Ari Franklin, the twenty-four year old Co-Founder of OurPangea has developed a successful track record in the face of adversity.
It’s rare when you meet someone for the first time and feel like you’ve known them forever. It’s something you remember and that leaves you feeling good. Ari Franklin, COO and Co-Founder of OurPangea has that gift.
Ari grew up in Oak Park, IL as the oldest of three and the son of a contemporary artist and a humanities center strategist at the University of Illinois at Chicago. When I first met Ari at Oak Park River Forest High School, I was immediately taken in by his warm smile and humble demeanor. I’ve never met anyone who Ari didn’t get along with.
As a senior in high school, Ari was a member of the Varsity Lacrosse team. One day at practice, he took a shot to the throat, but still managed to make it to the post-practice team BBQ. Despite a raspy voice and some pain, Ari tried to shake it off. When he didn’t feel any better the next morning, he saw a doctor. His doctor explained that the point blank shot had fractured Ari’s trachea and Ari easily could have, and probably should have died in his sleep. He had to have emergency surgery to repair the damage.
Several weeks later while recovering from the procedure Ari had a stroke that nearly killed him a second time. Despite these injuries, Ari stayed with his lacrosse team for the rest of the season, assisting them in every way he could.
After graduation, Ari, like so many other Oak Park graduates that year, made the trip down to Champaign, IL to begin his undergraduate studies. At the University of Illinois, Ari excelled as a young advertising major, taking on duties as the Strategic Thinking Leader and, eventually, the Vice President of the University’s team for the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC). He also became highly involved in his fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi, where he was an active volunteer and served as an officer on a number of committees, including time as the Rush and Social Chairman.
Since graduating with a degree in advertising and as a member of the Sigma Alpha Lambda honors society, Ari has managed to stay involved with his fraternity and flourish as a young professional. He served on the board and as Secretary of the Chicago Chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi Alumni Association and has developed an impressive resume that has included stints as an intern at DDB, an Assistant Account Manager at McGarrybowen and as a Project Manager at envisionit media, inc.
When Ari recognized the opportunity to build something new and incredible with OurPangea he didn’t hesitate. Believing fully in the OurPangea mission and working hand-in-hand with co-founder and CEO, Noah Simon, his cousin, Ari has continued to bring excellence, dedication and determination to the OurPangea project. Having overcome great odds and two near-death experiences the young entrepreneur has continued to bring an eternal optimism and fighting spirit to everything he does. Both will serve this young, burgeoning social network for years to come.