Some top African American executives at Amazon visited Ballou Senior High School in southeast D.C. to offer professional and personal tips to a group of student leaders.

The executives’ visit Thursday was a part of the partnership between the tech giant and the District of Columbia Public School System. The event was co-hosted by the DCPS Connected Schools program and Amazon’s Community Access initiative that brought members of the Amazon Black Leaders and Executives to Ballou.

“Find what you love, find what you are passionate about because you’ll end up with that extra energy that gets you over those challenges and hurdles that come along with the journey,” said ABLE member Bryant Lowery, WTOP reported.

Lowery said “representation really matters” and “I think with us being Black males, we can really relate and connect to the kids in the audience, so I did a lot of engagement.”

Lorenzo Patton, vice president of Finance Operations Services, said he hoped to encourage students to “strive and have courage.”

“It’s important because we talk about the good parts of it, ‘Hey, I’ve got this VP job at Amazon, and it’s super cool,’ and all that stuff,” Patton said, WTOP reported. “But there’s a lot of work that went into that. And we’re trying to arm them for the times when it’s not so cool, and it just feels like you’re grinding your way through it. But that’s how you get past the hard times and make successes.”

The executives advised the students to start creating their own opportunities by obtaining internships and mentorships.

“Having mentors who have a different kind of life history and experience than you will broaden your mindset,” Patton said. “So, if someone’s not talking to you about what’s possible, it’s hard to really dream big because you’re going to be confined by your knowledge set.”

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Sam P.K. Collins

Sam P.K. Collins has more than a decade of experience as a journalist, columnist and organizer. Sam, a millennial and former editor of WI Bridge, covers education, police brutality, politics, and other...

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