Throughout 2022 and the WBENC 25th Anniversary, WBENC has celebrated the theme “Focus on the Future” as we reflected on our 25 years as an organization. As 2022 comes to an end, we also celebrate our first Planet Mogul program after a two-year hiatus of in person student programming.
WBENC, in partnership with Planet Mogul and Bristol Myers Squibb, held National Student Future Ready Day, a daylong immersive learning event designed to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders, on September 22, 2022.
Planet Mogul was designed to help cultivate a diverse pipeline of educators, innovators, and workforce leaders starting at the elementary to middle-school level. Since 2018, WBENC has partnered with Planet Mogul and Bristol Myers Squibb, with support from other WBENC Corporate Members, to develop an equitable ecosystem path for the future.
“Investing in the next generation of entrepreneurs is a critical part of our overall mission. That includes connecting with bright young elementary school minds as we did this year during National Student Future Ready Day, and also through other WBENC outreach and development programs that foster the next generation of entrepreneurs emerging from colleges and universities and beyond,” says WBENC President & CEO Pamela Prince Eason.
Hosted at Riverside Elementary School, a mighty team of industry experts, entrepreneurial enthusiasts, and corporate executives traveled to Little River, SC, to educate and inspire more than 150 fifth-grade students through hands-on educational programming, with a special focus in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics).
With the generous support of Bristol Myers Squibb, each fifth-grade student received a Planet Mogul proprietary Moguls-In Training Workbook, which weaves business, entrepreneurship, and industry-specific education into interactive activities that challenge and expand student thinking.
“We have loved how WBENC’s collaboration with Planet Mogul has grown. Through this partnership, we continue to bring awareness of STEAM education and careers to children from families across underrepresented and underserved communities and help to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs. Also, being back in person after 2.5 years has been wonderful, especially when you share ideas on how they can be change makers and see the joy and curiosity from children who ask probing questions.” – Sundari Pai Luts, Senior Manager, Global Supplier Diversity, BMS
Following a lively kickoff in the school’s gymnasium, students rotated through activations in which they explored a multitude of career opportunities within the industries of Healthcare, Energy, and Advertising & Branding. Students were encouraged to harness their creativity through storytelling during Creativity Corner, and were also educated on the importance of Data Analytics through Bristol Myers Squibb’s Dropping Knowledge initiative, a movement dedicated to sparking the imagination of young people to invent the future with STEM.
“I was so excited and honored to introduce the concept of Data Analytics. The students’ curiosity and enthusiasm demonstrates exactly why introducing STEAM topics is so important at a young age. Their energy and open-mindedness produced fantastic ideas and gave a glimpse into their future talent and possibilities.” – Stephanie Leu, BIA Strategy & Operations II, BMS
National Student Future Ready Day culminated with student presentations, in which students eagerly shared major takeaways and learnings from the day. Many expressed feelings of excitement towards the unveiled possibilities of the future, while some even described having that “aha” moment all entrepreneurs experience.