ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: R. BARTON HENDERSON ’08
January 7, 2016
This week we feature Mr. R. Barton Henderson, Owner of ThriVe Marketing, LLC and a 2016 JD/MBA Candidate at the University of Massachusetts.
“I did not have the typical college track which most CBA guys enjoy. While I always excelled in CBA socially and on the track, I was not the best student at the time. Even being an average to lower-performing student at CBA prepared me far beyond my peers entering college that year. I remember getting to college and hearing other students complain about how they couldn’t possibly write two pages for an assignment. At CBA, I was submitting a 40-page report to Mr. Lelesi’s English class every marking-period.”
Henderson spent a year at Montclair State University, entering college just as the recession hit. When he was no longer able to afford tuition, he fell back on the never-quit mentality he learned in the class and on the track at the Academy. He shifted gears, enrolling at Brookdale Community College for a semester while also working 50-75 hour weeks to pay for his own tuition.
“Paying for my own education gave me a true appreciation for education and ignited an insatiable thirst for knowledge,” says Henderson. “In hindsight, leaving Montclair State and attending Brookdale was one of the best things that ever happened to me.”
With new passion and perspective, Henderson charged after his academic pursuits. “After applying and making a drastic life change, I moved to Hawaii to gain my B.A. in Political Science and B.A. in Administration of Justice from University of Hawaii at Hilo.”
From there, Henderson went full force, graduating summa cum laude, receiving the outstanding senior award, and continuing his academics in a JD/MBA dual program at the University of Massachusetts School of Law and the Charlton College of Business.
Building on the past, Henderson sought ways to secure his future pursuits. “After my experience leaving Montclair University, I was determined to never have to face such a situation again,” says Henderson. “As a result I figured the best way to guarantee financial stability and success would be to open my own company.”
He opened ThriVe Marketing, LLC two years ago, originally to help pay for his tuition bills. The company specializes in business development services and streamlined promotional products manufacturing. It has since grown to showcase over 300,000 promotional products to choose from. Henderson is also owner of Masonic Monthly LLC.
What He Hopes to Accomplish in 2016 and Beyond
“Despite my training in the legal field, I hope to go into Green Venture Capital upon graduating from law school,” says Henderson. “I expect to affect great change in the environmental sector in the coming years.”
Simultaneously, Henderson has plans of taking less of a managerial role at ThriVe and launching a second company.
“Although we are often told that we must ‘know what we want to do,'” he says, “I prefer to keep my prospects open and continue to do things that allow me to be happy and to contribute to the community.”
What He Misses Most About the Academy
“CBA is a true Brotherhood,” says Henderson. “There was a camaraderie between CBA classmates which cannot be duplicated. Whether it’s in the homeroom or running in the round barn.” My track coach, Karl Torchia, always told us that our team was stronger and more cohesive than any other he had ever experienced. I think it took a few years out of the Academy until I could really appreciate this.” That same camaraderie led the Track team to win four state championships during his high school career. Henderson still considers his senior year recognition as “Most Athletic” for the 2008 graduating class as his biggest honor.
He continues, “CBA has experiences and teachers who tie the alumni together throughout the years. I ran the same freshman run as thousands before me and I hope that someday I have a son who will experience it as well.”
How the Academy Prepared Him for Here and Now
“CBA made me the man I am today,” he says. “We were constantly taught to hold ourselves to a higher standard. Talking to other alumni I can tell this has reverberated throughout us all in our professional and personal lives.”
Henderson stresses the importance of continued service. “Perhaps most importantly, CBA instilled altruistic values, which I still practice today through volunteerism with the freemasons and in various community groups. You are NEVER too busy to make time to help someone else.”
Keep In Touch
Henderson is happy to connect with Academy men and alumni on his experiences, recommendations, and life after CBA. Feel free to reach out to him: