Who are you? Tell me about yourself.
My name is Ricardhy Grandoit and I am a problem solver with an entrepreneurial mindset. I was born in Haiti and moved to the U.S. at the age of 7. My personal experiences growing up have shaped me to be independent, resilient, and self-motivated.
What work are you doing currently?
For my “day” job, I currently work for Major League Baseball (MLB) at the Commissioner’s Office, where I manage the education of players and staff on topics related to domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse awareness. I am also responsible for managing career transitioning resources and opportunities for players.
Recently, I started a venture called ArtKôz (“Art-Cause”), which is a new online platform that intends to connect students receiving training in the visual and performing arts—graphic design, creative writing, music, dance, theater, photography, video production, etc.—to arts- and media-based projects (graphic, animation, audio or video production, etc.) sponsored by companies or individuals. Projects that have a social mission or objective are the focus, but all projects are welcome.
How did you come to that work?
At an early age, I realized the power and appeal of sports in bringing people together and breaking down barriers. However, I did not set out to work in sports, especially not professional sports. Through a series of advocates/mentors and being at the right place at the right time, I was able to capitalize on a unique opportunity.
As for my start-up, ArtKôz, it all started when I moved to New York and briefly attempted to pursue an acting career. I met several other individuals with the same hope and dream. Seeing how challenging it was, and the lack of a formal support network for artists, I begin to explore the possibility of creating an online community, under the name StageBandit. The moniker, StageBandit, was a reference to one who “takes” or “steals” the stage. The idea was to create an online community of emerging talent that fostered, promote, and support collaboration across the arts. In speaking with members of the artist community, the need for this platform was validated. Over time, as more freelance and other art-based platforms came out, the factors that made the idea of StageBandit unique was addressed in some fashion by these other existing platforms. Not wanting to reinvent the wheel and using my own professional experience that I gained since the years of having the StageBandit concept, I sought to provide a different opportunity for emerging creatives that combined the arts and social justice. Specifically, by providing a bridge to opportunities for students studying the arts by connecting them to project-based work provided by organizations seeking to use the arts to promote their social mission or a cause. That’s how ArtKôz was born and my ultimate goal is still the same: to provide creatives the opportunity to grow their portfolio and be part of an arts-based community so that they can accomplish their dreams.
Why do you think this work matters?
For my work at MLB, I am able to share information to help individuals make more informed decisions. Education on issues such as domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse can help to reduce the stigma around the issue to allow people to seek help and support. It provides an opportunity not only to educate potential victims of available resources, it also provides an opportunity to engage a population of men who never would have otherwise engage in a conversation and consider their role in addressing this important issue.
ArtKôz, on the other hand, provides rising creative arts talent with the opportunity to connect to professional development/workforce opportunities, build their portfolio, and do social advocacy.
What does the future of this work look like for you?
The social program initiatives at the MLB are growing and resources are expanding. I hope to continue to support the League’s efforts in supporting related initiatives. For ArtKôz, I hope to create the premier online networking platform for creative arts students and companies seeking to engage with students to accomplish their social impact goals and objectives.
Is there anything else you’d like to share as a final thought/word?
My favorite quote: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Photos provided by: Ricardhy Grandoit