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Business whiz stokes future entrepreneurs at M-P academy
MARYSVILLE Talk about a sales job.
Future business leaders at Marysville-Pilchuck High School got an earful last week when Darmeny Jones visited one of the new smaller schools at the states largest high school.
Jones is the former president of the Future Business Leaders of America, and a motivational speaker who tries to get teens to think about how they are going to make a living someday, not just how they are going to make money. The difference is immense, he explained.
An insurance executive and television show producer, Jones said the key is to get students to align their interests with career and educational choices that will provide the most opportunities for employment and enjoyment.
How many of you realize there are business opportunities in everything you do? Jones asked an audience at the School for the Entrepreneur.
The 350-student academy is one of the Smaller Learning Communities at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, where teachers are trying to get students hooked on education by appealing to their interests. The SLC Jones was addressing is filled with budding business magnates and future captains of industry. Jones whetted their appetites by listing a series of successful global enterprises that started with just an idea and a little work. He noted examples like Myspace, an online social Web site that was recently bought by News Corporation for $629 million.
Jones said, $629 million for a random idea. Thats what I call bling. Thats the kind of money that I like talking about.
He noted one mother who liked to decorate her kids slippers with little tiny jewels. But they werent just any kind, they were Crocs, those plastic or rubber slip-ons that are ubiquitous these days. The mother found a way to get the tiny fake diamonds to stick to the Crocs and an executive signed her up to provide the jewels for other people. In that case it was a hobby that turned into a chance to make some dough, but Jones said that should get more people thinking about what they are capable of.
The average person doesnt stop to ask What is it that I do well? Jones lamented. All you have to do is have an idea; thats the essence of entrepreneurship.
Thats a lesson learned the sooner the better, because even teenagers can have an impact. Jones said he knew a couple of his fellow students at the University of Washington School of Business who made a couple million while still taking classes. He said he didnt learn that much in college, but he learned to toss ideas around, even sharing several potential scores with his young listeners.
But playing the part is something every entrepreneur needs to learn. He described his days in high school when he wore a suit to class about 60 percent of the time and carried a briefcase filled with Jolly Ranchers and a non-working cell phone.
Sometimes you have to look and be the part, Jones explained.
He demonstrated the art by displaying the name tag he wore on the game show The Price is Right. In the end he won the grand prize and was only $47 away from winning both showcases, but Jones said he has a plan from the start to get called on stage. A positive attitude, enthusiasm, what ever would help the producers generate ratings is what he would need to encompass.
I made myself what they were looking for, Jones said.
Students surrounded the insurance executive and television show producer after his talk in the M-PHS auditorium. They quizzed him on making contacts and generating ideas, or how to develop the ideas they were working on. Jason Blevins was one of them.
It really got me pumped up to go and start something, Blevins said.
Shanae Willett is a junior at the M-PHS academy who helped organize the Oct. 18 event. She wants to open a hair salon or clothing store someday, and the talk help get her thinking about the steps she needs to take, such as raising capital. Willett said she could see the wheels turning in the minds of her peers.
I think they understand what hes talking about, Willett said. He was very entertaining and he made a lot of sense.
Kris Mikesell is the marketing teacher for the SLC and she said her students organized the whole event, inviting business and government leaders from the greater community. They had the choice of developing a product idea or planning an event and they chose this.
Im hoping the kids can realize I can do something with my life, Mikesell said.