A City of Inspiration — NYC Site Visit Trip

–Sky King

Over the course of my life New York City has played many roles. It was, at a time, my first taste of freedom, the place where I had my first real job experience, and even a place that I called home. Despite the many hats this city has worn in my life, the one flame that has endured through my many experiences is just how inspiring this place is. I have always felt that man was meant to move mountains. I am not a very religious person and have instead decided to put my faith in the human race. Now I have always known that this is what New York City meant to me, but it took the comment of one of my close friends for me to realize that, it has and always will, mean the same to every dreamer that moves into the “Big Apple.”

While meeting with Ian Campbell a 2001 Wabash College grad, Tyler Griffin said the reason he came on this networking trip, was because he felt like he was in a slump in his life and he needed a bump of inspiration. When he said this it just hit me. Tyler, myself and the millions of immigrants who have migrated to New York City since its creation have done so in search of one thing, inspiration.

Now, neither Tyler nor I needed the Statue of Liberty to guide us, but we each had our own flame lighting the way. At the end of this first day I can already feel the passion and drive to enter back into my system. Having the opportunity to meet with Jay Allen a 1971 graduate and trustee of Wabash College, and see the view of the world from the eyes of one of the biggest corporations in America, was exactly the spark I needed to rekindle the deep burn that has kept me motivated through the ups and downs in my life. After leaving Bank of America we headed to Wasabi Rabbit, a digital marketing firm, where we met with Tim Lyons a 1991 graduate of Wabash College. Wasabi Rabbit was a perfect balance to Bank of America, it was as if on one side, I had my dreams, aspirations, and drive and on the other a portal to the present. Reminding me of what I can accomplish and enjoy right now.

If these two great site visits weren’t enough to reiterate the importance of following your dreams, we ended the night on Broadway, to watch Rock of Ages. Which, for those of you who have never seen it, is the story of two dreamers who found themselves teetering on the edge of losing their dream and in doing so losing themselves..

I couldn’t have written a more poetic ending to correlate so well to the motif of the day and New York City in general. Through all the great contacts I am making and the great knowledge and advice I have received, the beauty of New York City weather, on the stages of Broadway, or the wealth of Wall Street, New York City will forever serve as hope to the hopeless, inspiration to the uninspired, and the place where dreams come true to the dreamers.


More than introductions: NYC Site Visits Day One

Thirteen Wabash students and the Schroeder Center team (Scott and I) got to the heart of our trip today with a solid line-up of site visits. Led by alumni and friendly contacts at diverse organizations, we all got more than just a superficial peak into the organizations.

Jay Allen ’79 and two of his analysts introduced our guys to Bank of America. They were very candid about challenge of banking, especially coming out of the gate in entry-level positions. But they also showed off the opportunities that accrue to those with the intelligence and work ethic to see it through. Several of our guys are looking in this direction.

Tim Lyons ’91 showed off Wasabi Rabbit, a digital marketing agency. Tim helped us understand the distinction between the traditional ad agency and this recent model. Wasabi Rabbit has a strength in social media and web-driven campaigns, and drew out some great questions from our guys. …And how about the chalkboard paint all over the place? Great visuals here.

Then on to Mission Athlete Care. They promoted their innovative business model leveraging professional athletes as business partners to solve the problems faced by athletes. Then some spontaneous fun: we got a demo of a towel that drops 30 degrees after soaking it in water, and stays that way…really quite amazing. Find the “Mission” products on your next trip to Dick’s Sporting Goods. And if you have the next great sports invention, let us get you in touch with them!

Following a sports trend, we headed next to Major League Soccer, hosted by Ian Campbell ’01. After studying Classics and playing soccer at Wabash, Ian returned to his passion for sports in the grand sense (think Greek Olympics) a few years ago. He told our guys about the vision for MLS in the future and how to get started in the industry. And be looking out for MLS more and more in the future–soccer has a huge and growing interest among young athletes.

Thanks to all our hosts today! We’re off to Rock of Ages tonight and more visits tomorrow. Keep up with us in real time on Twitter: #WabashNYC.

–James Jeffries