When Wildcats activate their Williston network, they’re pretty near unstoppable. Take former National Hockey League executive, entrepreneur, and Williston Trustee Bryant McBride ’84 and college student Gboyega “GB” Osuntogun ’18. In spring 2020, at the outset of the pandemic, the two met on a Zoom call for Black Williston alumni. Osuntogun, then a junior at the University of Cincinnati, was interested in gaining more finance experience to fuel his career goals in renewable energy. The previous summer, he had interned in Lagos, Nigeria, with an oil exploration and production company. “It didn’t take long for me to see the drawbacks of nonrenewable energy sources firsthand and come to the conclusion that switching to more sustainable energy choices was the only long-term option for success in the power industry,” he says.
On the Williston call, he was excited to hear McBride talk about his Boston-based company, Burst, whose video platform allows media and Fortune 500 companies (such as NBC, CBS, and ABC affiliates and JP Morgan Chase) to access user- and employee-generated content quickly and easily. Wondering if there might be an opportunity to learn from McBride, Osuntogun connected with him via LinkedIn and asked about internship possibilities at Burst. Osuntogun interviewed, got the gig, and worked as a business development analyst during the summer of 2021. The experience was great, and Osuntogun is hopeful the experience will help him “work with international suppliers and financiers to build the largest renewable energy production company in western Africa.” As Osuntogun’s internship was set to end this fall, McBride offered him the opportunity to stay on part-time until January, an offer the young alumnus accepted.
For McBride, the encounter has been equally rewarding. “I consider meeting GB a huge stroke of luck for me.” But it wasn’t the first time he tapped into Williston’s alumni network for business or for friendship. “I literally have not gone a single month without talking to someone from Williston since I graduated in 1984,” he says. “I’m grateful that Williston alums, as trusted friends and business associates, are deeply embedded in my life.” McBride sees the collaboration with Osuntogun as part of a pattern of Wildcats helping Wildcats. “The coolest thing about being part of the Williston community is that I continue to learn and grow by meeting supersmart, resourceful, driven young people like GB,” he said. “It’s truly a replenishing gift.”