As a Rajun Cajun from Lafayette, Louisiana, Jordan Abshire is an envelope pusher. He exudes a palpable, tangible energy that makes you think he’s up to something. Guess what: he is (and no it’s not boudin). He has a humble radiancy that makes you feel uncomfortable. But uncomfortable in a good way. It’s that cognitive dissonance where you wonder both: (1) what is this guy’s deal?; and (2) whatever it is, I think I should have a little more of whatever he’s dealing. Here’s Jordan’s story in his words.
How’d you get to where you are today?
In January 2008, I was humming along in an energy regulatory practice in D.C. As perfect as it may have looked on the outside, I felt like my business development skills were underutilized. I began to think about returning to Louisiana, when my girlfriend (now wife) landed a post-law school clerkship in Charlotte. I contacted a couple law school classmates who had started a recruiting company, asking about any legal opportunities in Charlotte. Fortuitously, they asked me to start an office for them here. We opened before the recession hit in mid-2008. For me, the downturn ended up being an opportunity, as many recruiters left the industry and those who remained became (or seemed to become) despondent. Because I had not experienced the “good times” 2005-07, I weathered the storm by focusing on what I could control. With that focus, I ascended up the ranks of that company. Then, when the two principals parted ways in 2012, I opened my own shop.
What inspires/fulfills you in your practice?
Making a good match and seeing an attorney flourish in a position that I introduced them to.
Outside of your practice, what are you passionate about?
I began volunteering at the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte in 2013, helping Guests create resumes and apply for jobs. That proximity (my word for being close to those in need) has changed my view on homelessness, poverty, affordable housing, social safety nets, and the criminal justice system. In March 2017, I helped plant “Fortitude”, an early morning bootcamp workout through F3 at the Shelter. The blessings that have flowed from that workout have exceeded my expectations.
From Shelter Guests, we regularly hear: “thank you for making me feel normal again”; “thank you for making me feel like I’m part of something.” There’s a palpable light in their eyes after they join us for a workout, which the Shelter’s Director refers to as “Hope.” For several Guests, the workout has been the catalyst to finding work, increasing their income, and finding housing. The workout has positively impacted “housed” Men, as well who join Shelter Guests at the workout. Perspectives on poverty and the homeless have changed. How?
Here’s one way. Two years ago, F3 began hosting an annual Come to the Table luncheon. The first luncheon raised over $50K for the Shelter and other organizations. The luncheon and fundraising effort were borne out of one Man’s participation in the Fortitude workout. He would tell you that he had driven by the Shelter for decades, but had “no F$!#’ing clue” about the Shelter or its Guests until joining the workout. It just takes one person to make a difference.
I would be remiss not to share two of my favorite videos capturing the genuine transformational impact that occurs at the Shelter. The first is the video montage of the “Elephant Push-Up” performed by a Shelter Guest from Cameroon, whom we call Santa Claus. Life has not been easy for our Kris Kringle as he lost his mother in the summer of 2017. Soon after her passing, he hoped to find a way back to Cameroon for her funeral. He asked to address the workout group before boarding a bus to D.C. to pick-up his visa. His story so-inspired the audience that several Men decided to pitch-in and purchase his ticket home.
The second is the story of Kryptonite and the Fortitude Hoodie. His story demonstrates the transformational work of the Shelter staff. It’s a daily mission; a life of service; a belief in hope for the future; confidence that we can make a difference; and trust in the Guests to make the changes that allow them to “live their best life.” We work hand-in-hand in support of that mission through the Fortitude workout.
Something the World Doesn’t Know About You
As a child/teenager, I stuttered . . . a lot! So much so that answering the phone was a nightmare. Perhaps my phone conversations were best described by the sound of heavy breathing and a stammering, delayed: “Hello.” Nightmare! But stuttering has certainly made me more empathetic; and as my F3 compadre Slaughter would say, “Those things that I felt used to be my weaknesses, turned out to be my strengths because I can use them to help others.”
To connect with or learn more about Jordan, find him here.