On My High School Photography Apprenticeship: Booking My First Client

On My High School Photography Apprenticeship: Booking My First Client

First professional headshot booking in the records at 18 years old, whoop!

My Noble 301 apprenticeship experience, alongside photographer John David Pittman (aka JDP), has been getting more and more life-changing.

For the last few months I’ve been able to walk over to JDP’s studio after school in hopes of not only discovering the life of a photographer, but also how to find something you’re passionate about and turn that into a career. I’ve been essentially shadowing him when he’s in his creative realm, and it’s been pivotal in my journey of possibly pursuing my dream of becoming a photographer after college. Quite frankly, my apprenticeship with JDP is one of the coolest, most dynamic things going on in my life in regards to me finding myself as a person. I picture myself having a life of free will and the ability to create as I please and being able to work with JDP has added an avenue for me to be able to do just that. I’ve come to truly look forward to getting a text from him right before lunch time, asking me if I can come to the studio and learn a new technique or try out some cool lighting concept he’s been working on. Those end up being the best lunches.

“Quite frankly, my apprenticeship with JDP is one of the coolest, most dynamic things going on in my life in regards to me finding myself as a person.”

Since my apprenticeship began about 5 months ago, I’ve been mentally and physically gaining the experience it takes in order to become a full time photographer. The bigger skills from lighting and how to set up a professional shoot, all the way down to what computer hard drives work the best. Over the course of these last months, I’ve been on site at JDP’s photoshoots, taken the headshots of numerous Noble 201 students, witnessed the behind the scenes of planning a shoot, and studied numerous photographers in which my mentor, JDP, has been inspired by. I’ve learned just about as much from shadowing him as my senior year of high school thus far — interesting dynamic, right? If only I could work in this realm everyday… I couldn’t imagine how much service I could be providing, but alas school isn’t going to do itself.

Jordan Young Photography Apprenticeship
A look at key points in my apprenticeship training, which got me prepared for my first professional session.

Early in my apprenticeship, I was offered the opportunity to book my first professional headshot session with creative sensation, Dan Ndombe, also known as Dan Newbie on YouTube, where he makes music videos using household goods, like wine glasses, pots, pans, bottles, and rubber bands.

This journey of gearing up for taking Mr. Dan Ndombe’s headshot has finally come to an end, and I couldn’t be more proud of the experience. Dan, a simple pleasure to work with, was the ideal subject to test my newly developed skills, while also providing him with a service and product — a headshot — he can use in the upcoming future for his website, speaking engagement, social channels, and so forth.

Our headshot session took place in late February at JDP’s studio, during one of those lunch periods I look forward to. JDP and I portrayed Dan in the light of being approachable yet professional, much like he is in day-to-day life. Prior to the shoot, we had a consultation meeting, in which he expressed his trust in us with his personal image and simply wanted us to do as we felt to portray him in the best light possible. To have that amount of trust put into me was huge for my first shoot, and I really appreciated Dan for it.

When it came time for the actual shoot to begin, Dan walked in and I could tell by the look on his face he was excited to have his headshot taken; he kept that same energy the entire shoot. From the first shot, he bought into and thrived in the atmosphere we made sure to set, cracking jokes and making conversation the duration of the shoot. I kept in mind the little things JDP taught me and things I read in the book he recommended me, “The Headshot” by his good friend, Mr. Peter Hurley. Throughout the shoot, I was thinking about everything from posture, positioning, and angles to expression and major desirables — they all played a major role, as did me understanding what needs to be changed from shot to shot. The one-stop-shop on how to effectively capture someone’s essence, “The Headshot” is a must read for any up-and-coming photographer who wants to learn about a world focused on facial perception.

Dan Ndombe Photoshoot JDP and Jordan Young
A look at some of the photos that came out of my first professional headshot shoot, with Dan Ndombe.

After about 30 shots of JDP and me alternating to provide perspective of what to look for during the process, we felt like we captured the Dan we had been catching glimpses of from shot to shot. He was all there: The gentle smile, confident eyes, razor sharp clothes, and kind demeanor. It was a rush of euphoria to be able to step back and look at the picture on the tethered laptop next to me and say, “Yup, there he is. That’s it.”

Even surpassing that, was the feeling I felt when I swiveled the laptop to let Dan see it and watched his face crack a big grin and say, “Man, you guys are good.” It was music to my ears, and I simply couldn’t stop grinning.

It was beyond rewarding to have the opportunity to do something I thoroughly love doing during a given lunch period, but it’s icing on the cake to be paid for providing a service due to your artistic ability. I could work in a studio everyday at lunch and wouldn’t miss a single burger because of it.

A Craftsman Since Birth: Julian Kresse’s Story

A Craftsman Since Birth: Julian Kresse’s Story

Julian Kresse Forge
Julian and friends forging
This post was republished from Medium, where Noble Impact 201 scholar and teen craftsman Julian Kresse blogs about his passion for knifemaking. Follow Julian on Twitter and Instagram.

I have always been a creative child but it was not until I started karate and got to choose the katana sword as my weapon that I knew I wanted to be a blacksmith.

As a child I was always a creative. My whole life, I wanted to know how things worked. I would take broken radios apart to understand how these machines worked. Taking apart my first radio was driven by curiosity to understand how everything in the world works. I found it fascinating that something we use in everyday life is so simple to operate, yet so complex on the inside.

I also had a knack for solving puzzles that were meant for kids ages 16 and up, when I was only four years old; setting things where they needed to be; and building brick forts out of the scrap bricks that we had in our backyard — I believe these were all steps towards my interests. Having the passion to build, create, and learn these fascinations carried me to where I am now.

Julian Kresse BlacksmithNext came karate. After taking karate for 4 to 5 years, students get an opportunity to choose a weapon. The “katana” was the weapon I chose, and it’s the one that brought me to where I am now. After doing a little bit of research on the Japanese sword, I became fascinated by the beauty of the sword and the perfection of the design. Going back to my old habits, I started to learn how this amazing sword was created. I was utterly fascinated by the amount of time and skill that went into creating just one sword.

That’s how I began to understand what I desire to do: blacksmithing.

I set up a forge in my backyard and started to create items, like hooks or spatulas. Forging is the process of making or shaping an object, such as a metal object, by heating it in a fire or furnace and beating or hammering it. My forge helped me to learn the tools of blacksmithing, but the desire to make knives and swords kept ticking in my mind.

So, I started to look for homemade knives online, and this large world of custom knives was introduced to me. These people were creating wonderful pieces of art and design was wonderfully crafted and I knew this is where I belonged.

Custom Wood Handle Set
Custom wood handles done by Julian Kresse for a client’s beloved knife set
I started to spend hours working on designs, and I would even spend all of my money on knives. I would make a list of things that I liked about the knife and things I didn’t like.

I went through hundreds of designs until I started to come up with designs that I could see becoming real products. I started to forge knives and axes out of old railroad spikes. This was fun and helpful, but I was ready to start making products that were at a very close tolerance. I wanted to start to sell my creations. The only problem was before I sent something out into the world I wanted to know whatever it was, it was done to the best of my ability. Quality is important to me.

I started to save up for tools; I also started to ask everyone I knew to see if they had tools that they did not use anymore. I am starting to get a collection of small hand tools and a few cheap power tools. I am currently saving up for bigger tools like a belt grinder and a drill press. I am also learning programs like SolidWorks so I can to start to learn how to use a CNC machine.

I know I want to do this for a living. I am a craftsman, and I want to make my product be the best it can be. Hopefully my passion can flow through my designs.

A knife made by Julian Kresse
A knife made by Julian Kresse
A Story Of Entrepreneurship And Little Rock’s First Vegan Restaurant

A Story Of Entrepreneurship And Little Rock’s First Vegan Restaurant

Entrepreneurship is the action of starting a business that offers any service, operation, or product. Entrepreneurs, the people behind these startups, keep their eyes open for business opportunities. Originally, I never had a firm understanding of what entrepreneurship was and how exciting it really is, until I met Shiem Swift, co-founder of Little Rock-based vegan cafe, The Veg LLC, when he spoke in my Noble Impact 201 course.

Shiem Swift interviewed by Fox 16 News
The Veg LLC co-founder Shiem Swift interviewed by Fox 16 News at his cafe in the River Market.
“Freedom is what we want. We’re entrepreneurs. We don’t want to be boxed in.”
Shiem Swift, co-founder, The Veg LLC

Shiem never thought he would be in the food industry, let alone starting his own company. The idea came into mind when his friend Jamel, who is a vegan, went out to eat with Shiem. They couldn’t find a single restaurant that serves vegan food. So, instead of going out like they planned, Jamel just cooked for himself at home like he had always done. Shiem wondered why there wasn’t at least one vegan restaurant in Little Rock. After all, Arkansas is “The Natural State,” right?

Taking Those First Steps In Entrepreneurship

Shiem thought of a plan to create a restaurant that offers vegan food, not only for his good friend Jamel, but also other vegans in the community. Now, the only thing to consider was if other Arkansans were interested in eating vegan food. Shiem told us, “Sometimes you have a good idea, but there’s not a market for it.”

One day, Jamel made vegan cookies for Shiem and he instantly fell in love. Both Jamel and Shiem wanted to share the deliciousness of a healthy and new twist on cookies. They decided to hand out free cookies at businesses. From there, they started to gain publicity and popularity, through coverage in Arkansas Times and local news stations. They had no funding whatsoever, but realized they had found a market once people were willing to pay for the cookies they were handing out. Shiem and Jamel were both stoked to make their new idea a business.

The Veg LLC co-owner, Jamel
The Veg LLC co-owner, Jamel.
It took two years to persuade the River Market to let their business move in to the Ottenheimer Market Hall, a food bazaar that houses local eateries. Once they finally got the approval, they only had three months to move in. Being resourceful and eco-friendly, they collected recycled materials to decorate and furnish the store. They also put many used items on layaway. This created a very authentic and unique look that no other business had.

Now, the Veg not only has cookie dough but many other new items on the menu. All of their products are 100% vegan — no dairy, eggs, or any animal food products. Some items include: A veggie burger, chickpea salad sandwich, quesadillas, BBQ nachos, lobster roll, pulled BBQ sandwich, sweet potato fries, fresh chips, chocolate chip cookies, double chocolate merlot cookies, cakes, pies, cheesecakes (sliced or whole). With this wide variety of classic and new foods, who wouldn’t want to try vegan entrees?

Not only are they a go-to restaurant, but they also have other available services such as delivery, catering, meal planning and also cooking demos.

My Takeaways

Shiem Swift has taught me that you can create your own culture with entrepreneurship. You are able to be your own boss and go by your own rules. Even if there doesn’t originally seem to be a market for your idea, you can experiment and figure out the right recipe for success. You must learn to turn your disadvantages into advantages. It’s all about perception. Every mistake helps you grow and learn. These mistakes provide the experiences necessary for the real world. If you’ve never been in an uncomfortable situation as an entrepreneur, then you’re not really giving it your all.

With that being said, I am now torn between dealing with the happiness and frustration that seems to come with entrepreneurship. But that’s a good mindset to have, because I am up for the challenge. Now, I wish to start a few of my own businesses and create my own culture. Stay tuned!

It’s A Kid’s World: Chelsea Clinton Speaks On How Youth Are Changing The World

It’s A Kid’s World: Chelsea Clinton Speaks On How Youth Are Changing The World

Chelsea Clinton, vice chair of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, graced the stage at The Clinton School of Public Service as the 1,000th speaker in the Kumpuris Distinguished Lecture Series this Friday, September 18th. Just three days prior, her book, “It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going!” was published. It takes on the biggest challenge today, such as poverty, hunger, and homelessness, and showcases stories of how kids and teens want to see faster progress and have taken matters into their own hands, to make a difference around them.

I know what you’re probably thinking: Kids? Make a difference? Don’t they need to get their education first to understand the real problems? Clinton speaks to this saying, “Kids already care about things. We as adults need to find that out and help them engage to make a productive difference.”

Clinton began her discussion around her own childhood, saying she was curious as a child and wanted to be informed. Her parents thought it was important for her to have her own opinions, but just as important that she back those opinions up with a valid argument. It all clicked when she read “50 Simple Things Kids Can Do To Save The Earth,” written by John Javna, with contributions from his daughter, Sophie Javna. The book outlines simple things kids can do to help the earth, but what Clinton took from it was that kids can do something. What’s important is not necessarily how kids participate in change-making early on, but that they’re contributing at all.

To Make A Difference, Just Get Started

Chelsea Clinton 1000th Speaker at Clinton School of Public Service
Chelsea Clinton speaks at the Clinton School of Public Service.
“Kids, in general, are more perceptive to what’s happening in the world around them than, often times, adults,” Clinton says. She, for example, started a recycling system at her elementary school, because she observed that one didn’t exist and she was driven to make a difference. As an adult, she says she’s found that anyone can make a difference, regardless of age. “It is important that actions be connected to each challenge and be on an equal plane, because every action matters,” she adds.

After sharing the stories that inspired her book, she shared the stories of three inspiring kids doing radical things. One was of a young boy, who used leftover Legos in a drive to raise money for kids who don’t have a home. Another was of a girl whose father was diabetic and created a healthy kid cookbook in order to help her dad be more healthy. The last one was of a girl who saw how elephants were becoming extinct due to the rising popularity of ivory, and partnered with famous basketball player Yao Ming to spread the word to consumers that ivory was not safe to obtain and it was driving the elephants near extinction.

These stories showed not only the research she did in writing her book, but they also highlight the point she was making: Put your observations into practice. These kids all saw a problem facing society, and were driven to make a difference, any action they took after that mattered.

Problems Clinton Is Impassioned To Solve

It's Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired, and Get Going," by Chelsea Clinton
Chelsea Clinton’s book
Throughout her speech and audience questions, we heard about problems that Clinton is working to solve, namely issues dealing with children’s education and security.

Clinton was asked within the question and answer section about her trip to Southern Asia while she lived in the White House. She talked about how she was always told how blessed she was to live in the United States, but didn’t see the reality of the situation until that trip. “Seeing that [situation], so painfully and on unscalable numbers — and how many girls were already wives and mothers, younger than I — helped me realize how I wanted to try and solve these problems I was deeply connected to.”

When asked about the homelessness in America, she pointed out that millions of kids across America will go to sleep without a home at some point in their lives. . In fact, “One out of every 45 children – some 1.6 million – in the United States is homeless,” according to teen homelessness agency Covenant House. Homelessness affects kids’ performance in school. These children usually move school to school, wherever they can find a place to stay. And, they become classified as “highly mobile students,” which, as research shows, is setting them up for failure. What Clinton says about this is that we don’t know what others are going through, only what they choose to share with us, and this simple fact requires empathy from us all.

Two Quotes For Inspiration

Katie Clevenger with Chelsea Clinton
Noble 201 scholar Katie Clevenger attends Chelsea Clinton’s book signing.
Two quotes really stood out to me, both of which came up in Clinton’s answers when asked about her schooling experience. One was, “You could be beautiful and really intelligent and nobody can judge you, only for the latter(over her 5th grade teacher).” Particularly as a teenage girl, I loved how she expressed, in one sentence, how no one should judge you on your looks, whether they think you’re beautiful or not, because in all reality, your intelligence is the only thing that matters.

The other quote was, “If you’re not willing to stand up and defend what you have done, it’s probably not the right thing.” She told this story in relation to a time she cheated on a spelling test and decided to confess almost immediately, out of shame. I liked this one, because it’s relevant in many areas of life. When we ask ourselves why we do something, or why someone else does something, are we proud of our answer? It goes back to when her parents wanted her to have an argument to back up her opinion — she now asks this of everyone.

Now, Get Going!

In total, Chelsea Clinton talked about a lot in the one hour I got to listen to her. Her vivid stories and heart-wrenching statistics show us all how we can make a difference in the world, starting today. The final thought she left us with — and I would like to leave you with — was, “With a little information and help from adults, they [kids] can do a lot. We have to start the conversation with what they want to do. They want to make a difference, but we have to help empower them to make it.”

In my experience this statement is extraordinarily true. As part of the Noble Impact 201 class, I am encouraged to take the chances I, and my classmates, see where we can make a difference. We are empowered through a group of wonderful facilitators, who help connect us with the community in ways that would be unthinkable otherwise. I’m grateful to be learning now the ability my peers and I have to be radical, and it’s so wonderful to see it written in a book for others to find out, too.

LinkedIn For High School: A 16-Year-Old’s Thoughts On Professional Networking

LinkedIn For High School: A 16-Year-Old’s Thoughts On Professional Networking

Prior to this year, I had no idea what LinkedIn is or how it could benefit me. I’m sixteen, almost seventeen, and I have been in an entrepreneurial class called Noble Impact for the past two years. The class was introduced to us our 10th grade year. The class has taught me a lot about the way I present myself to people I would like to get potentially get to know better, both personally and professionally.

This year in our Noble 201 class, one our of assignments was to create an account on LinkedIn. When I downloaded the app and looked over it, I was very confused. It was not like Twitter or Instagram, apps which had included colorful pictures and funny updates I can “like” or “favorite.” The app mostly just had articles. It seemed pretty boring.

To set up an account, I had to input my name, job experience, and other details about myself, which I assumed LinkedIn would use to direct me to updates or posts that would interest me. After a couple of questions and clicks, it sent me to the homepage, at which point, I was still thinking it must be like Twitter, so I was looking for things that a teen would look for — something along the lines of my interests. Immediately I was bored, I didn’t like it. It wasn’t the fact that there was a lot reading — it was the fact that it didn’t hold my attention.

A couple of days passed, and we were asked to write a good summary that could show other people viewing our profile just how credible we are. I put my summary in and cleaned up my profile a little bit more and was surprised how easily connections were just coming back to me. All of a sudden, the app wasn’t boring anymore. I started to see the value of it. I was looking for jobs at the time, for example, and I would get on and search for the company I was interested in, and it would pop up with a description and sometimes an opening. We also learned in class that you can see how we’re connected to people who work at the organization on the company’s LinkedIn page.

I also got some help on how to clean up my profile from my Aunt Melba. She is a very high-profile woman and has many titles. I was at her house this summer, during which time she happened to be looking for a new job. She has so much experience and so many references that I was surprised she wasn’t getting called for new jobs by the second.

Beyond the basics of filling out my profile, Aunt Melba has also taught me about online safety. She called me recently to suggest that I remove my birthday (date and year) from my public profile, warning me that though LinkedIn is a professional site, there are still creepy people lurking around. She was basically saying that I’m in this for my professional development, not for strangers to know my whole life story.

As of now, I still use the app, and I constantly get on to check for interesting articles and people I can connect with. The app isn’t boring; I was just taken aback at first, because I didn’t know what to do with it. But now I realize I can use LinkedIn for high school growth.

I’ve learned so much just with this app alone. It taught me how other people look at me and how I want other people to look at me. Also, it is not like Twitter. The concept of Twitter is to connect and engage with other people however that may be. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is for professional use only. It is for getting connected with people in the same area as you, who may share similar career goals or interests.

So, while it can be difficult to get used to for first-timers, LinkedIn is not boring.

Header image courtesy of LinkedIn

What Are The Requirements For Success?

What Are The Requirements For Success?

Most of the guest speakers for Noble 201 agree about the importance of being passionate about what you’re doing, but they all have different requirements for what it means to be successful. Some speakers say that “education isn’t the (sole) way to start a business,” (Jordan Carlisle, co-founder of Strengthen app), while others, like Propak founder and Nobel Impact chairman Steve Clark, stress that experience got them where they are today.

Below is a look at what I’ve gleaned from Noble 201’s guest speakers and their philosophies on success. In short, having experience, a problem, and passion seem to be the basis for forging a pass towards success.

Experience Is Key

Steve Clark speaks with Noble Impact scholars
Steve Clark speaks at the Arkansas Fellowship speakers series, which Noble Impact scholars attended.
While all of the speakers fully encourage going to college and talk about how it can be beneficial in a person’s life, they emphasize that college is not necessary to success. Jordan Carlisle and photographer John David Pittman are two examples of speakers who went to college, got degrees in a certain area, and went on to have successful careers in completely different fields.

When serial entrepreneur and Arkansan Steve Clark says that he became successful because of his experience, he isn’t necessarily talking about going to college and getting a degree just to get a degree. The meaning I extracted from Steve Clark’s Q&A at the Arkansas Fellowship speakers series event, which Noble Impact students had the opportunity to attend, was that you need to have education, or experience, in what you are doing. That doesn’t necessarily mean college.

Solve A Problem

Although there are disagreements on other “requirements” for success, every guest speaker agrees, finding a problem is key to being successful. You can’t think of a solution to address a problem if you don’t identify the problem. Additionally, Steve Clark brought up the point of having the mindset of solving for “x,” and to “see a problem, fix a problem.”

Jeston George Apptegy visit
Noble Impact 201 students visit local tech startup, Apptegy.
Human-Centered Design, an approach taken by design firm IDEO, adds to this thought — it’s a concept we are highlighting this year in Noble. You have to identify a problem and form the solution based on what the community around you desires. This is extremely important in being successful, because if you create a solution, but no one finds it desirable, you won’t find success. In fact, CB Insights says that the top reason startups fail (42% of the startups they analyzed) is because there is “No Market Need.”

However, Jeston George made the point that sometimes people don’t know what they want. His business, Apptegy, which the Noble 201 scholars visited, helps schools update all of their social media platforms at once in an effort to keep everyone up to date. His original idea was to create an app for schools to communicate with parents, however, no school wanted “another thing to update,” so George created a solution that schools didn’t know they wanted.

Passion Or Pass

Anita Roddick The Body Shop
Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop.
Another debatable “requirement” for being successful is passion. Almost all of the speakers have become successful in something they are passionate about. Personally, I agree with Anita Roddick, who wasn’t a guest speaker, but who is a very successful businesswoman and founder of The Body Shop, who says: “To succeed, you have to believe in something with such a passion that it becomes a reality.”

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines success as “the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame; the correct or desired result of an attempt; someone or something that is successful, a person or thing that succeeds.”

Despite being different than the set definition of success, I think Steve Clark says it best: “Success is being able to do what I want, when I want, with who I want.”

Success is what you make it, so make it good.

How The Startup Community Enhances The Noble Impact Experience

How The Startup Community Enhances The Noble Impact Experience

For some students, the search for apprenticeships through the Noble 301 program (a part of the Noble Impact organization) has not yet turned up concrete opportunities; nonetheless, we have all learned many valuable skills. In class, my peers and I have built personal pitch decks, learned the ins and outs of networking, and met with the founders of several local startups to learn more about that portion of the local entrepreneurial community.

In the process of reaching out for opportunities, one is frequently faced with the request, “tell me a little bit about yourself.” Often times, this is met with jumbled, unorganized, and drawn-out responses that may or may not reflect one’s best and most redeeming qualities. In class, these Noble Impactivists were required to build a 60-second pitch deck that briefly but effectively conveys who they are, what they are passionate about, and what their value to a potential partner company is. At the end of this process, many students pitched themselves to Graham Cobb, Chief Operating Officer of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, who was able to introduce some to possible apprenticeship matches. Through the process of focusing their own ambitions, these students learned more about themselves as individuals and as a classroom-based community.

The students who already knew Chad Williamson, the eStem High School Noble 301 facilitator, know that networking is what he cites as the best way to build one’s resources for personal benefit and to gain future opportunities. The members of the Noble 301 class were all required to build LinkedIn profiles, create bio pages, and add their profile to a comprehensive Noble ‘class showcase’ sheet. Chad is hoping that these resources can be used by students and Noble Impact to effectively reach out to others in the community in order to obtain more unique and personable opportunities. In addition, these bio pages and LinkedIn accounts are tools that students can use for professional networking through college and the rest of their careers.

What the Noble 301 class seems most enthusiastic about is being able to meet and collaborate with startup founders in the local community – but maybe that’s just because it sometimes involves things like taking a trip to a corner office on the 31st floor of Simmons Tower (as was the case with meeting the kind folks from Apptegy). The class has had guest speakers at the Venture Center that include David Allan from Apptegy; Wayne Bashay, founder of Bodies by Bashay; Big Piph, local musician and producer; and Jordan Carlisle, creator of the Strengthen app. The best of these speakers had impactful stories to tell, filled with fistfulls of life lessons (and apprenticeship offers for the ever-so-eager pupils).

A majority of these high schoolers were already familiar with the concept of startup companies; some of us have even founded our own companies over the years. Already, this has lead to increasingly ironic situations involving innovative startup owners explaining the concepts of “traditional businesses” and “office jobs” to these aspiring young students. But this irony is not to be made fun of.

These students are a part of a generation unlike any other; they have access to an unprecedented number of resources and opportunities for self-development. Nowadays, business isn’t something just for those who read Fortune

Noble Impact Scholars Visit Tech Startup Apptegy

Noble Impact Scholars Visit Tech Startup Apptegy

Noble Impact scholars at eStem High School had the opportunity to visit Apptegy, a Little Rock-based education communications startup, yesterday, in order to learn about how the company has evolved during the last few months and gain advice on the world of entrepreneurship.

Noble Impact Visits ApptegyDirector of Marketing David Allan and founder Jeston George gave great advice about staying focused on and aiming towards the problem. Jeston shared a great story about the problem he had with his nephew’s school communication. It was a wonderful example of how he saw a major problem within local schools that he realized he could change.

“Stay focused on the problem,” Jeston explained. He was really emphasizing that the problem was the most important element to remember when figuring out the best solution. Apptegy was able to become successful due to its focus on the actual problem and not getting distracted by outside noise.

David and Jeston also really stressed the importance of doing deep research. Jeston talked about how he went to several schools, asking for feedback about his idea. It’s important to know if the community has a real desire for the product, he says.

Overall, this was a great way for the Noble scholars to have the opportunity to gain advice and see the perspective of a true entrepreneur.

Header image courtesy of Jonathan Jones, following image courtesy of Madi Grace Carter

How My Digital Portfolio Enabled Me To Connect With My Favorite Filmmaker

How My Digital Portfolio Enabled Me To Connect With My Favorite Filmmaker

During the spring of 2015, my Noble Impact 101 class empowered me and my classmates to each create a digital portfolio.

The portfolio was a platform Noble gave us to help share our passions, stories, values, and projects. We used the Weebly student blog platform to portray our websites. The purpose of the digital portfolio was to show my accomplishments and what I can offer. So, if a business person wanted to network with me, for example, I’d be prepared. You can check out my portfolio here.


A film I created with my sister to showcase my digital portfolio experience

I personally enjoyed the opportunity to create a personal website. It was an opportunity to share my story and achievements on something not connected to a social media platform. Check out the video I created above that describes my experience!

I have a strong passion for film and it was all sparked by a New York-based filmmaker Casey Neistat. He portrays strong stories in his short movies — I look up to him as a role model. Being exposed to his work has enabled me to find my own sense of film and style. Casey is also a successful businessman through creating his own social media platform, Beme. Therefore, I thought of no one better to send my digital portfolio out to other than the famous Casey Neistat.

Bethanie Gourley Digital Portfolio

The homepage of my digital portfolio, which features one of my illustrations and a Casey Neistat quote

Through Casey’s personal website, I sent him a short email sharing my digital portfolio. The key quotes used in my portfolio were all from Casey, and I was excited to finally share what I had made with the man who stated those quotes.

Exactly an hour and two minutes later, Casey emailed me back saying, “Good Job, Bethanie.” Through Twitter, I had tweeted him many times in the past, but this time, he actually read what I had to say through my digital portfolio. The fact that Casey complimented my work showed me I had potential, even though I was just a sophomore in high school.

“You have never made it, with each success must come a never and more invictus goal.”
—Casey Neistat

My digital portfolio helped me connect with my favorite filmmaker and helped me grow my potential. I am very thankful for joining Noble Impact and using what they have taught me to further my goals as a filmmaker.

Header image of Casey Neistat courtesy of Resource Magazine

A 16-Year-Old’s Thoughts On Entrepreneurship

A 16-Year-Old’s Thoughts On Entrepreneurship

Noble 201 and 301 students attended the Arkansas Fellowship speakers series this week with serial entrepreneur and investor Steve Clark. Steve is an Arkansas entrepreneur who made himself through his opportunities and determination; he also happens to be the chairman of Noble Impact.

Noble Impact allows young minds to expand their entrepreneurial experiences, and what better way to be doing this than listening to the founder of Noble Impact himself, Steve Clark?

Below are three very moving quotes for any entrepreneur that Steve relayed during his talk. As a student, these quotes help me, and other Noble scholars, understand what this world of entrepreneurship is all about.

“Entrepreneurship is like living in a jungle, and you have to be aware of the chance you have to make something and take it.”

Steve Clark and Kyla WebbTo me, this quote means a lot as a learner and expander within my own world of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is, in fact, like living in a jungle. It gets crazy sometimes and you have to step back and take it all in. But as the head of the food chain within this hectic ecosystem, you, as the lion, have to take advantage of the kingdom and work within it. YOU have to take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you, whether you take the chance or not. Not every opportunity given to you will be worth your time. It is up to you to figure out the pros and cons of the situation. Take the opportunities that will give you experience and that will move your knowledge along further.


“I wasn’t learning a new song, I already knew all the words.”

Steve Clark Speaks With Noble Impact ScholarsYou have to bring forth your previous knowledge. Point blank, end of discussion. Always attach to the things you learn; this instinct will always help you in the long run. You won’t have to waste your time each time you do something if you can have the knowledge already at your hands. Training is something that you can do within jobs, you can take the things that you learned and apply them to your profession. Having and gaining experience comes with time and lots of patience with yourself. Companies do not want to invest in something or someone who doesn’t know what they are doing, so start off slow. Get a job within the field that you want to be working towards. Then use all the experience and knowledge that you gain from that experience and bring it to new opportunities. Know what you are talking about!!!


“Change occurs no matter what… It’s the velocity of change you have to pay attention to.”

Noble Impact Scholars with Steve ClarkEverything changes, but being where we are today, things are going to change a lot faster than they did when my parents were my age. Being aware to the relevance of time is a skill that you have to incorporate into your entrepreneurial life. Wasting time isn’t an option when you are working to make things better. Be productive in the way you adjust to changes within the world, yourself, and your entrepreneurial life. This is an amazing quote, probably the best one, because it is vital to everyone. Getting left behind on the social realm of entrepreneurship isn’t a good thing by any means. People’s needs and wants change just as much as technology. Know what your customers, or the people you go after, want. Within your own company or business things change, too. Adjustment and flexibility are necessary in order to become a successful entrepreneur.