Monday, August 4, 2014

Dallas Dweller: Erin Patton

Dallas is full of colorful characters. There are those you see monthly in the society pages, whose stories are legendary in this town. But, this feature is inspired by the people that I think you should know more about because of their fabulous style, interesting back-story or amazing accomplishments.  Dallas Dweller seeks to introduce you to these fabulous faces. OSC Contributor Alison Weinstein says "Erin Patton is likely one of the most sincere human beings I have ever met and if you’ve had the chance to grab a handshake or hug, you know what I mean." Let's read more about why she feels so passionately about him, shall we?

Erin Patton

Erin Patton: A Man and A Mission for Change
by Alison Weinstein

Marketing guru, author  and Adjunct Professor at TCU's Neeley School of Business, Erin Patton, exudes passion and positivity. He became legendary in the sports marketing world when he created the PR campaign that put Nike's Michael Jordan brand on the map as one of the highest grossing brands of all time.

D CEO magazine profiled Patton in 2010 and talked about his decision to leave Nike to launch the New York-based The Mastermind Group, a boutique brand-management agency. Among Mastermind’s successes was the launch of the Starbury shoe brand for Stephon Marbury and Steve & Barry’s. Mastermind also developed marketing plans for NBA star LeBron James and tennis’s Williams sisters.

The youngest of 3 boys, Erin was raised by a single Mother in the toughest part of Pittsburgh, PA. “Based on statistics, I was not supposed to see past my eighteenth birthday. My mother taught us that we were not products of our environment but of our imagination. She constantly encouraged us to become self-reliant and visualize a better future with education and a college degree as the gateway to our dreams. She also made sure that we took advantage of programs like Upward Bound and Inroads that provided us with the exposure we needed to bring clarity to that vision.”

Erin Patton (left) with NBA legend Michael Jordan
Photo:Mike Wood
Because of her wisdom and the opportunities she provided, Erin is forever grateful and is paying it forward with a not-for-profit he created called Project ZOOM! Through the organization's Zoom Out: Global Immersion project, Erin just took 8 kids from grossly underserved areas of South Dallas to South Africa because he says, “The mission of Project ZOOM! is to provide the next generation of social innovators with the global exposure, cultural competency and inventive tools necessary to change the world."

Students are selected from school leadership programs, introduced to a purposeful curriculum and ultimately guided on an international immersion trip (most students have never left their communities). “Our motto is: You won’t see the big picture until you believe it exists. Once the students see the world, I know they will intuitively figure out how to change it, and make their communities better.” Optimizing opportunity is a large part of what defines Erin and drives him.

Erin Patton is well on his way to leaving an indelible mark on the world much like the man who inspired him. “Mr. Mandela issued the call-to-action for us all to take change into our own hands and that each individual has the power to change the world.” It is also clear that Patton’s personal legacy is very much looking like one sage advisor had intended: “Of the many lessons my mother taught me, perhaps the most lasting are: never forget from whence you came and to whom much is given, much is expected.”  For information on how to support Project Zoom!, check out:


Project Zoom participants experience South Africa, July 2014
Photo: Matt Houston from Instagram
OSC:  How do you beat the heat in Dallas in the summer?

EP:  That's called winter in South Africa!

OSC:  When you need some "me" time to relax, where do you go or what do you do to recharge?

EP:  That's such a novel concept! And SO 2003 BC (Before Children)! I do enjoy weekend traveling to recharge and refocus. Big on stay-cations too. Westin Stonebriar and The Omni Dallas are the best. Otherwise, I have no greater satisfaction than being home for movie night and a little hot chocolate for the soul with my wife and kids.

OSC:  What are your favorite restaurants?

EP:  I'm vegetarian so my options are limited: Sissy's Southern Kitchen (pea cakes rock!!) Zoe's and Fogo de Chao (gives me great pleasure to watch my finicky sons actually eat no holds barred!!!)

OSC:   What are your favorite places to shop


OSC:  What do you think makes Dallas such a great place to live, work and raise a family?

EP:  Dallas offers a great quality of life for families. I think it is great that so many people from different walks of life are now calling Dallas home. When we meet new folks, the first question is "Where are you from?" That adds so much to the tapestry of the city which is embracing culture and becoming a truly international city. The growing focus and investment in the arts community is of great value as we enjoy it immensely. As a huge sports fan and youth sports coach, the sports culture in Dallas is second to none.

OSC:  Tell me something about you that most people don't know.

EP:  I studied Russian during undergrad at Northwestern University and speak the language fluently. To date, I am the only black guy I know who has ever studied it!

About Alison Weinstein

A freelance writer and TV news producer, Weinstein started her career with Condé Nast Publications and ultimately followed her passion to television news at MSNBC in New York. Now in Dallas for over ten years, Alison has worked with NBC Network’s Southwest Bureau and other major network news divisions as a field producer. Making a difference in the community is also a terrific passion and Alison is honored to serve in leadership roles for Heroes for Children and The Dallas Holocaust Museum. Alison loves spending quality time with her husband, Michael and their two children, Carter & Ashley.