Business & Leadership 5 Minute read
Today, the business environment has become increasingly complex. New ideas, business models, a changing population and advances in technology are shaping our world at an incredibly fast pace. Inevitably, new leaders emerge asserting the passion, vision, commitment and skills to positively impact the world and inspire those around them. In that spirit, Magic Johnson’s 32 Under 32 recognizes and highlights individuals who exhibit the professionalism, hard work, values and talents to lead the reimagining of possibilities for tomorrow’s business culture.
For the second year, I’m spotlighting difference makers of the future all under the age of 32 in varying industries. With a broad and diverse range of personal backgrounds, these young men and women have made noteworthy achievements in fields ranging from education, community service and healthcare, to technology, entertainment, entrepreneurship and business leadership.
Over the course of the next three weeks, The Playbook by Magic Johnson will share the stories of 32 individuals to keep an eye on in 2018 and provide insight into how they are making strides in their lives and careers.
Keep following as we highlight individuals weekly throughout the month of December.Sincerely,
Earvin "Magic" Johnson
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Magic Johnson Enterprises
Bryant Kirk White, 27
Executive Director & Founder, A.Bevy
Bryant Kirk White lives his purpose through creating experiences that lead youth to follow their passion. At 27, he has continuous career wins with granting scholarships and having created a successful nonprofit that positively impacts lives.
At 19, Bryant Kirk White brilliantly created A.Bevy, Inc., an arts and education organization that produces creative media, events, and opportunities in order to increase self-awareness for individuals that suffer from self-awareness issues, including difficulties with self-expression and self-regulation. A.Bevy provides distinct experiences for high school to young professional aged individuals to inspire and aid in their growth both introspectively and to live a purposive life.
KNOW YOUR PURPOSE
One of my earliest career wins was the success of our YRUAlive?, a motivational college tour. Giving our 1st of 16 scholarships and having successful introspective events were all uplifting, but our 2015 YRUAlive? College Tour was definitely the most fruitful turning point for the organization. During my first year of graduate school at Savannah College of Art and Design, I strayed away from the belief that A.Bevy was the avenue for my career. Entering into my studies I had convinced myself that A.Bevy was something that I needed to put to the side. The tour was the turning point in realizing that A.Bevy is my passion, my career, my life, and most importantly - my purpose while on this Earth.
The YRUAlive? Tour took A.Bevy's story, mission, pillars, and principles to 20 collegiate institutions across seven states. I went from being alone and questioning the organization's relevancy in the community to standing in front of crowds of 5 to 250 students. In the past, majority of the organization's support came from individuals who believed in me as Bryant Kirk White - this was different. With every stop I came across individuals whom I had never met that believed in A.Bevy, shed tears in the thought of "change, progression, and growth", and provided reassurance that A.Bevy can prosper to the utmost and should never just be something that's put to the side. Ever.
My biggest lesson as an entrepreneur who created nonprofit is to face your fears head on. I had a professor during my undergraduate years at the University of South Carolina whose perception was that heading a nonprofits is not a feasible career path to a fulfilled life and that nonprofits should always be "side jobs". His reasoning behind this was based heavily on the challenge of fundraising. This version of "no, you can't do it" became a recurring theme, challenging my faith during my journey with A.Bevy.
Fundraising has definitely proven to be a continuous obstacle, it took me years to first learn how nonprofits work and to make sure everything behind the scenes were up to par. However, the more difficult part came when it was time to go into the world and share these things with people whom we needed support from.
In believing in my organization more than anyone else, I feared rejection, confusion, and negativity. Overtime I learned that these fears are the fuel that point you in the right direction, and once faced - are the most gratifying moments of your journey. My biggest lesson was how to face my fears, and the lesson can be summed up with words from my mother that I'll never forget - "If it doesn't scare you, then it's probably not worth it." Ever since then everything has been worth it.
The best piece of career advice I have received is that you're not done working until you're dead.
My favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:10. It states:
"This is what the Lord says: 'When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.'"
Many people admire the promise of fulfillment and happiness that is outlined in Jeremiah 29:11, but before that occurs, we have to recognize the work that has to be done to get there. "Seventy years". Wake up and work, wake up and work - that's something I tell myself every day. A masonic mentor once told me, "You’re not finished until you're dead. God isn't done with you until you're dead. That's the ultimate victory - knowing you did and gave all you could while you were alive." I took this ideal in the form of advice and I never wake up looking for a break.
LEAVE A LEGACY
One of my favorite quotes is one of my own:
"Life isn't about what you have while you're here, but more so about what you leave when you're gone."
In questioning life after my grandfather's death, this was the answer that I found within myself, wrote down to remind myself, and exclaimed to express myself on why I am so glad to be alive every day. In a nation built on uplifting self-gain, the benefit that comes from helping others gets placed in the dark. A.Bevy was created with a vision to shine a light on altruism through creative, educational experiences - where in true self-awareness you find that the ultimate fulfillment comes in having compassion for others. In everything you do, do it with an outward motive instead of just an inner gain. One day we all will be gone, and what we had won't matter - just what we taught, gave, and left. To learn more visit www.abevy.org and follow A. Bevy on Twitter and Instagram.
Natalie King, 30
Medical Science Liaison, Valeant Women’s Healthcare
Dr. Natalie King, Ph.D., is a doctor, fashion model, author, and public speaker, who works as the Medical Science Liaison at Valeant Women’s Healthcare. Her experience has taught her that to achieve success you’ve got to learn the subtle art of networking by asking questions and learning from the best. This Renaissance woman knows that with a solid playbook you can achieve goals and improve yourself along the way.
Take each opportunity (good or bad) as a way to propel yourself forward and learn about yourself and others in the process.
ASK QUESTIONS AND LEARN FROM THE BEST
When I was launching my career in a new direction and leaving the business startup world, I was not afraid to ask questions and learn from the best. My decision to attempt to break into the competitive healthcare consulting industry led me to send out a lot of cold emails in hopes that just one person would answer and share their insight on how they were successful. Not one, but several people responded and it taught me a lesson in boldness, in going after what I want, and never stopping when someone initially tells me no. One of those calls turned into the opportunity I currently have as a Medical Science Liaison at Valeant Women’s Healthcare. I am now able to serve on a team of incredible doctors and witness incredible leadership every day.
The numbers of women, especially women of color, choosing to pursue and stick with careers in the STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math) fields are still disproportionately low even after years of people working to change those statistics. Knowing that detail and being one of the youngest in my field to have been given an opportunity to earn an advanced degree in neuroscience, it is important I surround myself with dynamic women in this space who are working to change the world through the hard sciences. One organization that does this very well is Women in Bio. This organization works hard to promote careers, leadership, and entrepreneurship for women in the life sciences and by being a member as well as serving on a committee, my goal is to do my part in influencing the next generation of female leaders in STEM.
For me, Michelle Obama is the epitome of success. Not only is she incredibly intelligent, she also has an enormous heart for others as we were able to see during her time spent supporting her husband, the President of the United States Barack Obama, at the White House. She is poised, exudes strength and confidence while making her presence known, and respects her position of power and influence. I aspire to exhibit those qualities along with the clear grace and dignity she carries with her to each new opportunity. I value the practice of the visualizing and Michelle Obama always remains in center focus because she ultimately represents the balance that one should have when being in a position of power, the scales should always tip toward the service of others.
LEARN THE SUBTLE ART OF NETWORKING
The number one organization that has helped me both launch and excel at my professional goals is the Medical Science Liaison Society. Not only were they helpful in teaching me the skills of presentation, both professional and personal brand representation in interview, but I have also been included in this year’s cohort to their highly distinguished mentoring program, which includes leaders from some of the biggest names in healthcare. I look forward to being able to learn and pass that knowledge onto others.
Building solid relationships is the #1 way to achieve anything in business. Learning the subtle art of networking and finding a way to practice social and emotional intelligence in my daily life, while providing value to others, is key. It’s not always about me and as I work to improve medical education in women’s health, specifically female sexual health, it is important I know how to connect with local and regional leaders to effect real change in the larger healthcare landscape.
TODAY’S AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE BETTER THAN YESTERDAY
I view winning and losing through the lens of one’s mindset. I am an avid personal development junkie and one of my favorite quotes by Jim Rohn is “learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” Every day we have an opportunity to do and be better than our last, what other species gets to do that? Being aware that I am imperfect, and as a neuroscientist knowing the human brain tends to naturally gravitate toward negative messaging, my personal strategy is to engage my brain with twice as many positive messages and content daily in order to train myself into focusing on where I ultimately want to go and being the best person I can be. Pairing this mindset with impeccable work ethic allows me to achieve just about anything I set out to accomplish. To me, this is winning.
In comparison, a losing mindset is one that always orients toward what cannot get accomplished and focuses on limitations and setbacks instead. Everyone will experience obstacles throughout their lives and careers but even in a less than ideal situation, one can always learn valuable insights about others, themselves, ways to avoid those conditions the next time around, and skills in how to accomplish things a different way. Right out of graduate school, I helped to create and launch an emotional and social intelligence training and development startup company and although we did pretty well in the marketplace, it proved to be an imperfect fit for me in the end and I moved on to another experience. Some could look at this as a failure considering I was walking away from something I helped to build but the skills I learned while there are still serving me today in how I interact with and connect with thought leaders in the medical field. Mindset is everything.
Take each opportunity (good or bad) as a way to propel yourself forward and learn about yourself and others in the process.
USE A GAME PLAN TO SET FOCUSED GOALS
It is important for me to have a playbook in my everyday life as a medical science liaison because I serve as an important connector between product development, academia, and the larger healthcare industry. By working with top thought leaders who are physicians, community health leaders, medical directors etc., I bring ultimate value when I can share my scientific expertise in a way that promotes patient choice and increases collaboration in ways that may not have been thought of before.
In regards to my larger professional ambitions, a playbook is absolutely key to helping me understand where I am ultimately trying to go and exactly how I am going to get there. Not only am I using that game plan to set focused goals for leading growth in my region so I can move into executive leadership positions within the industry, I am also applying those same principles to other endeavors like working towards creating a social enterprise venture. Using my background in mental health and neurodevelopment research and love for art and fashion, I will be launching a neuroscience and art collaborative that works to solve the larger social problems of stigma and healthcare disparity around the world. Follow Natalie on Twitter and Instagram.
Gianni Graham, 11
Founder/Ceo of Dolls For Dolls Inc.
Gianni Graham’s thoughtfulness has lead her on a journey of entrepreneurship and philanthropy at the age of 11. She has a wonderful mission to help those in need. Wanting to bring joy, confidence, and comfort to girls who are homeless, she created an organization called Dolls For Dolls Inc. bringing one doll to each young homeless girl.
At ten years old Gianni Graham founded an organization called, “Dolls for Dolls” whose mission is to collect Barbie dolls and distribute them to the less fortunate around the world. The inspiration for this organization came from Gianni while playing with her own Barbie dolls, she wanted to give Barbies to little girls who don’t have homes to remind them that they are pretty and loved, and to have a friend when they feel like they have no one.
Along with the sense of companionship and comfort that the Barbies will provide, this kind hearted girl also hand writes encouraging letters to each girl. Her vision escalated quickly with countless others wanting to help and support Dolls for Dolls and she has exceeded her initial goal of donating 5,000 dolls. Her recognition on the T.D. Jakes Talk Show, HLN, Good Morning America, Inside Edition, The Root, ABC News, The Huffington Post, and Woman’s World Magazine allowed her to reach her goal and continue giving to those in need. Gianni’s organization has reached so much support that the US Navy collected dolls, and Barbies were even selling out in stores.
In an effort to continue to bring happiness to these girls, Dolls for Dolls has recently begun a campaign to get 10,000 dolls to more little girls in need across the country and Gianni plans to hand-deliver the gifts herself. She will also be having an “Impact the World” tour where she will be conducting empowerment speeches to youth nationwide. There are big plans for the future of Dolls for Dolls, as they will also be opening a Dollhouse Learning Center offering summer and afterschool programs for young aspiring entrepreneurs and philanthropists.
Moziah Bridges, 15
Founder/CEO, Mo’s Bows
Not many CEOs founded their companies at 9-years-old, but that’s just what Moziah Bridges did. At a young age the fashionable Mo fell in love with bow ties but realized that the market didn’t have a great selection for kids, thus Mo’s Bows was born. Mo says that “designing a colorful bow tie is just part of my vision to make the world a fun and happier place." Now with a lucrative NBA licensing deal, the teenage entrepreneur is headed for bigger things. He’s still frequently asked the same question: How do I tie a bow tie? Don’t worry Mo has got you covered. (VIDEO) Get yourself a bow tie at his website, and keep up with Mo’s Bows on Instagram.
Emily Weiss, 32
This former beauty blogger was able to turn her social media following into full-fledged entrepreneurship with a line of beauty products. After years as a model and blogger, Emily Weiss used her experience to found Glossier, “a beauty movement that celebrates real girls, in real life.” Now Weiss and her team of 45+ employees are on a mission to “rethink, reclaim, and redefine beauty.” She is addicted to using Instagram for inspiration, meeting new people, and engaging her online community. Follow Emily Weiss on Instagram, read more at her blog Into The Gloss, and shop Glossier online.
Miguel Garza, 29
Cofounder, Siete Family Foods
Dinners at Miguel Garza’s household in Laredo, Texas, were always traditional Mexican-American meals, minus one major staple: flour tortillas. That’s because Miguel’s sister Veronica, had an autoimmune disease that required her to cut all grain from her diet. This inspired Garza’s mission to create a tortilla alternative that would be both grain-free and abuela-approved. Now Garza’s company Siete Family Foods specializes in tortillas and tortilla chips that are paleo, gluten-free, and preservative-free. They’re not just for his family any more, Forbes reports that “Siete Family Foods is among the just 2% of Latino-owned businesses doing north of $1 million in revenue each year.” Get yourself some chia tortillas at Siete Family Foods, and follow their journey on Facebook.
Yara Shahidi, 17
Actress and Social Activist
Social activist, teenage TV actress, and model Yara Shahidi co-stars as Zoey on the hit sitcom Black-ish, and the forthcoming spinoff Grown-ish. Her new show takes Shahidi’s Zoey to college where she’ll explore the complexities of race and class that she navigated on Black-Ish. Coincidentally Shahidi herself is heading off to university. She’ll be attending Harvard, in part from a letter of recommendation from Michelle Obama. Follow her adventures on-set and at college on Instagram.
Elaine Welteroth, 29
Elaine Welteroth is the 29-year-old editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, making her the youngest person to achieve this title in Condé Nast’s 107-year history. She’s also only the second African-American to ever become an editor-in-chief at a Condé Nast publication. Since taking over Teen Vogue, Welteroth is credited for increasing Teen Vogue’s coverage of social justice issues, and inspiring her audience to become more civically-engaged. Follow Elaine Welteroth on Twitter & Instagram.
Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, 30
California State Assembly member, 54th District
Sebastian Ridley-Thomas’s commitment to public service came to him at a young age. The 30-year-old California State Assemblymember was inspired by his parents. His mother is a pioneer in conflict resolution, and his father is a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Assemblymember Ridley-Thomas focuses his legislative priorities on creating jobs, providing access to high-quality and affordable education, and making sure that healthcare is accessible to all Californians. Follow Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas on Twitter.
Eliana Murillo, 29
Head of Multicultural Marketing, Google
Eliana Murillo heads up Google’s multicultural marketing department where she focuses on cross-product strategy to engage multicultural users and business owners. This Harvard grad has developed many key marketing initiatives for Google, including making their election features available in Spanish for the presidential debate. As if being a creative executive weren’t already a full-time job, Murillo is also the CMO of her family’s business: Tequila Alquimia, a USDA-certified 100% organic tequila that is also totally sustainable. Follow her on Twitter.
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