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Gary j.

 Nix,

Senior advisor & G.R.O.W.T.H.  INITIATIVE STRATEGY MODERATOR

Years in the industry:  5 to 10 

 

Location: NYC

 

Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/garyjnix

 

How I rose from concrete...

I took what I learned working in music, retail, magazines, and lifestyle to make the advertising industry take notice. Insights quickly become universal truths and this industry needs to integrate this approach in all of the things they do.

Derek  walker

Years in the industry:  15 plus

 

Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/derek-walker-8741578

 

Location: South Carolina

How I rose from concrete...

Not on my own. The concrete was cracked by those who came before me. They created a wide enough crack for me to take root and grow. And slowly over time, I hope to make enough cracks for others.

charles

 harrison

Years in the industry:  10 to 15 

 

Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/harrioncharles

 

Location: NYC

 

How I rose from concrete...

By taking heed to helpful people.

Larry  gordon,

Creative Lead

 

Years in the industry:  10 to 15 

 

Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/larry-gordon-558a648/

 

Location: NYC

 

How I rose from concrete...

By realizing that the concrete was not an obstacle. The concrete is a part of my environment, my story, and who I am. And I bring all of that into advertising.

alex

 SantiagO,  Down south      roses Lead

Years in the industry:  15 plus 

 

Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sosaic

 

Location:  Lakeland, Florida

 

How I rose from concrete...

I believe I rose from concrete and jungle coming from a mountain in a big town in Puerto Rico. Thanks to the strength of "familia" all I ever did was embrace change, live up to challenges and find ways to grow. I left my country as a teen because I believe I had something special to give. I've battled adversity, racism, and doubt by working my ass off from picking up trash to building teams for respected brands. How I did this was through education. I didn't need to be the smartest person in any room, but I surely didn't want to be the most ignorant. I'm still struggling, but my purpose is clearer than ever. Surrounded by family I love and good people I trust. My story will live through my children, but my legacy—I'm hopeful—will live through the lives I affect positively.

Sherman  winfield

Years in the industry:  5 to 10 

 

 

Linkedin Profile: 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/shermanwinfield/

 

Location: Atlanta

 

How I rose from concrete...

A very close friend.

Dk

 Wright

Years in the industry:  0 to 5 

Linkedin Profile: 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/dk-wright-99969518

Location: NYC

 

How I rose from concrete...

I rose from the concrete by creating programs for young people to identify their professional pursuit using their creative passions while working as a director of communications at an NYC nonprofit profit organization. Helping grow that local organization to a national level, I became a youth mentor and used my knowledge of storytelling and media to create a pipeline of digital media literacy for teens. I forged relationships with agencies to create internships for those young people and noticed that I was sending young people into spaces that didn’t look like them. So I decided to make a lateral move in my career and fought to enter the agency world. So they could see more faces that looked like them and more men who spoke their language when they start to imagine what their future could look like. I wanted to them to know what took years for me to learn, that when we look in the mirror we don’t just see our current selves.... we can see possibilities for the future.

Richie  aguilar,

CreATIVE LEAD

Years in the industry:  0 to 5  

 

Linkedin Profile: 

https://www.LinkedIn.com/in/richieaguilar

 

How I rose from concrete... 

I rose from concrete by being the first in my family to graduate with a bachelor's degree and getting a career in advertising. From being raised by a single mother with my twin brother. She took care of us, I couldn’t wait for the day that I’ll be taking care of her. Now I am, I was the rose. She was my soil. She gave my roots love and nutrients to help me to break through the concrete.

bruce  fields

Years in the industry:  5 to 10 

 

Linkedin Profile: 

http://linkedin.com/in/bruce-bo-fields

Location: NYC

How I rose from concrete...

I rose from the concrete my being a voice and hand for the young black faces from my neighborhood and fought to make a space for myself in this industry.

Ruston  Spurlock

Years in the industry:  15 plus

 

Linkedin Profile: 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ruston-a-spurlock-a1283/

 

Location: Washington, D.C

How I rose from concrete...

On the shoulders of others.

Al

 Benoit,

Senior advisor

Years in the industry:  15 plus

 

Linkedin Profile: 

https://www.Linked.com/albenoit

 

Location: NYC

How I rose from concrete...

Understanding office politics and outworking peers.

Tim

 austin

Years in the industry:  10 to 15 

 

Linkedin Profile: 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/timraustin/

 

Location: NYC

How I rose from concrete...

As a black male born to a single mother in the inner city of Baltimore, the odds were stacked against me. 29 years later I look back and know that I've been blessed with incredible experiences and opportunities many don't think are possible. 6 years into my career, I'm eager to invest the next generation with a dream eager to overcome against all odds.

Lawrence

 alexander

Years in the industry:  10 to 15 

 

Linkedin Profile: 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/lawrence-alexander-6820697/

Location: NYC

 

How I rose from concrete...

By focusing on developing my gifts, the learning and believing in myself and the power within along with help from a lot of righteous souls. I began my career in Dallas, TX overcoming many struggles and learning life lessons to being here in NY living my dream and working with my talents. The concrete is a part of the experience and story that makes this life worth living.

Dotun 

 bello,

West Coast Roses Lead

 

Years in the industry:  5 to 10

 

Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dotun-bello-7b3371111

 

Location: San Francisco, California

 

How I rose from concrete...

I'm still rising.

David

 pilgrim,

Senior advisor

 

Years in the industry:  15 plus

 

Linkedin Profile: linkedin.com/in/davidpilgrimadcd

 

Location: NYC

How I rose from concrete...

I started in General Market, switched to Multicultural after being frustrated with the lack of diversity in GM. Been in Multicultural ever since.

Jamar

 Callendar,

Creative Lead

 

Years in the industry:  0 to 5

 

Linkedin Profile: http://linkedin.com/in/jamar-callender-7bb199106

Location: NYC

How I rose from concrete...

By becoming a MAIP alum and pursuing my creative passion at Ogilvy as an Art Director, but I’m still breaking through the concrete.

Cornelius

 Rosenbaum

 

 

Years in the industry:  0 to 5

 

Linkedin Profile: https://linkedin.com/in/cornelius-kyle-rosenbaum-37514441/

 

Location: NYC

 

How I rose from concrete...

I was born at the peak of the crack epidemic in the '80s. Mom's wasn't around, so my father raised me. Reginald Matthews was an immigrant living in Newark, NJ raising his first kid alone. At an early age, I can say that "I've seen it all" in a lesser of the evils type of way. My early school years were troublesome. My energy as a kid was not channeled into something productive. Instead, I was given Ritalin and/or Adderall and stuck in one classroom throughout early elementary and high school. At the same time, I was the star track and basketball athlete. Weird I know... Fast forward to now. I've traveled to over 20 countries, lived in Europe for 3 years, I own a video production company creating branded content for clients such as Hennessy, Uber, and Nike, and I facilitate a mentorship program with the Soho House in Nyc. My testimony is that the universe is not designed to get in your way. You are the sole captain of this ship and where you guide it there it will go. It won't be easy but with determination consistency and faith the world is ours! Born to Lose, Built to win. My rise from the concrete story.

Derrick 

 rodriguez,

branding lead

 

Years in the industry:  0 to 5

 

Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/derrickrodd/

Location: NYC

 

How I rose from concrete...

I’m rising through the concrete with the love and support from my family and friends. I’m a designer by trade and an aspiring art director at the heart. Who believes design and creativity can leave the world a better place for all people! Making cool sh*t is what I am in the game for. But what brings me the most joy is helping others along the way in the creative industry. Still learning and still growing to blossom into a full rose!

Elijah 

 lugo,

Social lead

 

Years in the industry:  0 to 5

 

Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elijahlogo

Location: NYC

 

How I rose from concrete...

When I was younger I was living in family homeless shelters. Just when I thought things were finally getting better I lost my father a few months before I turned 10 years old. I became the young "man of the house" living with my two older sisters and mother. I developed this ambition and persistence to do good and be a good person which meant to do good work and build strong relationships with others. In high school, I was placed in an advanced art class where I found out I wanted to pursue advertising and design in college. I was accepted into the communication design program at City Tech and gave it my all. Gaining experience in multiple fields of design including copywriting and of course graphic design I am now a recent COMD Graduate with a Bachelors in advertising working full time at Showtime Networks.

Muhammad    Floyd,

Production lead

 

 

Years in the industry:  0 to 5

 

Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/muhammadfloyd

Location: NYC

How I rose from concrete...

I joined an internship program met mentors who believed in me.

Keni 

 Thacker,

Founder

Years in the industry:  10 to 15

 

Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/keni-thacker-82308b4/

Location: NYC

How I rose from concrete...

I've been blessed to create a lot of things that give people that are considered “other” exposure and opportunities in the advertising business. However, I must say that it has come with a fair share of challenges, trials, and tribulations. I have been lied on, mistreated, straight up denied opportunities and talked about horribly, by the same people that smile in my face. All of which had me in a state of “Un”. Undervalued, unappreciated, and misUnderstood. There were many times I wanted to bury my head in the sand and never do anything again but there was a voice in the back of my head saying this is bigger than me and those that are standing in my way. So, as my foes, fell by the wayside I still remain standing strong and rising above the BS and continuing to rise like the rose from concrete.

Clarence X.

 McGann,

Senior advisor

Years in the industry:  10 to 15

Linkedin Profile:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/clarencemcgann

Location: NYC

How I rose from concrete...

I created ambassadors to lift it off of me. It's not whom you know, it's who knows you.

george 

 garrastegui,   jr.,

Senior advisor 

 

Years in the industry:  10 to 15

 

Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ggarrastegui/

 

Location: NYC

How I rose from concrete...

I believed in myself. Of course, I had the help and support of friends, family, and mentors along the way. But I was also surrounded by strong personalities that I learned from. I examined the way they operated and how they pursued their ambitions. I was inspired by them and imagined myself on their level. In a society where it’s easy to look at the negative, I chose to focus on the positive and bet on myself. This allowed me the drive to focus on a creative career when no one else understood what it was. It allowed me to work in publishing, fashion, marketing, and education… all by staying true to who I am. And now it allows me the opportunity to pass on my passion and knowledge to others. I rose by being nurtured, but I grew by believing I belonged.

Roses Portrait__David Ross.jpg

David

 ross,

Partnerships and strategy lead

Years in the industry:  15 Plus

 

Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrossbx/

 

Location: NYC

How I rose from concrete...

Through diligence. Through determination. Through craft. Through an unwavering sense of belief that I belong. Through curiosity. Through never believing that I know everything. A hunger to be the best.

Shane b. 

 santiago

Years in the industry:  15 Plus

 

Linkedin Profile: www.linkedin.com/in/shanebsantiago

 

Location: Jacksonville, Florida

 

How I rose from concrete...

I learned to be courageous in my approach to creativity. Often our voices and ideas can be dismissed before they're heard—causing a timid and fearful process that is reactive. By being brave—and proactive—I strive to not only have a seat at the table but provide my own table. I was lucky enough to have great mentors and leaders guide me early in my career, so I make it a point to contribute back to the community in similar ways—hopefully teaching the future of our industry what it means to be brave.

Roses Portrait__Dorian.jpg

Dorian

 bell,

PROJECT MANAGEMENT LEAD 

Years in the industry:  0 to 5

 

Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dorian-bell-8a7aa627

 

Location: NYC

How I rose from concrete...

Being the only person of color in project management for my division on the east coast. On a daily, I have to manage my own expectations while making sure I don't fall into stereotype "traps" within my corporate workplace.

Hector 

 martinez

Years in the industry: 0 to 5

 

Linkedin Profile:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/hector-martinez-203972138/

Location: Los Angeles, California

How I rose from concrete...

Coming from a broken home and low-income family I managed to attend one of the best universities in the country. Despite lack of resources, support or network I was able to jump into the field of advertising with some notable agencies.

Walter 

 Geer

Years in the industry:  15 Plus

 

Linkedin Profile:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/3rdgeer/

Location: NYC

 

How I rose from concrete...

I'm still rising...

 

Ladan baba

 Ndanani

Years in the industry: 0 to 5

 

Linkedin Profile:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ladanbn

 

Location: NYC

 

How I rose from concrete...

With the velocity and vigor of 1000 suns.

Shabazz

 larkin

Years in the industry: 10 to 15

 

Linkedin Profile:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericlarkin/

 

Location: Nashville, Tennesse

 

How I rose from concrete...

I pretended like the concrete didn't exist. I pretended like I knew what I was doing. I pretended to get the jokes that I didn't get. I pretended to have watched the movies everyone was talking about. I pretended I was okay with the ideas that my creative directors liked. But it wasn't until I found the truth of my creativity that I rose to do anything meaningful. And after much self-reflection, I've found that the truth is - I am the concrete.

Dorian

 taylor

Years in the industry: 15 Plus

 

Linkedin Profile:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/doriontaylor/

 

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

 

How I rose from concrete...

I rose due to the help and support of others who believed in me while working twice as hard and twice as long as those who don't look like me.

Roses Portrait__Carlos.jpg

Carlos

 Taylor,

partnerships and strategy Co-lead

Years in the industry: 5 to 10

 

Linkedin Profile:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/carlos-taylor-8836689/

 

Location: NYC

 

How I rose from concrete...

During the summers of my youth, my escape from the blistering concrete was the local library. My mother’s default response when I asked for permission was always “Yes!” when she heard “library,” which came to be the magic word of my youth. I can only imagine now that she considered the best ways for me to navigate the gangs and streets, was to be off them. Ensconced in the solace of these marble columns, I discovered photographer Gordon Parks, Life, Popular Mechanics, and National Geographic to just name a few. There, I was transported to different worlds that not only sparked my imagination but filled my boundless curiosity. Within this fortress of knowledge, I became entranced with the fields of photography, travel, and invention. In these stacks of books and periodicals, many seeds were planted. From this, the need to travel and the desire to create were firmly cemented.

nick

 Duran

Membership intake

co-Lead

Years in the industry: 0 to 5

 

Linkedin Profile:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/durannicholas/

 

Location: NYC

 

How I rose from concrete...

With Persistence and Faith.

Marc

 morin

Years in the industry: 0 to 5

 

Linkedin Profile:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/marc-morin-b1787116b

 

Location: NYC

 

How I rose from concrete..

By taking all of the negative around my life and the injustice in
today's world, and turning into a propelling force that will allow me
to reach my maximum potential in the industry; allowing me to find
success in my career while  paving the way and lead all those who will
come after me..

 

Douglas

 davis

 

Years in the industry: 15 Plus

 

Linkedin Profile:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/douglasqdavis

 

Location: NYC

 

How I rose from concrete...

By pounding the pavement.

 

Darius

 Richards,

production Co-lead

 

Years in the industry: 0 to 5

 

Linkedin Profile:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/darius-richards-64a0775a/

 

Location: NYC

 

How I rose from concrete...

As a boy growing up in the projects of Harlem with a single black mother and 3 siblings I always had an ambiguous drive, a creative mind, and a dream to impact the world with my art. I always loved to draw, and anime and cartoons were my muses. Growing up those dreams tend to fade when you fall in the cracks of your environment. The drugs, the gangs, and my father being in and out of my life, showcasing his abuse to drugs and alcohol I tend to lean towards those habits. My objective became chasing money and satisfaction, instead of opportunities and goals. My rise started to happen when I went to college. The people and the classes I was exposed to was different from what I expected college to be like. It brought my creative dream back to impact the world with my art and added new tools for me to create it. As my classes became more difficult, the more I stop investing in my bad habits and addictions. I didn't have to go to college, but I'm so glad I did. College has opened so many doors for me as a person and as a creator. Me being the first in my family to receive a bachelor's degree was so impactful and it pushed me to go even further. I'm still rising from my concrete to enhance my skills and opportunities in the creative world as a creative director and visual artist, but I'm also using my experience to educate and instill to the youth the limitless opportunities that are out there.

 

Simeon

 Coker,

Senior advisor

 

Years in the industry: 10 to 15

 

Linkedin Profile:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/simeoncoker

 

Location: NYC

 

How I rose from concrete...

I surrounded myself with a squad that held me down, built me up, and still holds me accountable.

 

chukwuma

 egbuzie

 

Years in the industry: 0 to 5

 

Linkedin Profile:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/chukwumaegbuzie/

 

Location: NYC

 

How I rose from concrete...

Growing up in a single-parent household in the Bronx and attending a PWI made me realize the miles I have run to catch up. I started connecting with different people and found that mentorship changed my life. It helped me get my first gig in advertising and even as I am about to get a FT job. While it's scary at first, it's great knowing you have friends and family that support your dream and mission that God placed you on this earth to do.

 

Ravi

 Singh,

creative co-lead& g.r.o.w.t,h.

initiative

creative moderator

 

Years in the industry: 0 to 5

 

Linkedin Profile:

http://linkedin.com/in/ravicantsingh

 

Location: NYC

 

How I rose from concrete...

Refusing to submit to the status quo and proceeding ever so boldly against it.

 

kelvin

 medina,

social Media co-lead

 

Years in the industry: 0 to 5

 

Linkedin Profile:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/kelvinmedi31/

 

Location: NYC

 

How I rose from concrete...

Every day I rise from concrete. Coming from the Bronx and being Dominican, I’ve always have had to overcome adversity and preconceived notions about me. Throughout college, I realized I was gonna have to hustle and grind more than most people if I wanted to make it as a creative. That’s why I joined, ran and expanded the design club at my school, went to every networking event I could attend, networked like hell and secured internships every summer. I also applied to the Multicultural Advertising Intern Program by the 4A’s (MAIP) and got my foot into advertising as an Art Director at Ogilvy. Now I’m holding the door open for other people from diverse backgrounds like me.

 

Joshua 

 David

 

Years in the industry: 5 to 10

 

Linkedin Profile:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/askjoshuadavid/

 

Location: NYC

 

How I rose from concrete...

As a black man working in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles as the Social Media Director of EBONY Magazine, I have had some of the most uncomfortable situations that take place. As a 28-year-old with a Director position for the oldest black publication in America the rooms I was gained access to didn't have many people my age. More than once did I experience situations where mostly white women and some white men who weren't even security would ask me for my identification at events as high profile as The Grammys, Oscars, Met Gala. I have had experiences with black publicists ignoring black publications and taking their black talent to only white publications. I have witnessed on more than one occasion female white publicists verbally state "minor racist passive-aggressive statements" black women and myself on the red carpet when we would notify them that we can only interview black talent. I have been threatened by black men who served in C level roles that were triggered by legal actions I had to take when I wasn't paid for my work. It has been quite the experience, to say the least. Here I am this first generation Haitian American who grew up in the suburbs of Coral Springs, FL where I was the only black kid in all my classes, raised to have a great deal of low self-esteem and identity, to then grow up self-actualized and confident in who I am, to then be in 2019 attacked left, right, up and down micro and macro level not only by white America but also black corporate America. If it wasn't for an intense amount of mental health, reading, yoga, and devoted spiritual practice, I am not sure if I would still be alive right now. The pressures as a Black man in this country are so incredibly high and yet we don't talk about it because as "the black man" or "the super predator" or "the athlete" I am to not have emotions or be impacted by things. I am a beast, monster or told to "shut up and play ball." Yet, here I stand stronger, smarter & more confident to continue speaking about my truths. I understand that I need to go against the grain & build my own while also playing into the system when I need to excel. I am realizing the power of building a brotherhood/sisterhood mentorship with people that look like me, I am realizing the lack of self-care men my age are not doing and how I can impact a change.

 

STEPHON

 ALLEN

 

Years in the industry: 0 to 5

 

Linkedin Profile:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephonallen/

 

Location: San Francisco

 

How I rose from concrete...

I rose from the concrete by simply not settling. Many people told me to settle and just remain average to fit into a certain position. I decided to go with my heart and choose a career path that I not only enjoy but is used to inspire others.

 

Roses Portrait__Davon.jpg

DAvon D. 

 Thompson,

partnerships and strategyco-lead & g.r.o.w.t,h.initiative planning / strategymoderator 

 

Years in the industry: 0 to 5

 

Linkedin Profile:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/davon-thompson/

 

Location: NYC

 

How I rose from concrete...

I took a step back and examined the field that I was playing on. Through careful observation, I eventually began to understand what forces I could control and couldn't control. After stepping into many uncomfortable situations, I also began to understand that being uncomfortable can be more important than being comfortable and that resilience is key to maintaining composure. Every loss I took moving forward I flipped into a learning lesson and every victory became a blueprint for future victories. I broke through the concrete by molding it into what I wanted it to be before it settled and became hard.

 

Raphael  Henriquez

 

Years in the industry: 0 to 5

 

Linkedin Profile:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/raphael-henriquez-ab8b41ba

 

Location: NYC

 

How I rose from concrete...

I honestly can't say that I'm a fully blossomed rose that's risen from the concrete. I'm constantly blossoming and withering with my cycle on repeat. BUT! My family, my education, the rugby community, and close friends have been kept me grounded and well-rooted. These influences have taught me to be more than a relative, more than an athlete, more than a friend, more than a student, etc.; they've taught me to be a citizen of the world- open-minded and forward-moving.

 

Trey  Bonaparte

 

Years in the industry: 0 to 5

 

Linkedin Profile:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/trey-bonaparte-63b73690/

 

Location: NYC

 

How I rose from concrete...

With the support of family and friends who believed in me when I didn't know how to believe in myself, I realized that I could achieve anything I put my mind to.

 

Kamau Z.  Akabueze

 

Years in the industry: 15 plus

 

Linkedin Profile:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/thekza

 

Location: NYC

 

How I rose from concrete...

Internships, Mentors & Curiosity.