Telley Madina: McMain Class of 1999

Telley Madina: McMain Class of 1999
Posted on 05/24/2021

Class of 1999 graduate Telley Madina said his experiences at Eleanor McMain taught him that no matter a person’s race, nationality, or background, "we’re all in this together.”

"Compared to my neighborhood, McMain was very different. Kids were Black, White, Sri Lankan, Vietnamese. Having that Hodge podge of different cultures provided an impactful experience during our formative years,” he said. “I think we were able to form friendships, because we knew that we’re all in this together.”

He said learning to build relationships with a diverse group of people has been a vital skill in his career. Madina is currently the president of the Medina Group and a full-time time lobbyist for Oxfam America. He said he’s always been interested in politics and campaigns and has been a part of 94 political campaigns both locally and nationally. 

“I am very conscious of African Americans being able to ascend to the three things we hear in the rap song: money, power, and respect,” he said. “I saw that the opportunity to have political power and decision making in the city of New Orleans was crucial, and so I started helping on campaigns. Politics was an opportunity to secure relations and power and therefor resources to help Black folks.” 

Madina said he’s had a few professional accomplishments that he’s proud of, including working on the 2012 reelection campaign for President Obama. But one of his biggest accomplishments he said is being able to buy real estate in the neighborhood he came from.

“I hope to continue to do so and grow a business so that my three children can have an opportunity provide for their families and our future generation bloodline,” he said.

Madina said he remains connected to McMain through the friends he made while there, particularly his former basketball teammates. 

“The guys I made friends with are literally still some of my best friends and the folks I do business with today,” he said. “There are so many genuine relationships in my life that came from my time there.”

He also reminisced about the rich history and tradition with regards to McMain, and the staff who work there that helped him and his friends succeed. 

“You have excellency that goes back for generations,” he said. “I think that seeing all those friends be as successful as they are now is a testament not just to the parents who were there, but to really dedicated teacher who were very focused on us, who fussed at us, and who ensured that we do our best.”

Madina encourages current McMain students to take advantage of their time while still at the school.

“McMain is much more than a place; it is the people who occupied the place,” he said. “Make friendships. Find mentors. Seek out alumni for advice and guidance to help you be successful.
The relationships you take from this school will be relationships you have forever.” 

“Attending McMain is one of the top 5 to 7 thing that happened to my life that lead to the trajectory of it,” he added. “And for that I will forever be grateful."