What was that?

It was a national high school design competition. I asked him if he would be the face of this program, because I wanted to try and get high school kids more involved in footwear design. He was the face of the program because he loved design and he liked working with kids and giving back. That was the spark because I had a high platform being at Jordan. Being able to reach kids through that medium really helped propel my desire to pursue teaching full-time. I saw the reaction that kids had to the products and being able to design products. Since I started doing Pensole full-time, it’s been great. Like I told Michael and Melo when I left, I could help Jordan more being on the outside than I could being on the inside. Internally, I was designing products and managing design teams. Now I’m able to actually supply them with more designers and better designers.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how well the academic side of the industry has embraced me, because I’m not an academic.

How have Pensole students found the job market?

Since I’ve left Nike, I have about 15 former students that work at Nike. I’ve been able to help the overall brand a lot more by getting them talent that can design better products. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how well the academic side of the industry has embraced me, because I’m not an academic. I didn’t even go to college to study design. I never took a design class a day in my life. It was kind of strange for someone who didn’t go to school for design to start a design school. I’ve just been really, really impressed with how the college part has embraced what I’m trying to do. Then you have how the industry has embraced what I’ve been doing and now I’m able to work with everybody. So instead of just Nike and Jordan, I can work with any company and that part been going really well.


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