Spotify’s Opening Act Roadshow returns to N.C. A&T

Donecia Dunk, theWord Lead Reporter

Spotify came to the campus of N.C. A&T last week to provide more than just an information session on their internships, but a full interactive event.

Select students were invited by Spotify to the Deese Ballroom to attend the event at 4 p.m. for the third year in a row as a part of their Opening Act Roadshow and packed out four hours with food, finance tips, information on their programs and panel discussions. 

Lashanti Jenkins, Spotify’s Head of Campus and Diversity Recruiting, served as the moderator for the event. The first person to speak was Tarra Jackson, a.k.a. Madam Money and she provided students with financial advice.

Students used a link to select the topics they wanted Jackson to discuss and in what order. She covered Secure the Bag, which was a discussion about negotiating job offers, and told the students that the person that is willing to walk away from the deal is the one who controls the negotiation. 

Her next topic was #SlaySallieMae, which discussed handling student loan debt. Then, C.R.E.A.M. (Credit Rules Everything Around Me) was included, and students learned credit is the financial reputation and the anatomy of a credit score. 

“Credit is like sex. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should and if you do, use protection…a budget,” says Jackson. This was one of the many pieces of financial knowledge she shared as she moved throughout her presentation.

The final two topics were #SaveSomethingSooner and Financial Fornication. The latter of the two was the title of her book that 20 students received who arrived at the event early. At the end of each topic there were opportunities for brief question and answer sessions. 

After Madam Money closed her presentation, Jenkins returned to moderate the panel of current Spotify employees who shared their experience of how they entered Spotify and their career journeys. 

The panel gave a lot of advice for students as well as insight into life at the company.

“It’s okay to keep reinventing yourself and going after your passion,” says Jenkins. “Don’t discount anything you’ve done. Experience is experience. Put yourself out there, be okay with highlighting your accomplishments. Otherwise, you may be overlooked.”

Tristan O’Donnell, Spotify Creative Strategist, advised students, “Don’t get too comfortable in a job. Keep your ears to what’s out there.”

All panelists heavily emphasized the importance of networking, with Senior Engineer Nicholas Got sharing how he believes most jobs are not advertised and you get them because of who you know. 

The session that students seemed to lean in to the most was the Dope Labs Fireside Chat moderated by Xavier “X” Jernigan, Spotify Head of Cultural Partnerships and Content and featuring podcasters, scientists and best friends, Zakiya Whatley and Titi Shodiya. 

Whatley and Shodiya shared how their podcast, “Dope Labs” came about and how they had they idea to share science in a unique way to engage audiences. They applied to Spotify’s Sound Up Bootcamp and ended up winning $10,000 to fund the pilot episode of their podcast.

Woven throughout Whatley, Shodiya and “X”’s stories were plenty of advice and inspiring quotes.

“X” told the audience that if you create your own lane, companies can’t find somebody else to do what you do because you made up your own role. He also mentioned to, “Own your story. Don’t ever let anyone outwork you. Become an expert at whatever it is that you’re good at. There’s no substitute for hard work.”

Jenkins returned to close out the Roadshow with information about how to apply for the highly competitive business and technology internships with Spotify by November 11. 

A lot of companies have come to campus in the past and only provided an information session on how to apply to intern with them, but Spotify gave a session that may have been long, but was filled with knowledge applicable to life outside of solely their company.