Hello! If you're here, that means you're interested in learning a little more about me and my background. Thank you for your interest. Like this website, my life story is a never ending work-in-progress and I'm always searching for ways to make myself more useful.
So, how did I end up in San Francisco?
I was born and raised in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Champaign-Urbana is home to the University of Illinois, one of the best Engineering colleges in the country, and the place where my parents worked for the first 19 years of my life. Champaign is where I spent the majority of my early days. Compared to San Francisco, Champaign is basically farm country. Fortunately, the university was a great source of culture and intellectual stimulation. The juxtaposition of endless cornfields with old academic buildings made for a simple but wonderful town to grow up in. I still have many fond memories and friends from Illinois. In high school, I attended Champaign Centennial High School, and graduated in 2008.
For college, I decided it was probably time to leave Illinois. I applied to and was accepted at Wittenberg University in Springfield, OH. Wittenberg is also my parents’ Alma Mater. Never heard of Wittenberg? It's alright, not many people have. Wittenberg, is one of the many tiny liberal arts colleges in Ohio (among Oberlin and Kenyon). My college days walking around that campus definitely will always hold special place in my mind and heart for the rest of my life.
Moving To The West Coast
In the midst of my sophomore year at Wittenberg, the parents (Professors at the University of Illinois) both received offers for their respective fields at the University of Washington, in Seattle. After just one visit, Seattle became my new home and for last two years of my college career, I flew back to Washington instead of Illinois. Ultimately, it was this exposure to the West Coast that ignited my interest in early-stage businesses and entrepreneurship. Seattle is famously 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 my full time position 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".
To see what I’m up to these days, the best place would be my LinkedIn page. 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 story. Things will always be a work-in-progress but I'll leave you with this thought. If you're at some kind of pivotal moment in your life, career, relationship, whatever; know that with conviction in your vision and enough grit, you can make your dreams a reality.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you'll subscribe to see where else my journey goes.