The SIP, short for The Coke Scholars Ignite Podcast, shares a taste of the Coke Scholars around the world who are igniting positive change.
Get to know the guests we’ll be learning from in our second season!
2009 Coca-Cola Scholar
Author of Million Dollar Scholar and Co-Founder & Co-CEO of BREAUX Capital
Derrius Quarles was born on Chicago’s South Side as the grandson of a Mississippi sharecropper and Great Migration participant. Derrius is a 13 year foster care survivor, traversing four foster homes, welfare, and public housing through childhood. These experiences meant Derrius grew up with a keen understanding of how poverty, income inequality, and social disenfranchisement impact lives. From an early age, he asked deep sociological questions and envisioned a life of significance for himself.
As an author, social entrepreneur, digital marketer, investor, and thought leader, Derrius has nurtured a diverse set of talents to advance a culture of health globally. His first book, Million Dollar Scholar: Winning The Scholarship Race has assisted thousands of students across the globe increase their knowledge of how to make higher education more affordable. He is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of BREAUX Capital – a financial technology company that is helping Black Men pool their funds in community with one another to invest collectively and create intergenerational wealth. Across his BREAUX and Company investment portfolio, his business ventures have collectively impacted the lives of over 25,000 marginalized families in America.
Coined a “financial prodigy” by The New York Times, his work has been covered by prominent international media outlets including The Associated Press, Black Enterprise, and CNN.
Derrius was recently named to Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30 innovator’s list and he delivered a TED Talk at TED Headquarters to propose a new model for addressing financial wellness in communities that have been traumatized by racism in the financial service industry.
You can learn more about his work and journey at www.derriusquarles.com.
2008 Coca-Cola Scholar
Founder and CEO of Millennial Action Project
Steven Olikara (@StevenOlikara) is a political entrepreneur, and Founder & CEO of Millennial Action Project (MAP), the largest nonpartisan organization of millennial lawmakers in the U.S. Working with over 1,500 elected leaders in Congress and state legislatures, MAP is building a new generation of leadership to bridge divides and strengthen our democracy. A nationally-recognized political commentator, Steven has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NBC News, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, and many other news outlets. An avid musician, he is also co-author of the book, JFK: THE LAST SPEECH, on the role of artists in democracy. Steven hosts the WisPolitics.com and UW-Milwaukee podcast, ‘Meeting in Middle America,’ and is the subject of the forthcoming documentary, ‘The Reunited States.’
Previously, Steven advised two multi-platinum recording artists on youth empowerment and sustainable energy initiatives, including Akon Lighting Africa which electrified over 1 million homes in Africa with solar power. Steven also served as Truman Fellow at the World Bank where he focused on environmental protection. He has been a featured speaker at venues such as the Aspen Ideas Festival, the White House, Harvard’s Institute of Politics, SXSW, and the United Nations. He serves on numerous Boards and Commissions focused on advancing human rights, democracy, national service, and the performing arts, including the AMEL Project, Issue One, the University of Wisconsin International Division, and the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Performing Arts.
Steven has been named a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum, a Forbes 30 Under 30 in Law & Policy in 2017, and an Aspen Institute Ideas Scholar. A proud Wisconsinite, Steven graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a Udall and Truman Scholar. He is based in Milwaukee, WI.
2000 Coca-Cola Scholar
Vice President of Programs and Racial Wealth Equity, Prosperity Now
Lillian Singh has spent her career coaching teams, organizations, and communities on building and owning their power towards economic resilience.
As Vice President of Programs and Racial Wealth Equity, Lillian provides vision, leadership, and management accountability to project grants and contracts focusing on racial economic equity and financial security.
Lillian was recruited to Prosperity Now to co-launch the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative in 2015. In five years, she has built the initiative from a small pilot to a multi-million-dollar, organization-wide effort.
Lillian joined Prosperity Now from the NAACP, where she helped launch the Financial Freedom Center in DC. She then managed the Financial Freedom Campaign, which organized with over 15 NAACP state conferences to stabilize communities impacted by predatory lending practices. At the height of the Great Recession, she also challenged corporations through constructive dialogue to modify mortgage lending and savings products to serve African American communities better and partnered with financial institutions to co-create culturally appropriate financial education and financial capability products.
Lillian is a licensed securities and investment representative and uses these lessons to inform the project development and implementation. She holds a BA in Urban Planning and a MA in Sociology, both from Stanford University.
2004 Coca-Cola Scholar
Author of The New Rules of Work and Founder and CEO of The Muse
Kathryn Minshew is the CEO & Founder of The Muse, a career platform used by over 75 million people to find their best-fit jobs, companies and careers. The Muse was recently named one of Fast Company’s 50 Most Innovative Companies in the World.
Kathryn is the host of The Muse’s podcast, The New Rules of Work. She has spoken at MIT and Harvard, contributed to The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review, and appeared on TODAY and CNN. In addition, Kathryn & The Muse have been named to Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500, Marie Claire’s The New Guard, SmartCEO’s Future50 Visionary CEOs, New York on Tech’s Disruptors and Innovators, Inc.’s 30 Under 35 and Female Founders 100, One Young World’s Entrepreneur of the Year and many more.
Before founding The Muse, Kathryn worked on HPV vaccine introduction in Rwanda with the Clinton Health Access Initiative, and was previously at McKinsey & Company. Her first book, “The New Rules of Work: The Muse Playbook for Navigating Your Career” (Crown Business, April 2017), was a Wall Street Journal national bestseller.
1990 Coca-Cola Scholar
CEO and Co-Founder of Vault Health
Jason Feldman is the Co-Founder and CEO of Vault Health – a fast growing startup providing specialized healthcare for men… at home. Vault has scaled to become one of the largest COVID-19 testing companies in America across all industries including pro sports, universities, corporations and government conducting millions of tests to help restart the US economy.
Before founding Vault, Jason was Head of Prime Video Direct, Amazon’s self-service marketplace for studios, distributors and content creators to make their content available on Prime Video in over 200 countries. In his prior leadership role at Amazon, Jason led Global Innovation and Global Vendor Management, expanding Amazon’s retail reach around the world.
A long-time senior leader in retail and consumer products, Jason helped build brands, innovate new e-commerce distribution platforms and retail format portfolios for L’Oreal, Hanesbrands and Home Depot. He studied international communications and has a Master’s in Public Administration from The George Washington University. Feldman is a father to 18-year-old triplets and lives in New York.
2013 Coca-Cola Scholar
Founder and Executive Director of Hope in a Box
Joe English is the Founder of Hope in a Box, a national nonprofit that helps educators create safe, welcoming, and inclusive classrooms for LGBTQ students. The organization provides educators with curated boxes of books with LGBTQ characters, detailed curriculum for these books, and training and mentorship on how to build an inclusive classroom. In 18 months, Hope in a Box has grown from a small pilot into a national program supporting hundreds of schools in all 50 states. Joe’s work has been featured by USA Today, Education Week, Politico, Teen Vogue, Forbes, Times Union, The Advocate, and the United Nations.
Prior to Hope in a Box, Joe worked for Generation.org, the world’s largest education to employment NGO, and for McKinsey & Company, where he focused on public education and economic development.
Joe was named Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2019 and is the recipient of the Jefferson Award for Public Service. He graduated in 2017 from Yale College, where he was elected student body president.
Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation Board Member
Chief Executive Officer of Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling Company LLC
Ulysses L. Bridgeman Jr. is the owner and chief executive officer of Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling Company, LLC, a Kansas limited liability company which owns and operates a Coca-Cola production/manufacturing facility in Lenexa, Kansas, and 17 Coca-Cola distribution facilities sprinkled across the USA’s heartland, including Kansas, Missouri and Illinois.
Mr. Bridgeman is also part owner of Coca-Cola Canada Bottling Limited with Larry Tanenbaum, a prominent Canadian businessman and philanthropist. Coca-Cola Canada Bottling Limited employs approximately 5,800 associates and operates five production facilities and over 50 sales and distribution centers. Coca-Cola Canada Bottling Limited conducts business in all 10 Canadian provinces and three territories.
Mr. Bridgeman acquired the Heartland manufacturing and bottling territories from Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, LLC in late February 2017. The Coca-Cola Canada Bottling Limited acquisition was completed in October 2018, and both transactions made Mr. Bridgeman one of the Coca-Cola system’s newest independent bottlers.
Prior to acquisition of the Heartland and Canadian bottling operations, Mr. Bridgeman was the owner and chief executive officer of various companies operating over 450 restaurants in 20 states, including 263 Wendy’s restaurants and 123 Chili’s restaurants. His companies received several prestigious awards during his tenure including the Diamond Award (most effective neighborhood marketer), the Wendy Award (exemplary performance by a franchisee), the Founder’s Award (recognizing operational excellence by a franchisee), the Jim Near Legacy Award (for employer of choice) and the Hall of Fame Award (for overall achievement) from Wendy’s International, and the Franchisee of the Year Award (2012) and the Chili’s Sales Award (2015) from Brinker International.
Mr. Bridgeman attended the University of Louisville where he graduated in 1975 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. He was a three-year letter winner and starter on the University’s basketball team, receiving All American honors as a senior. From 1975 to 1983 and from 1986 to 1987, Mr. Bridgeman played professional basketball with the Milwaukee Bucks. During the interim period of 1983 to 1986, he played for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Mr. Bridgeman currently serves on the Board of Directors of Meijer, Inc., Churchill Downs, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, the James Graham Brown Foundation, Simmons College, and the West End School. He served as past chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Louisville.
Mr. Bridgeman has personally received many awards, including the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame; Volunteers of America Tribute Award for Outstanding Service to the Commonwealth of Kentucky; John Thompson Foundation Outstanding Achievement Award; Coach John Wooden Key to Life Award and the Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.