Buxton-Punch was familiar with Northeast Ohio when he came from Los Angeles in May 2015 to be an associate at private investment firm Cyprium Partners. His grandmother, Carolyn Buxton, is the dean of students at the College of Wooster, and his best friend and former Yale University football teammate Mordecai Cargill is a Cleveland native. "He was part of why I didn't mind leaving LA," Buxton-Punch says. "I jumped right into his network."
Foot Steps: Buxton-Punch and Cargill live in the W. T. Grant Lofts, just steps from Cyprium's offices in 200 Public Square. But aside from the easy commute, Buxton-Punch likes the always-on feel of a city's core. "If my job was up in Cleveland Heights, I'd still want to live downtown."
Course Change: The native New Yorker has friends who lost parents on 9/11. Buxton-Punch's father worked for Salomon Brothers based in 7 World Trade Center, which collapsed in the aftermath. Within a year, his family moved to Atlanta. Because of 9/11, he ended up going to boarding school in New Hampshire. "It's a part of the process that I went through. It has something to do with how I ended up where I am."
Field Goals: After playing football in high school, Buxton-Punch walked on as a running back at Yale. He played his first three years, mostly on special teams. "I carved out a niche as a dude willing to run faster and hit harder."
Social Cues: Buxton-Punch only uses LinkedIn. He deleted Twitter and Facebook as an upperclassman in high school. But he understands the desire to share. "Even if it's just — 'me, me, me' — some of that me-ness is important. It's when you take true pride and ownership in what you're doing."
Meet Up: At a February event in Shaker Square, Buxton-Punch talked to author and social activist Cornel West for nearly 10 minutes. That wouldn't have been possible in New York, LA or Chicago. "A lot of people don't take the chance in coming to a small regional metropolis."
Racial Boundaries: "I haven't met a lot of black people my age that live on the West Side. I just moved here, but I know a fair amount of people," Buxton-Punch says. "When you hear the statistic that it's a majority minority city, I would never believe it."