Johnathan Gaiters graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from the University of Central Arkansas in December 2017. Shortly after graduation, at the age of 22, he founded the startup non-profit the Arkansas Fashion Council, where he was able to build a fashion-related network, to include WalMart Executives. With a mission of using fashion to change young people’s lives, Johnathan was able to host several “Dress for Success” Workshops, where he helped young people develop their personal and professional brands. He also independently produced two successful galas, with many notable members of the Arkansas business community present, including keynote speaker Governor Asa Hutchinson. The inaugural gala included an inclusive and diverse fashion show at the Walton Arts Center, and debuted the creations of a wearable arts contest Johnathan organized for local high school students. The local artists’ wearable art was worn by models and featured on the red carpet during the fashion show.
In 2019, Johnathan created and executed a successful multimedia fashion show and panel discussion for the 2019 Bentonville Film Festival on inclusive fashion. Panelists included Linda Thomas Rowe, an African-American fashion designer from Arkansas, Michelle Ebanks, the former CEO of Essence Communications, and Kim Bass, Producer of Sister, Sister and Keenan & Kel.
Johnathan was invited to enroll in the MBA program at the University of Arkansas, and with dreams of making a large-scale impact on the world, he decided to put the fashion council on hold while he completes the program. After meeting with Council executives, he determined that the best way to continue the mission was through a motivational speaker series, where he interviews high-profile people from all over the world.
The new programming is housed under the Trendsetters Foundation and has included a talk on overcoming obstacles with Olympian and entrepreneur Dominique Blake, as well as a talk on the importance of voting, where Johnathan brought together the mayors of five Arkansas cities.
Johnathan accomplished these remarkable achievements with very little initial funding because he believes so strongly in how important it is to inspire hope and change in the mindset of underserved and overlooked youth, who, with just a bit of encouragement and belief in themselves, can and will accomplish great things.
Concerned about inequality and believing that everyone has a role to play to fight injustice, Johnathan is currently organizing a one-day Unity Conference in Bentonville, Arkansas, where executives will speak and hold roundtable discussions about how we all have a role in being anti-racist.
Johnathan’s Mother, Air Force Senior Airman Endalynn Morgan, was severely wounded in action in Kirkuk, Iraq. She has been an incredibly positive influence in his life and Johnathan loves her very much.
Johnathan says, “I was so honored and grateful to receive the scholarship, and I’m very thankful for the sponsors and people who took their precious time to come up with a scholarship like this. Thank you for all that you do. From the bottom of my heart I sincerely appreciate every last one of you."
NGS would like to thank the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund for helping Johnathan’s dreams come true.