Class is Always in Session at UME

At Universal MazJac Enterprises, Inc. (UME), the words “back-to-school” means more than shopping for school supplies, boarding school buses and meeting new teachers and classmates. It means giving back to the community.

UME is a full-service urban marketing and promotions company founded in 1996 and formerly incorporated in 1998. It creates unique sales opportunities for its clients that help them stay connected to the African-American community.

In 2004, UME was selected by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) as the marketing and promotions agency to perform grassroots community outreach to the neighborhoods adversely impacted by the Dan Ryan and Kingery Reconstruction Projects. UME hires men and women, with a particular focus on at-risk youth, to go from door to door handing out flyers, posters, brochures and other relevant information to keep the community informed about the construction projects. These men and women make up the “IDOT Street Team,” and they usually reside in inner-city areas that most people would consider dangerous:  the Ida B. Wells, Harold Ikes, and Robert Taylor housing projects.  Some members are ex-felons searching to find their place in life. UME believes in second chances and enlisted people interested in turning their lives around. As a result, they have learned how to manage their personal problems better by practicing self-discipline and self-reliance, resulting in overall personal growth.

Many Street Team members are high school or college students recruited to work during the summer. The work schedule is flexible, allowing many members to return for weekend or part-time employment. Their experiences with working with UME gives them a sense of pride and contribution; that they are helping their brothers and sisters stay informed about the projects and the best ways to maneuver through the construction maze, which remains through early 2007.

“We have hired over 75 people this summer, ages 16 to 45, to assist us with community outreach efforts for IDOT,” said Maze Jackson, President and CEO of Universal Mazjac Enterprises, Inc. “The Street Team is a way for IDOT to hire individuals who are interested in working for the agency but may not have the qualifications or experience to work on construction sites. This is also a unique way for IDOT to avoid the bureaucratic red tape that is customary in government hiring. If they have a willingness to work hard and a desire to do better, we offer them an opportunity to succeed.”

UME has also focused its recruitment on the Center for Inner City Studies successfully. Groups of kids from the housing projects have been hired as Street Team members and have worked out well. They get to attend lots of events and drive trucks wrapped with the coolest advertising campaign messages.

Street Team members are recruited through various information channels such as community centers and events, academic and corporate job fairs, inquires to elected officials’ offices and the most sure fire way to engage and incite interest – word of mouth.

Other UME clients include Coke, Sprite, McDonald’s, AT&T, Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus, Disney, Boost Mobile, Museum of Science and Industry, Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce.


A New Love

Love. (lŭv) n 1. Intense affection. 2. To enjoy enthusiastically.
3. A beloved person. 4. To feel a love for.

Several definitions are used to describe the word love, but it means something different to each of us. There is platonic love, familial love, romantic love and self-love. What does love mean to you and which kind do you find yourself experiencing most often? If your answer is self-love then you are on the right track to long-term health and happiness! Only you can give yourself the unconditional love you need and deserve. Embrace features that are inherently yours—full lips, deep set eyes, curly locks or straight strands, wide hips, broad shoulders, big feet or whatever it may be. You are beautiful as you are and it’s all good.

This year, vow  celebrate Valentine’s Day by loving to Y-O-U.  Pamper yourself diva style; do whatever brings you joy and peace.

Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Take the day off work and sleep in.
  2. Treat yourself to a spa day to rejuvenate your senses.
  3. Enroll in a yoga class to feel connected mind, body and spirit.
  4. Watch your favorite romance movie.
  5. Savor chocolate-covered strawberries and sip champagne.
  6. Tune your iPod to songs by your favorite artist.
  7. Count your blessings and write down all the things you are grateful for.
  8. Buy that little black dress you’ve always wanted.
  9. Soak in a bubble bath by candlelight.
  10. Look in the mirror, smile and say “I love you!”

Love yourself in 2012 and beyond!


Pervasive Change in the Workplace

Change is very pervasive in global business today. Advancements in technology has a great deal to do with it. Take social media, for instance. This is a platform that began for social interaction with friends. A few years later, big business found ways (like it always does) to infiltrate social networks to sell their goods and services. Mark Zuckerberg may have denied Yahoo’s offer of $1 billion dollars for Facebook when the site was just two years old and Zuckerberg was a college student at Harvard in 2006 (Inc., 2013), but eventually deals were made and Facebook is now the largest social network site in the world.

More than twenty years ago, no one could imagine how powerful their voice would be in advocating for civil rights, building successful personal and consumer brands (or destroying them), foiling potential heists and catching criminals, getting financial support through crowd funding, etc. You name it, it has been seen on Facebook.

That example aside, three key major changes in business today are:

  • The need for crisis preparedness processes - think Parkland School shootings, Las Vegas shootings, Pulse nightclub massacre. Currently and in the last several years, there have been many catastrophic events surrounding lone gunmen or individuals identified as part of a cell of organized crime working to dethrone an individual or an organization of power. The result always ends with innocent people losing their lives. It seems no matter how much these kinds of unfortunate events happen, we are never fully prepared to deal with the next one.
  • Open concept workspaces – everyone from the CEO to the account executive will sit in pods of four to ten; companies are focusing on more collaborative work environments that eliminate the obvious hierarchy in the workplace and instead, fosters an atmosphere of teamwork. With the omission of offices and furniture, and the increase in shared office space with sister organizations, companies gain by streamlining production costs and their bottom line.
  • Constant pursuit of growth and expansion, e.g., Amazon. Companies are constantly developing and introducing ways to make a better product than their competition that can be delivered to the marketplace even faster.

Fass, A., (2013, March), Peter Thiel Talks About the Day Mark Zuckerberg Turned Down Yahoo's $1 Billion, Inc. Retrieved from