How has M.I.L.E impacted your life?: M.I.L.E made me realize how much good can be done if we all just work together to achieve whatever it is we want in life. None of us are perfect, but we each have something special inside of us that we can bring to the table. M.I.L.Ereally showed me that, and it also showed me how meaningful it is to give back to people, whether it be to your peers or serving in the community.

T.J. Chitekwe

Majors of Study: 

  • Bachelors in Accounting
  • Masters in Forensic Accounting (2016)

Occupation Now: I’m working as a Tax Accountant at CS&L CPAs, a public accounting firm in the Sarasota, FL area, and I prepare all types of income tax returns for individuals, businesses, nonprofits, estates, and trusts. I’ve been there since May 3, 2017. Prior to that, I worked as a Senior Tax Consultant for Altus Group for three and a half years in Sparks, MD helping businesses with their sales and use tax issues.

I’m also a member of the board at Visible Men Academy, a tuition-free K-5 public charter school in Bradenton, FL serving low-income families. I joined the board in August 2017 after my boss presented me with the opportunity because of my passion for helping kids in any way possible.

What advice can you give to current and future members of M.I.L.E?

Always have a plan for both the present and the future. Take time to think about how a decision you make now is going to impact your future. Some of you may not fully understand all the responsibilities you’re going to have as an adult living on your own until you have to start doing it, and trust me it is a major difference from just being in college. However, if you prepare yourself mentally in advance, you’ll be just fine. Life in the “real world” isn’t always easy, but it doesn’t have to be nearly as hard as some people make it seem.

Expand your network as much as possible because you never know when those connections are going to come in handy down the road. In doing this, try to build meaningful relationships with people because, at the end of the day, people want to work with people that they like. If someone thinks you’re just trying to use them for your own benefit, then that person won’t want to work with you, so be genuine, honest, and selfless in building relationships. Do your best to surround yourself with people who are going to have a positive influence on your life.

Accept responsibility for everything that happens to you in your life, even if you think you did nothing wrong. You must be willing to put your pride to the side to work through situations effectively, even though that can be hard at times. The more you can do that, the more you will grow personally and professionally.

Lastly, approach every single situation with a positive attitude, and be confident in your abilities. You are going to encounter tough situations; that is just a part of life that you need to accept early on. There is not one person in the entire world who has never encountered a problem, but you can absolutely overcome whatever problems are thrown your way. It starts by just believing in yourself. You have a special skill or uniqueness to you that someone else does not have, and don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.