“The stage fright evaporated when I stepped into the spotlight,” said Magloire Lubika, about delivering his 3-minute pitch to a live audience at the Future Fund 10 event at the Triad Stage in April. Lubika is a Bryan School senior studying business administration, and he was at the event to compete for funding for a non-profit he created called Smell the Roses.
Smell the Roses assists Greensboro’s homeless population by focusing on the emotional effects of homelessness, and helping society change their views of it.
The stakes were high. Lubika and nine other finalists were selected from 59 non-profits that submitted videos earlier in the year. They were competing for a $20,000 grand prize by pitching their non-profit organizations.
Each finalist received a team of three people to help polish their pitch. One of Lubika’s coaches, Mary Swantek, associate director of development at UNCG’s College of Arts and Sciences, said, “He’s an excellent student, and so eager to learn and grow – all this while is running this non-profit, and going to school fulltime. It’s been beautiful to see his confidence and skill grow so much.”
Lubika also had a little extra help going into his presentation, in the form of a new suit he received during the Bryan School’s 2019 Suit Up event. He was one of 104 students who received sponsorships for a complete professional outfit, thanks to generous donors.
Lubika, whose family immigrated from Uganda to Charlotte, said when arriving for the dress rehearsal for his pitch, people on the street complimented him. “I never had worn a suit, and it was eye-opening to see how people seemed to looked at me in a different way because of this suit!”
On stage for the final event, Lubika said, “I felt so confident wearing a new beautiful suit, and knowing that I was extremely well prepared because I had worked so hard with my wonderful coaches to be over these past four months. When I stepped onto that stage, I searched the audience and found my parents’ faces, took a breath, and delivered my pitch. I felt so happy to help open the eyes of the audience to begin seeing homeless people for who they are – human beings!”
Lubika was thrilled to receive the $2,000 Coaches Award – and he’s even more excited about the opportunities available to him through this process. “The experience, the mentoring, the networking, the friends, all have been expansive. I’m so thankful – so many doors have opened.”
After the awards presentation, a local dentist approached Lubika to offer her services to help the homeless. And the president of a local company expressed how impressed he was with Lubika’s demeanor, confidence, and innovation. “He offered me a job on the spot,” Lubika said. In the few weeks before graduation, Lubika has numerous job opportunities to consider. “I want to get a good job that won’t take me away from being able to make a positive impact on people’s lives through Smell the Roses.”
It all began as a dream for Lubika, that turned into reality. Lubika would like to encourage every student that has a vision to continue to see it when nobody else sees it. “You have to dream the dream until it becomes tangible.”