By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Earlier this fall Millington Central High School alumnus Jason McNary added his name to an exclusive list.
On Oct. 20 in New York City, McNary was a 2016 recipient of the BRAG Business Achievement Award. Past honorees at the annual gala have included June Ambrose (Stylist, Creative Director), Sean Combs (Sean Jean Enterprises), Iman (Model, Entrepreneur), Terry J. Lundgren (CEO, Macy’s Inc.), Zac Posen (Designer), Magic Johnson (Entrepreneur/Philanthropist) and Naomi Campbell (Model).
“It was truly a remarkable experience and honor to know that all of my hard work in the fashion industry had been noticed by top level global executives,” McNary said.
The 1996 MCHS graduate attended the event in October with more than 400 guests in attendance this year. The BRAG Award Gala has become the marquee event for the program to showcase the scholarship program.
The scholarship and internship programs are essential components of the BRAG platform. This, coupled with the professional development programs implemented at various college chapters across the country, has allowed BRAG to successfully launch careers and provide well-needed finances for students to pursue their dreams. Since 1970, more 1000 interns have participated in the BRAG program.
“I believe diversity and mentorship of interns is not just the ethical thing to do but I believe it is the only way,” McNary said. “Throughout my career I have always built well diverse teams that have made me successful in every organization that I have worked for. I also believe in mentorship and investing in young talent is key to every organizations success.”
It had been 20 years since McNary has graduated from MCHS. BRAG started nearly 50 years ago as the only organization in the nation whose primary concentration is preparing, educating and providing financial assistant for African-Americans,Latinos, Asians and other people of color for leadership in retail, fashion and related industries.
Since 1970 our mission is to increase the number of people of color in the executive ranks of retail and beyond. BRAG is a non-profit functioning without a full infrastructure of paid staff. The mission is supported by a volunteer board, advisory board and the annual scholarship Awards Gala.
McNary journey his most recent achievement of the BRAG Award included stop at Vanderbilt in Nashville. He earned a B.A. in International Business. McNary is currently the general manager North and South America with Agnes B.A. Luxury French Brand.
“I am currently focused on further developing myself each day to tackle the current challenges that every leader faces within business,” he said. “As well having been recently married, I am focused on tackling the role of fatherhood outside of business.”
With his personal and professional responsibilities growing, McNary reflects on his strong background that has helped him reach so many milestones already.
“I would like to think key people within my Millington hometown that helped inspire and mentor me along the way,” he said, “such as Kevin McVay, John Strong, Nelba Thomas, Beverly Todd, Leonard Smith, Coach Haddow all teachers, coaches, and principles from Woodstock and Millington High School. That motivated me and drove me to always keep reaching for the impossible and of course my grandparents Joesph and Bernice Crittenden.”
McNary said he is humbled to be one of the successful and awarded MCHS graduates in the world. And he hopes current and future Trojans take advantage of the education they’re receiving in the hall of MCHS.
“It is imperative to firmly believe that anything is possible regardless of where you come from or where you want to go,” he said. “But, belief in yourself, belief in the leaders and workers you choose is necessary. Trust your instincts and trust the guidance of your mentors.
“Regardless of your age, young or old, you should retain mentors who are farther along the path than yourself so that you always have an example before,” McNary concluded. “But, also realize that as you view someone else as your guide and example, someone is viewing you as their guide and example. Diversity is key in any organization and we must learn to value each piece of that diversity as we learn and grow.”
For more information about the BRAG organization and mission, visit us at www.brag.usa.org.