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November 19, 2015
November 19, 2015
This exemplary timepiece, offered in a limited production of four hundred watches, features a stainless steel cushion case and brown alligator strap with distinctive red backing. Each watch is housed in a custom hickory box and accompanied by three rarely seen limited edition prints depicting Muhammad Ali during landmark events in his life, captured and signed by acclaimed Magnum photographer, Thomas Hoepker.
The watch is created in collaboration with The Muhammad Ali Center, a multicultural museum and educational center located in Ali’s hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, that has preserved the boxer and humanitarian's legacy over the past decade while inspiring adults and children around the world. Donald Lassere, CEO of the Ali Center, says the driving force of the institution is to allow the community to “feel ownership” of The Center. They work to accomplish this by implementing a seamless marketing and branding initiative, promoting global leadership and solidarity, gender equity and education. To celebrate our collaboration and the release of this exclusive timepiece, we sat down with Lassere. Read on for more.
Before becoming the CEO of the Ali Center, you worked in various leadership capacities. How has this experience differed from prior career experiences?
Nothing has been as gratifying as leading the Muhammad Ali Center toward fulfilling our mission: to preserve and share the legacy and ideals of Muhammad Ali, to promote respect, hope, and understanding, and to inspire adults and children everywhere to be as great as they can be.
Muhammad Ali inspires millions of people around the world and has been doing so for decades. To be able to take this inspiration and to transform it into concrete programming has been unique and rewarding.
How did the collaboration with Shinola come about?
The Ali Center is thrilled to be able to partner with Shinola. Both brands have powerful connotations that convey excellence and greatness. An understated message of having a Muhammad Ali Center Limited Watch is that Muhammad Ali has been a ‘timeless’ figure in history, is still a beacon of inspiration today, and, I believe, has a legacy that will be kept alive for generations to come.
You are most noted for your efforts and successes in rebranding the Center, making it one of the most educationally stimulating contemporary museums in America. How have you been able to re-envision the Center in such a positive and successful way?
The Muhammad Ali Center is a cultural center with a museum experience. For more than a decade, we have provided programming and events to the community and well beyond our city and state. The Center’s focus areas are education, gender equity, and global citizenship. Re-branding for the Center revolved around these three areas to align with not just the younger generation, but to better align with what is happening in the world today, and what is needed in the immediate future. Yet, the footprint of the Ali Center’s brand has always focused on those powerful and unique qualities that Muhammad Ali embodies. We call them his six core principles: Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Respect, Giving, and Spirituality.