The freedom of facilitating LEAD helped give Ryan Crane, ’15, the confidence he needed to leap into entrepreneurship.
- By January 10, 2018
“The experiences I had at Booth helped give me the confidence to make the jump.”
When we finally took that leap, I discovered how truly powerful the Booth network is, for both students and alumni. Melissa Harris, ’16 (XP-85), an executive-in-residence at the University of Chicago Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, helped connect us to advisors and investors that proved to be extremely valuable to our brand development. Meanwhile, Nicole Doucet, ’17, a student I had coached in LEAD who founded an amazing sustainable bottled water company called Green Sheep Water, became somewhat of a mentor and therapist for me.
Nicole also helped us to tell our sustainability story more effectively. The beverage space has historically been unkind to our oceans. We wanted to flip the script and be a positive model for change, and we felt that we could utilize Austin’s expertise to do that the right way.
Austin is founder and CEO of Beneath the Waves, a nonprofit that does cutting-edge scientific research on sharks in an effort to inform environmental policy and educate the public. We formed a partnership with them that enables us to financially support and actively participate in their research. This past October, we tagged sharks off the coast of Miami and took tissue samples that are now being used for innovative new research.
I took several entrepreneurship courses at Booth, but my most valuable entrepreneurial lessons came from my time as a LEAD facilitator. LEAD tied my whole Booth education together. It felt like Booth was giving me and the other facilitators the keys to the kingdom—we were entrusted with a program that becomes the first real impression of Booth for all new students. Booth let us build the LEAD curriculum, figure out the best way to present it, and ultimately be responsible for the new students’ experience.
LEAD was the first real figure-it-out-yourself type of experience that I had at Booth. But more importantly, it was a consequence-free opportunity to fail. Whenever I screwed something up, I had a team of supporters to help get me back on track. I learned from my mistakes, rather than let myself be paralyzed by fear of failure. That whole experience ultimately gave me the confidence to pursue my own entrepreneurial passions, despite the uncertainty and challenges that lie ahead. I’ll probably make thousands more mistakes along the road, but I feel confident that I can adapt and figure it out.
When this started, there was a lot of fear of the unknown, but the experiences I had at Booth helped give me the confidence to make the jump. Thanks to that confidence and the unwavering support of friends and family, Tempo is a reality.
Learn more about Tempo's organic, sparkling teas at tempobev.com.
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