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Posts tagged ‘entrepreneur’

Meet OurPangea’s Co-Founder, Ari Franklin

Ari Franklin, the twenty-four year old Co-Founder of OurPangea has developed a successful track record in the face of adversity.

ari franklin face black tie

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.

Be A Community Entrepreneur

hands support globe entrepreneur

In the face of the recent economic downturn, many Americans and world citizens went to work for themselves. What may have started out as harmlessly optimistic ‘funemployment’ eventually led many out-of-work job seekers – young and old  – to look to their own business ideas to get out of the slump. Why not take that excitement and passion and focus it on your community?  Become a community entrepreneur.

While many are still feeling the effects of the recession, the entrepreneurial wave is still going. There’s no reason we can’t put our passions into collaboration to make our communities better. Just the way your business idea will add value to the business world, your interaction and interest in your community will add value directly to your community.

We’re big proponents of helping people succeed by driving them to pursue the passions they love, and there is no more rewarding experience than coming together and collaborating on something bigger than us as individuals.  What better place to begin to realize this than in our own communities? There are always activities to pursue, people to meet, and groups to get involved in.  Every interaction adds to something and you will see that you can shape and influence the area around you for the better.

The recession helped us realize there’s more to being happy at work than sitting at a desk 9 to 5 and having performance reviews with your boss.  There is something about the risks of entrepreneurship that has always embodied the American Dream.  Now we are embracing the personal and professional rewards that being risky in business can yield. Case in point: in 2008 and 2009 alone the first appearances of Spotify, Foursquare, and Shazam surfaced. To a degree, we have the recession to thank.

What does this mean? It means that we are all powerful.  We all have the capabilities to be innovators.  We all have good ideas and when faced with challenges we will always find other avenues to pursue, other ways to feel happy and fulfilled.  Businessmen and women are starting to exploit the thrill of entrepreneurship for their careers.  This independent spirit can similarly be channeled into community improvement.

If you are out of work and frustrated take a look around your community.  What can be made better?  What needs to change?  There are people all around waiting for change to come.  You can be the one to bring it.  Be an entrepreneur for your community.  Who knows, it might just get you a job too.

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