Every year, Forbes unveils their “30 Under 30” list –– a comprehensive compilation of the top young entrepreneurs. Making the list is a great honor and is highly competitive. This year, the selection committee of four judges evaluated over 15,000 nominees.
The selection process considers funding, revenue, social impact, inventiveness, and potential when addressing each candidate. Via many sources, including nominees themselves, the initial reporters send shortlists along to the judging panel who select the final recipients.
This year, Ivy Awino, also known as DJ Poizon Ivy, was selected as a recipient for Forbes’ 30 Under 30 – Sports 2020. She also joins 29 other young entrepreneurs on the list of immigrants to the USA from various countries who received the honor this year.
Generally speaking, Forbes’ 30 Under 30 sports list recognizes athletes as their prominent recipients. However, Awino stood out so much as a smash-hit success DJing for the Dallas Mavericks, she made the ranks alongside NFL players and MLB stars. However, Awino’s job for the Mavericks is only one facet of her incredible career trajectory.
Awino, born in Nairobi, Kenya, is the second-ever female NBA team DJ. in 2018, she was the first woman to DJ an NBA All-Star Game. She began her career as a ball girl for the Mavericks, and now specializes in curating the team’s audio and music.
She was raised in Dallas, Texas after immigrating to the United States. As a child, she learned cello and piano prior to discovering her infatuation with turntables. As a college student at Marquette University, she hosted a weekly radio show titled “Poizon Ivy After Dark”.
From here, she began taking Milwaukee by storm, playing “Summerfest” and opening for Nas, Wiz Khalifa, Lupe Fiasco, and B.o.B, along with other rap and hip-hop legends. In the Midwest, she quickly became one of the most popular DJs.
She has a variety of accolades predating her Forbes 30 Under 30 honor, including being the first female mixer at WKKV-FM as a V100.7 Mix Squad DJ. In 2016, she began as an in-arena DJ for the Dallas Wings during the WNBA’s famed 20th anniversary season.
From there, she became the Dallas Mavericks’ first ever female DJ. She is also the 2nd female DJ in NBA history. She has climbed the ranks from her college radio show days to becoming the first woman to ever DJ an NBA All Star Game in 2018.
Her DJ performances have become famous on social media, and she has made the musical element of the basketball viewing experience into her own personal success story. In addition to her appearances at basketball games, she also DJs on concert stages, at nightclubs, and for many events.
One of Awino’s most impressive feats is her passion for social causes. She is an advocate for non-profit organizations that concern young female musicians, young mothers and health issues affecting young women. As an entrepreneur and a woman she’s a social justice advocate and a firm believer in the power of Afro beats and Afro Fusion music.