Johnnie grew up on the south side of Chicago, and during high school worked as a cart collector at the local grocery store. He had just enrolled in Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), a class that—because it fell during the last two periods of school—was skipped by most of his peers. Now 24, an Assistant Account Planner in marketing, and the creator of an apparel line, Johnnie credits NFTE, a Microsoft non-profit partner, for sparking his interest in entrepreneurship.
After graduating high school, Johnnie passed up a basketball scholarship to attend Illinois State to study Public Relations. It was here that he founded Fresh Connection Brand, his lifestyle and apparel line, as well as prepared for his current position at Commonground Marketing in Chicago. Coming full circle, Johnnie is now involved with Innovate for Good, a Microsoft YouthSpark community, participating in panel discussions and other initiatives that work to empower struggling youth.
Johnnie is one of many individuals who’ve had their lives touched by YouthSpark programs. By showing youths like Johnnie how his talents can be applied to business and the sciences, we’re igniting new passions and enabling new possibilities.