Colin Powell School
Rise Up! Never Give Up in Pursuit of Your Dreams, Says CCNY Alum Anthony Cole
“Sometimes we want to give up and run / we got to keep holding on / rise up; never let them get you down — never let them.” These lyrics open Anthony Cole’s recent hit single and capture an essential lesson he hopes current and future CCNY students will embrace: to never stop cultivating the talents and other super powers that make you unique. An immigrant from Trinidad and Tobago, Cole is now a Senior Program Manager at Amazon Music and also serves as the president of the Amazon Black Employee Network HQ chapter affinity group, where he champions diversity, equity and inclusion. He came to CCNY for its engineering school and served in the CCNY chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. Cole later chose to major in Business Management and embrace his talent as an artist. He sought and benefited from numerous mentors, as he encourages all students to do, and now gives back by mentoring students himself.
Please share a little about your background. What led you to choose City College?
I am originally from the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago. I moved to Brooklyn, New York when I was 15 with my mom and brother. I was interested in becoming a scientist growing up as a kid and did really well in my science classes. I heard that City College had an amazing engineering program so I thought it would be a great opportunity to pursue engineering. Later, after taking a few business classes I realized that I had an affinity for business and decided to major in business management.
How has your career unfolded? How did CCNY help you to get where you are?
The career office at City College was instrumental in setting me up for success in my career. The first real corporate work experience I developed was via an internship I landed through City College’s Career Office. I remember in my sophomore year going up to the office and telling Mrs. Sophia Demetriou that I wanted an internship. She provided the options that were available. I ultimately landed a paid internship with the MTA in their Capital Program Management Office. The Career Office also helped me to find my first career mentor, who remains as one of my closest and most influential mentors to date.
Please share a significant memory or accomplishment from your time at CCNY.
City College was a place in which I was able to uncover the talent that I had by exploring my many interests as a student and switching majors. One of my most fond memories was serving as Senator for the National Society of Black Engineers CCNY board, in which our mission was to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community. I also was a two-time finalist for CCNY Idol, which planted the seed for me to tap into my artistic talent and interest in music. It really was a place in which I felt comfortable to explore the many layers of interests I had as an individual.
How have you been involved with City College since your graduation? Why do you stay involved?
I continue to be a mentor to other students as I think it is very important to give back. I know the impact of having folks as mentors and sponsors early in my career that helped me to develop as a professional, especially as a young Black male. So I think it is important to provide similar guidance and support where I can.
Do you have any advice you could give to current or future students?
Believe in your dreams and be comfortable owning and leaning into what makes you unique as an individual. Do not let fear or doubt stop you from manifesting your true potential. Know what your super powers are and use them at your disposal. We will have many failures in life but it is important that we rise again and overcome them.