What makes us who we are?
It’s not one single moment or one single person. And it can’t be all in our genes.
I believe it’s the cumulative impact of our family, our chosen loved ones, teachers, mentors, employers, co-workers and our daily experiences.
Good or bad, every interaction and person we come in contact with has shaped us.
Imagine you are seated at a table. If we could see our full selves, there would be a line, miles deep behind us, of all the people who helped us become who we are.
These 40 young professionals are no different. Each has a unique story and path and, I’m certain, would proudly produce a list of names of the people they would thank for their mentorship and encouragement – but likely also their criticism and honesty.
As a fellow young professional, I couldn’t help but see myself in some of these stories. I think you’ll relate, maybe to your younger self or someone you aspire to be.
For me, my mother was my first editor. No matter how late into the evening I completed a paper, it would be edited in the morning. My father was the first storyteller I knew. He has some of the best personal stories I’ve ever heard. My first professional boss gave me the confidence to learn my craft.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a great deal about how we become who we are, as my grandfather passed. He was a hunter and fisherman, and he retired young as a senior buyer for a department store. Not much in common there. But I do share his love for a good meal, meaningful conversation and family history. His story helped shape who I am.
As part of putting together this special issue, I communicated via email with each of this year’s honorees, asking questions to learn more about who they are. Some answers were fun. Many were poignant. A common thread pointed to the value of relationships. The people who helped them get a job, taught a valuable lesson or served as a source of inspiration.
These 40 young professionals are some of our community’s best and brightest. And behind each name is a line a mile deep of the people who helped shape them. Congratulations to all of this year’s honorees. Thanks for giving your time, talents and treasure to our community.
Springfield Business Journal Features Editor Christine Temple can be reached at email@example.com.
Cuban cuisine arrived on C-Street with the opening of La Habana Vieja; independent brokerage Gateway Real Estate opened its first office; and a veteran of the restaurant industry invested in her first food truck.
Barak Hill gives advice based on what he learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affected his business. He says we should all have a backup plan ready to use.
Sandy Higgins, owner of the Crackerjack Shack, recommends the book "The E-Myth Mastery" by Michael E Gerber. She says it changed the course of how she runs her business.
Aaron York describes the work culture he tries to foster at Donco3 and why he attributes to it a part of Donco3's success. Rachel York is a co-owner of Donco3 and Aaron is the General Superintendent.
Hollie Elliott, executive director of the Dallas County Economic Development Group, explains how local schools factor into business decisions and affect a local community.
Rachel Barks, owner of Artistree Pottery, says an important lesson she learned was not to over-expand and to do her research before hand. She gives examples from her experience as a startup business owner.
Jim and Debbie Meinsen own TCI Graphics, and are now celebrating 50 years of business. Jim Meinsen takes some time to explain his philosophy on debt, and how to stay out of it.
Caleb Scott, owner and coach of Queen City Insane Asylum semi-professional football, says the early grind was hard, but it was worth it. The team is in their second season carrying a national ranking of number 2 in the NFA IDFL.
Barak Hill, local musician and entrepreneur, tells about his switch to livestreaming in 2020. He says it was a necessary move, but also not an easy one.
Jessica Burkland, a SCORE mentor and an instructor at the MSU Department of Management, gives us a rundown of the non-profit organization SCORE. SCORE stands for Service Corps of Retired Executives and offers free consultation and advice to business owners.
Hollie Elliott, the executive director of the Dallas County Economic Development Group, discusses some of the ways helping small town businesses is different than in larger cities. The Dallas County Economic Development Group is a 501(c)(3) non-profit aimed at helping local existing and new businesses in the county.