On June 29, MadameNoire was the proud media sponsor for Tola Lawal’s not-for-profit event, ReservationFor10. Lawal created the organization to give access to young adults, ages 18-23 to meet media executives over an intimate dinner. For the first session in the dinner series, Peter Rosenberg from Hot 97 spoke to students about his college experience at the University of Maryland and how he grew his brand over the years. During his speech, Rosenberg acknowledged his white privilege along with navigating workspaces where his coworkers and work content did not reflect his suburban upbringing. He also heavily emphasized to students that they must start thinking about their passions and how they can financially benefit from them. By doing so, students will know early on what sacrifices need to be made in order for their dreams to come to fruition.
MadameNoire spoke to the woman who brought this brainchild to life. A Pace University alum, Lawal entered the media industry while she was still an undergrad. By the time she graduated, Lawal began to work at BET and other Viacom brands. Since then, she has made her mark by launching various marketing campaigns for Sean “Diddy” Combs and Carol’s Daughter, to name a few. Below she shares with MadameNoire why she decided to give back to her community and what we can expect from her endeavors.
MadameNoire: Why did you create ReservationFor10?
Tola Lawal: I’ve always had a passion for creating opportunities for young adults and helping them figure “it” out. Professionally, I’ve been in marketing and have curated branded events/dinners with my partners for almost 10 years. I figured, why not bring the dinner concept to students, but add the educational component to it? Voila! #ReservationFor10 was born.
MN: What are your goals for the brand?
TL: My goals are to build the ReservationFor10 brand to be a resource for our young adults, that includes high school students, college students and recent graduates. It’s becoming increasingly hard for them to open the lines of communication, harder to find jobs because of the steep competition, so I want this dinner series to serve as an open forum that introduces them to professionals, executives, influential people that they normally wouldn’t have access to. I’ll introduce more concepts under the brand slowly… right now I just want to perfect the educational dinners.
MN: What did you wish you knew as a student prior to entering the industry?
TL: Take nothing personally. This industry can be unforgiving and tough. But it’s the business. And that’s exactly what it is, business never personal. Treat it as such.
MN: Where do you envision ReservationFor10 in 20 years?
TL: In 20 years, ReservationFor10 WILL be the “go-to” career resource for young adults. We will be offering more than dinners. It will be a full on mentoring service.
MN: How do you plan on changing the industry with this type of support?
TL: The next generation will be more informed and armed with the tools necessary to change the game. Just to know that I had a hand in that is all I need.
Below are pictures from the first ReservationFor10 dinner: