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9/26/2005

 
Platform Learning to Sponsor Book Tour of Hip Hop Business Executive Kevin Liles

Partnership to Focus National Attention On Educational Company's Campaign for Achievement Aimed at Motivating Students

Book Tour Launch Party in New York City, Monday, Sept. 26

NEW YORK, Sept. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Platform Learning Inc., the nation's leading provider of tutoring services for students attending underperforming public schools, announced Monday its sponsorship of the 17-city "Make It Happen" book tour of influential music executive Kevin Liles launching this week in New York.

Liles, the current executive vice president of Warner Music Group, is the highest-ranking African American in the music business and is widely credited with providing the brand management direction that led to the mercurial expansion of Def Jam Records from a small, independent label into a $400 million superstar making business.

Liles, 37, has worked with such multi-platinum selling artists as Jay-Z, Ja Rule, DMX, Kanye West, Ludacris, LL Cool J, Musiq and Ashanti and was responsible for managing all of Def Jam's brand-extension and cross-marketing deals linking Def Jam's name to movies, television, DVDs, video games, clothing, financial services and mobile content arenas.

In less than 10 years, Liles rose from an intern to president of the label. He chronicles his rise to prominence and offers motivational advice for life success in his newly published "Make It Happen: The Hip Hop Generation Guide to Success" (Atria Books; September 27, 2005; $24.00; 0-7434-9736-8; Hardcover).

"Kevin is an inspiration to the more than 50,000 young people we service across the country," said Gene Wade, chairman and CEO of New York-based Platform Learning. "Through our involvement with Kevin we hope to show young people that through dedicated hard work and a commitment to excellence, they will be successful in school and in life," Wade said.

"We understand that highly successful and visible business leaders from the communities we serve, like Kevin, are unique," Wade said. "It is even more unique for them to take the initiative to write a book emphasizing education and hard work as the keys to success. Given this, we are excited to support Kevin's effort," he said. After the tour, Liles has agreed to serve as the chairman of Platform Learning's parent mobilization effort.

Collaborating with Crain's New York Business senior staff reporter Samantha Marshall, Liles outlines his fresh approach to success and the "Ten Rules for Making It Happen" that have served him well. Speaking directly to young people hungry for success, he provides clear-sighted advice that stresses determination, hard work and being true to your dream.

"Every real success story in Hip Hop comes down to the same thing: someone who finds the will, focus and drive to achieve," Liles said. "It doesn't matter if you are male or female. It doesn't matter what race or religion you are. It doesn't even matter what hustle you choose." What does matter, Liles said, is that you fight against the odds to realize a dream and be the best that you can be.

While conceding there is no single route to achievement, Liles stresses the importance of education -- both formal schooling and what you can learn from the school of life.

He also points out that struggle is inevitable and the greatest teacher. Once you've gotten your foot in the door you need to Play Your Position (Rule #5), doing what is expected of you, no matter how humble it might seem. Liles himself recounts his hours spent mopping down floors for concerts and the small indignities he put up with from executives and artists as he worked his way up the ladder.

Wade, 36, himself, grew up in public housing in Boston, Mass. Having learned the rules for Making It Happen throughout his youth, he attended Morehouse College, Harvard Law School and The Wharton School. He then raised venture capital to start and fund his first business, LearnNow Inc., a charter school management company which he developed in less than two years from a startup to a company with 250 employees serving more than 6,000 students in 11 schools in four states.

Platform Learning, formed in 2003, is a national provider of supplemental educational services (SES) -- after-school, weekend and summer tutoring programs, free of charge -- to more than 50,000 public school students across the country whose schools have tested poorly and "are in need of improvement" under the federal No Child Left Behind law.

"We collaborate with parents, schools, community organizations, and local educators to not only tutor students but to raise their expectations about what is possible," Wade said. "Our proven, Believe. Achieve. Succeed.(SM), approach helps students gain self-confidence, while improving their academic skills," he said.

Earlier this summer, Platform Learning partnered with Russell Simmons and the Hip Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) -- a non-profit national coalition of Hip Hop artists, entertainment industry leaders, education advocates and youth leaders -- during HSAN's 2005 summer tour that focused on financial literacy.

Besides New York City, the "Make It Happen" tour will also visit Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Charlotte, Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco among others. Liles and Wade will join local civic and school officials to recognize outstanding students who are "making it happen" in selected cities of the tour.

"One important measure of Platform Learning's success is whether we can create thousands of more Kevin Liles," Wade said.

The book release party Monday will be hosted by Russell Simmons, Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, Lyor Cohen, Judith Curr, Gayle King and Edgar Bronfman, Jr. at Firmenich's International Fine Fragrance creative studio in New York at 7 p.m.

For information contact Alonza Robertson at 202.390.8521 or Alonza@westinrinehart.com. For more information about Platform Learning, please visit http://www.platformlearning.com/ .

Source: Platform Learning Inc.

CONTACT: Alonza Robertson for Platform Learning, +1-202-390-8521 or
Alonza@westinrinehart.com

Web site: http://www.platformlearning.com/




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