Celebrating My Mom – Hard Work, Dedication and a Love of People
In honor of Mother’s Day, Carlos Cunningham celebrates his mom and all that she has taught him. Continue reading as Carlos talks about his mom’s military career, her dedication to hard work and how she vetted DHG before Carlos’s first of three DHG internships!
Tell us about your mom and her career in the military.
My mom retired in September of last year after 37 years in the military. She loved it! She spent time in Afghanistan in Operation Desert Storm before I was born. She was part of a transportation unit, which meant she spent her time in the military driving trucks. She oversaw a good number of soldiers, making sure they had their training and camps scheduled and all necessary paperwork in order. She was the one that made sure everything was aligned.
My mom made a lot of sacrifices. Her work wasn’t an 8-5 job, as she had both of her phones going at all times. It wasn’t a requirement that she be plugged in 24-7, but she was because she really loved the soldiers (and they loved her). She made sure they were taken care of, and it was always really special for me to see how much they loved her.
When you were interviewing at DHG, your mom came with you to check the firm out for herself! Tell us about that.
I like to say that DHG found me and I found DHG early in my college career when I was still extremely “green.” I was young and didn’t know much about the recruiting process. Before my first of three internships with DHG, I reached out to DHG’s Talent Acquisition team about coming up to check out the office. Last-minute, they put together an office visit for me – it was very impressive!
When my mom came into DHG, she didn’t meet a ton of the partners or managers, but she did meet two people right off the bat that she took an immediate liking to. One was the receptionist in the Greenville, SC office and the other was the Director of Talent Acquisition. My mom is really good at picking up on people and their spirit (as am I), so meeting these individuals made her feel like DHG was the place for me. We both were amazed by how everyone made us feel welcome and completely at ease. My mom immediately saw that everyone in the office loved me and that the feeling was mutual – DHG was the right fit for me, and I was the right fit for DHG.
What’s one thing that your mom has taught you or has instilled in you that really sticks out to this day?
The importance of hard work and discipline. My mom went through basic training a long time ago, which is not an easy task for anyone. She definitely earned her stripes. Now, she’s retired and doing what she wants, but you have to work to get to that point. As a child, I remember her getting up at ungodly hours in the morning to exercise, because in the military, you have to do a fitness test every so often. So even at 30, 40 and 50-years-old, you still have to take this test and meet minimum requirements to remain in the military. Of course, she passed the test with flying colors every time.
In addition to staying physically fit, my mom would always eat right. To this day, I’m not sure she’s ever had a piece of fried chicken! She’s always staying on top of her game, and she instilled the importance of hard work in me through school. I had no intention of going into the military, so she started pressing college on me instead. I always got really good grades in school (I graduated valedictorian), and I took it all very seriously. I knew that to have nice things, to provide for my future family, and to pursue the American Dream, I needed to put in the work on the front end.
It sounds like your mom is a very special lady – in your opinion, what is it about her that makes her so special?
The way she cares about people. People are so important in everything you do. At DHG, we even include people as a key component in our mission statement. My mom’s job was 24 hours a day. Someone would call at 8:30 at night and she would still answer the phone. I saw first-hand her tenderheartedness and how she treated the soldiers like they were her own kids. Coming from a small town, family is very important to my mom, and the soldiers are part of her family. Money and opportunities come and go, but family and those close-knit relationships are forever.
Will you celebrate with your mom this Mother’s Day?
Absolutely! It’s kind of become a tradition, every Mother’s Day since I’ve been in Greenville, my mom comes to spend the weekend with me. My girlfriend and I fire up the grill and host a big cookout in honor of my mom and her mom. We’ll just enjoy each other’s company and maybe on Saturday we’ll take a walk downtown near Falls Park to check out a couple of my favorite restaurants.
Carlos is an Assurance Associate in the Greenville, SC office. Nicknamed “the intern emeritus,” in the Greenville office, Carlos completed three internships with DHG before starting full-time in August 2017. He loves trying new restaurants in Greenville and he loves going to concerts.