During his college years, turning down parties and vacations was common for Garvenchy Nicolas, BS ’14, who dedicated all of his free time to training for track and field. His commitment paid off: as a student-athlete, he broke St. Thomas Aquinas College’s record for the indoor 800m dash with one minute and 54 seconds, a record he still holds today. Garvenchy’s hard-working nature extends past the finish line and into his professional life as a project manager, executive director, and author.
Originally from Haiti, Garvenchy earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a minor in International Business at STAC. Six years later, his efforts to carry forward his alma mater’s mission— “Enlightening the Mind through Truth”—won him a place in the STAC Hall of Fame. Garvenchy says it was a shining moment not just for him, but for his parents as well.
“My parents sacrificed a lot just for me to attend STAC every semester,” he says. “They were super proud on graduation day, but the night of the Hall of Fame was different. They truly felt their sacrifice will now have an imprint in STAC history.”
Garvenchy began his career as a personal banker and relationship manager for two leading banking institutions, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. Realizing his strengths in management and planning, he later became an IT project manager for Blue World Inc., a technology company that specializes in data analysis and marketing for companies in the food and beverage industry. Taking what he learned in management and leadership from Blue World, he set out to start a new venture.
Synergy Today is a global foundation that forms partnerships with local community leaders, nonprofit organizations, and schools to support community projects and education. Garvenchy, is the organization’s founder and executive director. He started the foundation with his longtime high school friend Alexander Balgobin. Garvenchy says the venture has personal significance for him, as it connects him to his roots.
“We were looking to be more active in our communities and leverage our networks to help other young professionals in their pursuits,” he explains. “Those actions led to an organization that provides volunteer opportunities for many leaders in our community, school supplies, and scholarships for many kids in Haiti.”
Inspired by his family’s move to Brooklyn from Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Garvenchy interviewed a dozen immigrants and published their stories in his book Immigrants: America’s Ghostwriters. While drawing heavily from his own experiences, the book details the lives of legal and undocumented immigrants and touches on the importance of immigration reform.
In continuing his mission to give back, Garvenchy hopes to open a community center for children in Haiti in the next five years. He also plans to become a full-time entrepreneur. He shares his Brooklyn home with his fiance Nehemie and his cat Whiskers, and when he isn’t working his day jobs at Blue World and Synergy Today, he’s planning the launch of a men’s and women’s suit company called Vinshēk, a project that was inspired by his love for fashion. Even in this new venture, he has found a way to support the people of Haiti.
“During my adult years in New York City, I was always complimented on the suits I chose to wear. People would ask where I buy my suits, or they’d ask my opinion on what suit to buy. I never knew that’s how I would get into the fashion industry,” he said. “It was vital for me to find a manufacturer in Haiti because I am always finding ways to be part of building the economy of my country.”