Kenny Williams Jr. Attends the Forbes Under 30 Summit

The 2017 Forbes Under 30 Summit took place from October 1 - 4 in Boston and ComArtSci’s own Kenny Williams Jr. was there for all the action. The event included more than 7,000 attendees, over 25 industries and nearly 200 world-class speakers. Williams, a current PR master’s student, was named one of Forbes Under 30 Scholars and was able to attend the summit free of charge.

“I keep looking at the email to make sure they got the right person,” said Williams. “It feels good that my work is being recognized and hopefully I can set the bar for other students at ComArtSci.”

Tracking Down a Spot

Williams was completing an unpaid internship in New York City this summer when he came across the 30 Under 30 list. Inspired by the change-makers, he wanted to attend the summit, but the attendance fee was too much of a barrier.  


“I emailed the Forbes 30 Under 30 team and was just completely transparent,” said Williams. “The person I emailed forwarded me to the coordinator of the event.”

From there, Williams was sent an application for the under 30 scholars program and was one of about 1,000 students chosen. His persistence led to the networking opportunity of a lifetime and resulted in getting his face on a mock magazine cover.

“It made me excited because I can only hope and work hard to actually be on the cover of the actual Forbes magazine in the future,” said Williams.

Reaching the Summit

Williams described his experience at the summit as nothing short of amazing. He spent the four days surrounded by some of the most innovative minds in the world and learned how to make a difference in the community by doing what he loves.

“The best part of this conference has been representing Michigan State with another Forbes Under 30 Scholar, Kady Cox, and an MSU alum and one of my best friends, Fran Pugh,” said Williams. “There was representation from so many other schools, but the fact that MSU was there made my heart smile because our school produces some of the hardest working students ever. Go green!”

Aside from representing MSU, one of Williams’ favorite moments was getting to hear Kendrick Lamar speak.

“He said that ‘failure is the one thing that stops us from being our own entrepreneur’,” said Williams. “As someone who aspires to have his own business, this reinforced the fact that I can’t let fear stop my own dreams.”

Controlling the Story

After graduation, Williams hopes to have a career in entertainment public relations. He’d like to own his own firm as a publicist for celebrities and politicians. Attending the summit has only made him more hungry for his future.

“My biggest takeaway was to have control over my own story and tell it how I want to,” said Williams, mentioning Tyler Oakley’s panel discussion on making an impact with your story and TJ Miller’s comment that you have to work harder than everyone else around you to earn success.

“This was so insightful because I feel at times that it’s so hard for all of us to see the bigger picture, especially as millennials in college,” said Williams. “It’s important for me to keep working hard and knowing that the end results will be so worth it.”

By Kaitlin Dudlets