Christopher King: We Are Marcus
We Are Marcus is a character-development platform for middle school and high school boys of color through mentorship and peer-to-peer connections on a nation-wide level. It was founded by CEO Christopher King, a former schoolteacher from Brooklyn who wanted to pass on the gift of mentorship to young men like himself "My mentor and I had a conversation one day about how I would be the last one" said Christopher. "That was both inspiring and upsetting. I knew the conversations we had would never affect others, they would never have the advice I had been blessed with. I realized that didn't have to be the case." Christopher's inspiration led to the virtual mentorship platform that is We Are Marcus. What makes his company stand out is its ambitious reach towards affecting the entire country. "Students of color and mentors of color are banding together in a way that hasn't previously been seen" said Christopher.
The platform is about connecting students from different cities, something previous organizations have not achieved. With the online platform, mentors can upload lectures and advice that students listen to and discuss together afterwards. Mentors provide advice that they themselves might not have received in school. As members of the company have pointed out, not every school is equipped to deal with the problems that occur in a student's everyday life, especially the challenges and stigma that young black men face. The company has seen real progress with their students, some who have learned to communicate with adults and peers better by changing their behavior and becoming more responsible in the classroom.
Marcus hopes to expand his company even further, by reaching out to other organizations like Street Entrepreneurs. He's learned a lot about entrepreneurship and has much to offer in the workshops and talent exchanges. "Be a talent seeker. Find people who compliment you and take them on a journey with you." Marcus said. The best advice he had to offer aspiring entrepreneurs was to "Bet on yourself. If you wake up thinking you can't do something you're right. If you wake up thinking you can, you're absolutely right."