“‘Katie’ … I will forever remember that phone call from Davidson alumnus Bryant Barr ’10 … ‘We’ve thought it through, and we would love to have you join our team this summer.’ It changed my life.”
What if I told you that arguably the greatest point guard to ever play professional basketball is a better person and a better boss than he is a player? You probably wouldn’t believe me. Six months ago, I wouldn’t have believed myself either.
But working alongside Stephen Curry, you’d never know he is a three-time NBA champion, two-time MVP (the NBA’s only unanimous selection), six-time All-Star, and holds so many three-point records you can hardly count them. Stephen treats everyone as if they’re friends—colleagues, business partners, second graders, adoring and even obsessive fans; no one is ever an inconvenience. It’s also no surprise, then, that Stephen makes it a priority to surround himself with a team of likeminded people, all of whom welcomed me warmly to my new summer home.
That was my first clue the six-week internship with SC30 Inc. would be special.
July 8, 2019 | 7:30 a.m.
I walked into the office with my stomach in knots. In minutes, I discovered my first project would be assisting with the launch of Stephen and Ayesha Curry’s new Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation … the first task: help organize an event for 900 underprivileged kids from Oakland that would take place in nine days. There was no time to be nervous.
Nine days seemed like nine hours. As is the case with everything the Currys touch, meticulous thought and preparation went into every detail, and their vision was fulfilled through a team effort. Stephen and Ayesha prioritized spending time with the campers, so we worked to coordinate perfectly the 12 different learning stations at the park at Lake Merritt. Each station was run by one of their many partners—Under Armour, Google, JP Morgan Chase, Rakuten, PGA Reach, the Golden State Warriors and others—with one goal in mind: provide an unforgettable day filled with activities that would engage the kids in each of the Foundation’s three pillars—access to quality education, healthy eating and physical activity.
Underprivileged, Meet Underrated
The next four hours were magical. As if their quiet financial contribution wasn’t enough, Stephen and Ayesha visited every station and helped campers build Legos, learn golf, play virtual reality games and assemble healthy snack bags. But they saved the best for last, as both braved the cold water of the dunk tank and cheered for the kids (and their own daughters) to hit the bullseye. After the final dunk that left Stephen drenched, the Currys announced every camper would receive a brand-new pair of Stephen’s Under Armour basketball shoes as a back-to-school gift. I left that day inspired by the joy that surprise brought to the park full of adoring kids; it was a day unlike any other.
Over the next five weeks, I felt Stephen’s giving spirit everywhere as I worked with the SC30 team on a number of exciting projects within the company’s four pillars—brand partnerships, content and media, philanthropy and investments.
Every strategy had one primary focus—improve the lives of those less fortunate. For instance, Foundation CEO Chris Helfrich and I went on a site visit to the East Oakland Boxing Association to discuss a partnership Stephen knew would create a lifeline for the club’s underprivileged youth and help close their opportunity gap; a place less about developing boxers and more about providing a critical refuge where disadvantaged kids could go to eat, learn, and play in a supportive and safe environment. That same passion to serve also resulted in SC30’s investment in an early-stage company called Guild Education, the funding of Howard University’s men’s AND women’s golf teams, and so much more.
It’s no secret Stephen is also a huge advocate for gender equality, a subject that has become deeply personal for him, especially the pay gap and how to close it. I was so honored to work with SC30 on some of those initiatives, including coordinating Eat. Learn. Play’s first class of college scholarships and running drills at Stephen’s annual all-girls basketball camp. It was gratifying to know that with each project, we were working toward Stephen’s “women deserve equality” goal.
Underrated, Meet Inspired
Kids often dream about the future and where they see themselves as adults. Some want desperately to become astronauts, doctors, or Olympic gold-medalists. Growing up, I never thought, “That’s who I want to be in 20 years.” Apart from playing Division I basketball at a highly academic school, my dreams for the future were a mystery.
But after this summer’s internship with SC30, I finally know … I will make it my mission to work for, or as Stephen says, “WITH,” faithful partners who value integrity, compassion, ethics, generosity, humility and respect; a company with a deeper meaning and honorable mission of selfless service and helping others. A company like SC30 Inc.
That’s how this undersized, small-town girl from Reno, Nevada, plans to write the rest of her story.
This extraordinary opportunity would not have been possible without the support of Economics Professor Fred Smith, Men’s Basketball Coach Bob McKillop and my teammates and coaches. Thank you! And to Stephen, Bryant and Chris … the real-world business experience I gained was invaluable, but your incredible kindness, warmth and passion are what will stay with me forever.