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This was the scene last night at PresentTense LA put on by the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles staged at the Bergamont Station. A festive and crowded affair which highlighted young entrepreneurs pitching their companies to a a packed house of onlooker, potential backer, family and friends.

So what does that have to do with me you may ask? Our design firm helped create the brand identity and the collateral materials for the companies represented. In collaboration with the Jewish Federation our firm, BTS Communications helped the young professionals present themselves via lectures about marketing and public speaking as well as working with. Our founder and creative director John Sullivan helped the entrants hone their short pitches that were highlighted at last night’s event. John won LA Fast Pitch a few years back and is well schooled to advise anyone on how to do a “quick elevator pitch” of their business. In all the event was a great success and I was proud of the work our staff senior art director Kendl Ferencz and art director Zach Fetters did to support the presenters. Ok so that was how my night went and it came after a long day that included another business pitch event that happened yesterday morning at the Twin Towers Jail downtown LA.

EBI Recently our firm designed logos and posters for Sheriff Lee Baca’s Education Based Incarceration program. In the process of doing that John Sullivan and I were asked by Deputy Dave Bates to attend a graduation of the inmates of the program. It was a very moving and inspirational experience. Here were inmates showing the work they had done in the program with the hope in their eyes and actions that they would be recognized. I was surprised at the amazing support and synergy that Deputy Bates and the sheriff’s staff showed for the inmates. As a wind-up to the event, inmates who were artists displayed their work. The work was done in pencil on bond paper. Most of it was excellent. After seeing the gallery of work I approached Deputy Bates and told him I’d like to help the artists in any way I could.EBI3 My chance came yesterday as I was asked to listen to EBI student-inmates pitch business ideas which were assembled in a powerpoint presentation. In a three hour event I watched and commented on a half dozen of them and it was an eye-opening and inspiring show of talent. All the work done had logos, artwork and in most cases financial spreadsheets. I was impressed with the efforts, research and passion the inmates showed. With limited tools under very strict and difficult living conditions they produced work that could compare to the Jewish Entrepreneurs I saw later in the day. Inspiration, innovation and passion are not bound by grey walls and lockdown steel doors. It lives in the minds of those who dare.