Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour Motivates UIS Students

By Courtney Westlake

Sheena Lindahl clearly remembers leaving for college with one half of her first semester paid for and $30 in her pocket. But she was determined to make it, and through ambition, action and some good fortune along the way, found a job and earned her way through school.

Lindahl is now one of the co-founders, along with Michael Simmons, of Extreme Entrepreneurship Education and authors of The Student Success Manifesto and All or Nothing, Now or Never. The pair is 2005 graduates of New York University and now travel the United States as part of the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour.

The Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour made a stop on Wednesday afternoon, October 2, at UIS while visiting colleges nationwide to inspire students to dream big and take action.

"There are a lot of reasons that having a vision is important," Simmons told the crowd on Wednesday. "Even though it's way in the future, what you want to accomplish in your life and the legacy you want to leave, it immediately starts guiding your decisions now."

The tour also brings together young entrepreneurial speakers who have made, earned and sold their company for millions and made a huge impact before 25. UIS’ panel of speakers included Joe Kim of Springfield’s Design Ideas, Michelle Tjelmeland of e-Websmart in Springfield and Mary Byers, a local author and motivational speaker.

"Act like the person you want to be," Byers advised the audience during the panel presentation. "If you want to be a successsful CEO, you need to dress like one, you need to act like one, you need to respond to phone calls like one, you need to be a continuous student like one. Whatever it is you want to be, ask yourself how does this person act, and then act that way, and you'll be successful."

Throughout the afternoon and evening, booths were set up in the Lincoln Residence Hall entry from a variety of vendors around the area, including the UIS College of Business and Management, Career Development Center, and Center for Entrepreneurship, SCORE, LLCC Small Business Development Center, State Farm Insurance, Illinois Entrepreneurship Network, e-Websmart, Chamber of Commerce Young Springfield Professionals Network and Design Ideas.

Several workshops, speed networking and an “inspirational” keynote introduction were also offered as part of the tour’s stop. During the Dream Action workshop, participants were asked to write down their goals in life, how they might accomplish those and what obstacles they might face, and were left with the challenge of taking action on their goals.

"If you're really committed to a vision, and you're willing to take action steps, you'll have all of the resources - like research, marketing, networking - available to you," Lindahl said. "It sounds so simplistic: to take action. But if you're taking action on your vision, you can't go wrong."