Program Updates

Q&A: Marques Williams Steps Up To The Plate For YBA

By February 16, 2022 May 16th, 2023 No Comments

As we look ahead to Season V of our Softball Summit Series Fundraiser in April, we decided to throw out three “softball” questions to Marques Williams, the event’s founder and YBA board member. Here’s some insight into how he’s historically stepped up to the plate and is planning to hit it out of the park for YBA in 2022.

Pitch #1: What made you “step up to the plate” and originally create the YBA Softball Summit Series back in 2016?

My involvement is rooted in what originally attracted me to Youth Business Alliance – speaking in the classroom and sharing insights from my professional experience. After being filled with excitement from speaking  directly to students, I doubled-down and took a Board seat. Once there, I found that there was a lot of latitude to create new programming and engage with the community. So I started thinking about how I could leverage what I know and do best. Connecting entrepreneurs is something I do everyday. And I also was previously a professional baseball player. So I thought I could create an event that combined both and get friends and clients involved to support YBA. In Season I, our first year, we bussed 100 students and truly created a collaborative culture between entrepreneurs and students.

Pitch #2: What is one of your top, most memorable highlights from the last four seasons of the YBA Softball Summit Series?

One of my favorite stories is about a special interactive race we often do with students and participants. Picture this – everyone is lined up on the third base line. They’ve made sure their shoes are tied, assumed race position, and then I said, “Before we get the race started, I’d like to ask everyone a few questions.” Then I asked, “Take a step forward if you grew up in a two parent household.” And then said, “Now take another step forward if your parents graduated from a four year university.” I continued to ask about eight more similar questions. After asking all the questions, I then shared insights into what this showed – that all of the questions I asked were either tied to something outside of your control and/or a challenge you had to overcome. And that everyone’s starting point in their personal and professional lives are different. I felt it illuminated why everyone was at the event and why YBA is so important and how it makes an incredible difference for YBA students.

Pitch #3: What goals have you set to achieve for Season V of the Softball Summit Series Fundraiser?

We have some aggressive goals for Season V! Of course, we want to continue to expand our relationships with sponsorship partners and get them to see how the YBA magic works. We’re already working hard to get partners from a variety of industries and professions to come out to the event as participation really sparks them to get involved in YBA in a deeper capacity. But our biggest goal is to raise at least $50,000 for YBA through this event. That’s double what we raised at our Season IV event in 2019 but I always swing for the fences!

YBA’s Softball Summit Series Fundraiser invites YBA students and donors to support the organization in increasing access for business skills to youth in underserved communities. Youth Business Alliance helps students discover their dreams and embrace their brilliance through real-world business experiences that build confidence, career opportunities and life-changing skills.