Johnnie R. Lovett (2011) 

I’ve come along way from the cart boy at my local grocery store, using money I earned to fund a start up clothing line in high school as a student of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). Today, Fresh Connection Brand is a result of my passion and drive to starting my own business, and having worked with the likes of NBA Superstar Dwyane Wade, Microsoft’s Innovate 4 Good program, and NFTE on collaborative brand and apparel projects its become a viable and essential part of my professional career. In addition to my love for fashion, advertising found a place in my heart. I am honored to be the inaugural recipient of Bill Sharp’s The Future of Advertising award on behalf of the Marcus Graham Project and JWT Atlanta, and now an Assistant Strategic Planner for Commonground Marketing, an emerging ad firm in Chicago, IL. A key part of the strategic thought leadership team, I lead internal efforts for uncovering the current market and consumer trends, help drive consumer insight and nuance, all backed by research facts and applied strategic knowledge.


Taylor Yarborough (2012) 


Shon Davis (2013) 

My name is Shon Davis and I am the Bill Sharp Award winner of 2013.  I am currently working as a Digital Sales Planner in pursuit of becoming an Account Executive in media sales.  I am from Los Angeles, CA, but I graduated from Washington State University with a BA in Communications.  Ad Color was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and being honored at the award show has given me the confidence needed to succeed. Being surrounded by like minded people, shaking hands with individuals that look and think the way I do, seeing them functioning in positions that I am pursuing, has given me direction and the encouragement I needed to know I am not doing it alone. With set goals in mind and mentors here to guide me, a lot will be accomplished, and I will have done so as a Bill Sharp Award recipient. Stay tuned....


This was my third time applying for the Bill Sharp Award. Finally receiving it serves as confirmation to myself that I’ve grown immensely over the past few years and have found my purpose in this industry. The award has not only provided me with monetary assistance to pursue my project, but access to an amazing pool of intellectual capital. Since receiving the award, I’ve been contacted by so many heavy hitters in the industry, excited to help me develop not just this idea, but also other projects that I’m pursuing.

My masters’ thesis focused on identifying the ideal strategy, messaging tone and media mix needed to persuade African-Americans to live healthy lifestyles, encouraging them to implement sustainable food practices into their daily routine. I submitted my research and proposed solution, a multi-faceted lifestyle brand and campaign, to the Clinton Global Initiative University program, and it was accepted as a Commitment to Action.

I plan to use this award to fund the ongoing project. This includes costs to continue research and consumer testing, as well as fees to establish a business entity. This project is serving as my first step towards my long-term goal
of creating my own agency centered on cause marketing.