AO1 Consulting’s CJ Allen is a leader in every way, but what is a leader? A leader is someone who motivates and inspires, lifting others up with them as they ascend into greatness. There is no better example of that than CJ Allen. The entrepreneur comes into the office each day ready to crush his own goals, but also prepared to assist others in theirs. We know CJ Allen as a team member, a businessman, and an entrepreneur; but who is CJ Allen really? Read on to find out.
Alabama native, CJ Allen once dreamt of becoming a chemical engineer, where he could spend each day creating new things. Following high school graduation, Allen earned a full-ride scholarship to Troy University, where he had what he calls a ‘life-changing experience.’
“Growing up in a small town had its obstacles when it comes to seeing the world,” says Allen, “College was my chance to meet people from different walks of life and explore my future. My first two years of college went smoothly; I was accepted into the nursing program with a 4.0 GPA. Halfway through that experience, I was hit with the reality of time management and dedication; grades didn’t come easily anymore, I had to put in work. College taught me to be open-minded and consider all of life’s possibilities. Before Troy University, I attended Mercer University, but my father got sick and I knew I needed to stay closer to home.”
A former football player, CJ Allen is no stranger to competition, goals, and drive. Whether it’s his history as an athlete, his experiences as a leader in his own home, or the time he has spent in the business world, Allen knows what it takes to win. “When it comes to this career, I’ve brought tenacity and dedication to the table,” says Allen, “I knew I could be great at anything with the appropriate amount of effort, so I put in the work. I’m extremely competitive and I fully believe that has helped me with this facet of my life. Prior to AO1 Consulting, my thought was to be better than others, but that focus has shifted to more of constant internal competition. My goal everyday is to get a little better at something, big or small. In high school, I played football and basketball. I signed to play college football at Mercer, but I needed to be at home to support my family in a time of need. Sports gave me a platform to compete in a healthy manner and taught me to work well with others.”
“My growth in this business has been huge, professionally and personally. My professional lifestyle has led me into a network of people I never thought imaginable. Growing in this business at a fast pace has been extremely rewarding as well. Feeling like others look up to and lean on me for guidance is amazing. I have learned to become more honest, direct, and straight-forward with everyone. My favorite part of the business world is the network. I can call any number of people for advice in our industry. Also, the business attire is great. Dressing up is very fun and puts you in that zone of getting things done.”
In the next five years, CJ Allen hopes to be a business owner and successful entrepreneur, but what does success truly mean to him? “Success, to me, means achieving a higher state of existing,” says Allen, “if I am happy, moving forward, and feeling fulfilled- that’s success to me. Growing up gay in the deep south left me feeling like I could never be the most natural version of myself. That fear of rejection held me back from being myself for a long time. That’s my best advice- stay true to yourself.”
Here at AO1 Consulting, we are beyond proud to work alongside CJ Allen, and look forward to many years together as teammates and friends.