals.
Steven Cochran: After spending over a decade in the hospitality business−managing operations are a dozen bars in the French Quarter, New Orleans−I decided to make an about-face and return to school with the end-goal of becoming a lawyer−the job I’ve always wanted, but never thought was a possibility for me.
The Covid-19 pandemic upended my industry, along with others, and sent me home for a month. In that time−spent with my wife and three children−I realized that the 90 hours a week I was selling to the company was no longer sustainable.
Not only did I want to be home more often, but I wanted my professional life to bring me contentment and reward. With the rock-solid support of my spouse, I resigned my executive position and enrolled in Delgado Community College.
In the spring of next year, 2023, I will transfer to the University of New Orleans and continue work toward my bachelor’s in Philosophy, then go on to Loyola University Law School. I am still unsure what area of law I am most interested in, but I am fully immersed in the process to get there.
There is a variety of benefits to having worked in the bar/restaurant industry or as long as I have. To begin with, I think staying the course with any job teaches one about patience and the challenges that come with growing a team around you.
The abnormally high turnover rate of that industry−often north of 150%−is a unique situation that allowed me to interact with nearly every personality mixture there is. I had to learn how to speak so that anyone, from any background, would not only understand me, but believe in what I was trying to convey.
In my tenure as General Manager, and later Area Director, I was able to implement policies that enabled us to dramatically reduce the number of people that quit their jobs. We created a workspace that people wanted to be a part of and where they were encouraged to contribute ideas and critiques, with the shared goal of reducing the quantity of time needed to carry out an objective and increasing the quality of the outcome.
If I were to find a theme or thread running through my achievements, it would be people. I have always been fascinated with how people think and learn; coupled with a love of reading, I’ve spent a great deal of time gaining as much insight into human behavior as I can−this is a forever project−not only to learn about other people, but also to limit my own biases when making determinations.
I’ve found ways to teach people new aspects of their job so they can advance themselves. I personally picked, trained, and mentored my eight-person management team and I’m proud that they are the ones still running the company−a fifteen million dollar a year business− today, two years after I resigned.
As an attorney, I’ll be able to use what I know, and am still learning, about people to help others get fair treatment from the law. My inclination is to enter criminal law. If that is the path I end up taking, I’ll be involved in analyzing individuals to determine the best way to defend them, or prosecute them−I think I would first join a DA’s office.
I have learned the most from my young son. He was born with a series of severe heart defects that have seen him in and out of doctor’s offices and surgery centers since he was six months old. Through all the medications, procedures, surgeries, ultrasounds, x-rays, blood work, and weeks in the ICU, he maintains an infectious love of the day.
He wakes up smiling and goes to bed content. My perspective on everything−from diet to death−has radically changed for the better since he was born. I intend to spend the second half of my life doing work that will make both of us proud.
Interested in applying to our scholarship? Learn more about our requirements and apply today.