Marcell Haywood, founder & president of Encompass

Question of the Week: Was there someone who gave you casual—but sage—advice who didn’t even realize they were your mentor?

Marcell Haywood, founder & president of Encompass, has a story.

“I’m a native South Floridian, believe it or not,” says Marcell Haywood, founder and CEO of Encompass, which he established in 2004 to deliver award-winning facility services to building operators with any facility makeup. Haywood was a varsity basketball player at Florida State, and he recalls that one of the best pieces of advice he ever got came from a highly successful Tallahassee banker—“an unassuming guy, cowboy boots with holes in the tips, who was a big booster of the basketball team.” The modestly attired banker casually advised Haywood to start a business, “telling me I’d learn a lot more that way than going to business school.” It was sound advice. What Haywood soon learned was that he was more cut out for entrepreneurship than being an employee: “I’d much rather bet on myself,” Haywood decided.

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