Back to the Future: Marquette to Mfa

April 26th 2015

In our continued celebration of the best that Mfa’s first two decades have had to offer, we’re taking it back exactly two years to when Missy was honored with the Entrepreneurial Award from her beloved alma mater, Marquette University. Full of insights on building a business, timeless words of wisdom and – of course – some fun, Missy’s acceptance speech is as inspiring as the woman behind it!

Marquette University Alumni National Awards
Klinger College of Arts and Sciences Entrepreneurial Award
April 26, 2013

Thank you all for coming. Congratulations to all the honourees.

Alright, so a little bit on me; you’ve just heard about my post-Marquette life. I will try, with my children in the audience, to talk about my time at Marquette— realize it will be censored.

When I got to Marquette, my plan was to become a lawyer. I was going to study really hard, I was going to go to Harvard, and I was going to protect women and children around the world. But then I started hearing things about this place: there was an avalanche in Milwaukee? There was a gym that stayed open all night? And, there was a restaurant where people sat to eat chili, while tossing crackers at each other? This was going to require an investigation, and I promise you – I gave it 150 percent. In fact, I never looked back. God bless my mother, who supported my quest every step of the way.

At Marquette I felt— and I still very much feel— the power of community. From the moment Sophie popped open that first six pack (it was day one at O’Donnell and I wasn’t so sure Milwaukee was where New Yorkers should be), I knew I belonged there. And to look out and see all of you here today just reinforces how lucky I am. You never know where life is going to take you. But if I’ve learned anything, it’s to be open to the possibilities.

And that’s where MFA comes in (and again, if I had another audience I’d tell you what our clients say MFA actually stands for— just saying…!). I never planned on starting a company, just like it had never occurred to me to leave New York and go to Wisconsin. But something clicked, it made sense. Some call it intuition, a gut feeling, others fate. Or perhaps it’s the multitude of guardian angels that a psychic in North Carolina once told me I have on my shoulders. Regardless, what I do know is that I’ve been blessed and I’ve been very, very lucky.

Thanks to the inspiration of my mother, my husband Greg, and a remarkable group of friends, everything’s worked out okay for us. So, thank you all for this. And thank you especially to the man who worked at the Marquette table at that college fair some 30 years ago. It’s been a super sweet ride! Now to the teens in the room: Some advice—and not from your mom, but from an “award-winning entrepreneur”— while you are busy planning your next moves, life will get in the way. Keep your eyes open and take advantage of opportunities. Be kind, it means more than you’ll ever know. Be generous, especially to those in need. And work harder than you think you ever have to. And I promise you, you’ll have more fun than you ever thought possible.

Thank you all very much.

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