The first Alumni Spotlight for the month of October is Juwan Thompson. He is currently a graduate student at Syracuse University while at the same time working for Taylor Global Inc.  AND he is an inaugural recipient of the Taylor Fellowship Program at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Graduate Public Relations Program at Syracuse University. Juwan graduated from Arabia Mountain High School in 2014. Here he shares how meeting corporate business leaders while attending 21CL program helped shape his passion for entertainment and a sports career!

 Paint a picture of what you are doing now.

I am currently a master’s student at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, studying Strategic Public Relations with a focus on Entertainment and Sports. I completed my bachelor’s at the Whitman School of Management, also at Syracuse University, studying Entrepreneurship & Emerging Enterprises with a focus on Television and Film.

During my time as a master’s candidate, I will have the unique opportunity to work for Taylor Global, Inc., a global leader in sports and entertainment marketing and public relations, which is partnering with the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Graduate Public Relations Program at Syracuse University to offer the Taylor Fellowship Program. This marks the first year of the Taylor fellowship program and I will be the inaugural recipient! The program includes $10,000 in scholarship funding, a paid part-time remote internship during the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 semesters, and a paid full-time internship in one of Taylor’s offices beginning in Summer 2019.

Furthermore, I will be working with brands such as Mercedes Benz USA, Proctor & Gamble, DIAGO, COMCAST, Capital One, Jordan by Nike and more.

How did participating in 21CL change you and/or lead you to where you are now?

21CL really opened my eyes to what it meant to be a leader, let alone a business leader, in the 21st Century (I know, kinda corny. But true!). I was able to learn from so many thought-leaders about the many facets of a corporate organization, which really gave me the opportunity to think about how my passion for entertainment could fit within it all. I left the program that Friday with almost 40 business cards from individuals that I had met. I made sure I followed up with each of them and one actually ended up helping me the following school year, my senior year in high school, with a community event I had to put together.

I was so enlightened by the program that I decided to apply for the Youth Advisory Board, now know as the Youth Ambassadors, which I was selected for. Serving with so many dedicated students and staff really put the icing on the cake.

What was a memorable or ‘aha’ moment in 21CL? (Particular program, meeting a professional, etc.?)

Definitely meeting some wonderful friends. Ironically, we actually still keep in touch. It was late at night, after all of the program’s festivities, and some friends and I decided to hang out a bit more to learn about one another. After what seemed like a few hours of campfire talk, we ended up finding out one was a talented pianist and some others were singers. So, we found a piano in the same building, and all sung popular songs together.

Which programs did you participate in, and when?

I participated in the Youth Leadership Institute (now SYLI) at Emory University’s Goizuetta School of Business in 2013 and served on the Youth Advisory Board the following school year.

How did 21CL prepare you for your next steps? Going into college and taking on leadership roles, heading into a new era of professionalism, etc. What tools/perspectives have helped you along the way?

The program really illustrated what it meant to network, discover your passion and build meaningful friendships along the way.

What’s something you have recently learned about leadership?

Leadership is not a person, but a character trait. It is something that has to be fine-crafted and developed over time. It’s doing what you said you would do, even when no one tells you to do it.

That’s my personal belief.