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These students were the first brave crew to complete The Gray Matter Experience. Students conceptualized businesses that targeted health concerns in the Black community, helped small businesses communicate and collaborate more seamlessly and worked to find solutions to keeping kids off the street. Our alumni went on to attend colleges across the country, majoring in business, economics, marketing and accounting. Six of them defied the odds and used our GME Changers Incubator to further develop their business. As a result, Lip Locker - an all natural DIY lipstick company for minority women to craft the perfect shade and RecruiTeen - an app allowing teens to find small business jobs in their communities - were launched. 

Shanayah Brown

Shanayah Brown

Shanayah Brown is Shanayah Brown is a young emerging entrepreneur from the South side of Chicago. Shanayah is a freshman at Northern Illinois University with a double major in business management and leadership. Shanayah also placed 2nd in our 1st Annual Pitch Black Competition and is the Founder of Lip Locker, LLC. Lip Locker is a teen-run lipstick company that is customizable to your unique style.


Shanayah is hoping to use the skills and resources from The Gray Matter Experience to grow and expand her business and find more ways to improve her community. She wishes to create more opportunities for young girls to learn how to develop their dreams and realize their potential. In her spare time, she likes to play tennis, read books, solve cases, and develop plans. Fun fact, Shanayah is also a twin!

Nicholas Goodloe

Nick Goodloe is a senior at Kenwood Academy where he runs on the track team and is an Honors Creative Writing and Advanced Piano student. Nicholas developed an entrepreneurial spirit at a young age which led him to join the Gray Matter Experience to nurture his passion. Nick participated in Gray Matter Experience’s inaugural cohort and co-founded RecruiTeen, a start-up application that connects teens with employers hiring for part-time jobs in Chicago. 


A resident of the Hyde Park/Kenwood neighborhood, Nick hopes he and his partners have created a business that positively impacts teen lives and their communities and that teens can use RecruiTeen to jumpstart their careers. 

Ayanna Hood

Ayanna Hood

Ayanna Hood is a well-rounded creative from Chicago's Pullman/Roseland neighborhoods. She is also the co-founder and CEO of RecruiTeen, a platform that connects teens to part-time jobs in Chicago. Ayanna aspires to one day be amongst the list of great Black Female Film writers, while also owning a successful venture portfolio. Over the time since the completion of the Gray Matter Experience Incubator, she has applied efforts to utilize all knowledge and resources learned. While focusing on being a prosperous entrepreneur, writer and big sister, she's giving it her best to learn how to balance it all.


Gaining career experience, she's interned with over five established Black Chicago business owners. Studying those who have come before her and seeing what they've done to leave their mark, initially, she thought of only securing her and her family's future but what she's learned over time, is a sense of responsibility to help secure the future of her community as well. 

Breshayia Kelly

Breshayia Kelly

Breshayia Kelly is a freshman at Dominican University studying Mathematics and Civil Engineering. Breshayia grew up in the Hyde Park neighborhood and knew that she wanted to do something in the transportation industry but also wanted to become an entrepreneur. She was fortunate enough to take 3 years of engineering classes at King College Prep. It was in her sophomore year that she joined The Gray Matter Experience and later in her junior year, the Comed Ideathon. From The Gray Matter Experience, she co-founded a lipstick company called Lip Locker. She hopes that Lip Locker will help lead the charge toward safer beauty practices in Chicago and beyond. 


Beyond Lip Locker, Breshayia loves watching drawing tutorials, singing, planning, digital design and photography. In her spare time, she reads and volunteers at her church and designs floorplans for houses. She adores playing with her cat and enjoys reading technology specifications. All the skills she has learned through The Gray Matter Experience and her engineering ventures have helped her better Lip Locker and learn the importance of a dollar. Organization, leadership, wisdom, and having meaning behind every action are things that she learned in the Gray Matter Experience and will never forget. 

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