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Home » Daily News Updates » PeopleShores, Jon Levingston, Dinesh Chawla, transformation and magic: Clarksdale get ready for new jobs! PeopleShores, Jon Levingston, Dinesh Chawla, transformation and magic: Clarksdale get ready for new jobs!

Silicon Valley is coming to town!

Clarksdale Coahoma County Chamber of Commerce.Before we start talking about transformation, and magic, lets get to the bottom line first.

A new company is coming to Clarksdale. They start on January 1, 2019.  It is called PeopleShores, and it represents a new high-tech industry for both us and the Mississippi Delta.

PeopleShores.comThere will be 30 – 40 jobs available quickly.  Entry level positions start at $10 – $15 an hour.  The beginning of this work will be in back office data analytics (that might sound hard, but it isn’t).  Job qualifications are rather easy in today’s world: if you already have basic computer awareness, that’s great.  If you play games on a computer, or your phone, that’s even greater too. If you’re comfortable using your mobile phone, like searching on google, being active in social media, sharing videos or anything much beyond just talking on it, that’s a big plus. Each employee will be trained for the job by accomplished professionals (Read “you can do it, you won’t be lost.”  The folks really know what they are doing).

Over time, jobs might change or evolve. Positions beyond entry level and other opportunities are likely.  Eventually the start-up employees will become a seasoned workforce of 200 and more.  You’ll be working for an experienced, capable U.S. and International company with a real track record of success and vision.  And their experience in particular is in helping people and communities who might not have had opportunities like this, or much opportunity at all.

So, here in the Mississippi Delta, a Silicon Valley high hech company here in Clarksdale, is this too good to be true?  Can something really good– with someone fair and really inspiring– happen to me, you might ask?  Well, this is where we now have a really good story to tell.

Transformation, something that’s really important and life-changing, usually starts with a spark, a unique moment of confluent coincidence.  Often this brief coming together of things seems to come out of nowhere; we certainly don’t see it as transformational at first, and often it’s hard to recognize it as anything that might even be of consequence.  We’re talking about serendipity, of course, or magic, if you will (it’s ok, call it divine, spiritual too).  The key to all of this, though, is having the presence to recognize something that could be important, and not doubt it, and then have the understanding, and will to follow whatever path it unfolds (even if you have to take a little action).

Also, rarely does transformation work its wonder on us personally, professionally and at the same time for a community at large. But not so here. Not this time.

The spark, that first magic moment came to Jon Levingston near midnight last January on Facebook.  It was a wee spark, though, Jon was tired, something had just come to him from Dinesh Chawla about a company in California.  Thank goodness Jon hadn’t forgotten about it the next morning, but that itty-bitty spark was not forefront in his mind. Yet.

A few weeks thereafter Jon ran into Dinesh at a Grammy Museum event featuring Mary Wilson.  As a polite conversation opener, Jon mentioned the Facebook post about that California company to Dinesh, and at that second Jon met serendipity face to face.  In the explanation that followed Dinesh also invited Jon to go to California with him to meet with that company. “There is something to pay attention to here,” is exactly how Jon translated all that his friend Dinesh said.

RuralShores, INdia.The company that Jon had been invited to meet is PeopleShores.  They are based in San Jose, California, and are part of RuralShores that started and found success in India.

PeopleShores is a for-profit social enterprise with a charter to bring technology driven jobs to the ‘shores’ of economically challenged communities in the United States through ‘Impact Sourcing’. PeopleShores is incorporated as a Public Benefit Corporation in the state of Delaware.

PeopleShores empowers young adults and members of these communities by developing, honing and enhancing their professional skills; offering them employment with clear cut paths to long and successful careers. This goal is achieved through the establishment of technology and business process centers that offer compelling business propositions to companies that outsource these services.

PeopleShores is promoted by a group of highly accomplished industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs in the United States of America – all of whom share a common passion for social-good. The collective endeavour is a compelling business proposition, but with an embedded social cause; essentially, creating values through values.

Jon knew this much about PeopleShores when he and Dinesh met with the company at their San Jose headquarters last May.  That PeopleShores’ mission and track record with helping economically challenged rural communities certainly suggested a possible fit with Clarksdale was certainly keen to both Jon and Dinesh too.  But they were just explorers at the beginning of a possible path then.

The PeopleShores meeting included almost all of their management, founders and Senior Executives, and it also included much of their Board, and some 40 of the company’s high-tech investors.  Jon and Dinesh knew all of that too, but what Jon did not know, not even in the slightest, was that he was asked to speak. To all of them!

With nothing prepared, no notes, no bullet points, no speech prep, other than a quivered hard-to-swallow gulp, Jon found himself… speaking magic.  Here he was, standing alone in front of a room of envisioned high-tech pros and erudite thinkers, not knowing what he was going to say, and this was the first thing that came out of his mouth: “the arc of history bends toward justice.”  From Jon came Martin Luther King, and at that very second transformation breathed a sigh of relief, and it quickly picked up real speed.

Everyone in the room applauded Jon, of course, but he didn’t know if he connected at all. He hoped he had, but maybe they were just being polite too (Clarksdale can do that to you).  One thing, however, removed all question of doubt.  An Indian man approached Jon, got up real close, took and held Jon’s hands, looked right into his eyes, and then he said that he had heard about Mississippi before; he knew the  story about Emmett Till, and he had forever since said he would never go to Mississippi.  “You have made me want to come to Mississippi,” is what the man then said.

PeopleShores too is aware of our history, and they are joining us to work to bend the history of our region toward equality and justice.  And Martin Luther King through Jon Levingston said exactly the magic words at exactly the right moment to help get us there.

Much has happened since then, and much of that has also been particularly quick and all encompassing (Jon didn’t have much in the way of high-tech to abet his economic development chops).  It was within his recent trip to India where much more transformation continued.  There he met great people, found other opportunities for us, attended Hindu services, went to Mother Teresa’s memorial and more.  “It’s still evolving,” Jon said about his all of this as if its possible to be humble, thrilled and excited at the same time (sometimes he doesn’t play all his cards close to his chest with ClarksdaleNews).

While there, though, that Emmett Till comment the Indian man said stayed real close.  That’s probably because that man, Shiva Patibanda has become a friend (he’s one of RuralShores key investors, and yes he has already been to Clarksdale).  And, yes, Shiva was with Jon in India too, and it was at the Waldorf Chinese Restaurant (really) where they connected Emmett Till with this new Clarksdale industry: Jon and Shiva are naming the project in Emmett’s honor.

Another fun bit of a magic moment also happened with Jon and Jimmy Walker.  As PeopleShores personnel have come to visit and explore, probably one of the first most important things leading to sealing the deal was finding the right building for the new business center.  A few opportunities had come and gone, Jon was talking to Jimmy about it, and Jimmy said in that voice we all know, “well, hell Jon, what your looking for us right under you feet.”  So yes, PeopleShores is moving into the Chamber of Commerce building in January.

After all, the arc of history does bend toward justice indeed.

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