NASHVILLE -- Partnering with six chapters of 100 Black Men of America, Nissan North America hosted its seventh annual Next Gen Summit on Feb. 20, 2020, at Nissan Stadium.
With the tagline of "what they see is what they'll be," 100 Black Men of America is a men's civic organization founded in 1963 to educate and empower African American children and teens. Since then, it has formed more than 100 chapters around the country.
During the 2020 Next Gen Summit, high school students from six cities across the country − Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Jackson (Miss.), Nashville and Washington, D.C. − met with Nissan leaders, Titans leaders, Titans alumni Kevin Dyson, Blaine Bishop and Chris Sanders, participating in workshops to prepare themselves for a successful future.
The students are selected through a process that includes a recommendation from their school, resume submission and an interview with representatives from their local chapter of 100 Black Men of America. Students with the most robust resumes and interview skills were invited to attend the 2020 Nissan Next Gen Summit, sponsored by Nissan.
"We've met with a lot of people who have talked to us about what they've been through and encountered in their lives to become the people they are today," said Marcqel Randall who attends Martin Luther Jr. Magnet High School in Nashville. "They showed us what it's like to be accomplished and we want to do the same thing.
"Chris Sanders told me no matter what kind of position you are in, you can always get out of it. That spoke to me because I'm someone who sometimes ends up in positions, and I don't know what to do."
Titans Alumni Kevin Dyson, Blaine Bishop and Chris Sanders were guest speakers and led with a one-on-one discussion by Titans Radio Executive Producer & Gameday Host, Rhett Bryan.
"When you have a team of people that come together with the same vision to impact another generation, it's very impactful," said Sanders. "A lot of times people talk about doing things, but we really don't get out there and do it. When you have Nissan teaming up with the Titans, it shows you we are not out there just talking about being in the community, we are actually going out into the community, which is what makes it special."
"To be able to give back and talk to kids that have similar backgrounds like myself, Blaine and Chris is humbling," Dyson said. "It's fun to help young kids and have some of these more intimate types of conversations that you don't get to have on a day-to-day basis, and talk real-life instead of talking strictly curriculum or discipline as I do daily now."
"They are relaying the fact that there is more to life than just football, telling us about their experiences and giving us tips on how to be better and learn from their mistakes," said Rashad Whitehead who attends the B.E.S.T Academy in Atlanta, GA. "Today I learned how you can be in a situation, but the situation doesn't define who you are."
Over their two days in Nashville, the young men participated in leadership and development workshops and toured Nissan's North American headquarters, as well as the Nissan Smyrna Vehicle Assembly Plant.
"We're thrilled to welcome a new group of student leaders to our headquarters," says Rodney Francis, director of Diversity and Inclusion with Nissan. "Every year, we enjoy interacting with young men identified as up-and-comers in their community and giving them a glimpse into the inner workings of our business. It's our hope that they leave inspired and equipped with tips for success in school and in life."
The afternoon at Nissan Stadium included lunch, fun activities, giveaways, photos and stadium tours. T-Rac and Titans cheerleaders, Travona, Makenzie, Déjah and Ryan signed autographs and posed for pictures.
Over Nissan's 7-year partnership with 100 Black Men of American, more than 350 students have participated in the Nissan Next Gen Summit or related events.
Nissan supports its global vision of enriching people's lives by offering customers unparalleled products and services and by improving the quality of life in the communities where it operates.
Partnering with six chapters of 100 Black Men of America, Nissan North America hosted its seventh annual Next Gen Summit at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Lynne McCracken)
About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized annually by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year since 2010. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and INFINITI vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.infinitiusa.com, or visit the U.S. media sites NissanNews.com and infinitinews.com.
About Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
Nissan is a global full-line vehicle manufacturer that sells more than 60 models under the Nissan, INFINITI and Datsun brands. In fiscal year 2018, the company sold 5.52 million vehicles globally, generating revenue of 11.6 trillion yen. Nissan's global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, manages operations in six regions: Asia & Oceania; Africa, the Middle East & India; China; Europe; Latin America; and North America. Nissan has partnered with French manufacturer Renault since 1999 and acquired a 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors in 2016. The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance sold 10.76 million vehicles combined in calendar year 2018.