NFL Player Partners for Education
Gone are the days of athletes making a difference only on the field. Brandon Williams, former Wide Receiver for the St. Louis Rams, believes it’s all about creating jobs off the field. With his new and booming company, the Brandon Williams Economic Development Corporation, Brandon knows all too well the “plays” of this game we call life. Andwepresent.com sits down with Brandon as he opens up about his career, his most recent business venture, and what his journey calls for next.
National Football League player, sports analyst, broadcaster, entrepreneur, family man, engaged citizen—what doesn’t describe Brandon Williams’ journey? Born and raised in St. Louis, MO, he credits his family for surrounding him with positivity and a zest for education. He was drafted in the 2006 NFL draft to live out a childhood dream of playing professional football. Everything was going well for this recent college grad, up until his career succumbed to injury in 2009. Following his injury, Brandon became depressed. “I was feeling anguish. I just kept thinking ‘why me?’” Brandon admits.
That’s when Brandon decided that change is inevitable. “Motivating and inspiring youth was always something that was in the forefront of my life,” Brandon admits. “I dealt with my depression by getting in the trenches and grinding, by writing, motivational speaking and getting into broadcasting,” he says. So he began pursuing a new passion in his life. He developed a motivational outreach to share with youth, incorporating “some of the core values that ring true from my upbringing.” The 4P’s of Life—persistence, patience, productivity, prayer—teaches youth how to incorporate these values into their lives while allowing Brandon to speak with young people of all ages across the nation. He teaches about being self-motivated, which he believes is the best way to be.
While giving back this past spring at an NFL Play-60 camp, Brandon listened to the story of a ten-year-old boy that stuck with him. This little boy was crying about problems taking place at home and, while Brandon listened intently, he realized that giving away free t-shirts, signing autographs, and hosting camps are great, but he wanted his investment in people to be more long-term. “Athletes really have the ability to change the game and that’s why I started my corporation,” Brandon boldly says.
The Brandon Williams Economic Development Corporation (Brandon Williams EDC) is about job creation and investing into the education of youths across the nation. “I always say that kids are not dumb, they’re just bored.” Brandon Williams EDC has partnered with Blue Water Productions, a graphic novel company, to produce “Read Across America,” a program connecting children back to reading. Comic books, or graphic novels, are still in demand and are a source of entertainment for children. “Read Across America” produces graphic novels about public figures that children are eager to read about in school. Figures such as Justin Beiber, who has already joined the partnership, President and First Lady Obama, and Oprah are all figures that Williams believes will inspire children to want to read in an entertainment layout. The partnership between Brandon Williams EDC and Blue Water Productions is the beginning of a technological wave sure to hit schools across the nation. They hope to create an interactive application to engage students and fill the void disconnecting teachers and technology from students.
“The most intelligent people are the ones with information” and Williams notes that information travels fastest now through technology. It is his goal to keep up with the vastly changing technology and to invest in today’s children to be sure that they are able to keep up as well. Regardless of resources at home, Williams is hopeful that schools will provide the technology and information needed for children to succeed. The children he reaches may not be rich, but it is his hope that they become rich in knowledge.
The journey is just beginning for Williams. With his time in the NFL being his platform, Brandon has been a broadcaster for the Big Ten Network for the past 2 years, and is utilizing his business to learn how to create maximum growth exponentially while minimizing risks. His keys to success include surrounding himself with the right people, building a team, and knowing each one’s role.
Learn more about Brandon Williams and the Brandon Williams Economic Development Corporation at: http://www.brandonwilliamsedc.com/