OMG, It’s Octavia Monique Green!
More Than a Name
For Octavia Monique Green, “OMG” is much more than a set of coincidentally arranged initials—it is a personal brand and guiding force by which she lives her life. Octavia makes her every move with the intention that those she meets cannot help but exclaim “OMG, she’s incredible!” And she is.
Octavia grew up just outside of Washington D.C., where she was raised by a beloved role model, her grandmother, who inspired her to accomplish incredible things throughout her life. As the oldest of six siblings, Octavia always knew that she must act with intention to set a positive example for her loved ones. With this responsibility in mind, she overcame much adversity to become the first member of her family to graduate from high school and later obtain her undergraduate degree in Marketing Management from Virginia Tech.
After graduating in 2011, Octavia continued to strive for greatness as she enrolled in the University of Miami School of Law, overcoming trying challenges to reach her current position as a Judicial Law Clerk for the Honorable Rodney Smith in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
There’s No Shortcut to Success
“Virginia Tech allowed me to break down barriers. My experience there taught me that anything and everything is possible if you put your mind to it”- O.M.G.
From a young age, Octavia understood that her status as a young African American woman and first-generation college student would create challenges in her journey to success, but she would not let these attributes define her. Instead, they drove her to try even harder and pushed her to overcome societal stereotypes.
At Virginia Tech, Octavia faced every single day with the mindset of “rise and grind.” Although she was very skilled in basketball before college, she chose not to try out for VT’s team, as her goal was to set a foundation for a lasting, successful career through her focus on academics. She instead incorporated her passion for sports into her college experience through her aspiration to one day open her own sports entertainment marketing firm. This led her to pursue a degree in Marketing from Pamplin.
One of the first people to introduce her to the field of marketing was Pamplin Professor and digital marketing maven, Donna Wertalik, who taught Octavia the importance of developing a personal brand. It is no surprise that Professor Wertalik, or “Professor DW,” as Octavia calls her, coined Octavia’s fitting nickname, OMG. To this day, Octavia’s nickname sticks with her and continues to guide her personal and professional brand.
As Octavia gained increased understanding of the business world, she realized that she must become more marketable if she wanted to excel in the sports marketing industry. This is how her interest in law materialized—Pamplin gave her a profound understanding of the business world and its close relationship with the legal field as well as crucial skills and knowledge that would lead to her successful legal career.
Prior to her time as a law clerk, as a commercial litigator, Octavia continued to apply her understanding of business and brand management to her daily work. Law is a service profession, making it critical for her to market herself and continue building her personal brand to retain clients and provide exceptional customer service. Through the marketing capabilities Octavia developed at Tech, she built a long-lasting reputation for leaving clients with the thought “OMG, she’s incredible!”
Nothing Worth Having Comes Easy
“My grandmother believed that my journey was hers. With selfless love, she pursued her core purpose in life—to do everything in her power to ensure that I met the potential she saw in me.” - O.M.G.
Graduating from Virginia Tech showed Octavia that she could accomplish anything if she put her mind to it. She had broken down countless barriers through her journey to earn a bachelor’s degree and was determined to push further. In 2015, she graduated law school and obtained her Juris Doctor, with honors. Although this was her proudest accomplishment to date, Octavia was not done pushing. The next few months of her life would be her most challenging yet rewarding.
Still in Miami, she began the arduous process of studying to take the Bar Exam, which, if she passed, would make her an official attorney in the state of Florida. Octavia committed herself to studying twelve hours a day for two months straight, an exercise in self-control and mental fortitude.
To complicate the process, her grandmother and role model, Helen Maxine Mack Smith, was extremely sick during this period. Despite these barriers, and at her grandmother’s insistence, Octavia stayed in Florida to prepare for her exam.
Helen loved her granddaughter selflessly and would do anything to ensure that Octavia met the potential that she saw in her. Although her grandmother’s illness took a significant toll on her, Octavia pushed forward on her will to succeed and embody the powerful woman that Helen saw in her.
Octavia sat for (and passed) the Florida bar exam in 2015. Her grandmother passed shortly after. To this day, the memory of Octavia’s grandmother brings a smile to her face and inspires her to accomplish amazing things.
Since passing the bar, Octavia has held many prestigious legal positions and is now a Judicial Law Clerk for the Honorable Rodney Smith in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. She still looks back on her preparation for the bar as not only one of the most difficult times in her career journey, but also one of the most rewarding. Passing the bar exam has allowed her to do what she loves every single day. She can now apply her business knowledge to her legal career to help individuals and promote equality. With pride in her voice, Octavia noted “I know my grandmother is in heaven smiling ear to ear at my accomplishments.”
Diversity—Bigger Than You
“Be aware. Everything you do serves a purpose that’s bigger than you.”- O.M.G.
Throughout her life, Octavia has experienced the degrading and discriminatory effect of racism firsthand. Therefore, early in her life she decided to devote herself to shedding light on issues of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, community, and educational environments. She likewise continues to stress the importance awareness plays in combating inequality and believes that every person must be vocal about what is going on in society.
Octavia likes to say that “everything [we] do serves a purpose that is bigger than [us].” This is a principle that she lives by.
“Once we reach a certain point of success in our lives, it is our responsibility to reach back and help someone else heighten their position.” It is evident that Octavia embodies her advice, as she has strived to increase representation of minority associates in her past jobs, involved herself in a community program with the aim of helping troubled teens, and joined law firm diversity committees.
Octavia believes that students must make an effort to be aware, vocal, and vigilant in what they are doing to further the goals of diversity and inclusion and urges students to remember that “it takes just one person being a representative to include others.”
In her endeavor to serve a bigger purpose, Octavia Green offers three crucial pieces of advice to students.
1. There is no shortcut to success:
You cannot simply snap your fingers and achieve your goals. Everything you do will take work, but if you put in the effort, you can make it anywhere.
2. Nothing worth having comes easy:
You will have to ‘rise and grind’ just about every day. You will work hard to earn a degree and continue to exert yourself in whatever career you choose. There will be days when you feel like you cannot push any further, but you need to remember that if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. All your hard work will pay off in the long run.
3. Trust the process:
Sometimes you just have to put your head down and trust not only that you will get through whatever challenge you are facing, but that you will emerge stronger. Remember that you know yourself better than anyone else, so if you are not in your groove, you need to take a step back and figure out why.
Sometimes you simply need to let yourself recharge and understand the importance of balance in your life. Octavia likes to give herself a break and reset by watching her favorite sports, traveling, and appreciating good music (especially Beyoncé).