For the past year, Mandell Crawley, GABELLI ’09, has been meeting with small groups of homeless young men at Covenant House New York. Each time he meets with them, he tries to inspire them with the confidence they need to put their lives back together.
“It’s not easy, and I’m not trying to project that I have the silver bullet,” he says, “but I share a bit about my own past and try to show them that there are some controllable things they can do to put themselves in a position to win.”
Crawley grew up on the working-class West Side of Chicago. As a young boy, he lost both of his parents, one of them violently. But his grandparents raised him, and he found extra support in the local community.
“I’ve had the good fortune of having folks who’ve believed in me and supported me,” he says, “everything from the Boys and Girls Club to my extended family to my colleagues when I first joined Morgan Stanley.”Crawley joined the firm in 1992 as a high school intern and stayed on while completing a full-time undergraduate evening program at Northeastern Illinois University. He landed his first management role at Morgan Stanley in 2004 and continued to rise through the company while he completed Fordham’s executive MBA program. He now serves as Morgan Stanley’s managing director and global chief marketing officer.
“I had zero connectivity with [my undergraduate] school,” Crawley says. “When I went to Fordham for my MBA, it was the first time I had experienced that sense of community with an academic institution,” Crawley says. “I tapped into a powerful alumni network, and I also made a few of my very best friends.”
Networking has been central to his rise at Morgan Stanley, he says, but it’s his work as a mentor, “especially for black and brown individuals from below the poverty line,” that is “core to who I am.”
Crawley often helps junior analysts at Morgan Stanley, some of whom are fellow Fordham graduates, get their footing. He has come back to Fordham’s campus to speak at events with current students and alumni. He’s a new trustee for the national Boys and Girls Club, where he serves on the Midwest Regional Team based out of his native Chicago. And he recently joined the board of Covenant House New York, where he continues to meet with those young men.Francis Petit, EdD, FCRH ’89, GSE ’94, the associate dean of global initiatives and partnerships for the Gabelli School of Business, remembers that Crawley also helped peers in his MBA cohort, which went through the program during the financial crisis. One of Crawley’s classmates lost his position, Petit recalls, and “Mandell was able to get his classmate an interview that eventually led to a job. Over the years I’ve heard countless stories of him doing things like that. He has a great spirit.”
For Crawley, who now lives in New York with his wife and twin daughters, it’s simply his responsibility.
“I have been given a platform to enable real change in people,” he says. “There is just a modicum of difference between me and the outcome of my life and these kids that I’m speaking to at Covenant House [and the Boys and Girls Club]. We are literally cut from the same tree, but people took the time to mentor and mold me.
“That’s why I want us to keep pushing forward.”