Editor’s note and full disclosure: This is the first in a series of posts from Megan McAuley, a participant in the current SpringBoard session at ArtWorks. Megan is also a former UC journalism student of Soapbox Managing Editor Elissa Yancey, who is one of those nagging, I mean, encouraging, voices in the customer line at Coffee Emporium.
I am a 24-year-old political science graduate from the University of Cincinnati. I live in Over-the-Rhine and work down the street at a coffee shop called Coffee Emporium
. I, like many other 20-something’s with a liberal arts degree, am barely getting by as I ponder my next big move. In college, I wanted to leave the country and save the world, but somewhere between there and here, I fell in love with OTR and decided it needed some saving, too.
My job at Coffee Emporium was supposed to be temporary. An enjoyable one to two-year stint as I mapped out my future. A future that entailed things like law school, working for a non-profit in foreign country or moving to some progressive city like Seattle or Boulder. Nothing about my future involved opening up a rock climbing gym in Cincinnati or creating an outdoor educational program for inner-city youth.
My path to budding entrepreneurship has been oddly comparable to my first time driving around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It has been, at times, overwhelming, intimidating, and directionless, yet navigable, exciting and pleasantly challenging. A series of unforeseen events culminated in my participation in the SpringBoard
business planning and development program. On the first night of class, when asked how why we had pursued the program, I responded, “Because ArtWorks
put up so many flyers in my café.”
My idea was like a seed, tossed into the air, half-jokingly, where it landed in an environment unexpectedly conducive to its growth. Since day one, Coffee Emporium has been a wealth of information, encouragement, networking and motivation for me. In OTR, I have found a community of people who truly believe in the potential our neighborhood has to grow and flourish. I have made genuine friendships with my customers and co-workers who have continually poked and prodded me to pursue an idea I once considered laughable.
In Tony and Eileen, my bosses, I have found the inspiration to create a workplace where customers and employees flock because there are still people on this planet who value doing things the right way. And in SpringBoard, I have found a group of facilitators and co-entrepreneurs who are providing me with the tools to make my idea a reality.
I am immeasurably excited to see what happens over the course of the next 8 weeks as I glean every bit of information I can from the SpringBoard course to pursue my business idea. Please join me for the ride.