Hello! If you're here, that means you're interested in learning a little more about me and my story. Thanks for that. Like this blog, my life is a never ending work-in-progress and I'm always looking for ways to be more useful. That said, here's a little more background information on me and my journey to San Francisco.
I was born in the small college town of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Champaign-Urbana is the location of the University of Illinois, one of the best Engineering colleges in the country, and the place my parents worked for the first 19 years of my life. Champaign is where I spent the majority of my childhood. Compared to a big cultural city like San Francisco, CU is total farm country. But fortunately, the University of Illinois was a constant source of intellectual stimulation. The juxtaposition of cornfields with prestigious academic buildings made for a relatively simple but wonderful town to grow up in. I still have many fond memories and friends in Illinois. For high school, I attended Champaign Centennial High School, and graduated in 2008. But for college, I decided it was finally time to branch out from Illinois. I accepted an offer to attend college at the glorious, Wittenberg University in Springfield, OH. Wittenberg also happens to be the Alma Mater of both of my parents. I guess you could say, I'm legacy. If you've never heard of Wittenberg, it's alright, not many people have. Wittenberg, is one of many tiny but beautiful liberal arts colleges in Ohio. My college days walking around that campus definitely will have a special place in my mind and heart for the rest of my life.
Moving To The West Coast
In the middle of my sophomore year at Wittenberg, my parents (who were then teaching at the University of Illinois) both received job offers for their respective fields at the University of Washington, in Seattle. After just one visit, Seattle became my new "home town" and for last two years of college I flew back to Washington instead of Illinois. Ultimately, it was this transition to the West Coast that ignited my interest in early-stage businesses and entrepreneurship. Seattle is home to companies such as: Microsoft, Boeing, Starbucks, Amazon, to name a few. The summer between my junior and senior years, I was lucky to make some friends working on a startup, who would later move to San Francisco (foreshadowing here). On May 12, 2012, after four amazing, but fast years, I finally graduated from Wittenberg University, receiving Magna Cum Laude status, and earning both Departmental (Business) and University Honors.
On June 6th, 2012 (which happens to be the anniversary of "D-Day") I boarded a one-way flight from Seattle, WA to San Francisco. On that day, I made my own invasion; arriving with no job or apartment (I had a friend with a couch). I landed in San Francisco to pursue my dream of working with entrepreneurs. One week after moving, I leased a small room in Berkeley, in a house with fourteen roommates. The following Monday was my first day of official "work" as an intern for a startup-focused recruiting and staffing company. During that initial week, we toured a building that was under construction at the time, at 1355 Market St. (home to Twitter, Yammer, and One Kings Lane). The person behind the project was Allan Young, and the space, unnamed at the time was Runway.
I fell in love with that space and asked if there was any way I could help. When it was finally ready to open, I was the first employee at Runway, the most beautiful startup incubator, collaboration and innovation space in San Francisco. The months I spent interning, leading up to starting full time at Runway weren't easy. They were filled with seemingly endless workdays and incredibly large amounts of uncertainty. Yet, I never lost faith in my vision.
After two-and-a-half years working at Runway, I was ready to begin the next chapter in my career. In February, 2015 I put in my notice and decided to venture out for myself. While at Runway, I was able to meet and work with some of the world's best bloggers. It was actually some of those encounters that inspired me to keep writing in this blog. At some point, I thought to myself that it just might be possible to do something similar.. so for the rest of 2015, I've been working for myself, writing, consulting, and continuing to build my "personal brand".
This is another quote I like: "If you pursue a career you love, you'll never have to work a day in your life." You see, I've decided to be the author of my own life. As I wrote earlier, things for me are always a work-in-progress. But I'll leave you with this thought. If you're at some kind of inflection point in your life, career, relationships, whatever; know that with conviction in your vision and enough grit, and persistence you can make your dreams a reality. Thanks for reading, and I hope you'll subscribe to keep up with my journey.