Derek Rhodes has held an impressive array of jobs since graduating, with the Obama Foundation, the Miami Heat, Google and Microsoft. Now he is back in his hometown of Durham, where he founded a non-profit, Durham Success Summit (DDS), dedicated to providing mentorship and the tools for success to young Black men.
Rhodes admits that his career path has not been a straight shot, even when first graduating from Duke. He had been accepted to law school, but decided in May not to go. “I decided that this was my time to explore,” Rhodes said.
He followed his interest in tech policy and took a job at Google instead. There he was the co-leader of team tasked to come up with creative ideas for existing products. Rhodes was intrigued by the intersection of business and legal affairs, especially the work that had to be done before the launch of a new product. At Google, “I learned how to dream bigger about my own life,” he said.
“My through line is about problem-solving, and that’s what Sanford taught me,” said Rhodes. “My career moves have been about solving problems for my communities.”