I’ll never forget when my parents called to tell me that they had just lost everything, including their ability to pay my out of state tuition. I was really social at Penn State University, leaning way back, taking advantage of their support. I was a sophomore in college who had failed out of three majors by this time but really didn’t care.
Bang. Reality set in and I realized it was now or never. I had to quickly cut ties with my very plush lifestyle and make something happen.
One night I had a lucid dream: I was diagnosed with a terminal disease and was present at my own funeral. My mom came up to me and asked what she was going to do without me. I promptly replied that I was going to make a movie and any time she was sad or missed me, she could pop it into the VCR and there I would be.
Never before thinking filmmaking was a “real” educational option, I decided to lean way in. The next day I woke up, went to the film studies department and declared my new major. I have never looked back.
I ended up transferring to the University of Colorado at Boulder to study film. I put myself through college by working at subpar retail stores, fielding calls at horrendous telemarketing companies and taking dreaded student loans.
Before I knew it, I was hired as an editor in a small production studio and had my own clients. I edited documentaries for PBS, corporate videos for huge clients and didn't take “no” for an answer. From there, I let the river move me and became active in all aspects of filmmaking, from production to financing projects.
After leaning in I began to realize the power of passion and persistence. Today, I am the COO of one of the most innovative companies in the social media space. My background of working in so many different environments, gives me the confidence and courage to help shape the future of our company and the awesome employees that are its heart and soul.