Digital Portfolios: How One High School Filmmaker Showcases Who She Is

Digital Portfolios: How One High School Filmmaker Showcases Who She Is

High school junior Bethanie Gourley is one of the hundreds of Noble Impact scholars who have created a digital portfolio in our program. As a filmmaker, she uses her portfolio to showcase her work and build her professional network and budding career in videography. Let me emphasize: She is in high school, and she is actively pursuing a career in film, with her digital portfolio as evidence of her artistic acumen. We believe this is what high school should be about for everyone: Students pursuing their passions within an educational experience and support system that’s both relevant and purposeful. That’s what we provide at Noble Impact, and for many of our scholars, the digital portfolio guides our unique learning process.

Bethanie says her portfolio is a representation of her personal story and what she has accomplished — she’s even used her digital portfolio to connect with her favorite filmmaker, New York-based videographer Casey Neistat. In short, it represents WHO she is, WHAT she’s done, and WHY.

Who You Are Is Your Biggest Asset

The Golden Circle Simon Sinek

Millions of people have viewed management consultant Simon Sinek’s TED Talk about how great leaders and companies inspire action. He calls it the “Golden Circle” and defines it as the world’s simplest idea — his focus is on “WHY” people and companies do what they do.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it.”
Simon Sinek, Speaker and Consultant

It’s understandable “why” people are attracted to his TED Talk and “why” over 27 million people have viewed it. I myself have shown it in many different scenarios. I’ve been thinking, though: Is it really the progression of why, how, what? It made me think about who I am and how that connects to why I do what I do. BOOM. WHO!

“I am Bethanie Gourley, and I’m a filmmaker.”
Bethanie Gourley, 11th-Grade Noble Scholar

In my first year of facilitating our Noble Impact classroom curriculum, I focused on “WHO” students were and challenged them to get beneath the surface… a lot harder than I thought. Three years later, I’m still convinced that “WHO” you are is greater than “WHY” you do what you do. It’s your unique value proposition. Thus, we have a revised quote and model for Simon Sinek:

“People don’t buy what you do… they buy WHO you are.”
Chad Williamson, Noble Impact


Ask the brilliant people at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz how they invest. More specifically, ask Tristan Walker how he created Walker and Company Brands — we use his case study in our curriculum to emphasize the power of using authentic and personal stories.

If we really want to be honest about the world’s simplest idea, it’s about WHO you are. It’s about creating a life that connects to individual narrative. That’s where “meaning” manifests itself. The Walker and Company story doesn’t exist without Tristan’s story about not having a father to teach him how to shave. It’s not a fun story, no, but it’s personal, memorable, and impactful. Yes, the Walker and Company website gives you the language about “WHY”, i.e. purpose. But once you click on the video, it goes deeper and provides the “WHO”, which is the signature story.

We begin our curriculum by challenging students to identify their stories by building their personal portfolios, and Bethanie has provided a great example. We believe this approach will lead to uncovering the entrepreneur within.

Meet Our Noble 201 Scholars!

Meet Our Noble 201 Scholars!

This post is part of our Showcase Series, in which we introduce each cohort within our Noble Impact courses. In this post, you’ll learn about each scholar in a given cohort and his or her interests, passions, and ambitions, all while getting an overview of the group’s classroom experience.

Noble Impact 201 with Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key
Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key visits Noble 201.
It’s about time you meet our latest cohort of Noble 201 scholars! For the first time, we’ve pulled together a comprehensive list of our scholars and their interests, passions, and ambitions and are excited to share them with you! (Hat tip to the Clinton School of Public Service, which publishes an annual list of its students, for the inspiration!)

Noble 201 is the progression in Noble Impact curriculum that is offered to juniors at eStem High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. It is an application-only offering, and 28 students were selected this school year. Throughout the first semester, students attended class at The Venture Center and were exposed to a multitude of experiences, including guest speakers — such as philanthropist Chelsea Clinton, local entrepreneur Shiem Swift, and producer Ted Dintersmith — and visits to different businesses in the downtown area, including software development firm Apptegy.

The 2015-2016 year-long course of study began with students completing a personal inventory of their digital presence and challenged them to create new individual assets, including a professional LinkedIn profile. This process required them to think deeply about how they are perceived by the outside world based on their zero moment of truth (ZMOT), a term coined by Google. To close out the first semester this month, students shared their individual narratives through a startup-style pitch and pitch deck that further communicates who they are and what they value.

It’s been about a year and a half since we first welcomed these students as 10th graders through our initial high school offering, which is Noble 101. Since that time, we’ve had the opportunity to watch them grow through the different challenges we present to them. We believe these challenges are a healthy educational progression that results in building 21st century skillsets and mindsets. We’re excited to bear witness to their continual growth and equally excited to introduce you to them through this post. And if you don’t get enough here, follow their work through the #Noble201 hashtag on Twitter, where students are continually sharing what’s going on in the classroom and beyond through their projects and experiences!

Without further ado, meet our Noble 201 scholars!

Sophie AllwineSophie Allwine attends eStem High School in the 11th grade. She is currently participating in a Public Service/Entrepreneurship course called Noble Impact. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, bike riding, traveling, and spending time with her dog, Nala. Her aspirations include fulfilling a legacy at Ohio State University.

Interests: Environment/Outdoors, Aquarium, Business, Travel
Aspirations: Attending Ohio State University
Connect: LinkedIn / Twitter / Instagram


Austin AshleyAustin Ashley is currently a Junior at eStem High School. This summer, Austin interned at JoyNet Radio, which is a internet radio station. There, he learned communications and soundboard engineering. He has also appeared on various episodes of Teen Talk, a segment of Time to Consider with Melvin Moss.

Interests: Entertainment, Mass Communications, Music
Aspirations: To make a living off of doing what I love most, entertaining others
Connect: LinkedIn / Twitter / Portfolio


Madi Grace CarterMadi Grace Carter began and continues her life in Little Rock, Arkansas. For a unique educational experience, she became a Noble 201 scholar. She has immense appreciation of various cultures. Additionally, her 13-year passion for soccer has taught her teamwork, responsibility, and humility. She hopes make the opportunity to travel and experience the world in her near future.

Interests: Traveling, Writing, Soccer, Photography, Education
Aspirations: Major in Sociocultural Anthropology with a minor in Religious Studies
Connect: LinkedIn / Twitter / Instagram


Katie ClevengerKatie Clevenger began dancing at the age of two, and developed a passion for ballet. Now she is a company member at Arkansas Academy of Dance,and a member of the Ballet Arkansas Preparatory Program. She is a Noble 201 scholar, and a junior at eStem High. Katie wants to major in Performing Arts and Nutrition, with a minor in Business. She wants to attend Indiana University, but is considering many other colleges.

Interests: Dance, Exploring, Cosmetology
Aspirations: Join a professional ballet company
Connect: LinkedIn / Twitter / Instagram


Jennifer DavisJennifer Davis will have reached success when she is able to travel the world, help developing countries, and learn different recipes as a muse for her love of cooking. Currently, she attends eStem High School where she is a part of the Noble 201 crew. She is also a member of Arkansas Commitment, LR Mayor’s Youth Council, and Big Role Models. Jennifer is known mostly for her love for food and sweet tea.

Interests: Cooking, Diversity, Event Planning, Volunteering
Aspirations: Study Abroad, Public Relations, Business
Connect: LinkedIn / Twitter / Portfolio


Emily DoyneEmily Doyne was apart of the first official Noble class at eStem Public High School, and is currently a Noble 201 student. She was apart of an organization, Innovate 2 educate, in 2014 held at the clinton school. Now in 11th grade, she enjoys helping children, which inspired her to become a children’s lawyer. At this time Emily’s involved in Beta Club, National Honors Society, and Diversity Club.

Interests: Movies, Design, Camping, Skiing
Aspiration: To attend college in Houston, Texas
Connect: LinkedIn / Email


Madison DukeMadison Duke is currently a junior at eStem High Public Charter school where she is also a Noble 201 scholar. She is one of three 11th grade representatives in student council. Being a representative means that Madison plans to communicate all information effectively, be a voice and also create a fun and unforgettable experience for her peers. Her passion is music and the performing arts. She plans to attend the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

Interests: Theater, vocal music, poetry, eating and many more.
Aspirations: Complete college, travel the world and achieve all my goals
Connect: LinkedIn / Twitter / Portfolio / Instagram


Bethanie GourleyBethanie Gourley attends eStem High School in the 11th grade and is a Noble Impact 201 student. She has a strong passion for connecting storytelling through her hobby in film. Film has intrigued Bethanie throughout her life and has been a platform where she can express her creativity. Bethanie is also interested in playing competitive soccer for her high school and Arkansas United.

Interests: Film, Soccer, Blogging, Biking
Aspirations: Attend Hendrix College
Connect: LinkedIn / Twitter / Portfolio / YouTube


Cole GwatneyCole Gwatney is an ambitious, intelligent Junior at eSTEM Public Charter High School. With his main values being creativity and open-mindedness, Cole stresses being yourself and is very passionate about putting your ideas out there and sharing your ideas with others in order to connect with people and create relationships based off of common passions or ideas.

Interests: Engineering, sports, photography, politics, hunting, education, cars, hunting, fishing
Aspirations: Major in mechanical or chemical engineering at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, while minoring in business
Connect: Twitter | LinkedIn


Grace HeflinGrace Heflin is a current Noble 201 scholar and a junior at eStem High School. She is a part of the founding team of Steering Arkansas formed during the first i2e event. In her spare time, Grace enjoys dancing and spending time with her friends and family.

Interests: Design, Art, Dance, Technology
Aspirations: To graduate college and own a graphic or interior design firm.
Connect: LinkedIn / Twitter / Portfolio / Instagram


Jonathan JonesJonathan Jones is a Noble 201 Scholar at eStem High School in 11th grade. He hopes to become a cook and possibly a writer. He is a co-creator of a podcast directed at teenagers, The Shoe Crew, which he makes with his friends Julian Kresse, Bethanie Gourley, Sophie Bryant, and Anna McCrieght on SoundCloud.

Interests: Cooking, writing, ministry
Aspirations: Learn how to fly a plane
Connect: LinkedIn / Twitter / Instagram


Amanpreet KaurAmanpreet Kaur is a Junior student at eStem High School. She is currently participating in an entrepreneurship class, Noble 201. Amanpreet is really passionate about traveling and capturing wonderful shots during her travels. She is also interested in medicine and enjoys helping people. She plans to attend University of Arkansas to major in biology with a minor in business.

Interests: Photography, Travel, Medicine
Aspirations: Graduate college and attend Medical School.
Connect: LinkedIn / Twitter / Email / Portfolio


Haley KirkHaley Kirk is an adventurous young women who would love to be Physical Therapist. She comes from a small town where not many people in her family have been successful but she would like to break that cycle.She would like to attend ASU and really wants to make a difference.

Interests: Running, tennis, the beach, taking care of kids, and helping
Aspirations: To make an impact on someone’s life
Connect: LinkedIn / Instagram / Google


Michael KozakMichael Kozak is a junior at eStem High School and was a part of the first official Noble 201 class. His group “Student Teachers of Tomorrow” was a part of the 2014 Innovate 2 Educate and has done a brand breakdown project of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce. His passions include Video Editing/Recording and Business. He is hoping to pursue a degree in Business Management and Video Design at the University of Arkansas.

Interests: Video Editing, Business Management
Aspirations: Earn a degree in Business Management and gain further Video Editing experience
Connect: Instagram / Twitter / LinkedIn


Greta KresseGreta Kresse is a 16 year old Junior at eStem High School. She is a founder of Steering Arkansas which is a program started through Noble Impact, that is trying to get drivers education into schools. She is also very passionate about fitness, and does kickboxing and backpacks in her free time. In addition to this she paints and is very involved in the art community.

Interests: Backpacking, Kickboxing, Painting, Cosmetology, Business
Aspirations: To attend the Chicago institute of Art and travel the world
Connect: LinkedIn / Twitter / Instagram / Portfolio


Julian KresseJulian Kresse is a 16-year-old blacksmith and woodworker. He likes to hike and be in nature. When Julian graduates, he aspires to be a knifemaker and craftsman. Julian hopes to produce things to the highest quality he can.

Interests: Karate, Hiking, Drawing, and Knifemaking
Aspiration: To own my own shop and to hike the Appalachian Trail
Connect: LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram


Audra MaxwellAudra Maxwell is currently a junior at eStem High School and participating in the Noble 201 class. Her passion is volleyball, which she has played for 5 years. Since her school doesn’t have a volleyball team, she plays under the organization called Junior Olympics. Under that organization, she plays for a league called Little Rock Juniors. She is hoping to get a volleyball scholarship out of state. She wants to either major in Nursing or Business.

Interests: Volleyball and Traveling
Aspirations: Attend college out of state on a volleyball scholarship
Connect: Linkedln / Twitter / Portfolio / Instagram / Email


Jones McConnellJones McConnell aspires to become a youth pastor because, he wants to show the world how God’s grace exists in him. He is a junior at eStem High, as a noble 201 student, and interested in pursuing a degree in youth ministry. He participates in programs at Fellowship Bible Church called, “Riptide and 56″, as an action leader and a group leader. He has participated in the first High School Startup Weekend with a team called, ” Polish-to-Go “, which took third place.

Interests: Hiking, walking, running, anything related to being outside
Aspirations: To attend a college in Fayetteville, Arkansas
Connect: Twitter / Instagram / Facebook / LinkedIn


Chyna NicholsChyna Nichols is sixteen year old girl who attends eStem High School. She loves shopping and dressing up to create different styles and trends. She wants to pursue her dreams of fashion in college and major in Fashion Design with a minor of Business and Communications. She enjoys having a good time, hanging with her friends and family.

Interests: Softball, Singing, Debating and Traveling
Aspirations: Attending Hampton University or Baylor University and achieving all of her goals
Connect: LinkedIn / Instagram


Nate ReevesNate Reeves is a sixteen year old “Freelance” developer / graphic designer, having two years of experience in the development field. Currently co-owner/developer of abM Gaming. Strongest languages include Javascript, LUA, Python, and Ruby. His graphic design experience comes from Osu, a European created spin off of Osu! Tatakae! Ouenan. His inspiration for programming comes from Aaron Swartz, co-creator of reddit and the RSS.

Interests: Programming, Graphic Design, Networking,
Aspirations: To learn at least, another 15 programming languages.
Connect: Twitter / Google+ / Steam


Haley SpicerHaley Spicer was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas on April 7,1999. She currently attends eStem Public Charter High School and is a Junior and a Noble 201 student. She is involved in various clubs such as FBLA, Students for Christ,
and Beta Club. She is passionate about Flying and wants pursue her dream of becoming a pilot.

Interests: Basketball, Softball, Science
Aspiration: Attend Louisiana State University
Connect: Linkedin / Twitter / Instagram / Email / Portfolio


Breanna TylerBreanna Tyler is a Noble 201 Scholar at eStem High School. She enjoys taking pictures and painting anything that catches her interest. Breanna enjoys watching and learning new things about things of the past in her free time. She aspires to go to The Art Institutes in San Francisco and major in Fine Arts.

Interests: Photography, Art, Archeology
Aspirations: Attend The Art Institute in San Francisco.
Connect: Twitter / LinkedIn / Instagram / Portfolio


Kyla WebbKyla Webb is a Noble 201 Scholar at eStem High School. She enjoys taking pictures and editing them to create her unique style of photography. She wants to major in political science and get her law degree. She enjoys doing her research on the politicians running for presidency in 2016… #VOTE4BERNIESANDERS

Interests: Photography, Politics, Entrepreneurship, Law, and Blogging
Aspirations: Attend Harvard University or Columbia University
Connect: LinkedIn / Twitter / Instagram / Portfolio


Angel WilliamsAngel Williams is currently a junior at eStem Public Charter High. This is her second year as a student in the Noble Impact course. She is passionate in cheerleading and psychology. She currently a member of diversity club and the varsity cheer squad for 3 years now. Angel is known for giving advice and cheerleading.

Interests: Public Speaking, Psychology, Cheerleading, and Track
Aspirations: Psychologist and Counselor
Connect: Twitter / Instagram / Email


Kennedy YancyKennedy Yancy is a dedicated young woman who someday wants to pursue her dream of becoming a lawyer and minoring in business. She is currently president of FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) , a member of young ladies club, eStem students for Christ, Arkansas commitment, Mayor’s Youth Council, and is a Noble impact 201 student. She enjoys majorette dancing, and playing softball.

Interests: Majorette dancing, softball, law
Aspirations: Attend Yale University or Howard university then become a lawyer.
Connect: Email / Instagram / LinkedIn / Portfolio


Stasha YancyStasha Yancy is aiming to become a OB/GYN after attending college at Spelman University in Atlanta, GA. She is currently a Junior at eStem High School and is also a Noble 201 student. She enjoys anything that implies creativity and loves to be herself.

Interests: Cosmetology, Fashion, Traveling, and learning about anything in the Medical fields.
Aspirations: attending college at Spelman University in Atlanta, GA, to become a OB/GYN.
Connect: Email / LinkedIn


We’re extremely excited about the work our #Noble201 scholars have already achieved and look forward to seeing what they bring to the world in the coming semester. To keep up with the class, check out the hashtag #Noble201 on Twitter or read more about their work on our blog.

Featured image courtesy of Noble Impact 201 scholar and blog contributor Kyla Webb

A Noble Scholar On ‘Ten Things I Know To Be True’

A Noble Scholar On ‘Ten Things I Know To Be True’

When tech giant Google was just a few years old, its team created a philosophical list called “Ten Things We Know To Be True” to represent the company’s major values. It persists even today and includes points such as: Focus on the user and all else will follow; fast is better than slow; and you can make money without doing evil.

Noble Impact, inspired by this, encouraged my Noble 201 class to acknowledge and write down our own philosophical ideas, or things we know to be true.

To help visualize my thoughts, I created my own short movie titled, “Ten Things I Know To Be True.”

The ten things I personally know to be true include:

  1. I love my home in the Natural State.
  2. Change is not a bad thing.
  3. Jean Michel Basquiat is the most interesting artist.
  4. Expanding to new people will only help your social experience.
  5. My little sister is my best friend.
  6. Soccer is the most universal sport in the world.
  7. Everyone has their own daily struggles that I am not aware of.
  8. Spending time in nature plays a major role in my happiness.
  9. Design and creativity affect my life everyday.
  10. Positivity will always over power negativity.

My reasoning behind these specific statements follows my personal values. Recognizing them helps me pay attention to my goals and being aware of my everyday actions.

What do you know to be true?

A Student’s Perspective On ‘Most Likely To Succeed’ Film

A Student’s Perspective On ‘Most Likely To Succeed’ Film

This week, I was inspired to take action to speak up about the changes needed in our education system, all based on one film and one individual dedicated to spreading its message.

Education reformer Ted Dintersmith visits the Noble Impact 201 class.
Education reformer Ted Dintersmith visits the Noble Impact 201 class.
On November 17th, an email arrived in my inbox from my Noble Impact facilitator, Chad Williamson, explaining an opportunity to meet with former venture capitalist and education reformer Ted Dintersmith in my Noble 201 class and see his movie called, “Most Likely To Succeed.” Also attached to the email was a Washington Post article about Ted, who is the film’s executive director, entitled, “Not Bill Gates: Meet Ted Dintersmith, An Education Philanthropist With A Different Agenda.”

When I read the article, it gave me a sense of joy and happiness. Someone was bold enough to take a stand and say, as Ted did, “The U.S. education system should be re-imagined into cross-disciplinary programs that allow kids the freedom to develop core competencies through cross-disciplinary, project-based learning.” Ted wants these changes to become a reality for all schools in America, and it needs to start with us, students.

Our education system has been on an assembly line policy since I’ve been around. In fact, our education system hasn’t changed since 1893, for approximately 122 years ago. It worked before — why change it now, right? Well, there are many reasons, actually, the first of which is that students aren’t engaged, aren’t excelling, and aren’t prepare for life after school.

“Most Likely To Succeed” Executive Producer Ted Dintersmith speaks to the Noble Impact 201 class.
Ted visited my Noble 201 class before the “Most Likely To Succeed” film screening in Little Rock. His talk inspired me to want to learn more about him, because I believed in him. He also believed in me and has high hopes for the future. Ted’s talk also inspired me to write a letter to give to my school’s principal, dean of students, and all of the high school teachers at eStem High School — where I am a student — about how we can help change the education system.

Ted covered many of the common problems that occur in most high schools: The excuses of teachers saying “we can’t [do X, Y, or Z], because we don’t have enough time to cover the whole book;” the common disconnect with students and their schools; the disconnect of parental involvement; and also the mismatch of student skills and the emerging jobs of the future.

After school and Ted’s visit, the only thing in mind was watching his movie and understanding more about his creative school policy. I even went an hour early just to see what was happening before the screening started.

What the movie can offer is extremely important because it covers a variety of problems we see in traditional schools and even in charter schools. It begins with the director’s kid who feels that school is a waste of time and that there is no purpose. The director noted that prior to making the film, he often stressed that his children get good grades, so that they can get into better colleges and eventually land better jobs.

A young Little Rock screening attendee asks the panel a question about the future of jobs.
A young Little Rock screening attendee asks the panel a question about the future of jobs.
That sentiment, in fact, is heard everywhere we go, and even my parents feel the same way. But it’s getting harder to find a job that is sustainable and enables a person to be self-sufficient. The early jobs that we get in college — like a cashier or a Walmart greeter — are disappearing. Furthermore, the jobs that we’ll end up getting 5-10 years from now aren’t yet created — basing our education on the jobs that currently exist, then, is a bad strategy, since many of those jobs are dying.

Taking risks is what this world may need. Being bold instead of safe is needed to see a better future, because what happens when students are presented with these new-economy jobs? Will we greet them with confidence, or will we shutter in fear, because we aren’t prepared? How will we respond?

As for me, what I took from the movie is that observing, reflecting, documenting, and displaying are key skills that schools should strive to teach kids. Kids who are eager to observe their surroundings; kids who can reflect on their projects, their roles, their plans for their teams; kids who share their experiences and believe that anyone can do what they do; and lastly kids who are excited to exhibit what they’ve done and say to anyone “Yes, I accomplished something and I’m proud of it” — those are the kids who will succeed.

Overall, this movie isn’t meant to just be put in libraries or on your movie shelf. This movie was meant for communities of people who are eager to change the way they see education today, to collaborate with each other and come up with a solution to bring back to their school and implement.

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.

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

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.