Profile: Sam Bacote
Sam Bacote saw the world, made a difference, and became a better businessman. "My Peace Corps experience has helped me enormously in my business career," he says.
Currently an investment banker in Atlanta, Bacote served in Ghana, West Africa, from 1991-93. As a business Volunteer, he taught marketing and accounting operations, helped organize a national business association, provided consulting to small businesses, and assisted in the development and supervision of a revolving business loan program. These interesting projects sharpened his strategic planning, analytical, and creative problem solving skills. Bacote returned home as a more resourceful, savvy, and articulate businessman. The international and practical business experience he gained in service will benefit him throughout his career. When asked about the value of Peace Corps service, Bacote responds, "The spirit of caring and giving to others and my community is an attribute that I obtained by serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer. It has boosted my career." Maynard H. Jackson, Sam's employer, agrees. "We could benefit from more business professionals who have had the Peace Corps experience. These people have assets which include resourcefulness, the ability to work with diverse cultures, and the confidence to enter the business world ready to tackle any challenge." Because of the career benefits, Bacote would recommend the Peace Corps experience to others. "I would encourage everyone to give to the world and in return gain invaluable experience." He also offers another motivation for volunteering. "I think it is incumbent upon each of us to somehow assist in making our communities around us better than they were when we found them." He also recalls fondly the opportunity to experience another culture. "I had this curiosity about the world. I became a Volunteer to satisfy my curiosity through what I thought would be a mutual sharing of experiences," he explains. The cultural experiences in Ghana were vivid and memorable for Bacote. "I was able to see some brilliantly colorful pageants. I was able to dance to the beat of African drummers. I ate flavorful delicacies. I broadened my palette. I also listened, painstakingly, to the oral histories of the Shante people." Even the sights, sounds, and tastes of Ghana continue to serve Bacote in his business role. Bacote says such stories from his Peace Corps days "are bound to build rapport with clients, and it's great that many people are genuinely interested and impressed by the Peace Corps experience."
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