A Night Out with Sum and Substance

By Angela Bratt

group of students

On Thursday, January 25, a group of Colangelo Scholars, our business honors students, attended an upscale event downtown. The event was located at the Phoenix Children’s Museum and was hosted by Sum and Substance. The event officially started at 6:30 pm with time for mingling, networking and eating. At 7 pm the event started and proceeded until almost 9 pm. The event focused on six high achieving individuals in the Phoenix area who spoke to the audience about their journey to success and high achievement, but in a storytelling manner.

The first was current CEO and president of Seed Spot, Courtney Klein, who is an ASU grad who had a passion for helping others and providing an environment that allows innovation and an emphasis on the impact of individuals and how it forms into a collective culture. Her company’s mission is: “To educate, accelerate and invest in entrepreneurs who are creating solutions to social problems” (Seedspot.com). Each speaker ended their 10-minute story with a challenge to the audience. Courtney’s was to create a list of those who support you and those who you feel might judge you. She said throw the second away and leap for the stars with the support of those who matter most. She had a dream and chased after it, despite the attempts of someone who tried to discourage her from chasing after her dream. Now, she’s a young, successful and highly influential individual creating good for the long-term.

Next was CEO of the Phoenix Children’s Museum, Kate Wells. She shared her success story of starting the museum from a parking lot with hay bales to receiving a $10.5 million grant from the city to create it where it now stands. She challenged the audience to think of their “dragon” and told us to go and slay it, no matter what. She encouraged individuals to think of something so impossible and to chase after that dream, because anything was possible, just like her success story of desiring a museum but having nothing but a few hay bales.

Third, was Daniel Openden who currently serves as president and CEO of Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC). He spoke of his journey into his current profession and his strong desire to teach and how that passion has enabled him to impact thousands upon thousands of lives. His research and methods have changed lives of many individuals who live with autism. His passion for his work was extremely evident and his drive to help others was clearly displayed. He challenged individuals to teach and impact others and to chase after something that truly matters.

Fourth, was speaker Brian Mohr who is the cofounder and managing partner of Y Scouts. He shared his journey through various careers and how one day he came to the realization that we are always being asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” However, after he told his story and why he started his current company, he ended by saying we should be asking ourselves, “What do we want to be a part of?” By asking ourselves this, we become engrossed in something that is bigger than ourselves. Rather, we then expand our horizons and think about the more meaningful and profound impact and movement that we can be a part of.

After that, we heard from Oye Waddell who is the executive director of Hustle PHX. Oye shared his personal journey of growing up in a rough, urban neighborhood and how he was able to get out of that environment, attend college and play college football and how that combined to form his passion to help others. His company is focused on aiding individuals, mainly minorities, and providing them with resources to become entrepreneurs and to contribute to the local economy while providing an income for their family, as well as jobs for others. He challenged us with the idea that we need to work hard and be proactive within our communities.

Finally, Mi-ai Parrish, the CEO and president of MAP Strategies Group, shared her personal testimony for where she finds motivation and bravery. She shared her family’s history and the trying and unimaginable circumstances that they endured and lived through. She spoke about how they are her foundation. She shared on how they have motivated her and encouraged her to be brave, no matter what the circumstance is. She also shared about how we need to use our impact for good. We must be wise and share a positive light in this dark world.

For my fellow peers and me, it was an incredible opportunity to attend this exclusive event. I felt that I gained a lot from this event and felt empowered to achieve great things. As a young aspiring student, I feel that we have a responsibility to impact others for good and positively influence that work culture we will all one day become a part of. We have a duty and a responsibility to invest in others and make a positive impact in the social realms we interact within.

Grand Canyon University’s Honors College provides many events designed to inspire students. To learn more about GCU and our programs, visit the main website or click the Request More Information button on this page.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.