How many real entrepreneurs do you know? I’m not talking about people who vainly have the title “CEO” or “President” etc. I’m talking about, people who you have witnessed, turn nothing into something. Or, who are “in the pursuit of happiness.” People who I always say, “Bleed Ambition.”
I know Jay from working with him in the past, and his story is a must hear.
Consider this, me giving back to the people. When my annual salary grosses $500 million, this will be part of my charity work. Letting you guys know, letting the community know, a real life testimony, from dreamers; from future REAL CEO’s; From someone who does not take “no” for an answer. (If you guys haven’t noticed, I love
hearing myself talk)
Without further delay, let’s get to know Jay!…………..
: Ok Jay; as usual, I’m going to get right to it. First, tell the people your name, and where your from.
The name is Jay Kei (pronounced just like the initials JK) and I live in New York City. I’ve been a New Yorker for most of my life; grew up in the Bronx, spent my teenage years in Brooklyn, moved to North Carolina on my own at the age of 19, and came running back to New York a year and a half later. New York is
definitely home to me!
I think it’s important that you tell everyone, how many jobs you have had in the past, your current age, and what is your present job title now.
I don’t think I can even count how many jobs I’ve actually had, but I can tell you that I’ve been working non-stop since the age of 16, when I landed my first job as a cashier at Peggy’s Stationery Store in the Bronx.
After having an amazing internship with American Management Association at 17 and a few other positions throughout the years while I attended Hunter College, I acquired a position within Bank of America’s Human Resource Department which definitely gave me a lot of valuable experience. Unfortunately, the position was in NC and I had to give it up once I moved back to NY.
No worries, though, because I enrolled at Baruch College to continue pursuing a BBA in Management and soon started working for GEICO, where I gained tons of experience as an Insurance Agent, Internet Representative, Underwriter, and Sales Supervisor. After almost 4 years, it was time to keep things moving and in February
of 2008, I became a licensed Realtor.
Having the freedom of creating my own schedule, being my own boss, and having more control over my career than ever before paved the way for me to establish The Pi Project,of which I am now Founder and Managing Director at 27 years old.
So you’re telling me, after all these years of changing jobs, getting experience, and trying to find that perfect fit, at 27, you have decided to start your own company?
Of course! The whole purpose of spending the past 10+ years gaining experience in a variety of fields was to make sure that I was laying a solid foundation for myself to be able to do all of the things I want to do professionally. It had nothing to do with finding a perfect fit honestly because each position gave me a
chance to learn something new, to improve my leadership skills, and to familiarize myself with how successful companies and organizations actually operate so that I could someday develop and launch a company of my own.
Do the people understand, what type of courage is required to do so? Even in an economic recession, it looks like your almost starting from scratch. What do you tell yourself for motivation? Were you skeptical at first? How did you get over it?
I honestly don’t think that most people understand all of the work involved in trying to pursue an endeavor like this, especially because of how much planning is involved. In most work situations, everything is already laid out - there are policies, procedures, training materials, resources, etc. - so you are right in saying I am starting from scratch. And it does get tough at times because I know that the team members don’t all know how much
is really going on behind the scenes and may be frustrated that there aren’t more projects/opportunities going on. Imagine trying to motivate a team of people without being able to reward them right away for any of their efforts - it just doesn’t feel right. But, it definitely drives me because it’s in my nature to follow through on anything I set out to accomplish…and as a result, skepticism has no place in my life.
Why did you even start The Pi Project? What do you want to gain or give back to the community? Why give anything back?
I’ve always been very passionate about Entertainment in general - Film, Music, Photography, Fashion, etc. but at the same time have always enjoyed helping other people. Bringing the two together makes complete sense to me because anyone in the public eye, whether a major celebrity or not, has potential to have a
fanbase full of supporters who will listen. Once you have someone’s attention because they respect you as an artist, the work you do, the type of person you are…they will also be interested in other aspects of your life. By becoming involved in different forms of outreach, activism, volunteer work, etc. The Pi Project’s members
are setting a positive example for others and showing that community involvement really does make a difference.
: Besides thanksgiving, how often do you have ‘PI’ on the mind? Give me details. Is it everyday? 24.7? Every so often. Tell the people, how passionate you are about The Pi Project, and you’re other endeavors.
HaHa! How often is Pi on the mind? One word - always!!! This type of endeavor is not a job…it’s a lifestyle and I completely love it!
Is Pi not for profit? If so, how is the future entrepreneur making ends meet?
Jay: Right now, no one involved with The Pi Project (including myself) is doing so because of any financial gain. Almost everyone who pursues a career within the Entertainment Industry knows how important it is to develop a solid portfolio of work in order to have a successful career in the long run. But, it takes a lot of hard work, networking, collaboration, and much more to be able to have the type of portfolio that truly reflects the
talents/abilities of an individual, which is where The Pi Project comes in.
Our members are able to participate in various projects, creative AND outreach related, that will allow them to develop their portfolios (and resumes) in ways that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. As we continue to grow, however, we will be able to qualify for grants/funding on the non-profit side and develop the types of industry contacts that will allow us to book jobs, auditions, and other opportunities for our members (think along the
lines of a talent agency). As for making ends meet right now, don’t forget that I’m a licensed Realtor - the overall market may be suffering, but Manhattan Real Estate is in a category of its own.
What sacrifices have you made for your dream?
Giving up a traditional schedule would probably be the biggest sacrifice. I say this only because there’s no such thing as the “end of the work day,” or the weekend, etc. As I said before, I’m always working. But, don’t take this the wrong way, because I don’t see it as a burden. Sometimes, we have to sacrifice certain
things if we’re serious about achieving certain goals so I know that there’s a very good reason for the sacrifice.
What is your biggest fear?
Even though it’s sort of difficult to answer this because I don’t ever seem to think about things along the lines of being afraid of them, I would probably say that my biggest area of concern regarding The Pi Project is feeling that people are going to be disappointed along the way because things aren’t moving as quickly as they would like. I want to keep my team happy in every way possible and I know that I can’t offer that right now. But, at the same time I do have to realize that it’s not my responsibility to cater to people’s expectations as long as I am being honest with them, keeping them informed, and doing everything I can to keep things moving in the right direction.
: Who would you like to net work with?
One answer again – everyone!
I want an honest answer. What separates you from like a Donald Trump, a Sean Combs, or a Bill Gates? Or what similarities do you guys have?
The similarities would include our work ethic, professionalism, determination, business sense, and other similar qualities. But, I think what separates us is more important…and I don’t mean that in a divisive sort of way, since that separation is what we ALL have in common. As cheesy as it may sound, I feel like every person is like a force of nature….whether an earthquake, thunder storm, tsunami, hurricane, tornado, or whatever, each one is completely unique and has the potential to be as weak or as powerful as as nature allows. The results may vary, but the potential is always there.
Last Words for the public? Where can we hunt you
Right now, we are developing a team for AIDS Walk New York which takes place on May 17th and could use all of the support we can get – sponsors, additional walkers, etc. We are kicking off our Outreach work through our involvement in AIDS Walk, so we definitely want to have a successful campaign and would appreciate all types of involvement and participation. For more information, I can be reached via email@example.com.
Anyone interested in learning more about The Pi Project can check out our team’s interactive site at www.thepisite.com
or visit our main site (currently under construction) at www.thepiproject.com
Thanks for your time! (Find on Facebook! Search Jay Kei)