MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Life after college has its ups and downs, and for former Minnesota State University- Mankato graduate Cortez Hollis, the ups are definitely outweighing the downs.
The former Maverick came from an impoverished background, but aspired to do big things, and after his time in college, he is making those big things come to life.
“Motivational speaking, I own a tax company and we service people throughout the country, different states, people who don’t look like me, who don’t come from where I come from," said Hollis.
" And now I just launched a protein water company that I’ve been working on for six years behind closed doors.”
Hollis graduated in 2014, majoring in Gender and Women Studies and Ethnic studies, each with courses and mentors that brought him out of his shell, and helped him hone his voice.
“That course taught me so much and it kind of transitioned me to be able to talk to different people with different walks of life, and now I do that on a daily basis," said Hollis.
Hollis is currently working on the finishing touches of his Protein Water business, while still assisting campus organizations like the Black Student Union and Black Intelligent Gentleman club (B.I.G.), while constantly striving to set great examples for youth.
His business partner, Rody Diyoka, a model and aspiring entrepreneur said Hollis is someone to look to for as a role model/ big brother.
“Being able to work with him every single day honestly taught me so much, you know just how to treat people," said Diyoka.
" Our whole philosophy together is to give, because it’s all going to be reciprocated, so in any given moment if I can give that’s what he taught me to do.”
Fruit Punch, Blue Raspberry and Tropical are the three current flavors for his protein water. The inspiration for the business stemmed from conversations with friends on professional sports teams, talking about drinking nasty protein water.
Since then, the former maverick has worked hard to bring to life a tasty protein water. Hollis said he has experienced trials and tribulations, and yet through his faith, he has still come this far, something he knows others can do.
“My goal is to feed 10 million and one people because one of my mentor who fed 10 million, and I think that this water will help me get to that goal," said Hollis.
" Somehow some way, so I say if you focus on this mission, and not like the actual end goal, it’ll just come to you, but its work.”
Hollis’ protein water is available on Amazon. He said they will soon be on the shelves of retail stores, and he hopes to work with the sports groups at MSU-Mankato.