December 15, 2023
Norfolk, Virginia - On December 12, 2023, Next Step to Success (an affiliate of The James Barry-Robinson Institute) presented, in partnership with the Slover Library Foundation, "An Evening with Ian Rowe." Mr. Rowe is the co-founder and CEO of Vertex Partnership Academies in the Bronx, a two-time Emmy Award winner at MTV, a former White House Freedom Corps Director, and a former Deputy Director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As author of the book "Agency," which seeks to inspire young people to define themselves not by the adversity they encounter but by their determination to carve out a pathway to success, Mr. Rowe visited the current Next Step to Success location and spoke with the students about honing their grit, resilience, growth mindset and personal "agency" in charting a pathway along the Success Sequence. At the Slover Library, Mr. Rowe was joined by fellow experts Michael Toscano, Executive Director of the Institute for Family Studies; Brad Wilcox, Professor of Sociology and Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia; and Norfolk native Charles "Chuck" McPhillips, Founder and Chairman of Next Step to Success, for an insightful discussion of how best to impart the benefits of following the Success Sequence to youth growing up in disadvantaged circumstances.

Mr. Rowe stated, “In an ‘Agency’ view, society’s obligation is to remove as many barriers to success as possible and provide differentiated supports to each young person so that he or she can pursue their own potential to the best of their ability. This approach places the reins of personal destiny firmly in the hands of the individual.” We at Next Step to Success could not agree more, as we believe that all youth want to succeed, all youth can succeed, and all youth deserve the chance to earn success,” stated Next Step to Success Executive Director, Monique Turner-Lopez.

Next Step to Success is grateful to Mr. Rowe for visiting Norfolk and our organization to share his experience and expertise with the students and community. We look forward to continuing to inspire young people while supporting them on their path to success.

Next Step to Success

Next Step to Success is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that offers teens a wide range of activities that will inspire and propel them to become more confident and capable versions of themselves. Through highly intentional programming, teens will learn strategies to maximize their chances for success. Life skills and character strengths such as resilience, grit, growth mindset, learned optimism, self-control, teamwork, problem-solving, and responsible decision-making are central to our program. Next Step to Success is an affiliate of The James Barry-Robinson Institute and the Barry-Robinson Trust.