Mr. Willie Gregory Offers Words of Wisdom

Often described as the man who personifies the slogan, “Just do it,” Mr. Willie Gregory, a Nike executive, has worked with top pro athletes, helped bring the Grizzlies to Memphis, spearheaded the largest sports athletic contract for the University of Memphis, worked to quell community unrest, and joined forces with organizations from the Greater Memphis Chamber to the 100 Black Men of America to the National Civil Rights Museum.

Illustrating his talk with examples from his life, he advised the boys to remember three words: relationships, opportunity, and appreciation.
“Relationships take you to where you want to be; they are the foundation of success,” he said. “Youth are 100 percent of our future. Your job is to take advantage of opportunity … and then to show your appreciation.”

When asked by a student the best way to find opportunity, he said, “Education creates opportunity. You stop people from saying, ‘I would give you this job, but you don’t have a degree.’ What you are doing now is helping to create opportunity. You need to take advantage of that opportunity and make good grades.”