30 Days of Dreamers & Doers | Jermaine Ballard
Jermaine Ballard has his hands in many pots, ranging from Education, Community Advocacy, Coaching, and Event Planning/Promotion.
Jermaine has been in the Education/Community field for 15+ years now. He's worked for multiple organizations: YMCA of Greater Omaha, Urban League of Nebraska, University of Nebraska at Omaha, and is currently at Omaha Public Schools as a Community School, and Family Engagement Specialist.
He is also the Founder of The Urban Leadership Symposium.
"The Urban Leadership Symposium was designed to bring together empowered 13-18 year olds and committed young professionals, in an effort to build better communities through leadership development. This year, the focus is on high school juniors & seniors as they prepare for life upon graduating high school. Each workshop is designed to educate, inspire, and motivate the youth through powerful testimonies and impactful tips. This year’s workshops will focus on Leadership, Image, Entrepreneurship, Decision Making, and Financial Literacy. These students will also engage in an interactive College Tour of the University of Nebraska at Omaha. This opportunity will give them an inside peak and exposure to what Post-Secondary Education looks like. Several young professionals have offered to tell their stories, give their knowledge, and offer their expertise on certain careers, life skills, and the overall topic of Leadership."
Outside of working with the youth and being active in the community, Jermaine is also the owner of the “Professional Relaxation Group”, an organization that specializes in hosting events catered towards the young professionals in Omaha, NE. Some of his Most notable events are "First Fridays Omaha", "Bowling After Dark", and "Suite Saturdays".
What is your earliest memory being involved in your business?
I’ve always been linked to my community. From growing up on 49th & Jaynes to giving back now, I’ve seen a lot and done a lot. I’ve been involved in this field as early as high school working on mural projects, community gardens, and neighborhood clean-ups with with non-profits such as Pacesetter Academy.
When it comes to promotions, my earliest memories were throwing house parties with friends back in high school. We’d have these generic hand written flyers we passed out to people and they would show up. At the time I wasn’t thinking that I was a promoter, but now looking back, that’s exactly what I was at a young age. I always had a fascination of how to turn a want “need/service” that I could produce or deliver on, into a profit. I use to go to the 99 cent store and load up on candy and take it to school and sell. I made money, but was never good at saving, I must admit.
What about this lane makes you so passionate about it?
I love seeing our youth WIN. If anybody says they’re in this field for monetary reasons, they’re lying. This field is because you have a passion for seeing youth become successful. Our “Payday” is when that kid sends you an invitation to their graduation. Or picks up the phone to say, “Thank You”. That’s how we get paid in this field.
JB: I get the most fulfillment when I get that 'Thank You' from the student or their parents. When I know I was a catalyst for the success that that kid is having. When I know my team has exposed that child to something outside of North Omaha and have opened their eyes to the world.
What did your journey to where you are currently look like?
My journey was just that, “My Journey”. One thing about my journey is that I don’t have the cliché POME (Product of My Environment) story. Yes I grew up where I grew up ( 49th & Jaynes St) and I seen a lot and did a lot, but one thing I always knew was everything that happens to me, was up to me. I decide what happens in my life. I grew up in a household with both of my parents (still living and married 37+ years later). They instilled some key morals inside of me that I pass down now to my son. I’m the youngest of 4. I always excelled in school simply because it came easy to me. As I transitioned from elementary to junior high, and high school the love of sports grew in me, football in particular. I worked a full-time job at the age of 14 at Bakers Supermarket – because I wanted my own money! My Dad always told me to work hard for what I want, get it on my own, and I’ll grow to appreciate it more. I will say my Dad has never steered me wrong and all of his words have come to be true. After graduating high school, I accepted a Football Scholarship and Academic Scholarship to The University of Nebraska at Omaha and later earned my Masters from The University of Nebraska at Lincoln. I always wanted to give back to my community, so what better way than through our youth and helping to mold them into standup citizens.
10 years ago would you have pictured yourself in this position?
YES!!! 10 years ago I was 25, Bachelors completed, about to have my son, and I knew that education, community, and coaching was going to be my lane –
and I’m still not done yet.
How do you hope people feel after working with you?
I hope they feel as if they have made a connection with a lifelong friend/associate. I want to play a significant role in the lives of every person I reach (young and old). I want them to leave saying that, “Jermaine is a caring, authentic man who is about helping others and seeing todays youth become tomorrows leaders.” “That he’s passionate enough to ruffle a few feathers if it means for the betterment of the youth.” – At the end of the day, I just want to leave my mark and a legacy knowing that I left this place just a little better than it was before I got here.
Can you name a highlight of your career?
Graduating with my Masters – Not a lot of black men (born & raised) in North Omaha have their masters in Education. I’m proud of that.
Starting and growing the Urban Leadership Symposium would also be a highlight; going from 36 students the first year to 299 in the 4th year.
Jermaine gave a short list of what he'd go back and change if given the chance:
- Financial Decisions in college when it came to credit cards. Accrued unnecessary debt
- Saved like my Dad told me too
- Gotten my Bachelors in Education instead of Business Management. My current career path is better suited for that.
“Never settle for being Successful, when you’re destined to be great.”
“Know the difference between being educated and being knowledgeable.”
Whether shaping the minds of our youth or providing entertainment to the young professionals in the city, Jermaine has paid his dues and then some. The guidance and opportunities he has presented have greatly affected those he's come into contact with. His service is appreciated by many and as he's said, there's still more to come.
To reach Jermaine for educational purposes, you can email him at Omaha Public Schools – Jermaine.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thinking about attending a new event or looking for a place to network and/or enjoy yourself? For Promotional purposes, contact – Professional Relaxation Group – email@example.com.
You can also see Jermaine in action at the links below!