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Entrepreneurs Grind

How Nia Symone Is Paving The Way For Change With Purpose To Be Heard

Nia Symone is a trailblazer. A young, gifted, visionary who is only just beginning to bless the world with her talents, while also using her gifts to bless and inspire others. I am also extremely proud to call her my friend. Nia is many things in one. An ex-college hooper now using her basketball expertise to help former, current, and upcoming student-athletes navigate life post-basketball through her company Purpose To Be Heard.

A storyteller and director, and the host of Nike’s Come Thru, Nia has had quite the year, and before leaving for Los Angeles to work on her next film project, she was kind enough to catch up with us to talk about her budding career.

ONE37pm: Thank You for speaking with us Nia! We wanted to first ask you about what you are building with your company “Purpose To Be Heard.”

Nia: Purpose To Be Heard is a digital sports storytelling platform. It’s a passion project that we are building to tell the real and raw stories of athletes, while also changing the way society views athletes. A lot of times the world doesn’t see the human side of athletes, and there are so many layers to us that people don’t know about. There’s a lot of pressure on athletes, and anxiety and depression have doubled.

What we are doing at Purpose To Be Heard is combating this issue through editorial-style storytelling. Outlets like Players Tribune cater to a certain demographic which are retired pros. With us, we are focusing on non-profit efforts, mental health, healing, and community. Most student-athletes are friends with other athletes, and once we’re out of that bubble, we don’t have a direction. Fewer than two percent of athletes go pro, and after college, you don’t really know what to do. It’s sort of an identity crisis that you struggle with.

ONE37pm: We’ve been seeing all the promo going on! When do you guys officially launch?

Nia: We are super excited to be launching in the spring/summer of 2022. We’re going to have Purpose To Be Heard community events. We’re going to focus on the importance of nutrition because food can really affect your mood, and so much more. We’ve got a lot of great things coming with Purpose!

ONE37pm: Tell about your experience with Nike’s Come Thru.

Nia: Come Thru has been a life-changing experience, and I have learned so much. This was my first time hosting a show, and from the first time I stepped on set, it was like I was going into a game. I wanted to show the world my capabilities. I was working three jobs at the start of 2021, and I was at my wit’s end. I was figuring out what I wanted to do, and I was actually considering becoming a flight attendant.

In early January, there was a tweet posted that was looking for former hoopers, and my friend tagged me underneath the post. I thought nothing of it until later on when I got a message from a woman with 44,000 followers on Twitter who was verified that worked for Nike. She said that she wanted me to host a show on the app! It took me a while to process, and as it turns out, they had been watching me the whole time on my social media accounts from the moment my friend tagged me underneath that first post!

The funny thing is that right before I got that message, I had a moment where I had to ask God for a breakthrough. I was a part-time radio producer with a crazy schedule, and I was working at Overtime as well as doing some freelancing stuff. My sleep schedule was crazy, and as I mentioned, a couple of days before I got the message from the woman at Nike, I asked God for a breakthrough. I got the job on March 1st, 2021.

ONE37pm: You mentioned before the interview that you are heading to L.A. to work on a film project. When did you first discover your love for film and storytelling?

Nia: I’ve always been a huge documentary geek. I’ve watched all of the 30 for 30 episodes to get insight on athletes and coaches. I love authentic storytelling, and I’ve always known that it was something that I wanted to do. Issa Rae is a huge inspiration for me in terms of how she was able to go from Awkward Black Girl to Insecure, and now one of the most powerful women in the entertainment and production world. I’ve always been very creative, and I want to write and direct all sorts of projects.

ONE37pm: Final Question for you Nia. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Nia: I love this question! In five years I see myself running my own production company and non-profit organization full-time, writing and directing creative stories, and giving back to the community because it takes a village. I’m just a girl from Decatur, Georgia where there’s so much black excellence. I want to live in my purpose and change the world in some type of way. 

I want to make athletes’ lives easier and change the narrative in the hopes that people will start showing more grace. Athletes are human beings who have real-life challenges. So my goal is to continue walking in my purpose and create art.

You can continue to keep up with Nia and her journey on Instagram.

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Entrepreneurs Grind

How Alex Stemp Went From a Desk Job to 23 Million Followers

The world is abundant with opportunities, and if you are willing to listen, learn, and put in the work, then you can literally turn your dreams into reality. 

I had the opportunity to sit down with Alex Stemplewski and talk about his transition from living at a desk, to becoming one of the greatest influencers on the web, here’s how it all started.

Who is Alex Stemplewski?

Alex Stemplewski is a short-form video content creator with over 23 million followers across all his social media accounts. He is known largely for his unique portrait photography, and for sharing his journey on TikTok, Instagram, and Youtube.

To be fair, Alex hasn’t always been a super-successful content creator, he had to first get a taste of what he thought he was destined to do, before realizing what he truly wanted to do in life.

Before Alex started creating his own content, he went to school to study statistics. He was always great at math, so after college, he got a job working as an insurance actuary. To be an insurance actuary requires an exponential amount of time dedicated to studying and passing exams that are often compared to the bar exams required to become a lawyer.

Oftentimes, Alex would spend over 400 hours studying for a single exam, just to make sure he didn’t have to retake it. You could say he spent the majority of his life studying for his exams and preparing for his career as an insurance actuary.

It didn’t take long for Alex to realize that sitting in an office staring at spreadsheets all day wasn’t what he truly wanted to do.

How Alex turned his passion into reality
Alex Stemp

It planted the seed that would then allow me to find this new life.

In 2018, Alex began listening to Gary Vee. In fact, Alex remembers the exact day that his life changed. “I’m walking to work, and I’m listening to Gary Vee on YouTube, in my headset, and I remember him saying something that planted the seed that would then allow me to find this new life,” he said. “You can turn your passion into your profession, you can make a living doing what you love, and the way to do that is through social media.”

From that point on, Alex became an avid Gary Vee listener. Although he was still working his 9 to 5 job, his curiosity kept him seeking more knowledge from Gary.

He didn’t know if he’d ever use the information he was gaining from listening to him, but the thought of a new opportunity in life kept him coming back.

By 2019, Alex had been graciously brainwashed with wise, yet simple, words from Gary Vee.

Gary Vee

More content, more content, more content! 

On a complete whim, or perhaps it was a mixture of boredom and the desire for a creative outlet, Alex decided to buy a camera. Before that day, Alex knew absolutely nothing about photography, or even what camera to buy, so he asked one of his friends to help him choose the best setup.

After purchasing a Sony A7R 3 and a 50-millimeter portrait lens, Alex got to work. 

He started by taking photos of random strangers on the streets of beautiful downtown San Francisco, with their consent of course. The very day he took his first photo was the same day he created his Instagram account and posted his results there, as well.

He continued to do this for more than six months, while at the same time reaching out to some of his favorite photographers to learn how to improve his skills.

Alex would pay these photographers simply to learn a thing or two about how he could improve over a quick Zoom call — a true indicator of his passion for photography.

With that, Alex quickly developed his skills even further, eventually hiring a mentor to help him decipher how he could turn his love of photography into his career.

In his early stages of photography, he would book photoshoots with models, however, oftentimes they would cancel, but he didn’t let that stop him from taking pictures.

Alex said that his routine was to head downtown if someone canceled on him, and would offer people on the street a photoshoot, which he would then send to them if they wished.

Throughout all of this, he continued listening to Gary Vee and put his advice to use. Then, one day in October 2019, Gary started talking about TikTok religiously. It was at that point Alex knew he had to get on TikTok!

He posted his first TikTok video in November, which was simply photos that he took with some background music. But, his third video is when he decided to try something different.

He decided to continue doing what he had already been doing — taking photos of strangers — but this time he had his friend Derreck record him asking people, and then sharing his results. This led one of Alex’s TikToks to gain 10,000 views! Now, that might not seem like much compared to the views he currently receives, but to him, that was a sign that he was onto something.

When things really changed was when Alex filmed Derreck walking up to a stranger doing the same thing. Derreck then posted it to his TikTok and got over 1 million views, and he went from practically zero followers to over 10,000 followers instantly!

Alex Stemp

This is the day that has officially changed my life forever!

Even though it was his friend’s video, Alex knew that if he stayed persistent, he would attain the same results. Sure enough, a few posts later, Alex got his first million views on TikTok! Within their first month on TikTok, they both had over 1 million followers!

The level of attention Alex was receiving led him to be skeptical about his followers being real. Getting that amount of followers, that fast just didn’t make sense to him.

Alex Stemp

I still kinda don’t believe it in a way, because it’s so crazy!

Both of them continued to share their journey using TikTok, and after three months, Alex had racked up over 3 million followers! That was when he decided to quit his job as an insurance actuary to focus on creating short-form video content.

Alex said, “The content world sort of shifted after TikTok blew up, now we see every platform shifting towards short-form video format. The short-form video content is taking over on all the platforms, not just TikTok.”

As soon as Instagram reels came out, he quickly gained over 300 thousand followers in his first month. Then, the same thing happened when YouTube shorts came out, gaining over 1 million subscribers in just 50 days!

This explosive growth that Alex has experienced across multiple platforms is due to his passion, but also because he put to use what he learned from Gary.

Alex Stemp

I got really good at it because I jumped on it early, I jumped on it when Gary Vee said guys there’s something up here.

Of course, Alex continues to listen to Gary, and always strives to execute what he learns from him. Hence why Alex is now exploring many avenues in the NFT and Web3 space.

Future plans for Alex and NFTs

Alex didn’t know what an NFT was until Gary mentioned them back in February 2021, and again, he took Gary’s advice and bought his own VeeFriends NFT. From there, he continued down the rabbit hole and began creating his own NFT content and expanding into more verticals than just photography.

Alex Stemp

If this guy is hyped on it, I’m hyped on it!

Alex didn’t know what an NFT was until Gary mentioned them back in February 2021, and again, he took Gary’s advice and bought his own VeeFriends NFT. From there, he continued down the rabbit hole and began creating his own NFT content and expanding into more verticals than just photography.

He actively runs an account called NFT News on Instagram and plans to create his own one-of-one NFTs in the next month or so. 

His NFTs will be minted on SuperRare, which will include some of Alex’s best photos, but his main focus is putting a strong emphasis on providing real-world value to his NFT holders.

The way he plans to structure his one-of-one NFTs is to offer holders their own promotional package. What that means is he will promote, and help his holders grow their brand by utilizing his 23 million followers across TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. This includes your own viral video, for whatever it is that you want to promote.

Additionally, Alex is going to give his personal number to his NFT holders to help guide them through the world of social media.

Alex’s story is nothing short of incredible, it just goes to show that if you are willing to learn from others, taste different things, and be persistent with the things you want to do in life, you can achieve great things too!

It won’t always be easy, nor will it always make sense, but at the end of the day, the journey is what makes it all taste so sweet.

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Entrepreneurs Grind

Meet Cole Richman: Founder of Bottom Bunk Sneaker House

As sneaker life begins to return to its pretty-pandemic state, there’s one budding business that every sneakerhead should have on their radar. Bottom Bunk Sneaker House is your new home for all things sneakers.

Located in the heart of Melrose, Bottom Bunk is a fully self-funded business founded by Cole Richman. Richman has a very atypical rise to success-the founder and creative director went from sitting behind bars to creating this highly successful sneaker house.

Bottom Bunk
Bottom Bunk Sneaker House

Cole was born and raised in Los Angeles and got caught up in drugs & gang-related activities at the age of 14. After going in and out of the prison system for years, Cole was sentenced to eight years in prison at the age of 27. While in solitary confinement, Cole decided that when he got out, he would turn his life around.

Released from prison during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, with nothing more than the shirt on his back and $200 from the state, Cole used that money on a pair of “Smoke Grey” Jordan 1’s, which he then resold for a profit. With that money, he purchased a pair of Yeezys, resold them, and began working with various brands, using the same methods & abilities.

Thus, Bottom Bunk (refers to the bed Cole slept in for years in prison) was born. With a bright future ahead, ONE37pm spoke to Cole about his redemption journey.

Bottom Bunk
Bottom Bunk Sneaker House

ONE37pm: What can visitors expect when they visit Bottom Bunk?

Cole: Walking into Bottom Bunk is like walking into your local neighborhood for shoes. We want it to be an elevated shopping experience, and it’s like that with everything. We also deliver exclusivity when it comes to shoes, so that is also something that we are proud of and want our visitors to experience.

ONE37pm: Cool, now let’s take you back. When did you first discover your love for sneakers?

Cole: I’ve always loved the experience of buying sneakers. I think I got my first pair of Jordan 1s around 1991/1992, and I was heavily immersed in sneaker culture. For those that don’t know, I spent eight years in prison, and I got released during the pandemic in 2020. I had struggled with drugs and spent time in a halfway house. My roommate at the halfway house was doing shoes, and when I got released, the state gave me $200.

I used that money to get a pair of Smoke Grey Jordan 1s, and that got the ball rolling for me in terms of getting into the reselling game. I had spent the majority of my life hustling, and now I was using those same skills to hustle in a different way. Now I can really focus on giving back and helping other people through my store.

Bottom Bunk
Bottom Bunk Sneaker House

ONE37pm: That’s a pretty quick turnaround for just a two-year time period! Especially with you opening up your own store. There are some people who started before you in the sneaker game that still aren’t where you are.

Cole: It’s hard work and a little bit of luck. I got lucky that the prison gave us a little bit of a stimulus, and I’m also fortunate to have had people that helped my business along with financially supporting me, even though I had been in prison.

ONE37pm: Right now, we’re in a weird space in the sneaker game. Of course with the pandemic, sneaker buying was primarily online, and people have been getting fed up with the online buying process. Now we are slowly starting to transition back to more in-store purchasing. What are your thoughts on that, and what can sneakerheads expect from Bottom Bunk?

Cole: It’s a couple of different things. I have the relationships necessary to get early access to certain shoes, and I’m not trying to take advantage of people. I definitely think the pandemic played a part in why people are frustrated because we were all cooped up in the house, and you could pretty much only buy online. Now it’s beginning to be more accessible through in-store buying when it comes to new sneakers.

Bottom Bunk
Bottom Bunk Sneaker House

ONE37pm: Are there any specific shoes that sell the most?

Cole: We sell a lot of the Panda Dunks, every type of Jordan 1s, and also the UNC 1s which are very popular. A lot of people like those UNC colorways!

ONE37pm: Where do you see yourself and Bottom Bunk in the next few years?

Cole: In the next 12 months we would love to have one to two more locations. Obviously, SoHo would be nice, and maybe even Atlanta and Nashville. In the next few years, we’ll be able to rival StockX!

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Entrepreneurs Grind

“The Bedtime Chronicles” Just Might Be The Next Great Children’s Book Series

Bedtime stories are the foundation of anyone’s childhood, and everyone knows the tales that had the most lasting impact on their lives: Dr. Seuss, the Berenstein Bears, the list goes on and on.

As the years go on and the world evolves, so do the stories we look to tell our children (or in my case, my niece and nephew.)

Derek Siskin, author of Legend of the Dadman, and his co-creator Ryan Alovis are following up their debut book with Girl with the Blue Hair, the second entry in The Bedtime Chronicles series.

Centered on the Rimes family, there’s the parents, Stan and Pam, their son, Benny, and their daughter, Mary Lou, the eponymous blue-haired girl. There’s also the family’s pet bunny/spirit animal, Hip-Hop, who is “pretty chill hence the shades and the flip-flops.”

Each book is told to Benny by one of his family members as a bedtime story, with Girl with the Blue Hair following Mary Lou as she tells the story of her encounter with the school bully and the ensuing series of events that led to her blue hair.

We sat down with Siskin and Alovis to get the full rundown of the new book, what inspired them to do this, and what’s up next.

The Bedtime Chronicles

Fans of hip-hop music will be right at home reading these books with flowing rhymes and plenty of easter eggs and references to artists, songs, and albums throughout. The Rimes family lives at 36 Chambers Street (a nod to the Wu-Tang Clan), while various posters and objects at Mary Lou’s school pay tribute to Kanye, Drake, Lil Kim, Snoop Dogg, Lauryn Hill, and more.

“As a dad to young kids, I’ve read my fair share of children’s rhyme books, and they can be very formulaic,” said Siskin. “Hip-hop music is a form of rhyme that’s known for its vast array of styles. As a lifelong fan of the genre, I felt that if we could incorporate some of its creativity, wordplay, and storytelling nature, there was an opportunity to make a very fun and different type of rhyme book for the kids.”

References to classic movies like E.TOver the Top, and Home Alone, are found in the books as well, helping parents introduce the things they love to their children, bridging those generations.

“We wanted to create something special that appeals to both children and their parents so that it makes for a unique and memorable experience when they’re reading it together,” said Alovis.  

“By sprinkling the series with subtle illustration references to the artists and movies that have inspired us, we’re able to pay homage to them while entertaining parents in a nostalgic, Where’s Waldo? type of way,” Siskin followed up.

Thanks to the distinct art style of the books illustrated by Jamie Sale, these sorts of references and easter eggs jump right off the page.

The Bedtime Chronicles

“[Girl with the Blue Hair] touches on themes of bullying, female empowerment, breaking stereotypes, and standing up for what you believe in. More than anything, we wanted to give kids a story that inspires them and opens their minds to a diversity of people and perspectives,” Siskin explained.

“I wrote this book at a time when the world was a scary place, and things were very divided,” Siskin continued. “I knew I wanted to create an uplifting story that could bring families together.”

With all the obstacles that kids have had to overcome throughout the pandemic, Siskin is focused on giving children an escape at bedtime through creatively inspired rhymes and stories with positive messages.

The Bedtime Chronicles

Outside of delivering these incredible stories for children, the company simply cares about doing the right thing, and that means giving back as well.

“We’re committed to making a positive impact on as many kids as we can. So for every book sold, we’re donating one to a charity called Pajama Program. The book goes to a child in need who lacks the things necessary for a proper bedtime routine. We truly believe in the benefits of sleep health, and we’re focused on making bedtime better not just for the people buying our products, but for all children,” Alovis explained.

Looking ahead to what’s next for the series, plans to begin illustrating the third book centered around the Rimes mother, Pam, are already in the works with more books about the family slated behind it. As the guys behind The Bedtime Chronicles say, they’re “changing bedtime one story at a rhyme.”

An admirable and important goal if you ask us. And certainly not one to be slept on.

Both entries in ‘The Bedtime Chronicles’ series and other merchandise are available now.

Check out the Bedtime Shop
https://thebedtimechronicles.com/
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Entrepreneurs Grind

A Conversation With UNKNWN Co-Founder Jaron Kanfer

Since we are now officially in February, it’s time to start thinking about our springtime fashions. On January 14th, UNKNWN dropped their Spring 2022 Sport collection, which is a reflection of the evolving styles of its founders LeBron James, Frankie Walker Jr., and Jaron Kanfer.

UNKNWN
Spring 2022

The collection is inspired by activewear and reimagined with an emphasis on modern sportswear design and functionality. It debuts shirts, polos, jackets, joggers, biker shorts, sports bras, and accessories designed to lend an elevated feel and designer lens to activewear.

Intended for the everyday athlete to be worn anytime or anywhere, the collection was tested by athletes in Fit Clubs and workouts that UNKNWN hosts weekly at its Wynwood store, and focuses on performance, and multi-paneled designs that offer lightweight and breathable materials, along with stretchable sweat resistant fabric.

UNKNWN

The color story offers neutral, cohesive, and cool tones consisting of ivory, chalk, navy, white, and ice effortlessly ready to incorporate itself into a wide range of wardrobes and personal styles. The best part? It is reasonably priced with pieces ranging from $40 to $115 each.

ONE37pm spoke with UNKNWN co-founder Jaron Kanfer to talk more about the Spring 2022 Sport collection.

UNKNWN

ONE37pm: Congrats on the new collection! What was the inspiration for this latest drop?

Kanfer: This collection is active and athlete-inspired. We wanted to create activewear that was elevated through a designer lens and make it functional to be worn every day. 

ONE37pm: You guys had a great 2021, what can we expect in 2022?

Kanfer: Expect more UNKNWN brand collections as well as collaborations with the top sneaker, fashion, and gaming brands. There are so many talented creatives we’re excited to team up with. At our Miami store, we’re hosting weekly workouts and special events in our courtyard. We designed this aspect of the store as a place where the community can get together and be active.

ONE37pm: How has the brand evolved since the beginning?

Kanfer: UNKNWN was founded as a way for people to discover new brands by combining high fashion with contemporary wear. We’ve always wanted that experience to be accessible for anyone. As we’ve grown, we are constantly amplifying our efforts to support new brands with collaborations and special events. We continue to expand the UNKNWN brand with new collections. Most importantly, we’re expanding our community and providing opportunities locally to come together for special events and workouts. 

UNKNWN

ONE37pm: This is a really versatile collection! You can really create a lot of different looks, right?

Kanfer: Exactly. The idea behind the collection, and all of our collections, is to create looks that can be worn together as a matching set or mixed with other collections for individuality. We design collections around a cohesive color story to make building full looks or mixing pieces effortless. 

ONE37pm: We had to ask. Any plans for more retail stores in the future? 

Kanfer: Stay tuned… 

We guess we’ll have to stay tuned. In the meantime, you can check out the collection at UNKNWN’s flagship location in Wynwood, and at UNKNWN.com.

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Entrepreneurs Grind

Athletes Unlimited Partners With Khristina Williams and Girls Talk Sports TV

When we last spoke to Khristina Williams in September 2020, the entrepreneur had already accomplished a lot with Girls Talks Sports TV with plans for more. Today Williams has some big news. Athletes Unlimited has partnered with Girls Talk Sports TV for the 2022 Inaugural Basketball Season, taking place from Jan. 26 to Feb. 26 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Williams, a 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30: Sports selection, founded the digital sports media outlet Girls Talk Sports TV in 2018, providing a place to give women a voice in the sports media industry and has served as a destination for WNBA social and digital content.

Athletes Unlimited
Athletes Unlimited x Khristina Williiams

She will join Athletes Unlimited Basketball for opening weekend, produce content and engage with fans through initiatives such as a live watch party, Instagram takeovers, weekly mailbags and written content for AUProSports.com. Girls Talk Sports TV has amassed 23.5k followers across Instagram and Twitter, while Williams has 20.k followers on her own channels. In 2021, she launched “Women Sports Wednesday” on Spotify Greenroom, where she discusses the latest & greatest in the world of women’s basketball.

We caught up with Williams yesterday to discuss the exciting news. Here’s what she had to say:

“This opportunity with Athletes Unlimited came about because they are launching their pro-women’s basketball league. They tapped me as black women to tell these stories of the athletes. It’s more than just investing, and it’s equally important to invest in the people who are creating the content and the fan projects. We talked about how fluid sports fans are, and Athletes Unlimited tapped Girls Talk Sports TV to be a digital partner. It’s exciting all around the board, and gives athletes a chance to play outside of their commitment to the WNBA.

Imani McGee Stafford is coming back, Kalani Brown who decided to join and is looking to make a WNBA comeback and use this opportunity to show her game. This could be the start of her 2022 contract. Then you have Sydney Colson who is another player as she didn’t play last year. Athletes Unlimited is a great way to get second chance opportunities. You also have Ty Young who has retired but wants to stay around the game, and then you also have Courtney Williams who because of the altercation that happened last year, is gonna use this opportunity to prove why she’s an all-star. This is great all around the bar, and it’s going to challenge me to tell all of these stories, whether it’s writing or the weekly content show.

Girls Talks Sports TV has been the destination space to go to, and this opportunity means more to me than anything else because it’s setting the standard for everyone who comes behind me. If I can do it, they can do it too. The possibilities are endless! We are giving brands a way to focus on digital creators. This is making history and showing that you can be an independent entity, partner with a brand, and make history. This league is changing the way we see women’s sports and basketball.”

In addition to Williams, the league will also be collaborating with Basketball content creators Jasmine Baker, Greydy Diaz, Terrika Foster-Brasby and Victoria Jacobi to give fans an inside look at the first weekend of action.

Athletes Unlimited Basketball’s first season will take place in Athletes Unlimited Arena at the Sport Center of Las Vegas, less than two miles from the Las Vegas Strip. Games will be broadcast in the U.S. on either FOX Sports, CBS Sports Network, Bally Sports or Athletes Unlimited digital channels. Additional international media partners will also be added. 

Tickets are available via AUProSports.com.

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Entrepreneurs Grind

Renee Montgomery and Sirena Grace Talk Montgomery and Co. Podcast

Our 2022 entertainment continues to get off to a hot start with the relaunch of Renee Montgomery’s podcast Remotely Renee. Now dubbed Montgomery & Co., Montgomery is joined by wife Sirena Grace, her mother Bertlela Montgomery, and sister Nicole Young as they speak with some of the top names in sports, culture, entrepreneurship, and entertainment.

Previous guests include the likes of Ros Gold-Onwude, Amar’e Stoudemire, Cari Champion, and more, and the relaunch officially debuted this past Thursday featuring special guests Jemelle Hill, and Bo Han, the founder & CEO of Buzzer. We spoke to Renee and Sirena about the relaunch this past week. Below is the full interview.

ONE37pm: Congrats on the relaunch! You guys already had great episodes and an awesome fanbase with Remotely Renee, so how did you approach the development of Montgomery & Co?

Montgomery: When the pandemic started we were doing a bunch of family Zooms talking about everything. Jemele Hill was really the one that inspired us by letting us know just how impactful it would be to have four minority women having conversations in business and culture. Jemele is an advisor at Meadowlark, and has a pulse for Remotely Renee which was a once-a-week podcast that featured interviews with many different leaders in sports and entertainment. We’ve built this from the ground up!

Grace: When Remotely Renee started it was Renee, her mom, and her sister, and I was the behind-the-scenes person fixing the lighting and doing the producer work. We were doing everything from the house. Now it’s like we have official roles, which is very exciting!

ONE37pm: You mentioned Jemelle Hill, so it’s fitting that she’s one of the first guests. You all talked a lot about NIL and how it’s going to change the landscape for female athletes. Could you expand more on that?

Montgomery: The potential for college athletes to build brands was always there, but we didn’t have that recognition until NIL as you had to become a professional athlete to have those opportunities. You see that so much in players like Candace Parker who have built an empire, and now young players can start doing that in college.

Grace: It changes the landscape for sure. NIL gives athletes the chance to take their brands and make them appeal to the broader masses. With social media anything is possible, and I think in the future you’ll see athletes with clothing lines, starting their own brands, etc. 

ONE37pm: How do you feel this relaunch has evolved from what you guys were previously doing with Montgomery & Co Remotely Renee, and what can we expect in the future?

Montgomery: With Remotely Renee we wanted to keep people involved and share their stories. It’s going to be the same with Montgomery & Co. We just had Larry Miller (Jordan Brand chairman) on the show, and he has a great story and transformation. We focus on topics like building generational wealth and leaving inheritances to your kids. Our biggest mission is to educate and inspire.

We also focus on breaking stereotypes, and the biggest thing about us is that we don’t have a traditional approach to our shows. We take people with us on our journeys and family blogs. We want to show people that we are authentic and all the tricks of the trade

New episodes drop every Thursday. In the meantime, you can keep up with all things Montgomery & Co via Instagram. Be sure to also check out Renee and Sirena and all of their latest updates on IG as well.

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Entrepreneurs Grind

A Conversation With PG Sports Founder Paul Guarino

PG Sports is on the rise. Founded by Paul Guarino, PG Sports specializes in sports marketing and sports management, representing notable athletes such as Jeff Adrien, Crystal Dangerfield, Renee Montgomery, and more. Closing out 2021 on a high note, Guarino is looking forward to accomplishing even bigger things in 2022. We sat down with Guarino last week to talk about all things PG Sports.

Berk Work
Paul Guarino and Chad Dawson

ONE37pm: How did you develop the concept of PG Sports

Guarino: I started a Twitter page back in 2011 because I knew I wanted to be a sports agent. I made these Marshawn Lynch “Beast Mode” t-shirts to promote my business. I reached out to a graphic designer in terms of creating the PG Sports logo, and from there we just kind of had a contest to win the Beast Mode shirts. From there, I just started building relationships with athletes doing things like interview scheduling, making t-shirts, sports marketing, and sponsorships. I have clients in the UFC, WNBA, overseas, and more. The only sport I don’t work with yet is baseball. I currently have about 28 clients on my roster and it’s cool to see all of the connections.

ONE37pm: What does a day in your life look like for you?

Guarino: I’m on my computer pretty much all day every day. I’m scheduling phone calls, handing email, reaching out, and doing virtual calls. I’m pretty busy!

Moses Webb
Anthony Ireland Paul Guarino and Mustapha Heron

ONE37pm: Who are some of the clients you represent?

Guarino: I represent Kimbo Slice Jr., Renee Montgomery, Brandon Copeland, and Crystal Dangerfield to name a few.

ONE37pm: What’s on the calendar for 2022?

Guarino: Right now I don’t have anything special planned. Just more content, partnership deals, and my goal is to add new people to my roster. I also want to build bigger relationships with brands!

ONE37pm: Any advice you have for someone who wants to do what you do?

Guarino: Consistency is key! Make sure you stick with it!

For more on PG Sports you can check out their official website and Twitter.

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Entrepreneurs Grind

5 Women Who Are Sparking Positive Cultural Change

Whenever we enter a new year, we look to the future. That’s why we’re celebrating the leaders who are fighting for environmental, racial, legal, and social justice so we can all be a part of a brighter tomorrow. These five individuals embody what it means to be an ally to their community, and are shaping tomorrow’s conversation around the most important issues facing us today.

Get to know the five women who are making a difference while advocating for real change.

Maya Penn
Maya Penn

At just 16, Maya Penn was commissioned by the White House to create an animated film as part of the first-ever digital report to Congress, with the goal of getting a Women’s History Museum built in Washington, D.C. Now, at age 21, she’s a global activist, social entrepreneur, filmmaker and TED speaker and working on a range of projects dedicated to environmental justice and diversity, along with her groundbreaking efforts to bring eco-friendly sanitary pads to facilities in Haiti, Senegal and Somalia. Her book, You Got This!, is used in schools around the world as a tool to teach youth entrepreneurship.

Amanda Nguyen
Amanda Nguyen

Amanda Nguyen is the founder and CEO of Rise, a company dedicated to the continuous fight for equality for sexual assault survivors. At age 25, she helped craft the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Act that passed unanimously in Congress. As of 2021, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Forbes 30 Under 30 recipient has helped create more than 40 more additional laws, continuing to pave the way for current and future social justice pioneers. 

Lauren Wesley Wilson
Lauren Wesley Wilson

Lauren Wesley Wilson founded ColorComm, Inc. in 2011, and later, ColorComm Media Group, a multicultural public relations, media relations and influencer marketing agency. After working in D.C. for President Obama and then in crisis communications and PR, she realized her true calling was helping women of color succeed in the media industry. That’s the goal of ColorComm, Inc.: a platform for addressing diversity and inclusion across the communications, marketing, advertising and media industries.

Chrissy Rutherford
Chrissy Rutherford
Chrissy Rutherford

Fashionista and content guru Chrissy Rutherford is the founder and CEO of 2BG Consulting, a company focused on inclusivity and the implementation of anti-racist communication strategies. She’s also a mental health advocate who works around the clock to bring awareness to issues using her own experiences with anxiety as inspiration to others. 

Sierra Quitiquit
Sierra Quitiquit

Model, professional skier, and environmentalist Sierra Quitiquit doesn’t slow down on the slopes or in her professional life. Since she began skiing at age 2, Quitiquit starred in two ski films, Ticket to Ride and Valhalla. But the sport also opened her eyes to climate change and its devastating effect on the earth, and in particular, her ski slopes. That’s why, in 2019, she and a friend founded Plastic-Free Fridays, a nonprofit that brings awareness to and helps reduce single-use plastic consumption. She’s also an alliance member of Protect Our Winters in the effort to fight climate change. 

Categories
Entrepreneurs Grind

ONE37pm Talks To Outshine Talent Founder Barbara Jones

Outshine Talent is the mastermind operation that has launched the careers of some of the biggest social media stars and celebrities in the world including Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, Frankie Jonas, Coco Rocha, and more. Last week the agency announced the addition of their division expanding an exemplary talent roster with the signing of Adrien Nuñez and Carson Roney.  Nuñez is the first NIL signing for Outshine, and the signing marks a monumental milestone for the company.

Shorefire Media
Barbara Jones

Headed by Barbara Jones, Outshine Talent develops and implements strategic, big-picture career plans specific to each of their talent’s roster. We spoke with Jones earlier this week to learn more about the agency, what a day in the life looks like for their clients, and what we can expect in the future.

ONE37pm: Outshine Talent has made some huge moves and signings over the years. Could you just talk a little bit more about the company’s evolution?

Jones: Prior to starting Outshine, I did influencer and social media marketing for brands, and TikTok hired our agency back when it was Musical.ly. That was originally how we started with TikTok, and we saw just how influential it was amongst high school students. My daughter found out about Charli D’Amelio, and it turned out that we both live in Connecticut. I connected with them for an influencer event that we were coordinating, and it was sort of like a snowball effect. I realized the D’Amelio family were going to need a team around them, so I created Outshine Talent, and slowly but surely we began adding new talent.

Social media has evolved a lot since I started at Columbia Records thirteen years ago. That was the beginning of blogging, the early stages of Facebook and Twitter, and before Instagram. I’ve gotten the chance to see it evolve.

ONE37pm: What does a day in the life look like for you?

Jones: Right now we have about 25 talents signed to our roster, and they each have a team around them. This includes a day to day manager, and just an overall support system. Everyone on our roster is at different stages of their careers. For example, we have one that is starting a podcast, and another that is working on an animated series. Everyday is different and about understanding where our talent wants to go. So we’re constantly vetting brands and negotiating deals. It’s super fun!

ONE37pm: Obviously the NIL news this year has impacted so much in the realm of college athletes, and you guys just announced some huge news with the signing of Adrien Nuñez and Carson Roney. Could you talk a little more about that?

Jones: We’re really excited! It’s the beginning of a new time. I’m excited to work with athletes  who are great with social media and have fun with it. The stress of school and athletics can be a lot already, so it’s important that these athletes have good people around them. I’m a mom myself, so I’m super protective! We have a real family environment here at Outshine.

ONE37pm: What do you think the landscape of college athletics will look like NIL wise as we are already seeing athletes secure huge deals?

Jones: I think it will eventually turn into a recruiting tool. Right now schools are a bit unsure because there have been so many rules in the past, and I think there will be some ups and downs, but overtime teams and players will have tons of opportunities to open doors for more up-and-coming athletes. There’s going to be a lot of evolution in the future with helping athletes who have bigger dreams of acting, modeling, etc. The goal is to help them build their brand.

ONE37pm: Can you walk us through Outshine’s other work, outside of NIL?

Jones: We work with talent in comedy, fashion, beauty, and plenty more. We have a lot of different niches and talent signed to those areas. We do a lot!

ONE37pm: What’s on the landscape for 2022? Anything you guys are working on right now?

Jones: It’s going to be a great year! Each of our talent has different goals, and we have podcasts, book deals, music, and animated series on the way. We are also going to be diving into the Crypto/NFT world which is something we are super excited about. It’s going to be great!