On Friday, Usher’s New Look partner Deloitte celebrated their annual Impact Day. Thanks to New Look Board Member and Principal at Deloitte, Julie Miller, thirty Usher’s New Look Atlanta high school Leadership Academy youth and college Moguls in Training received a powerful service-innovation themed Shark Tank Day led by Deloitte employees.
Deloitte Human Capital Consultant, Sameer Jiwani, kicked off the day by introducing our students to the company and the careers they offer. Employees went around the room and introduced themselves and what they do in a nutshell. UNL youth learned what it’s really like to work in the fields of tax, audit, consulting, and risk services.
Next, the students got to hear from a familiar face: Shinjini Das, Business Technology Analyst at Deloitte and Professional Motivational Speaker. This past April, she led a session on Personal Branding 101 at the Atlanta Academy. For Impact Day on Friday, Shinjini prepped the youth on how to be rockstar public speakers when delivering their Shark Tank pitches. Shinjini asked the students to name off the first people who came to mind when they heard the words ‘great public speaker’. Their answers? President Obama, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, and drum roll…. Tommy Springer! Their Atlanta program Coordinator and a fellow New Look program alumni. Shinjini finished by teaching the youth how to incorporate substance and style into their presentations, how to give yourself a break if you mess up (because nobody is perfect), and how to deal with a rude audience!
She told them, “This is your show and they’re going to watch it! Don’t let them affect you.”
Deloitte staff split the room into breakout groups, where they developed small business ideas to present in the Shark Tank. The New Look twist? Each idea had to be centered around being Powered by Service, or creating some type of positive change. This is the philanthropic core of UNL’s leadership curriculum.
After a great lunch provided by Deloitte, the pitch competition began! Little did the students know, the panel of judges, which included Deloitte staff and UNL President, Yvette Cook, had $500 in gift cards to give away to each and every participant. The pitches were incredible. Check them out below:
- Zion Traynum and a guest student from Meadowcreek High School presented an idea on how to hire and house former inmates who committed minor offenses after they get out of jail. Zion told the room, “Two weeks ago, I had a friend who is 18 years old get out of jail. Since he had to drop out of high school, he’s now dependent on his family and others. This program would help him not fall back into the same situation by getting him to be a positive change agent in the community.”
- Taylor Dalton and Terez Chapman chose to take on the issue of malnutrition in Atlanta’s less fortunate communities. Their business called the ‘Garden Bus’, would drive people to a community garden and provide educational sessions along the ride, so they would have no excuse not to eat healthy! “Type-2 diabetes runs in my family, so this is an issue that’s important to me,” said Taylor. The Garden Bus would also employ young people looking for their first jobs.
- Because of recent news surrounding Atlanta public schools’ discussion of eliminating music programs, Ashayla Thomas and Nia Clark chose to create ‘Big heARTed’, a community event that would be a one-day fine arts program at Old Fourth Ward Park. “Imagine if Usher didn’t have a music program. We wouldn’t be here today,” said Ashayla. The money raised at the event would go towards scholarships for students and housing to support young up and coming artists.
- Alex Mitchell and Maurice Thomas’s goal was to lower the dropout rate by creating AACE (Arts, Athletic College Event), a 3-day Scholarship/Recruiting event where college recruiters would come to schools to give kids the confidence to know they are on their way to college and supported financialy. Alex said, “Many students who fall into the arts and athletics are troubled and need extra support getting to college if they aren’t in a position to get noticed by recruiters.”
- Ronald Streets, and Meadowcreek students Tyler and Rachel love sports and thought that the Atlanta Hawks really brought the city together during their recent winning streak. They proposed creating a family and community-oriented “ATL sports week” that would help spread unity across Atlanta between all races and all kinds of people.
- Akayla Thomas and Meadowcreek students Josie and Judith came up with a program for Jr. High students called The Bright Beginning, which would help youth transcend bullying and other middle school problems by coaching them in a variety of ways including connecting them with college students and young professionals as mentors, as well as offering health and fitness assistance for students with obesity.
- Meadowcreek students Rekia and Gabriel got creative with a small business idea called Baking In Laws. Because of recent stories of youth dying from police brutality and from their own personal experiences, they believe young people need to be more educated about the law and know their rights. Their business would bake laws into the insides of cupcakes and sell them in the cafeteria at local schools.
- UNL College students Marquis Dickerson, Caroline Qualls, and Brenda Khor joined Alex and Christine from Meadowcreek High School to create an idea called UNL’s Kitchen, which would decrease crime and eliminate food deserts by teaching kids in underserved communities how to cook healthy meals at a community kitchen. Brenda told the judges, “Over 24 million people live in food deserts and we can change that.”
- Alexus Mitchell and Jessieka Reeves created a one-day event called MYAAM (Pronounced My Aim), which stands for Motivating Young African-American Men. Alexus has 8 brothers and Jessieka has 9 brothers. Based on recent negative depictions of black males in the media and stereotypes throughout society, they told the judges they fear that their own brothers will be shot by police. Alexus and Jessieka presented the fact that only 33.1% of black males graduate high school. This event would introduce young black males to mentors and opportunities in order to, “ignite a fire in African American men that even naysayers can’t burn out, because a successful man will build a strong foundation with the bricks that are thrown at him.”