Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Board Member Profile: Bernard Taylor

Written By: Valeria Perez
Program Intern, World Affairs Council of Atlanta
Student, Georgia State University
Published: 11/22/2016
On October 11th, I had the honor of meeting Mr. Taylor, Partner at Alston & Bird LLP and Vice Chair of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta. Mr. Taylor became part of the Council’s Board of Directors in 2013.

Bernard was raised in Detroit, Michigan by foster parents whom he had great respect and appreciation for. He was raised in a household with fifteen other siblings.
As a fourteen-year-old boy, Mr. Taylor took on his first job at his neighbor’s company, cleaning factories on the weekends.

Familiar with hard work and sacrifice from an early age, Mr. Taylor always knew he wanted to become a lawyer and attributed his likeness for law to the impact the civil rights movement had on him growing up.

In 1982, Mr. Taylor graduated from Vanderbilt University with a J.D., where he was recruited by the law firm, Alston & Bird LLP, as an associate attorney. Bernard’s path to becoming a partner of the law firm began when he was given the opportunity to become a practice group leader, a position that was given to him due to his maturity and demonstration of commitment. Mr. Taylor humbly attributes his success as an attorney to having influential mentors and taking advantage of opportunities. For ten years, prior to his role as an attorney, Bernard served as a police investigator involved in federal and state criminal investigations, an experience he says “helped [him] understand the law from the bottom up with a raw filter”.

Mr. Taylor revealed some of the biggest challenges in the field of law. “Realizing how complicated our society has become. As lawyers, the challenge is to successfully continue to use law as an adaptable tool in complex environments.

When asked what he felt were his biggest accomplishments, Mr. Taylor refrained from speaking about his professional achievements and instead described his most important success as raising his four children, one of which graduated from Georgia State University and is continuing her education at Columbia University in New York City.

Mr. Taylor serves as an active member of the national board and chair of the Southeast Regional Board of Directors for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, where his role is to raise awareness about the issues children face around the world. Bernard is most passionate about finding systemic solutions to the issues and conditions many children are forced to endure. Mr. Taylor has traveled around the world, including Madagascar, Tanzania, and Rwanda, with the purpose of gaining first-hand experience of the struggle women, children, and families must bear in their communities. His goal is to share his experience with individuals in the U.S. and raise awareness to fund more ambitious projects around the world.

Without a doubt, Mr. Taylor is an incredibly accomplished and generous individual. If I could choose three words to describe Mr. Taylor, those words would be charming, wise, and inspiring. The World Affairs Council is honored to have him on our board and as an incredible supporter of our organization.

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