Magic Johnson Makes Appearance at NC&T Speaker Series

Earvin "Magic" Johnson, a business mogul, spoke to a sold-out audience at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University's Harrison Auditorium on March 29. During his speech, he shared a personal story of corporate development and practical expertise. Johnson gave a keynote address titled "Building Black Businesses" as part of the Chancellor's Speaker Series.


During this Magic Johnson appearance, he encouraged guests to remember one thing above all others right as he reached the stage.


“If you don’t dream it, you can’t become it,” he said. “See yourself in that [CEO] position. Here it is 40 years later, and I am that CEO.” This statement was about his own experience as a young janitor who would envision himself as the CEO one day.


During the event, Johnson emphasized the importance of investing in urban America through expanded housing and retail opportunities, as well as creating jobs.


“A lot of money leaves our communities because somebody else owns the businesses. We need our own businesses,” said Johnson.


Johnson prospered with Magic Johnson movie theaters and Starbucks franchise stores in urban areas, among many other ventures. Recognizing and understanding his consumer base was and continues to be crucial to his success.


“What’s the number one thing our people like to do?” Johnson asked the crowd. “We like to do things with our families. So, I built [movie] theaters in our communities. It changed the game.”


Although developing a business is critical, Johnson believes that maintaining customer service and technology is equally vital for long-term success.


“I’m all about striving for excellence every single day. If you’re about excellence, business will be there. You must be first in class. If your customers understand that about you, they will become your brand ambassadors,” he continued. “I over-deliver to my customers and clients and if you over-deliver, you’ll get the customer you want.”


Johnson then urged guests to embrace a policy of “us,” not “me,” in addition to developing and improving company knowledge and skill.


“My whole thing is about opening the door for other people to come through,” said Johnson. “I want to make sure I help create other millionaires who are successful and can run their own businesses.”


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