Last Saturday, at the Usher’s New Look Atlanta Leadership Academy, 9th through 12th grade students were exposed to a lesson on professional development led by The Winner’s Circle (TWC), a group of young professionals who offer mentoring services to under-served youth throughout the Atlanta community. TWC kicked off the day with our students with a discussion on professional etiquette including, how to look well-groomed on your first job, how to “swag” out your outfits in a corporate setting (tip for the guys: cool socks can add flavor to your suit game without being too flashy), how to send a professional email (don’t use txt tlk! k?), be a boss in your next interview, be punctual for work (early is on time and on time is late) and more. The students were very engaged during this discussion. Like New Look’s peer-to-peer model led by college students, TWC is composed of young adults in their early 20s who just graduated school and are in their first careers. Students were able to take in the information easily because of TWC’s cool delivery style and ability to relate to teenagers on a personal level. They can talk “real talk” with students. For example, at one point in the discussion, the topic of natural hair came up. A student asked if it was okay for African Americans to wear their hair natural or in dreadlocks in a corporate environment. TWC told the group, “Of course! As long as you keep it managed.” Another asked “What’s really okay for casual Friday?”
After TWC, Shinjini Das, a young motivational speaker and employee of our partner, Deloitte, presented to youth on how to define their personal brands and be able to pitch them confidently. The students LOVED Shinjini’s energy. In their words, she was “hype”. Students practiced stating their brands in front of the entire Academy class by filling in these three blanks. It works great for an elevator pitch when introducing yourself to someone for the first time. Try it!
- I am ______
- I stand for ______
- My audience is ________
Thank you TWC and Shinjini for spending the day with our students! They learned a lot!