The Teen Innovation Summit 2021 inspired youth across the globe with its live, virtual event, hosted by young influencers. People who make a living from following their dreams and being innovative drop plenty of gems for all the viewers to take in.
First we were welcomed by our lovely hosts Jahkil Jackson (one of True Star’s very own), Kennedy Jade and Carter Newsome who then introduced us to the first speaker of the day, Overtime’s Tom Weingarten. Weingarten started his journey with Overtime in college, he knew he wanted to work in sports so decided in his head he will work in sports until he couldn’t. It never occurred to him that he could be in sports without physically being in sports; for instance, the people who record sports or commentators for sports. With the encouragement of his mom to find an internship and hopelessly searching all the way to the fiftieth page of Google, he came across a vacancy for a job, now known as Overtime. Weingarten was blessed to have the universe in his favor because the job had only been published the same day he found it. Seizing his opportunity and going ahead with it lead him to an honorable position in the company despite initially being hesitant by the many “smart people” around him and the vulnerability in being the first intern. Still, Weingarten expressed his gratitude in working and learning from the people he finds “motivational, caring, nice and respectful.”
Overtime has grown drastically since Weingarten stated. They have over one hundred workers with people working in various parts aiming to improve the company and 10 people dedicated to his team working on the social media aspects. Recently, Overtime partnered with different people to create a league that gives children a different path to make their career bigger and better while achieving an education as well. The heart of Overtime is “giving athletes a chance to do what’s best for them and put them in the greatest position to succeed,” said Weingarten. If you want to work with them he said, in a nutshell, you have to be creative, initiative and work hard.
Summer Chamblin interviewed Todd Triplett from TikTok. Triplett is from the South Side of Chicago. At a young age he got into graffiti which he said, “… was probably illegal…”. His vice principal and Dean of Discipline at the time caught him with all his graffiti equipment. As a bitter sweet punishment he had to scrub the walls for the rest of the academic year, however, the sweet part is that he was introduced to someone who would help impact his destiny, Tom Burrell. Burrell was the owner of the nation’s largest Black owned advertising company in the world! What helped Triplett with his journey to entrepreneurship were his parents who had their own business as well, and surrounding himself with creative leaders in Chicago. Attending Howard University helped too, allowing him to have social connections with well know celebrities like Diddy. Triplett concluded that TikTok is different from the rest of the social apps because they lead in culture and focus on identifying creativity so the talent and skills of others can be shared with the world.
We were then introduced to Detavio Samuels, CEO of Revolt. Samuels dropped some valuable gems on his journey to being CEO and the knowledge he wished he would have been taught but also the failures that he has learned from. His note to self at 13 was: your young, have fun, have experience .The CEO of Revolt let us know that there is no need to rush into our set profession; in fact he even encourages us to take our time…even if it’s after 30! Through his story–first training to be a doctor then going into different stages of marketing to his now profession–he motivated us to find something we enjoy, even if we change it throughout our journey.
The next segment was informed by Victor Mateevitsi (computer scientist), Keisha Howard, and Rena Lee who are all part of amazing works in the world of gaming. To see males and females speak on gaming embraced a positive outlook towards that world and shifted the stigma that gaming is only for boys and men. Computer scientist, Mateevitsi, discussed how they are developing the fastest computer in the world through technology and Howard expressed the similarity in gaming and technology in our world today. Gaming is for anyone and everyone! In addition, Lee explained how music is parallel to technology and it takes a team of people to successfully achieve that. The player who loves music is in luck because gaming has aspects of musical composition in it and much more!
Kennedy Jade discussed streetwear life stylists and their personal brands. A few of the many fantastic stylists, such as Alonzo Jackson, expressed how in his fashion he always preaches about being independent. Not only does he preach about being independent but he likes to implement it into the work that he does by owning his creativity, his talent, his skill, his work, basically everything. One of Jackson’s tips was “research what you want to do.” Another stylist, known as Nino, shared how he aims to create a style that you will not only feel comfortable in but also look stylish and nice in. Styling goes beyond clothes. It’s also about using their platform as a megaphone to tell people about social issues in our world today.
There were many other inspiring people with great feedback included in this summit, all of which I felt like I learned or gained something from. I think it’s important for teens my age to know that it’s never too early to start towards your career goals, and I think this summit heightened that idea while also giving real life examples to prove first-hand that your dreams are possible.
To check out what you missed, visit teeninnovationsummit.com.
By Emmanuella Alausa, Bishop Thomas Grant High School, London
*Kendal Amos (Instagram: Kendal.amos) contributed to this article.