Memphis, TN–Drum Squad Foundation, Inc. collaborated with Shelby County Schools and surrounding counties to host the third annual DREAM (Drumma’s Education, Arts, and Music) Summit and Student Business Plan Competition for more than 100 kids, parents, educators, and industry professionals in the FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis on April 26. The event marked the first-ever in Memphis following previous DREAM Summits held in Miami and Tampa.
Students, ages 12-17, attended and were exposed to the business side of the multibillion dollar music and sports industries and how to become future business entrepreneurs, professionals, and executives in the fields. Many kids, particularly at risk youth, dream of playing professional sports, but their chances of actually making it are quite dismal. The Foundation encourages youth to never give up on their dreams but to always have alternative career paths.
“I am truly inspired by the collective community support for this event and excited about this wonderful opportunity to teach and expose Memphis youth to the myriad of career opportunities available in the global entertainment industry,” said Gholson, a Memphis native and three-time, Grammy-nominated producer. “As a fellow alumnus and product of Shelby County Schools, I feel a sense of responsibility to give back and to motivate other alumnus to give.”
The DREAM Summit engaged Memphis youth with the community and nation’s most respected industry executives. Willie Gregory, director, Global Community Impact, NIKE; Johnnie Walker, executive director, Memphis and Shelby County Music Commission; Jason Wexler, COO, Memphis Grizzlies and Karen Simmons, Shelby County Schools curriculum advisor joined Gholson as panelists.
The program included personal background introductions shared by executive panelists, a spoken word ‘My Dreams’ by Nick McNary, the all inspiring Nike DREAM Stream video by Howard White, a question and answer period, youth business plan presentations, and award presentations. The Drum Squad Foundation awarded $2,500 to the winning business plan entry, Supreme Courts Team of Shelby County Schools, submitted by Destany Story, Tronlyn Thompson, Marnique Turner, and Antonea Heard. Nike executive Willie Gregory received the Drum Squad Foundation’s 2014 Overall Sports Business Entrepreneur & Community Service Award.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to share wisdom with the young people and to hear their plans,” said Willie Gregory. “My gratitude goes out to Drumma Boy for taking time from his schedule to give back to the young people of the Memphis community.”
In addition to the generous support of Drumma Boy, the DREAM Summit and Student Business Plan Competition is supported by NIKE, Memphis Grizzlies, Memphis Music Commission, the Parrish Group, Comcast, AT&T, Sponsor Capital Group, and the Peabody Hotel.
“On behalf of the Grizzlies organization, we’re honored to be represented on the DREAM Summit panel alongside a dynamic mix of music, sports, entertainment and marketing executives seeking to provide guidance and advice to Memphis area youth in Shelby County Schools,” said Jason Wexler. “We understand the value of creativity and originality in the workplace, and look forward to future endeavors to share our knowledge to empower and encourage more opportunities for local students.”
To learn more about the annual DREAM Summit, visit www.drumsquadfoundation.org, or call Ron Highsmith of the Highsmith Branding Group, Inc., at 202-297-2379.