by Tara Kusumoto
February 6th, 2023
This is the story of Jamar Ffrench, whose experience as a mentee with StreetWise Partners launched a life-changing career.
In 2016, Jamar Ffrench graduated from Brooklyn College with a degree in Business Management and Finance. He had always envisioned pursuing a career in finance, but there were so many gaps in his understanding about how to navigate the corporate world and make it happen. He took a full-time job at Luna Park in Coney Island instead.
After a year working at the park, Jamar learned about the StreetWise Partners Mentoring Program and joined as a mentee. From there, his career took off.
“I credit StreetWise with the launch of my career,” he says. Today, he’s an account executive at NBC Universal, where he sells advertising for networks including Bravo, Peacock, and NBC Sports. Here’s what his journey looked like.
Building skills — and confidence
As a mentee with StreetWise, Jamar met two mentors who had a profound impact on his career.
First, Daniel Dembek gave Jamar a “blueprint” and held him accountable for learning the skills and tools he needed to succeed in the corporate world as he launched his career. Jamar learned the importance of networking, being confident, and most importantly selling himself – not only through his resume and LinkedIn, but also through every person he introduced himself to and interacted with.
Jamar met his second mentor, Shane Peros, during a speed networking event hosted by StreetWise. Shane is Managing Director of Global Partnerships, Broadcast, Entertainment and Telecommunications at Google. After a great initial conversation, Shane stated to Jamar to find him before the night was over and he’d give Jamar his business card. Jamar did. Then he called Shane the next day; they had lunch; and that was the start of a relationship and mentorship that continues to this day.
At the time, Jamar had a contract position at Viacom in the finance department, where he quickly realized he no longer wanted to pursue finance as his career. Jamar expressed this to his mentor Shane, who then introduced Jamar to John Halley, who is now the President of Paramount Advertising, and one of the contributors to Jamar’s first opportunity in sales as an Account Service Representative at Paramount.
“I used to be intimidated when talking to a Director or a VP because I didn’t think I had anything to offer,” says Jamar. “I learned how to walk into those meetings with my head high, because I’ve realized it’s all about being confident, networking, and making new friends.”
Case in point: Shane recently invited Jamar to an event with CEOs of major corporations. While Jamar says he was among the youngest and most inexperienced in the room, Shane helped bridge the gap for him. As Jamar puts it, “I came in shy, not knowing how to navigate it, but left feeling honored, like I deserve a seat there as well.”
From mentee to mentor – and advice to match
After going through the StreetWise program as a mentee Jamar then signed up as a mentor.
During orientation sessions, he also spoke to incoming mentees about his own experience and gave them tips on how to excel in the program. Here’s some advice – in Jamar’s words — that he’s shared and still stands by today.
1. You get what you put into it. You have to take it seriously and give it your all in order to see results.
2. Take advantage of every internship opportunity, even if it’s unpaid. It will help you learn more about what you like and what you don’t like.
3. Network. Always network. How you make it in this world is through relationships. Whether it’s in your career or your life, networking and meeting new people can create great relationships that last a lifetime.
4. Step outside your comfort zone. You must be willing to do what 99% of other people wouldn’t do, in order to stand out.
It’s by following his own advice and using the tools he learned through StreetWise that led Jamar to his current role at NBC Universal.
Always elevating – himself, his career, and others
“Once you get a job, your work doesn’t stop there”, shares Jamar. By stepping outside his comfort zone, taking advantage of every opportunity, and developing and nurturing relationships, he has elevated his career and landed promotions.
Now he wants to help others achieve the same success. He aspires to be a motivational speaker and wants to continue to educate students on things that college doesn’t cover, including financial literacy and how to navigate a corporate career.
“I want to uplift my community,” says Jamar. “My community is underserved and it’s just because we lack certain resources. I’m big on how I can motivate and speak life into people like me, and help them bridge that gap like StreetWise Partners did for me.”