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Business Observer Thursday, Jun. 25, 2009 13 years ago

Striking a Chord

Tiffany Bolden, 17, uses her mother as inspiration in her career preparation, which she described recently in a song.

Tiffany Bolden, 17, uses her mother as inspiration in her career preparation, which she described recently in a song.

She won third place, but she was first in the hearts of the audience.

Tiffany Bolden, 17, a four-year student with Junior Achievement in Tampa, took third place in a JA group project competition to create a new company by merging other companies, then marketing it.

She followed that up by writing a song, “Just Fine,” for a JA job preparation skills class and singing it at Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in Orlando.

Other than singing it well in front of about 500 people, and writing the words of the song, what made it special was the real-life story behind it.

Bolden aspires to be a neonatal nurse. But her path to get there hasn't been easy.

Bolden lives in a Tampa housing project, in a tough neighborhood, where she has been jumped and beaten. Her father died when she was younger, leaving her single mother to raise herself, her two brothers and three sisters.

Her mother has served as her inspiration, even returning to school herself to get her high school diploma and associate's degree.

“My mom always tells us to keep trying, that hard work will pay off,” Bolden says.

The Junior Achievement Summer Career Institute that Bolden attended is a six-week experience, which focuses on career exploration, skill building, self-awareness and personal development.

“It reinforced what my mom told us, that you can have a better lifestyle if you stay in school and take advantage of the opportunities that are available to you, like JA,” Bolden says.

She has been more than just an average JA student. Junior Achievement picked Bolden as the sole representative of its program in Florida to talk to Ernst & Young about it at the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

Her career choice to go to college to study to be a neonatal nurse actually came from Bolden's summer experiences teaching Junior Achievement's financial literacy programs to children in area summer camps.

“It confirmed that passion,” Bolden says.

JA taught students job seeking skills, such as how to fill out job applications, write a resume and prepare for job interviews. The program asked Bolden and the other students to come up with a 30-second commercial answering the question why an employer should hire them.

The students presented it to a panel of judges who selected the best presentation. Bolden decided to do her commercial as a song, which she sang at the Ernst & Young entrepreneur awards. Here are the lyrics from her song:

The JA judges in Tampa gave the Bolden's job commercial song an honorable mention, and noted its creativity.

But Bolden didn't go home empty handed in Orlando. Ernst & Young presented her with its first Entrepreneur of the Year Youth Award for the Florida program.

Singin' It

Tampa's 17-year-old Tiffany Bolden's job-getting song she performed at Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year program in Orlando.

No time for mopping around
Are you kidding?
No time for negative vibes
cause I'm winning
It's been a long week
I put in my hardest
Gonna live my life
Feels so good to get it right 
So you like what you see
when ya lookin' at me
and reading my application?
Don't stress about the job
I'm going to get it done because
I have my education 
Got my head on straight
Got my mind right
I ain't going to let you forget me
This job is mine!

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