Austin Native Jonathan Sprinkles to speak at Essence Music Fest

The annual Essence Music Festival is known as "the party with a purpose.” It’s an event primarily sponsored by Essence Magazine, a publication aimed toward African-American women. Celebrating the festival’s 20th anniversary in New Orleans on Jul. 3 to 6, the festival’s speaker line-up this year includes Austinite Jonathan Sprinkles.

Jonathan Sprinkles is scheduled to speak during a Verizon/Disney Empowerment session—Empower You Tour: How Do You Build Your Network? Jonathan is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and he’s filled with wisdom and humor.

Jonathan grew up in the Capitol City and attended Anderson High School. He was a proud member of Praise Tabernacle, previously located on East Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. According to his biography, Jonathan’s passion for helping people perform at their best stems from the agony that he felt when he lost his father to cancer at the age of 15. Attempting to mask the pain, he gave into peer pressure and the low expectations that surround contemporary young men.

However, Jonathan’s spirit wouldn’t allow him to stay down.

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Refusing to settle for life’s second best, he graduated from the University of Texas and its fourth-ranked marketing program in the country. At graduation, he was awarded the two highest leadership designations given to any student out of an enrollment of over 53,000. After college, Jonathan enjoyed a thriving career as a top salesman at Dell Computer during their biggest sales years.

“I made up my mind in college to do three things: Travel, be my own boss and to help people. When I graduated, I didn’t look for a job that matched my goals, but the Dell job came and I took it. While working at Dell, I kept my eyes on speaking,” he says.

Jonathan began his path to national fame by actively pursuing his personal interests. “I started by talking to kids on the weekend about making positive choices. I went on to speak at banquets for high schools, and I joined Toastmasters. I would listen to tapes in my car.”

The Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities named Jonathan Campus Speaker of the Year before he was noticed by national organizations, and his speaking career took off. When it took off, he followed.

“I had a carefully crafted plan and eventually, I resigned from Dell and became an entrepreneur. This separation came after a lot of planning and hard work,” added Jonathan.

He has since won numerous awards and has been named the Houston Business Journal’s “40 under 40” for being one of the top entrepreneurs in the fourth largest city in the U.S. Having already appeared on ABC, FOX News, Headline News, USA Today, Disney Dreamers and The Huffington Post, Jonathan will motivate and encourage during the 2014 Essence Music Festival.

In addition to Sprinkles, other festival speakers include Bishop T.D. Jakes, Steve Harvey, Lisa Nichols, Alicia Keys, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Iyanla Vanzant, Mayor Karim Reed (Atlanta), Rev. Al Sharpton, Marc Morial and Sarah Jakes.

A-List musical talent includes Prince, Charlie Wilson, Lionel Richie, Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Ledisi, Tank, NAS, Trey Songz and Erica Campbell.

Naomi will also attend the festival. Follow her coverage.

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