Translation was owned by Steve Stoute — he had just left Interscope Records where he had been the President of their Urban Music division, Universal Records and had been all over the news prior for an infamous champagne bottle to the head from rapper Sean Puffy Combs. Walking in to that office the first day felt bad ass. Jada Pinkett was upstairs for a meeting. Jay-Z came in later that week and almost every week after for a mid-afternoon smoke session. Gwen Stefani was seen on and off. in the office Lebron was a close friend of Steve’s. Justin Timberlake too.

Steve had connections like no other. He knew how to open doors and what to do once he got in the room. He had friends in high places, he had style, he had money and he had attitude. He was intimidating as shit. With him at the helm, I was around the table at meetings with the CMO of McDonald's at their HQ, the CMO of General Motors in their office in Detroit, the CMO of Hershey’s… it was crazy cool. I went on private jets. I got picked up in black cars and taking to/from each destination and meeting. I presented our work to rooms full of old, white men. I was 24 and I was kicking ass and taking names.

Steve is who taught me about smart strategic brand partnerships and what they could do for businesses, for brands and for culture alike. He knew how to take a 50 year old brand and make it relevant to today’s teenagers. He still knows how. He’s a freaking genius.

Reebok, at the time, had been struggling. They were OLD. They were your Dad’s sneaker brand. White tennis shoes. Boring. Stodgy. We pitched them an entirely new brand — tapping into skate culture to reach an untapped market. Tapping in to women who love celebrities and would totally be into third-party validation from someone as cool as ScarJo (I think she eventually lost that nickname…but at the time, it was ScarJo). She worked with us to create her own line for Reebok, Scarlett Hearts Reebok (get it?!). It got them in the news and back in to conversations. It got people talking and girls buying, but it barely scratched the surface of what they needed to make a real comeback. Looking back on headlines “Even ScarJo can’t save Reebok” I know we had an incredibly good idea that needed to be one of many, not a silver bullet.