‘Dad Under Construction’
by Karen Bries
When Whitney Traylor left his large firm for a smaller one to pursue his writing career, he found his inspiration was looking up to him, literally.
Whitney Traylor’s first book, "Dad Under Construction" is about raising his daughter Kameelah, now five, and his role as an African-American and a single father.
He left his job at Ireland Stapleton Pryor and Pascoe, which he praises as a wonderful place to have learned law and form lasting relationships. At the time he left, he wasn’t sure he wanted to continue in the legal profession. He says his current firm, Cooper & Dorancy, where he practices general civil litigation and employment law, provides a great situation for him. He works of-counsel and can dictate his schedule, which leaves time for writing and speaking.
Right now, he’s most excited about his new book, a how-to manual for fathers of all ages. Whitney says, " ‘Dad Under Construction’ was divinely inspired. It is an autobiographical account of my childhood and fatherhood. I wrote my personal story because I believe the hurdles I have overcome will serve as inspiration for others."
He relates an example from the book when he explained to Kameelah what a deposition was. Later that week he overheard her explaining it to her cousin:
" ‘Jordie,’ I overheard her say, ‘Me and Daddy are going to have a deposition.’ She listened momentarily and then replied, ‘Okay a deposition. It’s where. Like okay, let’s say you have a person who says at the deposition, "I only had two pieces of gum." Well, somebody is at the deposition writing down everything the person says. Then when they get to court they say, "I didn’t have any gum." Then the lawyer will say, "do you remember your deposition? You said you had two pieces of gum, didn’t you?" Then everybody knows they were lying.’ It was actually a pretty good explanation of a deposition for a 5-year-old."
He goes on to say he’s not perfect, but knows he’s got a good start with Kameelah. "The contrast of my father and me is painfully obvious. While I am happy with the start she has, it is still not the most ideal situation. I struggle everyday with the reality that Kameelah has a mother in her home and a father in another."
In addition to Kameelah, he cites many inspirations in his life. "My mother is an amazing woman who raised four children on her own, and found a way to get each of them to college," he says. "My brothers and sisters are all good parents, so I try to emulate them that way. After leaving the "firm life," I have been able to focus more on my spirituality. My relationship with God has matured, and that is a strong source of inspiration for me."
Whitney received a BA in Political Science from Morehouse College. His law degree is from Emory University’s School of Law, also in Atlanta. He moved back to Denver to serve as deputy campaign manager and chief counsel for congressional candidate Joe Rogers. He then was a Trust Officer for Wells Fargo, and an attorney with Holt Professional Corporation before joining Ireland, Stapleton, Pryor & Pascoe.
In addition to his new career as an author, Whitney has delivered hundreds of speeches throughout the nation to audiences ranging from six to 2,000 people. His topics include education, African-American history, race relations, law, writing, and the power of thoughts and spirituality.
He is starting a book club for African-American boys and is developing his own talk show on a local cable channel, which will focus on issues in the African-American community.
Whitney attends New Hope Baptist Church, and serves as the Chairman of their Community Outreach. He is co-chair of the Denver Bar Association’s Summer Intern Employment Program and serves on numerous boards, including the Emily Griffith Opportunity School’s Business Advisory Board and the Board of Governors for the Colorado Bar Association. He is a member of the Colorado Governor’s Small Business Council and also teaches business law at Metropolitan State College of Denver. In the spring, he will be an adjunct professor teaching housing discrimination at the University of Denver Law School.
All of Whitney’s ventures are on his Web site, www.whitneyspeaks.com. You can also find him on July 20 at the Youth Day/True Light Baptist Church (speaking at the 11 a.m. service), and on Aug. 1 at his booksigning from 7-9 p.m., at the Blair-Caldwell African-American Research Library, 2401 Welton St., Denver. Immediately following will be a book release party, location to be announced.