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Marcus Johnson, Jazz and Entrepreneurship Inspired the Audience at AARP

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You could say it was a party with a purpose.  Marcus Johnson, musician, wine entrepreneur, publisher, and producer, artfully blended jazz with tips, personal stories and motivational words about starting and running a business, then pointed out some of the principles that lead to success in any endeavor.

In the audience of  more than 110 AARP members and friends, heads nodded and swayed with the beat,  as Johnson and his band entertained them with several contemporary jazz numbers.  The Brickfield Center of the AARP Building in Northwest DC felt like a jazz club for a while on the evening of March 12th, but it soon morphed into something more like a motivational seminar. People in the audience took notes as they listened to Johnson's presentation on how to live your dreams, especially if that dream is being an entrepreneur.

"I come from a family of entrepreneurs," said Johnson,   "and I always saw myself controlling my own destiny.  Running businesses takes a lot of work, but I don't mind doing it because it's (the business) mine."  During Johnson's PowerPoint presentation, hands shot up around the room.  Mandi Smith and Anthony Wilburn were like eager students in the audience sharing their entrepreneurial dreams in exchange for business advice from Johnson, who holds an MBA and JD from Georgetown University .  Smith has an idea for a television show and Wilburn wants to open a bakery and music venue.  Johnson gave them each a mini business consultation, advised them to get the expertise they need to launch their businesses and encouraged them to work hard and believe in themselves.   More on Johnson at

AARP sponsored the event as part of its Work Reimagined initiative, said DC AARP state director Louis Davis, Jr., and everyone who attended wants more.  "Work Reimagined is dedicated to helping experienced professionals connect to more satisfying careers by exposing them to the contacts, information, and inspiration needed to succeed in today’s job market,"  he concluded.   More on Work Reimagined at

The AARP Black Caucus Strategic Engagement Employee Resource (SEERG), the Brand Alliances team, the DC State Office and Multicultural Marketing and Engagement collaborated on the event.

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