This article originally appeared on Nielsen.com.
Imagine learning the correct way to give handshakes and make eye contact with corporate leaders and having the opportunity to tour the latest technology in market research—all while in middle school. A few lucky students from Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta recently experienced these crucial lessons thanks to our Sustaining Active Black Leadership and Empowerment (SABLE) employee resource group.
Members of Nielsen’s African-American affinity group hosted eight students at our Tech Hub in New York for the second round of the school’s “The Amazing Shake” competition. The competition tests students on professional interaction skills like strong handshakes and eye contact when greeting others. At the Nielsen Tech Hub, New York-based company executives—Linda Dupree, SVP, Client Solutions; Don Lowery, SVP, Community Engagements and SABLE Executive Sponsor; Diana Lucas, SVP, Client Solutions; and Colleen White, SVP, Client Solutions—gave students a high-level overview of Nielsen’s business. After hearing the overview, students were asked to take on the role of Nielsen associates advising their clients. After giving the students some abbreviated data and strategy options, our senior leaders helped them design fictional media plans to reach consumers. The competition tested students’ ability to think through options and potential outcomes and present their solutions to corporate leaders.
“An essential pillar of our mission at SABLE is to strengthen the bond between Nielsen and the African-American community,” said Jordan Robinson, Manager, Client Solutions, SABLE member and organizer of the competition. “These boys and girls are our future business and community leaders. Our relationship with the Ron Clark Academy allows us to interact with talented, inspiring students and help them sharpen their personal and professional skills.”
The students’ visit to the Nielsen Tech Hub was the second round in the school’s “The Amazing Shake” competition, which began on-site in Atlanta. The annual competition is a culmination of the school’s curricular emphasis on personal and professional skills development. Students put lessons about human interaction and professional etiquette to use in various challenges. The competition will conclude in Atlanta from Feb. 9, 2018, through Feb. 11, 2018.
Our philanthropic relationship with the Ron Clark Academy is not limited to mentoring opportunities such as this competition. Over the past two years, we’ve hosted landmark employee forums for our African-American and Hispanic associates, and at each event, the Nielsen Foundation has awarded scholarships to Ron Clark Academy students. We believe empowering students today will strengthen the communities where we live and work.
“As Nielsen ponders the best way forward in a multicultural future, it’s vital that we connect with the members of younger generations that will, in short order, be the decision-makers for us and for our clients,” said Don Lowery. “After having the privilege of hosting the students of the Ron Clark Academy, it’s clear that our future leaders are equipped with the skills to create a prosperous future for the businesses they will lead and communities where they will live.”