ExCEL Youth Mentoring Institute

By: Gabrielle Jordan

Poverty , Activist

I can’t believe we’re more than a decade and a half into the 21st century and we can’t brag that ALL Americans have equal access to the “American Dream.” By that I mean there is still workplace discrimination, most especially evidenced by employment and pay gaps, associated with race, gender and/or age. 


Consider this example in the context of racial bias: Unemployment for black Americans runs nearly double that of the national average. Worse still, for every dollar owned by the average white family in the United States, the average family of color has less than one dime

In the context of gender bias: A recent World Economic Forum survey showed that “unconscious bias” from managers was still seen as the biggest barrier to success for women in today’s work place

Finally in the context of ageism, in 2015, 2.8 million college students graduated with bachelor’s master’s and doctoral degrees, with no guarantee of employment. Millennials make up 50 percent of the unemployed, even as the U.S. unemployment rate of 5 percent is the lowest level in years!

Given that young people of color will make-up the majority of working class by 2032, I think it’s really important to empower today’s youth to understand the importance of equal opportunity and to nurture the entrepreneurial access and training at young ages. 

Young people in their late teens and early twenties are at a pivotal point in their lives. While it’s natural for employment rates to be lowest in the teen years — and then rise with age — there has been such a dramatic decline for employment opportunities inside the 16-19 year demographic, that my generation is missing out the acquisition of new skills and and contacts which might otherwise propel us forward in the years ahead.

Further, while high school graduation, college attendance and college graduation rates have increased two-fold since the 1970s, federal data reports that stubborn racial and gender gaps are actually widening. 

Despite the odds, I have not been a victim to these harsh facts. I  started as a kidpreneur at age 9 when I launched my first business, Jewelz of Jordan. By the time I turned 15, I became an International Speaker, Award Winning Entrepreneur, #1 Amazon Bestselling Author and Scholarship Winner. 

In large part, I believe my early success was built on the mentorship and support that surrounded me. I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so as the sixth generation trying to bring something to market, I had a lot of wisdom I could draw from.

I believe that Excellence is Created through Entrepreneurship and Leadership. This motto is how I came to found the ExCEL Youth Mentoring Institute. And it is the foundation of why I want to share my steps and tools for accomplishing those things with my peers.

I believe mentorship provides a transformative effect, which is why I am freely offering ExCEL memberships and video learning libraries. My vision is to cultivate the seeds of leadership & entrepreneurship in every young person. I wanted to be able to touch the lives of thousands of other young people like me and empower them to launch their own initiatives

  • Hi! I'm Gabrielle, founder of ExCEL Youth Mentoring Institute. I began my entrepreneurial journey when I was just 9 years old, with a jewelry business called Jewelz of Jordan. Passionate about my work, I wanted to see other young people -- especially those of color -- create and launch their own businesses too. I took my entrepreneurial experience and my passion for inspiring others and turned it into a nationally recognized #1 Amazon bestselling book, "The Making Of A Young Entrepreneur: A Kids Guide to Developing the Mind-Set for Success." Writing this book launched my career as a speaker and I've been featured on several news and TV productions to speak about philanthropy, entrepreneurship and leadership.

  • I am working to develop myself as an entrepreneur and an artist. Since 9th grade, I've launched two businesses with my team.


Advice for my peers

JOIN THE "DIY" MOVEMENT: We live in an age of social media. The reason there are so many entrepreneurs is because a small team can do roles that were once held by entire corporations just a decade ago. It's also the era where if you don't know how to do it, you can jump online and be taught through a video or by reading a "how to" manual -- which is exactly what I did to learn how to make my first jewelry pieces.

UNCOVER YOUR UNIQUE TALENT: I have an eye for things, especially things that are broken and can be fixed or repurposed into something better. I had a natural talent for jewelry-making because I innately knew how to pair things together.

DON'T LIMIT YOURSELF TO WHAT YOU KNOW: Keep an open mind to what you can learn. No one knows it all. We have to be open to the opportunities to learn and grow that are all around us. 

PUSH PAST YOUR OWN DISCOMFORT: I didn't set out to write a book, that was actually born out of a competition. Had I won, my book would have been automatically been published into the library system. NOT WINNING was hard, but it also taught me how to push past my own discomfort and build my own success. I learned about self-publishing, and was ultimately able to get my book out there. Part of the book promotion process required me to take on speaking engagements. At first I didn't want to do that, because I am more introverted, but when I realized I was inspiring people, it laid the foundation for me to start ExCEL Youth Mentoring, and now I am an international speaker.  

RESEARCH. QUANTIFY. REPEAT. Mentors will always be there to guide you, but the truth is, you have to know where you're going. Research. Learn what you are about to get into. Quanitfy your thinking with someone who has done it before and keep researching for your own fresh ideas. Repeat.

DETAILS ARE IMPORTANT: One of the biggest lessons I've learned is the importance of having things in order. Sometimes you don't realize that you're "failing" at something until time passes and you can see it in hindsight. We spent money on promotional materials without budgeting it out, and then later realized that the funds could have been better spent on some other aspect of our business if we had just mapped it out. If you're starting your own business, make sure that you are choosing to focus on the best things that will grow your company.

YOU ARE AN UNTAPPED LEADER AND DREAMER OF NOW: If people around you don't see it, consider it your job to help them understand. The world needs your genuis! 

Jewelz of Jordan

I founded Jewelz of Jordan in 2009 to feature one-of-a-kind and limited edition handcrafted pieces comprised of gemstones, crystals and cultured pearls. Each piece represents my desire to develop a sense of ageless beauty and elegance inspired by the women in my life.

As a service-oriented teenager and philanthropist, I believe in lending a helping hand and heart to others. I donate a portion of my profits from my book to her favorite charities. I also volunteer as a Youth Ambassador for the Tigerlily Foundation, where I support the mission for breast health, education, wellness and empowerment for girls and women.

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