By: Angela Schiavon
Last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to accompany our founder, Nate Ruben, at ChiTECH Ideas Day hosted by Chicago Tech Academy High School. ChiTECH Ideas Day was an extraordinary event that showcased successful people from many different career fields coming together to inspire students to achieve their dreams and give back to the community. The goal of Ideas Day was to allow students to explore various industries and get a sense of empowerment to improve Chicago.
The day began at 10am where all of the students, staff, speakers and guests gathered into the gym to watch three influential local influencers speak. Among these speakers were Josephine Lee, President & Artistic Director of The Chicago Children’s Choir; Israel Idonjie, former Chicago Bear and founder of Blessed Communion and Mykele Deville, a Chicago based poet, actor, curator and rapper. All three speakers come from different backgrounds and each of them told their story sharing their experiences of working their way to success. We even got a surprise, impromptu performance from Mykele, which really got the crowd hyped!
I was able to snap a quick Instagram pic of Mykele and Nate!
After that, all of the guests, including ourselves, split up and went to our assigned classrooms where students had the opportunity to learn about a specific industry and potential careers within that industry as well as learning about the company that was presenting. RDM had the chance to interact with a great group of students that were truly interested in pursuing a career in the Chicago tech field.
The presentation started off with a student, coincidentally named Nate, telling RDM’s Nate that he liked his BDope hoodie and asked him if he made it himself. Nate responded telling the student that he did not make it himself and that he got it from Blue 1647, an entrepreneurship and tech innovation center. Blue 1647 focuses on empowering people with the skills necessary to innovate in the 21st century. He then proceeded to take the hoodie off and give it to the student that liked it. The entire classroom was shocked and the reaction from the student was remarkable. It was a moment of joy for all that were involved, you could really tell that these students appreciated the little things that they were given. It was a great moment to show these students firsthand what it means to give to others. Also it was comforting to see our founder Nate demonstrate such natural kindness!
Nate began his presentation talking about his life and what motivated him to start his own company back in 2014 at the young age of 21. The students listened and were very interested in the presentation. Nate informed the students of what it takes to pursue your passion as well as the basic requirements needed to begin a career in tech. He even shared some of the rookie mistakes that he made in the beginning of his career and how he overcame them. The presentation wrapped up with a quick Q&A session and a few students expressed their interest in wanting to spend a day shadowing one of us here at the RDM office! How cool is that?
After the presentation, the students had about 15 minutes to create an artistic representation of RDM and explain the things that they learned about the company and tech industry as a whole. This was probably my favorite part of the day because Nate and I were able to actively engage with the students and answer questions they had in regards to what a typical day at the RDM Headquarters looks like, as well as tell them why I wanted to be in this field. The students created a cube that would be put into a puzzle like frame (see below) and hung on the wall for future students to see and interact with. Once we were done creating the cube, back down to the gym we went for the students to present what they learned to the school and place their cube into the Ideas Day memento.
If this event was described in one word it would be WOW. ChitTech was truly an amazing experience and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to attend with Nate. It’s very cool to see all the tech opportunities that students have in High School now compared to when I was in school. To see the passion on the faces of these teens and watch them become so inspired to achieve their dreams made me feel whole because I know that the company that I work for is making a difference in the world!