“I was all set to head into a career in finance,” recalled Allen. “The summer before my senior year, I was offered an internship in the office of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in Washington, D.C. … and (while there) caught a severe case of ‘Potomac fever.’ I decided at the end of the summer to move back to D.C. after graduation. That sort of kick-started my career in government affairs.”
After college graduation, Allen joined Jeffrey J. Kimbell & Associates as government affairs assistant, and progressed to state caucus manager at the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. In 2005, he established Capitol Entertainment Group to host social events for young professionals, and ended up raising more than $200,000 for Hurricane Katrina victims.
In 2007, Allen was offered the job of government relations manager for Comcast in Mississippi, “a highly-sought position that normally is held by a person much older than Sidney,” noted state Sen. Walter Michel, who recalled being impressed at a national American Legislative Exchange Council meeting when the CEO of a multi-billion dollar telecommunications company “knew Sidney personally and called him by his first name.” (Allen was 25 at the time.)
Soon after landing the Comcast role, Allen landed a leadership role with the Mississippi Cable and Telecommunications Association. Comcast added Louisiana to his territory.
Allen applied the same concept – planning events for young professionals to socialize and network – via the formation of SonJack Entertainment in Jackson, which hosted the “Joie de Vivre” 2008 Mississippi Museum of Art’s New Year’s Eve fundraising event. He is also one of four founders of the Phoenix Club, which raises awareness and funds for Boys & Girls Clubs.
Allen credits his accomplishments with being “raised right.”
A Jackson native, and the older of two children born to Sidney Allen, a timber and forestry industry executive, and Deborah, an educator, Allen earned 10 letters during high school-four each in basketball and baseball; one each in football and golf. Even though he didn’t play varsity sports in college, he participated in several intramural sports representing the Sigma Nu fraternity, and was one of only five students elected Senior Class Favorite at Ole Miss.
Not long after moving to Jackson, Allen married his D.C. sweetheart, Kristin, now a BankPlus executive, who noticed early on “Sidney’s everyday love for Mississippi … he even named our dog Delta.” As his wife, Kristin sees firsthand Allen’s “constant drive to improve the state … a natural leader that leads by example … a role model for professionals our age.”
Fear of failure, Allen admitted, “drives me the most.”
“I’m extremely competitive, and absolutely hate to lose,” he said. “I never want to look back at my life and say ‘what if,’ so I try to give the ultimate effort in everything I do.”
Allen may delve into real estate later on – he sold condos for his dad while in Oxford – and would love to pursue professional golf “if my talent level were a little higher,” he joked. “Unfortunately, I’m convinced that no matter how hard I work at it, that dream will never come true.”
More on Sidney Allen Jr.
High school: St. Andrew’s Episcopal School
College: Ole Miss
Key to success: “Believe in yourself. You’re never going to make everyone happy, but as long as you’re honest and believe in what you’re doing, you’ll more than likely enjoy great success in life.”
Coolest thing I’ve done: Attending a closed-to-the-media event in Washington, D.C., with President Bush in 2007. “Regardless of what you think about him or his politics, it was very cool to listen to a sitting president talk candidly about current events.”
Title: State Government Affairs Director
BEFORE YOU GO…
… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.
If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.Click for more info