WASHINGTON, D.C., May 15, 2012 – Last month, IMPACT led a delegation of young elected officials and other professionals to Copenhagen, Denmark, for the Transatlantic Inclusion Leaders Conference. The goal of the conference was to build a transatlantic network of young leaders dedicated to creating more inclusive governments.
“It was essential for IMPACT to support and participate in this dialogue,” said David Johns, IMPACT’s Director of Development. “Young people have and will continue to be at the forefront of advocating for policies and programs that will improve the communities from which they come.”
The U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Ambassador to Denmark, Laurie S. Fulton, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), and MEP Hannes Swaboda supported the conference.
Ambassador Fulton welcomed all 70 international delegates at a reception at the U.S. Embassy Residence. Fulton also chaired a breakfast meeting on the importance of women, and particularly Black women in power.
The conference also provided a platform for IMPACT delegates to engage in open discourse on issues such as voting reform, voter participation, and effective campaigning.
Specifically, conference participants delved into current issues relevant to this year’s election campaign season, including Islamophobia—an irrational fear or prejudice toward Islam and Muslims.
“The experience enabled us to challenge negative stereotypes held about Americans and our foreign policy while establishing meaningful connections to work at curbing challenges that face minority professionals everywhere,” added Angela Rye, Director of Strategic Partnerships at IMPACT.
IMPACT’s delegation, accompanied by U.S. Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs, Reta Jo Lewis, included community leaders Micah Ali, Chris Cobbs, David Johns, LaToia Jones, Jacqueline Robinson, Angela Rye and Kacie Starr Triplett.
Meet our May 2012 IMPACT Leader Gregory S. Hall. Mr. Hall is in a unique field that impacts thousands of people throughout the world everyday. He is an attraction designer for Universal Creative. He works in the creative studio where he is part of a elite team that designs rides and media for all of the Universal Studios parks globally in Singapore, Hollywood, Japan, and Orlando. Gregory is originally from Gainesville, Florida and completed his education in the Orlando area. There are different trades he developed which are utilized in his current profession. He studied computer animation and story telling, majoring in Digital Media at the University of Central Florida. While attending UCF he obtained a job at the ‘Institute for Simulation and Training’ working in the Augmented Reality Lab. He extended his studies to include industrial design and created many photorealistic concepts of cars and other renderings that are shown on his website www.IamGregoryHall.com.
As an attraction designer, Gregory has worked on a plethora of projects. He primarily collaborates with the vice-president of Universal Creative Thierry Coupe and Executive Producer Mark Rhodes when it comes to developing Designs for Creative Architecture or Digital Media. His involvement includes being a part of the design team for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, King Kong 360, Transformers the Ride 3D, and the Amazing Spiderman 2012. One of the most rewarding aspects of the Transformer project was working on the original car design for the brand new transformer named Evac. Collaborating with his fellow attraction designer and car guy Pat Voglti, Evac’s design became very popular being featured throughout media, the web, and is currently released as a Hasbro toy. Due to his background in computer animation, Gregory also worked on an internal Transformers Commercial teaser. As a result of the teaser’s popularity, he was asked to include some of his work in the 2012 Superbowl commercial.
Hall volunteers his talents at Missionary Baptist church located in Eatonville, Florida where he is one of the senior operators in the video ministry. He also, has delivered presentations at multiple middle and high schools about Career, Digital Media, and Education.
Getting to Know Greg Hall
What inspired you to pursue your current career path?
Brought up within a family of educators, I witnessed my parents influence the lives of other students and families. I naturally wanted to do the same, with a different approach. I grew up surrounded by art, music, and technology which lead to my hobby of drawing and sketching, as well as testing the latest computer software and creating digital media. What I saw was the ability to bring my imagination to life. I remember watching flash animations on the internet and trying to use software I’d downloaded to create my own. As those skills became fluent, 3D was on the rise. I stumbled upon images that appeared to be photographs, yet they were actually 3d rendered. I immediately began to research of how this was done and put it into practice. I envisioned a limitless amount of possibilities to which I could use this skill with the hopes of putting smiles on millions of peoples faces.
What is the key to balancing your professional and social commitments?
In order to reach a goal one must make sacrifices and eliminate the things that interfere with achieving that goal. Speaking things into existence, like telling yourself “you can and you will” helps prioritize a goal and allows nothing to get in the way. I feel that my social commitments will affect how I perform, so I surround myself around positivity, purity and inspiration. I also have a deep passion for my work. That passion is strong enough to make decisions on social commitments easier.
What is the biggest mistake young professionals make?
Unfortunately many young professionals feel a sense of entitlement. Somewhere along their journey they acquired the notion that they could get something for nothing. I must say that at one point, as a teenager, I felt the same way. At first, I was convinced that all I needed was a degree to get a job. Thankfully, I had mentors who were reminded me what it takes to be a successful professional. Some young professionals never reach the realization that nothing is going to be handed to them on a silver platter. As professionals we must continuously improve upon the last success, and not forget that it’s not enough to work hard, but to work smart with a positive attitude.
What advice would you give other young professionals who desire to excel in the nation’s capital? Specifically, for other young men of color?
First, learn to look at yourself from an employer’s point of view. Then ask yourself “why would I hire this person over the thousands of people with the same degree?” You must look beyond your school, city, or country and really analyze what your competition will become. Fortunately, the internet is a great source for checking out your competition. Many people have their portfolios and resumes online, so you can see who you will be competing with once it’s time for your career search. Also, it’s good to look at job postings while you’re still developing your resume, so by the time you graduate you can have a list of requisites checked off.
What’s been the best experience of your career thus far (or the most rewarding)?
The most rewarding experience so far has been to see my work put to life in theme parks, television, and on the internet. Although most people have no idea that I helped create the experience or media, it’s an amazing feeling reading or hearing comments about how the work influenced or inspired others. Whether they are a fan of Transformers, King Kong, or Spiderman if I am creating something for that project I want to make sure that I do the fans justice. I have now grown the desire to fulfill ones expectations, and it is rewarding when I am able to exceed them.
What’s next for you in your career? What should we look out for?
Currently I am working on several huge and exciting projects. They’re classified so I can not reveal them. However, I can’t wait until you all see what’s coming next.
Lastly, give me three words to sum up Gregory Hall?