We are the ones who live the adage that 1+1=3. We know that partnership makes us powerful and produces meaningful impact in our community.

Joe Taylor
LC Class 31
Managing Partner, Centerlane Capital

Carol Hardison
LC Class 31
CEO, Crisis Assistance Ministry

“Invaluable.” That’s how Carol Hardison describes her relationship with classmate Joe Taylor. Carol—the CEO of Crisis Assistance Ministry—wound up sitting next to Joe—the managing partner at Centerlane Capital—during one of LC’s bus tours. The two started talking. “We talked about Crisis Assistance Ministry and its need for basic gently used household items such as furniture, beds, and appliances for customers who were moving from temporary to permanent housing,” says Joe. “Carol and I mapped out a strategy to grow this part of the agency and I started volunteering my time to help make this a reality.” Joe was able to use his real estate connections to find a new furniture bank location that was three times bigger and much closer to the Crisis Assistance Ministry’s main office. Since the relocation, there’s been a dramatic increase in furniture donations and corporate partnerships that have donated brand new appliances. “The number of clients served has grown to over 50,000 and the furniture bank is now an integral, critical, and sustainable part of Crisis Assistance Ministry,” says Joe, who sits on the agency’s board of directors. Adds Carol, “I don’t know how I would’ve met Joe otherwise without LC.”

Toussaint Romain
LC Class 31
Community Attorney and Adjunct Professor
Doug Smith
LC Class 31
Commercial Banking Executive

Despite working in adjacent office buildings, Doug Smith and Toussaint Romain would’ve never met were it not for LC. The two were roommates at opening weekend and during the program they connected. But not “in the superficial way,” Toussaint says. “Connection in its original Latin means ‘to thoroughly join.’ We have created a lasting friendship that has extended well beyond the LC program. We have connected in a way that our families know each other. I’ve been to his house; we talk about work and difficult career decisions; we confide in each other and have prayed for each other.” In 2016, Doug and his oldest son were watching live coverage of the Charlotte protests. “My son asked, ‘Dad, is that Mr. Toussaint?’” says Doug. “Toussaint had decided to step in between protestors and CMPD that night. I was already vested in what was happening in Charlotte that night, but that vesting was multiplied by a million when I saw Toussaint,” Doug says. “I suddenly had a true realization of how torn our city had become thanks to the courage of my close friend! I owe him for further awakening me that night to what was transpiring in Charlotte and how important it is to take a stand for what you believe in.” LC didn’t change the fact that Doug and Toussaint live in two separate worlds. “We were separated by an abyss of differences,” Toussaint says, “but our relationship was bridged through LC.”