Entrepreneur Spotlight on Ryan Jeffries

Friday, 08 March 2013 15:18 Written by  Iya Bakare

It would be an understatement to say entrepreneur Ryan Jeffries lives above and beyond the edge. With a hand in non-profit organizations, politics and the entertainment industry, the businessman says his unique and well-rounded childhood outlined a path to prepare him for his future.

The De LaSalle Institute graduate stayed active in the National Honor Society, math club, chess club, soccer team and track team. He attended Rutgers University and earned his B.S. in Developmental and Financial Economics, a M.S. from NYU in International Relations/Private-Sector Economics & Energy Policy and an MBA in Economics, Finance and Strategy from Duke University.

In 2004, the young CEO established Beyond the Edge, a non-profit organization that exposes at-risk teenagers to unconventional sports such as skiing, snowboarding, scuba diving, hiking, camping, kayaking, horseback riding and other non-traditional activities that shed a light on alternative ways of being both physically active and unbiased to other sports. Ryan also developed a classroom curriculum that coincided with the physical activities.

“We wanted to teach adolescents how to control their fear in these controlled environments and to understand how to take charge of situations they weren’t used to, whether it’s in a boardroom, classroom or any uncomfortable situation,” he says.

The Chicago native says Congressman Danny K. Davis was a huge supporter of the organization in his hometown. With a fellow friend and executive, who shared the same interest and passion to give back, Ryan and his partner joined forces off of Wall Street to create opportunities for others and plan to re-launch the organization on the East Coast this spring.

“We wanted children at risk living in this ‘concrete jungle’ in New York City to experience these activities,” Ryan adds. “But, it grew and it grew very quickly. We had congressmen, senators, CEOs, bankers, lawyers and entertainers who helped with putting together programs at different schools. We partnered with congressional districts and were active in L.A., Washington D.C., Chicago, New York, Orlando and Austin. We grew very quickly and I’m still working on it.”

In 2009, the executive launched The Jeffries Foundation, which provides mentorships and scholarships for those interested in pursuing education. Growing up with several mentors, it was imperative for Ryan to provide those opportunities for others, he admits. He credits his mother, Scherrelle, as one of his biggest role models. Her work in child care and education inspired the idea for the foundation. The organization also plans to make investments in the infrastructure and health care in Africa, which will begin in Tanzania, Ryan says.

In 2010, he co-founded Blue Chicago Media Group, a production company where he invests in short films, works with Broadway plays and is currently working on a television show.

With his experience in domestic and economic policy, Ryan previously worked for former president William J. “Bill” Clinton on domestic initiatives as a domestic policy aide. Ryan says he’s also worked with Gov. William Quinn and in other various political arenas. However, spending more time on energy policy and investment banking are in his plans, he says. Ryan is also the director of strategic partnerships of Oceans Energy & Ventures LLC, which provides expedient and less expensive options to communities in the energy sector through various marketing mediums.

With this focus for helping others in every sector he touches, Ryan plans to never lose sight of the continued journey to learn and grow. As he modestly accepts his learning opportunities, the multi-dimensional businessman acknowledges and accepts his blessings as he appreciates the experiences in his life.

Iya Bakare

Iya Bakare

Iya Bakare, GMO's managing editor, earned both her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in print journalism. She earned her B.A. from Delta State University with a minor in English and graduated with a M.A. degree from Columbia College Chicago. In her spare time, the Chicago native continues to freelance and ponder ways to both inform and improve her community one story at a time.

She can be contacted at Iya@glossmagazineonline.com
Follow her on Twitter: @ibakare

Website: www.iyabakare.com

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