Embracing Who We Are

Wes Woodson '20

Wes Woodson ’20 has long stared in the face of adversity.

Growing up he was one of the few black students in his school. At age 12, he was diagnosed with Vitiligo, a skin condition which causes areas of the body to lose its pigmentation.

Through it all, Woodson learned to appreciate change, take risks, and embrace what makes him unique.

An Unexpected Find

As a child, Woodson says his Vitiligo caused him to struggle to make friends. It was the discovery of entrepreneurship that allowed him to organically become closer with others. He started by selling candy at school.

“I was an outsider, and I turned to entrepreneurship to find a safe haven,” he said. “It was a way to interact and connect with people.”

He later joined his high school’s debate team, which sometimes required travel for competitions. It was on a flight to California where his next objective came into focus.

In the seat pocket in front of him, Woodson discovered a copy of Babson Magazine, and while scanning the pages, learned Babson College was the top school for entrepreneurship.

“I found out about Babson by pure chance, that interaction made it even more special for me.”

Building a Career at Babson

What’s the most important thing Woodson has learned at Babson College? Working through trial and error.

There’s “value in trying and experimentation,” he said, and with that comes “failure, learning to be comfortable with failure.”

Last fall, Woodson was named president of the Babson College Black Student Union, which strives to create a positive Babson professional, academic, and social experience for students of color and allies through its events.

At BSU, Woodson’s responsibilities include planning organization vision and goals. Next year, BSU will celebrate its 50thanniversary.

Leading the very organization that helped him develop as a leader, he has increased its prominence on campus to help make it a larger part of the Babson community.

“It has enriched my Babson experience tenfold,” he said. “It has helped me develop the skills of working within a team to achieving a given goal.”

In April 2018, Woodson founded thehidden company, spurred by his passion for storytelling through clothing and self-empowerment. In the coming months, he hopes to expand the company’s product line and create content through media that spreads its mission.

After graduation, Woodson plans to run thehidden full time.

“At the core, it’s about sharing other people’s stories about how they overcame their insecurities,” he said.

Embracing Change

Being at Babson College has taught Woodson that the best way to embrace change is approaching situations with an open mindset.

He first discovered this method in 2018, when he was selected to be a Babson College youth representative at Babson Connect: Worldwide in Madrid. For Woodson, it was the first time he traveled internationally without his parents.

“Being in a new environment, I had to adapt and get outside my comfort zone, and be open to the unexpected,” he said.

If Woodson was tasked with making one change in the world, he would ensure everyone realized their skilled talent and was surrounded by people who offer encouragement.

“Being at Babson helped me realize my gift that is storytelling,” Woodson said. “If you realize your gift, you can help make the world a better place.”

Last year, Woodson gave a TEDx talk describing how we as a society can better embrace change in an ever-changing world, a proficiency that he has mastered.

“The changes we go through make us multidimensional,” Woodson told the audience. “Change may break you, it may knock you down, cause you to cry, but change will never define you. When you see change, stand firm, and just let it fuel you.”

Posted in Campus & Community

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