2018 Best & Brightest: Chrisford Bélizaire, University of Florida (Heavener)

Chrisford Bélizaire

University of Florida (Heavener)

The black kid making green juice with the lemons thrown his way… wondering how, huh?”

Fun fact about yourself: In high school, I got lost on my first day working as a sales photographer at the Miami Heat arena and ran into the Big 3 (Lebron James, D-Wade, & Chris Bosh)

Hometown: North Miami, Florida (originally Christ-Roi, Port-au-Prince, Haiti)

High School: Miami Edison Sr. High

Major: Information Systems

Minor: Statistics

Favorite Business Course: International Business

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • UF Business Career Services – Career & Academic Peer (CAP) Mentor
  • Florida Leadership Academy – Class XII Inductee
  • Heavener Leadership Challenge – Eta Class Participant
  • Club Creole – Webmaster
  • Black Student Assembly – Fundraising Director
  • UF Office of Academic Support – Peer Advising Coach
  • Leadership Development Institute – Planning Committee Member
  • Minority Business Society – Active Member
  • Savant Leadership Honorary – Outstanding Freshman Leadership Award
  • Warrington College of Business Dean’s List

Where have you interned during your college career?  NextEra Energy, Inc. – Nuclear Information Services Intern (Jensen Beach, FL) | Google, Inc. – Publisher Intelligence Intern (Mountain View, CA)

Where will you be working after graduation? After graduation, I will be moving to Atlanta, GA to launch my career at IBM as a Business Transformation Consultant in their Global Business Services sector.

Who is your favorite professor? Professor Shannon Butts. She’s the best writing teacher I’ve had to date. She models her teaching and materials around current events and allows students to host dialogues about any and every topic. She’s very passionate about the subject and always willing to offer life advice, well beyond writing.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? Career opportunities! I started college with one simple goal in mind—walk across the stage with a job and a plan. Within the past three years, the CAP Mentors from Business Career Services and Warrington’s Academic Advisors have provided me all the necessary tools to reach that goal. In the process, I have been able to gain much more through campus involvement and community work, but their commitment, advice, and resources they shared were the guide that led me to the light at the end of the tunnel. The flexibility of courses was also something unique about Warrington. Most courses are offered in a “live-and-online” format where students can decide whether they want to physically attend class or watch lectures within the comfort of their dorms.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Do it! I was one of many students that felt overwhelmed by all the majors offered at UF. After exploring the tons of resources at our disposal and finding CAP Mentors whose career paths and campus involvement sparked my interests, I gained “the student perspective” that allowed me to visualize myself succeeding in the business school. And once you do become a Business Gator, be intentional about meeting new people because your network will play an integral role into what you accomplish here and after.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in Engineering, Pre-Law, or Pre-Med. Growing up in a Haitian household, it seemed as if those were the only choices my family would accept. I truly considered Pre-Law, but technology became what I really enjoyed and I’ve always liked math and sciences. Thus, Information Systems made the final cut, after weeks of explaining what it exactly was to my mom of course… I didn’t even know!”

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Within my first year, I made up my mind about majoring in business but one particular mentor, Jerome Fulton, is who reaffirmed my stance on the decision. Jerome was a senior who acquired all the accolades you can think of. He was also from the exact same neighborhood as me in Miami. We never met since his family moved around a lot but hearing his testimonies and witnessing his partial journey in the college was the last piece of the puzzle I needed to go write my own story.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? Being inducted into the Florida Leadership Academy (FLA). I naturally have a very laidback and reserved personality and most FLA’ers—on the other hand—were super outgoing and wildly extroverted. The organization took me out of my comfort zone to the point where I did not want to even attend some meetings on Fridays. Our then-director, Horace Tucker, emphasized that these uncomfortable situations were key to true growth. Fast forward to now, after numerous experiences traveling and navigating similar circles, I have to give it up to Horace and FLA for pushing me outside of my own box.

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the business school? I would team up with other faculty members and come up with a plan to incorporate a required course on taxes within the business curriculum. It is an important part of our economy that we’re all directly affected by, yet most do not have a clue about.

Which classmate do you most admire? Ricardo Fortune! I have known him since high school. He’s now a sophomore at UF and, basically, the little brother to the clan; a brilliant storyteller, funny, and highly spontaneous with an unmatched go-getter mentality. Expect to hear great things from him in the near future! Possibly a feature on Poets & Quants…

Who would you most want to thank for your success? Certainly, my parents for bringing me onto this planet, and for seemingly never being quite satisfied. That perfectionism they always sought and envisioned has truly made me dream big and taught me to always strive for more. So, thank you for your sacrifice, love, and encouragement. Also, I want to thank my high school teachers and mentors for the gems they shared with me four years ago. Those conversations did not quite make sense until now. Thanks for your everlasting wisdom!

What would your theme song be? J. Cole – “Home for the Holidays”

What are the top two items on your bucket list? 1) Learn to swim. 2) Visit 30 countries by age 30 (currently at 5/30).

Favorite book: Makes me Wanna Holler, by Nathan McCall

Favorite movie: The Accountant

Favorite vacation spot: Les Cayes, Haiti

What are your hobbies? I enjoy traveling, reading, making memes, and investing ever since last year’s cryptocurrency bubble. Most of all, music is my go-to. I play the French Horn and learned to read music in high school. When I listen to my favorite songs, I try guessing the notes and keys used for composition.

What made Chris such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2018?

“Chris is a natural born leader who exudes a quiet confidence. While he has many great qualities, what I found most remarkable is that he never appears to give in to challenges and negativity. There is simply no trial or personality that Chris does not meet with an open mind, competence, and a smile. He has clear benchmarks and yet remains admirably open-minded to input and new ideas.

In addition to his drive to succeed, helping others to succeed is paramount to how he tackles his day. I believe it speaks volumes about his character that he would donate his time to serve in several leadership roles, such as, (1)Career and Academic Peer (CAP) Mentor in the Business School, (2)Active member of the Minority Business Society, (3) Peer Advising Coach for UF’s Office of Academic Support, (4)  He was also elected as Webmaster for Club Creole, (5) served as Fundraising Director for the Black Student Assembly (annual talent show) (6) Earlier in his academic career he was also a member of FLA (Florida Leadership Academy) and HLC (Heavener Leadership Challenge). Of course if this was not enough, Chris has worked at as Content Tutor for business courses and has been a member of the Haitian Creole organization at University Athletic Association (UAA)

As Chris’ Career Coach, I was consistently impressed by his ability to manage and prioritize a never-ending stream of job interviews that ultimately led to several offers. He demonstrates great professionalism in his interaction with employers and is thoughtful in his interview schedule due diligence.

To say he has been an asset to the class of 2018 is an understatement. I suspect his legacy will last quite a while here in the Heavener School of Business. He will be missed!”

Michelle Bloom-Lugo
Director, Undergraduate Business Career Services



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