Janas Jackson
Communications specialist, 49

Her dream:
Last fall Jackson volunteered at a Memphis public high school and was shocked by the number of students who had trouble with basic reading and writing skills. "Sixty-four of Tennessee's 98 lowest-performing schools are in Memphis," she says. "Kids are falling through the cracks." With the dream of organizing a volunteer task force of 500 professionals and retirees to tutor students at risk, Jackson wrote to O, The Oprah Magazine in search of a mentor.

How we made the connection:

Carmen Vega-Rivera, executive director of the East Harlem Tutorial Program, runs exactly the sort of community outreach program in New York that Jackson wants to create in Memphis.

During a marathon phone conference, Vega-Rivera worked with Jackson to develop a plan to organize the Memphis 500. "It's ambitious, but I like a challenge," Jackson says.


Janas Jackson had a great idea: launching a volunteer tutoring task force in Memphis schools. But she wasn't sure where to start. We hooked her up with Carmen Vega-Rivera, executive director of New York's East Harlem Tutorial Program. "Carmen encouraged me to meet with a local organization called Our Children/Our Future," Jackson says. "Now I'm recruiting for them. Through my employer, FedEx, I've helped place over 50 volunteers. I couldn't be happier."

 Nadine Skuble
San Francisco
Financial investor, 29

Her dream:
"Did you ever want to follow your passion into another field of work?" Skuble asked O, The Oprah Magazine, summarizing her idea for a television series that teaches young women about the many paths available to them.

"Each program would show a day in the life of a different woman—a criminal profiler or a firefighter, for example—so viewers could learn what it takes to enter and succeed in a given career."

How we made the connection:

Any hopeful television writer will tell you the hardest part is getting your foot in the door. Which is why Skuble was delighted when Robert Wesley Branch, an executive producer at the Discovery Channel, agreed to meet with her.

Who knows? The story of a financial investor turned television show creator could be the topic of Skuble's first show. We'll keep you posted.


Nadine Skuble hoped to find a producer for the television series she'd like to write, about women and their careers. We put her in touch with Discovery Channel executive producer Robert Wesley Branch, who helped her refine her idea. "He gave me great advice on pitching the show," says Skuble. She has decided to partner with an old friend who runs a production company.


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