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Can you tell me the story of your prior successes, challenges, and major responsibilities?
I’ve been an entrepreneur my entire life, and have been supported my some incredible mentors that have helped guide me to where I am today. For this and for my success, I am grateful.
I believe my successes come from confidence, lawn mowing service when I was 16 in my Missouri hometown. Over time, clients began asking me to manage the landscaping for their entire yard. And in the next few years, I grew that company into a full-scale landscaping business that I managed while in school at the University of Central Missouri. In my early 20s, I took a chance and moved to Florida with a few friends and offered my services there. My landscaping business grew into a full-blown outdoor holiday décor company because landscaping clients asked for more, and I said yes.
At this time I had an incredible mentor that had an obelisk on his property with the words “Scio te Ipsum” scribed in Latin on it. I wasn’t too impressed with it at the time until I learned what it meant – “Know Thyself.” Since then, that has been my number one reminder in life. I must focus on my strengths and be aware of my weaknesses. And with that, I grew my business in Florida quickly into a full-scale holiday installations and experiences company.
After that success, I began to consider another big challenge: I wanted to move to Southern California and try my luck there. I officially opened Shine Illumination’s doors in 2006 in Southern California with a few small HOAs and private home clients I decorated during the holidays. It was challenging because I was starting with nothing and had no prior local relationships – I was only as good as my word. But I never lost my courage and I surrounded myself with like-minded people, and built Shine into a year-round designer and builder of displays and experiences for events and various holidays.
I still spearhead all of our new business efforts and get to oversee the building of all the cool things we do with my team of 25 full-time employees. My little lawn mowing service turned into a company that converts public spaces into memorable destinations that go viral on social media.
Can you tell me about a time when you almost gave up, how you felt about that, and what you did instead of giving up?
I am of the mindset, that once I start something, I cannot give up. I have to make it work.
There have been many times I have looked the most daunting challenge in the eye wondering ‘how in the world are we were going to install decor at more than 150 properties with two weeks to complete them all? There’s no way!’ Especially when you can barely even drive to all of them in two weeks, let alone install animated displays and tens, often times hundreds, of thousands of lights.
I can honestly say it is a true test of your mental and physical spirit. Believe it or not, this is when I shine – an approaching deadline and added pressure fuels my fire and directs my focus. No one can do it all at once. But when my focus is to execute on one job after another, after another – we can get it done. There is no time rest or complain. All you can do is execute. And this is the model (though stressful) that has gotten me through our major winter holiday rushes year after year. Then we rest and celebrate after.