Just a few of the proudest moments in my professional career

My entrepreneurial journey has taken me down paths that amazed me and at times even stunned me. There have been times when it has paralyzed me with fear and times when it has overwhelmed me with joy. It has been nothing short of unpredictable, but that is what has made it so exciting. It is a path of revelations, a path of discovery, and a path of enlightenment. It is a path of fulfillment and therefore it has been my path to freedom.


Awards & Recognition

2013 Black Business Beacon – The Black Business Investment Fund (BBIF)
2010 Forty under Forty in Business – The Orlando Business Journal
2010 Excellence in Business – The LBS Foundation (ONYX Magazine)
2009 Entrepreneur of the Year – The African American Chamber of Commerce


Noteworthy Milestones

4-Time NBA Champion John Salley Joins the Board of RYSE (May 2017)

This brother right here has been a blessing. Not everyone has a 4-time NBA Champion on their board. Proud to say I am one of the few.

When I was introduced to him by a mutual friend, I began sharing with him the vision for RYSE. 5 minutes into me sharing, he say’s “I want in. I wanna be down.” Ever since then, he has been a strong supporter, advocate and strategic advisor.

Lesson: For those who are your tribe, it won’t take a lot of convincing. Within a few minutes of you sharing your vision, they will get it. Those are your people. Keep them close to you. They will continue to push you, even when you don’t feel like pushing yourself.

RYSE TV APP/ Beta Launch (March 2017)

We are mobile!!! We dropped the RYSE app this month in all the major app stores. I got an app MAN!
I am super excited about the growth of the company.

Taking a moment to recall all the all the no’s that I heard when trying to raise money for the app. I was presenting an opportunity to them and they made me feel as if I was begging for a handout. It only made me stronger tho!

The RYSE and Shine Foundation is Established (Feb 2017)

Usually, a letter from the IRS gets most small business owners a little nervous. BUT this one had us doing the happy dance.

RYSE officially has a 501(c)3 approved non-profit division, The RYSE & Shine Foundation, Inc.
The vision for RYSE has always been to be a vehicle that inspired and empowered. Planning for growth also includes planning on how to pay your success forward.

Executive Producer Credit/ Blerds (Black + Nerds) (Jan 2017)

When I launched RYSE, one key goal was to make sure we were spotlighting individuals with inspiring stories and controlling the narrative being told to our community. I never imagined creating those stories.

Blerds is my first production as an Executive Producer. It is a funny, yet inspiring story I have seen all too often. The story of a young talented black woman with a great entrepreneurial idea, but no resources to bring that idea to life.

Through the series, she spends her time trying to keep the company afloat, while managing the trials of entrepreneurship.

I promise you don’t want to miss this one.

Pitching in DC at the Multicural Media & Telecom Conference (MMTC) (June 2016)

Was one of the companies selected to pitch at the Multicultural Media and Telecom Conference in DC. It was a great conference in which I made a lot of great connection, and guess what? We won and were selected by the audience as the best business concept.

RYSE Launched in Atlanta (Feb 2016)

Today we made it official. We are now an Atlanta company. Great turnout for our launch celebration. Super excited to begin building relationships as well as the RYSE brand.

It’s ‘Jay Day’ #2 (March 2015)

Being raised in a not so desirable part of town, I really never imagined anything significant for my life. Thankful for the people who exposed me to broader horizons. That exposure caused me to aspire for more.

But not even in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined having not one, but two days named in my honor in my home city.


On the Move to Atlanta (Jan 2015)

After over 30+ years of living in Florida, it is finally time to make the transition. After visiting a few places, it is ultimately decided that Atlanta will be the new home for RYSE.

Why Atlanta? You see, Atlanta is where Tyler Perry went from sleeping in a Geo Metro to building an entertainment empire, achieving the ranks of being one of the highest paid individuals in the entertainment industry. It is where Ted Turner not only built his field of dreams, but also a media company that revolutionized the cable news industry. It is the birthplace of a visionary by the name of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

My point? Atlanta is a place that embraces dreamers with radical ideas. It is a place that rewards those who refuse to follow the dogma of the status quo. It is a place that truly respects the grind and at RYSE, so do we.

Why Atlanta? My answer; It is the playground for radical dreamers, and for that reason, there is no other place we would rather be.

The Launch of RYSE Connected – The Online Network for Diverse Professionals (May 2014)

This year, RYSE has evolved into the technology company I had envisioned from the onset. While I am pleased with the success I have experienced within my hometown of Central Florida, RYSE was meant to empower people across the nation and yes, ultimately around the world. We are now beginning that journey.

These past 3 years have been a great developmental phase. While I did not have the resources to develop this platform prior to now, I knew that we needed to prove that the concept and the brand were viable. With a client list that includes some of the nation’s most recognizable brands such as Pepsi, State Farm, ESPN, AT&T, TD Bank, BB&T Bank, Universal Studios, the Orlando Magic, Florida Blue, Mercedes Benz and Walmart, among many others it’s finally time for the diverse young professionals across the nation RYSE Up & Get Connected. Are you on the RYSE?

Black Business Beacon Award (March 2013)

We were recognized by the Black Business Investment Fund as a Black Business Beacon. Always thankful for every bit of recognition for simply doing what we love and believe in.

Working With A Man I truly Admire, Les Brown (Dec 2012)

During the darkest times of my life, the Bible provided me with wisdom and Les Brown’s words provided me with inspiration.

RYSE presents the RYSE Award (December 2012)

On December 2, 2012 RYSE partnered with the #1 Arbitron rated station STAR 94.5fm to bring Hollywood to Orlando with the Inaugural RYSE Awards, which recognized and celebrated the achievements of Central Florida’s business and professional community. Individuals were recognized in categories that included entrepreneurship, corporate achievements and community service efforts. The night was filled with entertainment, comedic relief and special performances from national recording artist Joe and R&B legend Cherrelle.

RYSE presents the Women on the RYSE Honors (June 2012)

By this point, RYSE had hosted numerous events, all for great causes, but there are a few that are really special. On June 9th 2012, we hosted The Women on the RYSE Honors recognizing key women who are leading by example and making a difference within the Central Florida community. Women were honored in the categories of Entrepreneurship, Corporate and Community Service achievements. The former Chief of the Orlando Police Department and first woman to hold that position, Val Demings delivered the inspiring keynote speech.

RYSE Featured on Walmart’s Website

Our work in the community truly garnered significant attention, but I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that Walmart had taken a moment to spotlight RYSE on the homepage of their Florida website. We spend a significant amount of time finding individuals to shine a light on who are doing significant things personally and professionally. It was at this moment that I realized how gratifying it felt for someone to say good job for all of the hard work and effort. Truly a phenomenal moment.

It’s time to “Walk it Out” for Childhood Obesity (October 2011)

On October 1, 2011, My company RYSE, in conjunction with the city of Orlando held the inaugural RYSE “Walk it out” 5K Walk, Run & Zumba-thon for Childhood Obesity. It was only our second event and over 400 people came out to support the great cause. It was truly a special moment as City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer issued a special proclamation proclaiming the day as “RYSE Magazine Walk it out day”!

City Of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer Supports Team RYSE (August 2011)

Words can’t express how appreciative I am of Mayor Buddy Dyer. He has been a strong supporter of RYSE and our efforts. He even wrote a stellar letter complimenting us on our work, and has contributed to the printed publication on several occasions.

The Launch of RYSE (2011 – Present)

On July 16, 2011, just two months after receiving the vision, RYSE Magazine was birthed. Pronounced ‘rise’, it is a publication dedicated towards Recognizing Young Successful Executives & Entrepreneurs who are excelling in their careers, be it through corporate achievements or entrepreneurial pursuits. Knowing that studying others successes greatly increases an individual’s chance of achieving their own, RYSE was create as a vehicle to share those stories; a positive means to show what can be achieved through a continuous commitment towards personal and professional development and persistence towards a worthy goal. The launch celebration garnered significant local media coverage and was attended by over 600 of Central Florida’s diverse business, community and political leaders and held at the Amway Center, home of the Orlando Magic.

My First Book Was Published Cubicle to CEO™ – The BluePrint For Starting Your Own Business (August 2010)

A former mentor once said to me, “Jay you may be a bit presumptuous to think that you are ready to write a book. You are only in your 30’s and you still have a lot of learning to do.” My response, “Yes, I still have quite a bit of learning to do, but I refuse to wait until I am 60 years old to begin sharing the lessons I have learn thus far.”
Cubicle to CEO™ takes its readers on an empowering and inspiring entrepreneurial journey, while I share practical lessons every aspiring business owner needs in order to launch their own business. Lessons that I wish had been shared with me early on in my journey. Expertise that by this point had earned me recognition as the 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year from the African American Chamber of Commerce, acknowledgment as one of Central Florida’s 40 under 40 in business from the Orlando Business Journal and honor as the 2010 recipient for Excellence in Business from the LBS Foundation.

Orlando Business Journal’s Forty Under Forty in Business (March 2010)

Wow! Out of ALL the young professionals doing dynamic things in the city of Orlando, honored that they chose me as one of a hand select few.

This one was special for a different reason. Most of my work is done my community, serving African American people, therefore often times, that’s where the recognition comes from.

This one came from an organization that serves the mainstream market. Translation – My work is crossing over. Lol

I’ll take it!

Launched Words of Action, Inc. (April 2009)

In April of 2009, I delivered a presentation to a class of students at the high school I graduated from. It was the first time I had given a presentation for an audience, even if it was only a room full of students. It was at this moment that I discovered my love for public speaking. The act of engaging people with your language was a stimulant like no other. A healthy thirst that was truly satisfying to quench.That day planted the seed that ultimately birthed the Words of Action, a series of seminars and keynotes speeches designed to inspire individuals to pursue their dreams. I have had the pleasure of speaking for non-profit organizations, colleges, universities, corporations, and at conferences. Whether speaking to a group of aspiring entrepreneurs or an assembly of youth and young adults, I strive to deliver a motivating, action-oriented message: “We all have the power to dream, we all have the ability to take action toward our dreams and we all possess the talent inside to successfully achieve our dreams.”

Entrepreneur of the Year (February 2009)

One of my proudest accomplishments. Not only to be recognized as the Central Florida Entrepreneur of the Year, but to be presented with the Award from my mentor Dr. Robert Spooney.

I don’t do what I do for the recognition, but I am always humbly thankful when it is bestowed upon me.

Launched Pure Platinum Studio (2007-2010)

An unexpected venture, but a truly enjoyable one, Pure Platinum Studio was my foray into the health and beauty industry. With no experience in the industry, I purchased a 900 sq.ft., struggling salon in a local strip plaza with 8 available stations.(My Real estate company was doing well and I was open to new investment opportunities.) With a few modifications and some entrepreneurial drive, within six months, Pure Platinum Studio was fully staffed with a waiting list of licensed professionals knocking on the door.

In less than a year, Pure Platinum Studio ultimately evolved into a full-service day spa and was one of the largest in the Central Florida area, located in its own 4,000 sq. ft. free standing building. Seventeen-floor stations, numerous private rooms for an array of spa services, separate manicure and pedicure rooms, 2 spacious customer lounges and a staff of over 20 licensed professionals. Thanks to its rapid growth, I ultimately sold Pure Platinum Studio in 2010. Not bad for someone who has still to this day never even put a pair of barber clippers to an individual’s head.

Real Estate Clients Featured on the Cover of Black Enterprise Magazine (August 2005)

My clients were featured on the cover of Black Enterprise’s August 2005 edition which focused on Home Ownership in the African-American community. They were first-time buyers I had the pleasure of helping to navigate through the process of homeownership from start to finish. Today they are still clients of mine, as well as friends having purchased and sold multiple homes with me during my real estate career and ultimately after starting their own business, are current advertisers with RYSE.

The Launch of Platinum Property Group of Central Florida (2003 – 2010)

My very first business venture, Platinum Property Group of Central Florida, Inc. was a dynamic full-service real estate firm and mortgage brokerage. I entered the real estate industry after purchasing my first home at the age of 22. I wanted to help increase homeownership in the minority community. After 5 years in the real estate industry working for real estate giants Century 21 and Coldwell Banker, I took a more technology-based approach and launched PPG from my living room with a corner desk I had purchased from Walmart and a computer I bought on Ebay. The emergence of web-based technology meant less overhead and therefore more commission for my team of professionals who began joining me on this mission to address the real estate needs of our diverse clientele in the Central Florida area. From condos to castles, my dedicated team assisted individuals and families with all of their real estate needs until the economic recession caused us to finally close our doors.

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