2016 Start the Spark Experience Signature Event Recap

Thank You for Sparking the Next Generation! 

Click here to view photos from the event

Presented by GE

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
The Stave Room, Atlanta, GA

The Start the Spark Experience was a high-energy, experiential, and innovative new take on our annual Signature Event. Through an upbeat evening format, New Look’s best friends and supporters gathered together to celebrate our organization’s 17th year anniversary of sparking the next generation and to experience the launch of our newest initiative, a spark space where New Look students can learn, create and cultivate their individual passions and career interests.


  • The new venue, look and feel were the wow-factors that made the night one to be remembered.
  • The Disruptivator Awards honored Disruptive Innovators like Dr. Paul Judge and New Look Milwaukee program alum, Angellic Ross, who have used their talents at the intersection of technology, education and culture to spark positive change in the world.
  • Simon Sinek, Optimist, TED Celebrity & Author of Start with Why, Leaders Eat Last and Together Is Better was New Look’s first featured speaker and spoke to the audience about how to lead with their spark.
  • Special guests included Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, Peter Aman, Michael Julian Bond, Jovita Moore, Melissa Knowles, Sean Garrett, Frank Ski, Chaka Zulu, NFL veterans, Mohamed Massaquoi and Allen Rossum, and Ambassador Andrew Young’s Family.

Sparked by the Experience

The theme of starting with a “spark” spoke directly to our mission and provided over forty New Look high school and college students from our chapter cities across the country (Atlanta, Milwaukee, Detroit and New York) an opportunity to gain hands on career experience within all aspects of the event production.


“This event helped me gain confidence within myself and my spark. What I mean by that is I now know my capabilities. Before the event, I was only aware of what I thought I could do (sing and write songs that never got completed). I always had a passion for singing but was beginning to think that writing just wasn’t my thing, and I accepted that. I told my peers this when the songwriting first began to take place, and they were not going for it! They were well aware of what I was capable of and they continuously encouraged me to keep trying when writer’s block kicked in. Next thing I knew, we finished it! We wrote an entire original song. A couple of days later, we were presented with the opportunity to record that song and to perform it for the event. Raging with excitement along with no hesitation, I gave my all during my very first session and major performance! Every moment was so surreal to me. Words can’t explain how blessed I feel and how thankful I am. Now I know that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to and have a passion for.” -Skye Moham, New Look Atlanta Leadership Academy Senior, Event Song Writer & Performer


“Being able to cook and work with the caterer, Dennis Dean, at the Signature Event was very inspiring and meaningful. I would like to thank Dennis for opening up his kitchen to me. It was like one we laughed together and worked together.” -Melvin Taylor, New Look Atlanta Leadership Academy Junior, Event Catering Assistant


“New Look and the Start the Spark Experience gave me a greater passion and experience for my spark of graphic design. Through the event, I was able to design polygon art portraits of each honoree and Usher Raymond IV himself. They were used in the event program booklet and on the credential passes for each guest. This program has always been a dream for me, so it means a lot to be in it. The “new look” I got from this experience is that dreams can come true and as long as you work hard, believe and keep going. Then, your dreams will become your reality.” -Harley Vinsonhaler, New Look College Mogul in Training, Kansas City, KS, Event Artwork Designer


“I was selected to work as a demonstrator in the Game Loft station at the event, since I have a spark for technology. Working alongside tech experts from Microsoft and other innovative companies, I was able to really engage with different people and learn about their different fields of study. I even received some business cards as I was networking!” – Diamond Long, New Look Detroit Leadership Academy Senior, Game Loft Volunteer



“One of the takeaways I got from the Start the Spark Signature Event was to appreciate your blessings and be thankful for everything. When I say that, I mean from the opportunity of me being able to host the event to being able to attend and be surrounded by such prestigious people. It is through blessings and exposure opportunities like this that Usher’s New Look helps me start my spark.” -Tony Betton Jr., New Look Atlanta College Mogul in Training, Event Host


“The opportunity to lead the youth dance performances at the Usher’s New Look Signature Event was a dream come true. I was able to use my SPARK for dance instruction to bless the kids with an experience that meant something them just like it meant to me when I was a young girl. Giving back to this new generation is the key to change this new generation. It’s a challenge I take on with pleasure. Every child I come in contact with will always remember the love and the cool and funky moves I show them.” -Lisa “Hollywood” Rozier, New Look Atlanta College Mogul in Training