Jasmine Morgan grew up thinking she’d go to med school and become a doctor. “My whole life until high school I wanted to be a pediatrician,” she says. But then a funny thing happened when she got to Brookwood High School in Snellville as a freshman in 2006. One of her teachers, Cindy Quinlan, saw something special in the young girl and steered her into both DECA and the marketing and entrepreneurship courses taught as part of the school’s Career, Technical & Agricultural Education (CTAE) program.
Maybe it was the field trip her sports marketing class took to the Atlanta Braves headquarters that sealed the deal – the opportunity to see the business side of a sports organization and get a feel for all the behind-the-scenes hustle and bustle that goes into branding the team, filling the stadium, securing sponsorships, managing broadcast relationships, etc. “Being on-site was really a cool thing,” she recalls.
She and her classmates were able to see that teamwork was just as important in the front office as it was on the field, and that was indeed one of the major lessons from her sports marketing class. “Most of our projects were kind of group-based,” she says. “We had to work as a team. We had to work together to develop a plan and then figure out how to put it into motion.”
Whatever the catalyst, Jasmine was quickly hooked on all phases and dimensions of marketing, from business planning and management to interacting and networking with people. She also seemed to have an instinctive understanding for branding and how it works – starting at a personal level. “You’re a walking billboard every day,” she says.
After sports marketing came a class in fashion marketing – a passion she plans to pursue one day with her own brand. The students basically had to create their own business. Jasmine designed a handbag, then bought the materials she needed and put it together. She also had to develop a floor plan for her store and work through all the point-of-sale and product placement challenges.
“Those career education programs – and DECA – gave me an opportunity not just to learn things, but to do things. It’s hard to overstate just how important all that experience was.” — Jasmine Morgan
In addition to her studies, Jasmine got involved with Brookwood High’s chapter of DECA, the high school and collegiate organization for students and teachers interested in business marketing and management. The Brookwood DECA chapter had fallen on tough times, but Jasmine took on the task of rebuilding the membership and, as president, taking it to the state championship competition.
All that classroom and organizational experience helped build Jasmine’s confidence. “The hands-on experience really made me believe I could do all of these things well,” she says. “Somewhere along the way, I thought, ‘Gosh, I’m really good at this – and it was something I really loved.”
After graduating from high school, Jasmine moved more than 300 miles from Snellville, Ga., to Starkville, Miss., to pursue a business degree at Mississippi State University. At MSU, she continued to excel academically and as a leader, becoming president of the student association for the College of Business. In May 2014 she graduated Magna Cum Laude and returned to Atlanta. Back home, she quickly got involved with Mississippi State’s Atlanta Alumni Chapter and already chairs its local scholarship committee.
She also quickly landed a job that took her right back to the roots she put down in that sports marketing class at Brookwood High nearly a decade ago. Today she’s a sports marketing specialist for the company that owns 680 the Fan, which is the home of the Atlanta Braves Radio Network, and is responsible for driving results for local businesses through a mix of sales and marketing efforts.
“You can draw a pretty straight line from those early marketing classes to where I am today,” Jasmine says. “Those career education programs – and DECA – gave me an opportunity not just to learn things, but to do things. It’s hard to overstate just how important all that experience was.”