To kick off the launch of the Prosper for Purpose blog, I wanted to share the story of how our organization sprouted from the simple urge to teach. It speaks to how as branding experts, our work starts with instructing professionals to be creative in their business.
I started thinking about what career is right for me early on. By the second grade, I decided I would become a teacher. My teacher that year was Ms. Donnelly, and she made learning energizing and fun. Ms. Donnelly divided the class into teams to work on projects. Eager to take on a leadership role, I imitated her teaching strategies to lead my classmates. I loved helping them achieve small wins and presenting something noteworthy to the class.
The decision to become a writer happened a few years later. My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Lentz, praised my storytelling abilities. Her encouragement gave me the motivation to write–and write, and write some more.
I read more that year than any other student in my class–a whopping 114 books. I discovered that the more I read, the more powerfully I wrote. The satisfaction of transmuting my ideas into words underscored my ambition to become a trailblazer in the field of education.
I Had a Dream to Make a Difference in My Career…
Although I made big decisions about my future before I left elementary school, they were not fleeting. I went on to major in education. I took a myriad of writing classes, too. Journalism, fiction workshops, feature writing–I couldn’t get enough of it.
Looking at my work, my favorite professors could not understand why I hoped to run a classroom. Likewise, my advisor gently reminded me that after graduation, I would enter a chronically oversaturated teaching market. Inevitably, my focus turned back to my passion for writing.
After rethinking my major and career objectives, I discovered public relations. Writing to inspire, empower, and above all teach business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs–it was the perfect field for me! Additionally, I was thrilled that public relations work is at the helm of social change. For the rest of college, I volunteered with a number of charitable organization. After graduation, I geared up to work for a non-profit and make a positive impact.
If there’s one thing that every new graduate should know, it’s that the road to your dream job is rarely linear. The need to save for a house and take care of my family all at once created unrelenting pressure. As a result, I was pushed into the for-profit world. For the next 25 years, I bounced back and forth between non-profit and for-profit organizations. I learned about fundraising, business development, employee engagement, and organizational change. I wrote and mentored bright young professionals.
However, I knew that I had to do more. The urge to create a company that values doing good as much as doing well was impossible to ignore. I recognized that the need in the Cleveland community for a business that helps mission-driven leaders bridge their resources and goals.
At first, the choice to make a major shift in my career time incited anxiety. But I recognized I had to be brave and listen to my gut. If I caved to the fear of failure–around half of small businesses close in three years–I would always wonder what could have been.
…I took the Plunge With Prosper for Purpose
On January 8, 2013, I turned that vision into a reality with the launch of Prosper for Purpose. Since day one, I have worked with a close-knit, talented team to help organizations develop successful, purpose-driven brands. In 2016, we became a certified B Corporation, one of my most treasured accomplishments.
From the Ohio Department of Education to the Holden Arboretum in Kirkland, we serve businesses show their customers why and how they do good. I developed the Prosper for Purpose blog to document the positive change we generate in Ohio and across the country. I explore my work with Peerless Brand Builders to show you how the right approach to branding can transform your organization and rediscover joy in your career.
If you can take one thing away from my story, I hope it’s this: never be afraid to follow your passions, and allow them to take shape as you come into your own. Anything is possible when you lead with value.