A #DayInTheLife Of NYC Attorney, Entrepreneur & Educator, Richard Celestin
Richard Anthony Celestin is a graduate of The City University of New York School of Law. While at CUNY Law, he focused his studies on criminal defense and juvenile justice. Prior to entering law school, and since becoming an attorney, he has directed his work towards underrepresented and at-risk youth via the not-for-profit sector and with alternative-to-detention programs in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.
He offers his knowledge and insight into the juvenile and criminal justice areas by participating in panel discussions and conducting workshops throughout New York City addressing issues and concerns that affect communities of color, primarily the rising arrest and incarceration rates of youth of color. In addition to working with youth involved in the juvenile and criminal justice systems, Mr. Celestin created a limited liability corporation, Richard Celestin Consulting Group, LLC, for the purposes of developing and providing legal skill development, self-awareness, youth empowerment, and consequential thinking programs to elementary, middle and high school students in Queens and Brooklyn.
Under the LLC, Richard operates the Young Debaters Program, which has been implemented in over 40 schools and focuses on teaching students the skills behind debate and oral advocacy. Richard also serves as a consultant for various organizations seeking to develop youth-based programs within the community, practices various areas of the law, and is an adjunct professor at LaGuardia Community College and New York City College of Technology. Mr. Celestin offers us into a glimpse of his daily life, let’s take a look:
Name: Richard Anthony Celestin, Esq. (of the House Celestin, son of Marx and Katia, brother to Steve and Cathiana). Sorry- too much Game of Thrones.
Age: If you carry the one, and divide by two, then the answer is 38.
Home city/ country: Born in Brooklyn but raised in Queens, NY
Current Occupation: (student, current job, etc.): Lawyer / Entrepreneur — founder of Richard Celestin Consulting Group LLC / Adjunct Professor / Motivational Speaker.
Time I wake up: It all depends on what I have going on that day. The time ranges from 6am to 8am. If I have to teach or handle a legal matter, it is likely on the earlier side. If I am having an administrative day, it is likely on the later side. If I have to handle the madness surrounding getting my sons ready for school, it is usually right in the middle.
First thing I do in the morning: After handling my bathroom ritual, I head to my work space and review my notes, my to-do list, and the projects that I am working on. It is a reminder that my day must have purpose and that I must finish the day one step closer to achieving my goals.
My typical breakfast: As with most things, I go through phases. I went through a juicing phase, where I had my kale, carrot, and apple blend. Some mornings I go with the traditional coffee and a bagel. On the days I anticipate a rough one, I am off to Dunkin Donuts to enjoy a lovely chocolate glazed donut (or two).
Here’s what my morning commute is like: My morning commute to my office takes about 30 seconds, walking from the bathroom or bedroom to my office space in my apartment (one of the joys of having a business home base at home). Commuting in the morning depends on what I have scheduled. I may be off to any part of Queens or Brooklyn to handle a legal matter, teach a class or visit a school that is implementing my program. On average, I am driving anywhere between 30 to 90 minutes (depending on traffic and parking).
I spend most of my day doing: Planning! I am a very methodical thinker and am constantly thinking, evaluating, editing, and preparing. It may be a lesson plan, a business proposal, or a legal argument. This starts from the second I wake up until the second I fall asleep. Always thinking, always planning, always preparing.
After work or school, I like to: Do anything that is non-work related (or at least I try). I enjoy spending time with my family, in particular my two sons who drive me insane but definitely distract me from thinking about work. One of my favorite hobbies is playing pool so I try to get out and meet with friends or compete in a pool league. I love riding my motorcycle, even if for short distances, because it is very therapeutic and helps to relieve stress. I am also a huge television and movie buff. I love watching different shows (most non-law related). To be honest, sometimes I have the shows on in the background while doing work I did say I tried.
A fun night for me includes: Sitting at home in front of the television, favorite alcoholic beverage in hand, watching a great show or movie (or even better- FOOTBALL). I am very much a home body, especially after running around most days. On occasion, I enjoy a social gathering or party.
Time I go to sleep: Regardless of the answer it always is too late. If I find that it takes a while to unwind after a long day, I make sure to max out on it, even if it means regretting it in the morning.
Last thing I do at night: Review my day. Think about and note my accomplishments for the day. Make a note or to-do list of what needs to be accomplished the following day.
My favorite thing to do for fun: I love to travel. Getting out of NY is the ultimate stress reliever. It can be a weekend in PA at a bed and breakfast, a week in Florida at a Disney resort, or a few days on a beach in the Caribbean. As long as I am away from NY, and with my family, I am at peace.
My biggest fear right now: My biggest fear is wasting time and not meeting my potential. I wasted so many years of my life doing just that. I worked my 9–5 and was completely useless and lazy afterwards. I lacked vision and motivation. I have worked so hard over the course of the last 10 years to develop a reputation as a hard-working and dedicated advocate and educator. It is my fear of going back to that lifestyle I hated that drives me to work as hard as I do. I know that I am capable of achieving amazing things and I do not want to find myself waking up one morning and realizing I didn’t achieve those goals because I did not try hard enough, or sacrifice enough, or put in the extra time and energy required.
My biggest hope right now: My biggest hope is to continue to grow as a person and as a brand to where I can influence and impact more and more young people. I want to help as many people as possible. I want to empower and motivate as many people as I can possibly reach. I am hopeful that I can continue to grow so that my reach and influence can travel even farther than I ever imagined.
Someday I’d like to: Fulfill a dream I have had for many years now. In that dream, I am being awarded or honored for some amazing achievement. The important aspect of the dream is not the award or honor but the fact that my parents are in the audience at that time. I want to be able to accept the award or honor and, in front of a large crowd of friends, supporters, fans, and strangers, formally thank my parents for all of the sacrifices and support they gave me so that I can reach that level of success.
The biggest challenge I have overcome so far: While I have had to overcome many challenges in my life, the defining challenge was battling my health issues when I was a teenager. As a senior in high school, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. This was well before the commercials and the attention that it now receives today. As a result of that diagnosis, and the affect that the disease had on my body, at the fragile age of 17, I underwent seven surgeries and nearly lost my life three times. Today I am in a much better place health-wise despite managing my Crohn’s. Despite how traumatic the experiences I endured were, I would not change a single thing.
The biggest challenge I hope to overcome: Becoming an author. I have been told by many people to write a book. I have committed myself for too long to write a book. I have seen my older brother, Steven, write a book. Now I must accept and embrace the challenges that surround this formidable task and get it done.
What’s one thing people don’t understand about your culture that you’d like to clarify to the international community? I think one thing people need to understand about culture in general is that we are all a mixed bag. It is interesting to hear people refer to their cultures as half and quarters and wholes. The truth is we are all a mix of various cultures and nationalities. Thanks to sites like Ancenstry.com or DNA.com, we can now accurately discover our true make-up. Maybe then we can understand the many ties that bind us all.
What’s your favorite meal or recipe that is a specialty of your culture? Although not a part of my culture, my favorite meal has always been anything pasta related. Growing up as a child, I would love pasta. When I was diagnosed with Crohn’s, pasta was always the safe go-to food so my love for it only grew. Today, pasta is without a doubt my comfort food. (Perhaps I might find some Italian ancestry.)
If you could ask the Mogul community anything, what would it be? I would ask several questions, if I may. What are you doing to make the world a better place? Are you living to your potential? Are you happy with your life and are you willing to make the necessary changes to get happy if you are not?
I am a Mogul because: I have defined and achieved the level of success that I have set for myself. I overcame all odds and obstacles, from my health to unhealthy people, in order to reach my dreams and my goals. I broke the mold and expectations that society had for someone like me based on my skin color or environment. I refuse to be limited in a professional capacity, knowing that there is so much work to be done, so I embrace multiple job titles and responsibilities. I constantly challenge myself and those around me to keep pushing, keep reaching, keep striving and keep wanting better for self as well as the people around you. Considering myself a mogul today is difficult for me knowing how much more work I have to do and how many additional goals I have yet to reach. However, I am hopeful that I reach the day that I am remembered as being a mogul.
Originally published at onmogul.com.