ARLINGTON, Va. – What were your goals when you were 18?
Did you meet them all before you turned 20?
R.J. Tolson did. The 20-year-old who grew up in Arlington, Va., will be a junior at Whittier College in the fall. But he’s already an award-winning author, speaks six languages, is the CEO of a multi-division corporation, runs an international charity and composes music in his spare time.
“It’s pretty much my drive and the fact that I want to help people as well as the fact that I have goals. And one of those goals is wanting to help people,” says Tolson of his success.
“The book is more of my passion … and through that I came upon my second goal which is charity and so I can do both.”
His novel, “Zephyr: The West Wind,” is 600 pages – and there are two sequels in the works.
While he may sound like an over-achiever, Tolson says he doesn’t see himself that way. He wants to help people and is able to do that through offering jobs – he employs about 150 people.
There is another reason though.
“I don’t really like to be bossed around by people,” says Tolson, adding he’s felt that way “pretty much since I was born.”
He admits though that he’s had to fire people and it’s one of the hardest parts of the job.
“I get very attached to people. I’m very empathetic, I think … and yeah, it’s difficult just because of that, I don’t like to see people go.”
WTOP’s Bob Madigan contributed to this report. Follow @BobMadiganWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.