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May 30, 2024 MOST Staff

Alumni Spotlight: Benjamin Lomo felt ‘transformed by the power of knowledge and learning’

“As a pre-teen and younger teenager, I thought I would make a career in one of the professional sports leagues,” said Benjamin Lomo, a M.O.S.T. Alumnus who recently made time for a lunchbreak phone call from his East Memphis office. “But I’m short, small, and not very fast, so that wasn’t going to take me far.”

By late high school, Benjamin was considering forging a career in psychology when a conversation with a family friend sparked a new idea the summer before his freshman year of college.

“They suggested that since I was interested in business that I should look into accounting,” he said. “I educated myself about the field and thought it seemed like the right career for me to pursue."

A 2017 graduate of Evangelical Christian School, Benjamin enrolled at Christian Brothers University and, five fast-paced years later, he emerged with an undergrad and master’s degree in accounting and earned the CPA certification. Two years later, he’s working as a senior financial analyst for Mercer Capital.

“Mercer is primarily a business valuation firm,” he said. “We are called to perform business valuations for all sorts of reasons. It’s easy to relate my work to that of a real estate appraiser, since most people know what a real estate appraiser does. Mercer Capital is a business appraiser. Real estate appraisers value real estate; business appraisers value businesses. We usually value private businesses since public businesses trade on the stock market, and the market gives its indication of value through the stock price. Private businesses - like your local grocery store - don’t have an active market price telling them what a hypothetical buyer would pay for their business.”

The youngest of five siblings, Benjamin and his family immigrated to the United States from South Sudan when he was a year old, which he sees as having presented him with unique challenges and opportunities. Having arrived in Memphis as a one-year-old, the culture of this city and the U.S. is what he knows, but connections to his country of birth remain through his family and the local Sudanese community.

“The main challenge I had growing up was sifting through two different cultures at the same time,” he said. “At home and in the Sudanese/African community, there's a different culture than at a school and church. Values, norms, lifestyle, etc. are all different. An opportunity, which I didn't appreciate until I became an adult, is that I've gotten to learn the best from both cultures. Furthermore, I have learned that I can gain something valuable from anyone.”

While having a foot firmly planted in each culture expanded his world view, the foundation laid by his elementary, middle, and high school education propelled him academically through college and is helping to fuel his career. With its high teacher/student ratio and a curriculum rooted in his religion, Evangelical Christian School provided Benjamin with exactly what he needed to thrive.

“The teachers at ECS were great and genuinely cared about you academically and spiritually,” he said. “It was very common to have actual relationships with teachers and their families. I also benefitted from going to a smaller school with a more intimate feel, where everyone knew each other at least by name.”

Benjamin lives in Memphis with his wife Anna, and their one-year-old son, Gabriel, and he sees them staying put for the long term. They attend Second Presbyterian Church, where they’ve gotten involved and built a rich community. They recently bought a house and plan to continue investing in Memphis.

“My M.O.S.T. Scholarship gave me opportunities that allowed me to benefit from receiving a great education,” he said. “Year after year, I became transformed by the power of knowledge and learning and getting exposed to new ideas. I’m very grateful that this whole journey has been made possible by the people who donate to M.O.S.T. and by the other people who have provided for us along the way.”

Published by MOST Staff May 30, 2024