The Man behind the Boss

In Uncategorized on March 8, 2010 at 9:21 am

St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson said in an interview with Jay Crawford on ESPN’s First Take that he would not have been the second leading rusher in the NFL in 2009 if it were not for his offensive line. Jackson continued with the interview by saying that he gets the publicity and typically the offensive line is overlooked. In this case, the team or the men behind, or more aptly, the team of men in front of Steven Jackson solidifies him as one of the better backs in the NFL.

Growing up I often heard that “behind every good man is a good woman.” And as a kid, hearing that really didn’t make sense, so I would often ask, “what does this mean?” Now as an adult, I understand this adage somewhat better. Essentially, an individual’s success (gender neutral) can be measured by the team of advisors around him or her. For Congressman Bennie Thompson that trusted advisor is I. Lanier Avant.

I had the pleasure of meeting Avant, along with the Stennis Institute’s student association–Stennis-Montgomery Association (SMA) last week. As Congressman Thompson’s chief of staff and staff director of the House Homeland Security Committee, Avant has become, as the Network Journal points out, “the right-hand man for Mississippi [the] Congressman…Notwithstanding his 20-year relationship with Thompson, his mentor, he insists on constantly proving himself. He is chief policy adviser and political designee, oversees six district offices and manages a staff of 70. During the 110th Congress, he spearheaded a robust agenda, including more than 130 congressional hearings on the Department of Homeland Security’s critical operations, which exposed deficiencies, streamlined priorities and created more efficient infrastructures in the department.”

When in a room with Avant, one quickly becomes intrigued by his charisma. For the students of SMA and more specifically, for me, the annual D.C. trip is made the better for being in the presence of one of D.C.’s top political insiders.


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