The Cleveland Browns collaborated with the Marcus Graham Project (MGP) and Black Sports Professionals of Cleveland to host the Browns Be the Solution: Sports Marketing Workshop at FirstEnergy Stadium last week. Thanks to the help of all three groups, in addition to the amazing volunteers, the event was a huge success.
The four-day workshop gave 21 young professionals the opportunity to put together a comprehensive marketing campaign to further the Browns' Be the Solution social justice efforts. In addition to presenting their ideas to a panel of judges, the participants had the opportunity to network with numerous professionals in the sports industry throughout the week, gaining real-time advice for their projects and expanding their professional networks.
The winning group, made up of Katie Schroeder, Bryce Walker-Ollins, Noah Pena and Taylor Banks, stood out from the rest for their exceptional idea and the way they presented it to the Browns organization. Additionally, Joshua Hatch was named the MVP of the week's event and was awarded with a trip to Dallas, Texas to participate in the exclusive Marcus Graham Project's iCR8 Summer BootCamp.
"It's been an amazing experience with the Marcus Graham Project and the collaboration with the Cleveland Browns. Being in the stadium has just been an amazing experience and then the workshop in general was great, the panels were amazing. It was so insightful that I definitely think that I gained an incredible amount of information," Hatch said of his experience.
None of this would have been possible without the help of seven people who chose to #give10 and graciously volunteered their time to mentor the young professionals throughout the process and make the workshop a success. Many of the volunteers are alumni of past MGP Workshops and have decided that the experience was so valuable to them that they wanted to continue to be a part of making the experience valuable for participants after them.
Volunteers included Felicia Jackson (Marketing and Client Relationship Manager, UBIZ Venture Capital), Matthew Dennis (Founder, Mo Soul Art & Music Festival), Johnnie Benson (MBA Candidate, Cleveland State University), Saxx Booker (Manager of Social Influence, Washington Wizards), James Adams (Graphic Designer, Topps Company), Jason Garrett (Owner, CoCreative) and Rosi Sanchez (Director of Digital and Community Design, Longaberger).
Felicia Jackson participated in the MGP workshop in January of 2019 with the Cavaliers and was invited back to be a mentor last week with the Browns. "Just being a part of the program as a participant really helped me, not just for my resume and career, but just having confidence in my ability to grow and really be in the marketing field," Jackson said of her participation in the workshop in 2019. As she looked back to last week, Jackson was in awe of just how impactful she really was for the participants. "I didn't think I would be as much of an impact as I was. I've had a few of the participants reach out to me since last week with really long messages, just saying how much they appreciated me being there," she said. Not only was being a mentor meaningful to the participants, Jackson also explained it taught her a lot as well. "Even though I'm still starting my career, it just makes me think that I need to move differently and appreciate where I am … I can still make an impact and share my experiences with others," she said.
Thank you to all the volunteers who chose to #give10 and contributed to the success of the Be the Solution: Sports Marketing Workshop! You can make a difference too by joining our Browns First and Ten movement! This initiative was designed to inspire fans across the city to give back 10 hours in the community during the year. Since the beginning of the Browns' First and Ten movement in 2014, more than 2.75 million volunteer hours have been pledged. If you want to help give back to your community, take the First and Ten pledge here and then share your story with us!
About Be the Solution
The Browns are committed to furthering their social justice efforts through the Be the Solution platform. One year ago, following the tragic death of George Floyd, and as protests spread from coast to coast and across the globe, Browns Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry sent a passionate email to all Browns employees. Ultimately, it served as the inspiration for a call to action that now includes all Browns fans through the team's #BeTheSolution campaign. The #BeTheSolution initiative is designed to provide fans an opportunity and resources related to making a significant impact to help create social equality with an emphasis on education; police reform and accountability; economic advancement and community support; and non-partisan voter registration, education and turnout.