That Guy: Adam Braun

What do you want most in the world? Adam Braun’s life changed the very moment he asked that question. On a round-the-world trip after college, Adam met a special, young boy in India whose answer to that question was a pencil. After returning home to the U.S., Adam began a job in the corporate world, but for two years he couldn’t shake that simple response from his mind. So, he quit his high-paying job and started Pencils of Promise with only $25. Ignited with passion and saddled with an unending supply of determination, he started a movement to give every single child across the globe access to quality education. Four years later, Pencils of Promise has broken ground on 75 schools in Laos, Nicaragua, and Guatemala.

Adam's dream began with just a pencil and many pencils later, a 17-year-old girl in Laos dreams of one day becoming a lawyer. Thanks to this amazing man, she now has the opportunity to make her dream a reality. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a man with a heart of gold and a desire to change the world one pencil at a time.

If you could describe yourself in three words, what would those words be?

Determined. Positive. Happy.

Tell us about a girl in your life who rocks.

My grandmother, Eva Braun, rocks. She survived the concentration camps as a young girl, is one of the most loving and inspiring people I've ever met, and is the heart of my family. 

What are your dreams/goals/ambitions?

I hope to be a part of a world in which every child has access to quality education.

What are you most proud of?

The ambitious goal we've set to break ground on our 100th school by the end of 2012.

What do you find most sexy about a girl?

Confidence and humor. I love a girl who knows how incredible she is, but has the ability to laugh as well.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Inspiring as many young people as possible to chase their dreams that hopefully make the world a much better place.

What is the number one item on your bucket list?

Have an amazing family. It's not something that's easy to check off, but it will be the most rewarding thing in the world.

Who has been the biggest male influence in your life and why?

My dad. He's the definition of a leader. He raised my siblings and me with strict discipline, but was loving at the same time. He knew when to be strong and held us to incredibly high standards, but it was great parenting and I couldn't be more appreciative of the way I was raised.

What is the biggest risk you've ever taken and what did you learn from it?

Leaving my great corporate job at Bain & Company to launch Pencils of Promise. I learned to believe in myself and in the broad vision that I had that most others said was impossible.

What is one stereotype about men that isn't really true?

That real men don't cry. I'm an emotional person; I shed tears out of joy, inspiration, and love all the time and I'm damn proud of it.

*Interview conducted and compiled by Lauren Rhew* 

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