Each summer MBAs Across America recruits MBAs from the top colleges to work and learn with visionary entrepreneurs all across the country to help change lives. Here's Casey Gerald's story.
Just in that moment that I accepted that I was about to die, everything slowed down and there was peace. I've got my hands tied behind my back and a gun to my head. If that night had been my last nobody would have asked me "What was your after tax income?"
First time that I saw... what mattered really wasn't what I was able to get but what I was willing to give.
We launched MBAs Across America last year. We recruit teams of MBAs from top business schools. And they dedicate their summer to spending six weeks in six cities working with an entrepreneur in each city.
What we're doing is reasserting the American Dream by working with visionary entrepreneurs to create new jobs and change more lives.
So we went to Holiday Inn because we heard about this thing that they had right? This "Journey to Extraordinary". This program wouldn't exist without Holiday Inn, to be honest with you. We didn't have the money. We didn't have the support.
I never imagined I'd be sitting here talking about 32 MBAs, 48 entrepreneurs, 26 cities. "Journey to Extraordinary" is not just a slogan. It's an alignment of the spirit of a company.
I grew up in your typical inner city. Everybody was broke. Everybody had issues at home. By the time I was in the seventh grade, both of my parents were out of my life.
Growing up in Texas football is everything. And so I had big dreams, you know, of playing in the big leagues. One day my junior year a guy showed up. He said "Hey do you want to play football at Yale?" Folks started hearing about this kid from Oak Cliff, Texas being recruited by Yale. And I'd go to church and old ladies would be crying, they say "Oh man you really... you got to do this."
From the time I was a freshman to the time I was a senior was really a transformation. To see that there was this whole world of opportunity. Totally changed my view of what was possible.
We're in Detroit this week with six of our eight teams.
It was here where we met Sebastian Jackson. He uses his barber shop to really make a second chance for his city.
Jeff and Cassandra with Sweet Potato Sensations, they have built a business that is one of the most successful small businesses in Detroit.
Veronica Scott at the Detroit Empowerment Plant, the fact that she would come up with a product that is so warm as a coat and so durable and so versatile that it can double as a sleeping bag to help people survive on the streets in Detroit is incredible. But then you think about her commitment to hiring women who used to be homeless and might not have gotten a second chance.
If you just looked at the material balance sheet of Detroit, it'd be bankrupt. But what's not seen are all the people that give a damn. I've seen change in the individual. When all the signs say "You ought to leave," they stayed to build businesses not just because of profit but because of purpose. What if business leaders had been baptized in the spirit of America. Had see what our fellows have seen in communities like Detroit. I think those organizations would be far better.
What we're doing is going into the American Dream's corner and saying get back up. Not just in the major hubs, not just for the chosen few, but for everybody.
That's the plan.