Striving for Excellence

Tutoring, mentoring company helps students achieve

Chelsea Jones | 4/24/2014, 8:24 p.m.
Tutors and mentors can have a tremendous impact on a student’s academic success. Carl Dorvil, founder and CEO of Group ...
Students participate in group lessons in Ms. Lisbon’s class. Photos courtesy of Group Excellence

They partnered with Dallas ISD to help transition W.W. Samuell High School, Edward Titche Elementary School, John W. Runyon Elementary School and Fred F. Florence Middle School from being academically unacceptable to academically acceptable. In addition, they assisted Allen ISD in moving select schools from being academically acceptable to academically recognized.

By the end of the year, TI had identified Group Excellence as having the most successful Algebra I initiative. It decided to give the young business another grant, but this time in the amount of $50,000.

Dorvil’s office, which had initially been his car, had now been upgraded to the conference room of the law firm where he worked. The firm also allowed him to use their copy machines and printers.

With graduation around the corner, he had to decide what was next after college. After much prayer and advice, he resolved to continue his business.

Dorvil mentioned that as he was expanding the company, he met amazing mentors who believed in him and what he was doing. One mentor, who was the father of one of the students he tutored, encouraged him to go to business school. Dorvil took his advice and returned to SMU to receive an MBA.

Despite his company’s success, Dorvil communicated that he made many mistakes.

One mistake was managing business data with paperwork only. Members of his team would often lose paperwork, and one time, someone deleted an entire spreadsheet by accident. He and his team had to rebuild the 500-name database.

Fortunately, one of his computer savvy college roommates built an online program for the company. Dorvil stated that he initially designed easy programs, but learned through the years that creating programs which were “hard for people to mess up” were more efficient. He described the efficient programs as ones where users couldn’t advance from one page to the next unless all fields had been filled out appropriately.

Another mistake was hiring the wrong people and keeping bad employees for too long, many of whom were his friends. Dorvil expressed that working with friends is a great idea, but admitted that telling them the truth can be tough.

“I’ve had to let some friends go throughout the years. It’s been a tough experience, but it’s something you have to do for the health of the organization,” Dorvil said.

Nevertheless, Dorvil indicated that learning from his mistakes made him stronger. This year marks Group Excellence’s 10th anniversary.

Dorvil attributed his success first to God for blessing him with the opportunities, and then to his parents, who were Haitian immigrants that came to America not knowing how to speak English.

“My parents, I think, were the marketing directors for hard work. I still remember them working 10- and 12-hour days doing what they could to make sure me and my sister had a great education. They supported us. So, I’ve always had that vision of wanting to make them proud and take care of them,” Dorvil said. “I’ve always tried to live my life in a way that if anybody else had my shot, they wouldn’t do better with it than I did.”