Madeline Yancey, 2021 Outstanding Student in Entrepreneurship

“Entrepreneurship is the perfect blend of
flexibility, autonomy and excitement.

Madeline Yancey


Let’ just say you grew up in a home with a great color divide. Mom supports the green and gold and dad supports burnt orange. What could possibly sway you one way or the other? For the 2021 Baylor Entrepreneurship Outstanding Student, Madeline Yancey, it was Baylor’s focus on God, the beautiful campus and the option to major in entrepreneurship that had her flinging green and gold.

Homeschooled just outside of the Dallas metroplex, Madeline grew up surrounded by an entrepreneurial spirit and she was encouraged to find ways to incorporate her creativity into business. Ultimately, she chose to major in Entrepreneurship at Baylor because she felt entrepreneurship gave her the flexibility to be both analytical and creative. 

Initially she was a little apprehensive jumping into entrepreneurship, after all no one wants to start a business and have it fail. But Madeline credits her Baylor Entrepreneurship professors with providing her with an edge that she feels will increase her chances of success. She says, “Even though there’s always the chance that a business idea won’t succeed, there are so many resources that can positively impact the potential for success and actually limit the damage if the idea isn’t successful.”

Madeline isn’t sure of the exact path she will take after Baylor. She hopes to work a while to gain business experience, while leaving the door wide open for starting her own business. She shared that while she does have a few business ideas percolating, she’s keeping those top secret for the time being.  Rest assured, any new business will absolutely have a creative flare.

As Madeline puts it, “Entrepreneurship offers flexibility, autonomy and excitement.”


For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.

Denitia Blount, Oh My Juice



You have to always try to find ways to set yourself apart.

-Denitia Blount


Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to go green. Rip the proverbial bandaid off and commit to have Green Mornings. You may be asking yourself how one can achieve Green Mornings. It’s rather simple actually. You stop by Oh My Juice (OMJ) and order the most deliciously beautiful Green Mornings smoothie. And, yes it really is that green.

If you haven’t heard of OMJ, it’s a fabulous juice bar nestled within the bustling River Square Center in the heart of downtown Waco. Truth be told, it’s Waco’s first juice bar. The Baugh Center blog originally talked with Denitia Blount of OMJ back in 2016. Long story short, OMJ started out at the Waco Farmers Market and quickly became a market favorite. Locals just couldn’t get enough of the fresh-made juices, but there was a problem. Locals also wanted juice every day. So much so, OMJ moved into the River Square Center with a brick and mortar location. 

During the first couple of years OMJ grew quickly, almost uncontrollably quickly. Denitia explains that at times it felt like they were simply holding on by their fingernails. After the initial rush, growth became more manageable. Denitia confessed in a recent Confessions of an Entrepreneur talk, “For every one thing I’ve done right, I’ve made a thousand mistakes.”

There have definitely been growing pains. Business continued to grow, but the OMJ space did not. Learning to make a consistently good product quicker and in larger quantities became a priority. Actually, it became a necessity. When other competing businesses popped up downtown, Denitia looked at it as an opportunity for OMJ to step up its game. Denitia has always had confidence in the OMJ products, but she also tries to combine that with a great customer experience. She stresses, “You have to always try to find ways to set yourself apart.”

With an exceptional product line and a cool customer vibe, OMJ adjusted to growth and the growing pains actually subsided a bit. Locals became regulars. OMJ may not be the place where everyone knows your name, but the staff certainly knows if a regular wants to cut the bananas or add extra blueberries.

Business was growing and progressing relatively smoothly, but early on in 2020 talk of Covid-19 became more widespread. Needless to say, March 2020 was a game changer for a lot of folks. OMJ was no different. Denitia chose to take those sour lemons and make lemonade, or shall we say juice. OMJ had already been looking for a way to provide curbside service for customers. The mandated lockdown moved that to the top of the to-do list. OMJ even took the leap into the world of delivery service. Curbside worked out smashingly. Delivery, however, had a few hiccups. It took a few fails to get into a good delivery rhythm. 

As OMJ got into a groove with the new socially-distanced business standards, 2021 came in with the promise of a new tomorrow, a fresh start. Waco even had enough snow in early January to build a respectable snowman or two. It was a new beginning. In early February there was the potential for even more snow. Excitement for a possible snow day was quickly squashed with what has been termed as Snowmageddon. Waco was literally frozen for five days. Roads were impassable. Businesses were closed. Classes were cancelled. Electricity blackouts became the norm. And then frozen plumbing pipes started bursting around town.

When Denitia received the call that the OMJ alarm system was going off, her initial thought was that someone had snuck into the shop trying to find a place to stay warm. Not in her wildest imagination did Denitia expect to drive up to OMJ and see water pouring out of the shop windows and doors. Broken pipes. OMJ was completely destroyed. The walls and ceiling had 99% water saturation. Water seeped into the top sliding freezers, ruining all of the frozen food. The electronics and fresh produce all had to be replaced. OMJ was forced to close its doors.

While the repair and remodel work is expected to be complete before summer, Denitia is not one to just sit around. After all, the people of Waco still need OMJ goodies! OMJ went back to its roots by selling juices at the Waco Farmers Market. And for the month of April, OMJ will have a spot inside of the Baylor SUB serving up fan-favorite smoothies, acai bowls and juices. 

Summer 2021 looks to be a busy one for Denitia and the OMJ staff. Not only is the original River Square Center location expected to open back up, but a second permanent location is also expected to open as well. The second OMJ will be located in the shopping center at the corner of Highway 6 and Highway 84.

If anyone has mastered the art of turning lemons into…juice, it’s Denitia and OMJ.

Just in case you need even more convincing to make your mornings Green Mornings, here are the top-three reasons: 1) #ShopLocal, OMJ is a locally-owned business, 2) Denitia Blount is a Baylor grad and 3) Green Mornings is so stinkin’ good! Oh and just for kicks a fourth reason is you will be able to show your BU spirit by walking around campus with a super-cool Green Mornings smoothie — that is until you drink it all.

Indeed, OMJ certainly found a way to set itself apart. #SicEm


To watch Denitia’s Confessions of an Entrepreneur talk, please visit http://bit.ly/COE_OMJ.

To read the 2016 Baugh Center Blog on Oh My Juice, please visit http://bit.ly/2dKOIx4.

For more information about the John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneur/.

 

Jackson Wren, Nightlight Donuts


Adventure with Purpose

-Jackson Wren


So what’s perfect for a Tuesday afternoon study snack, a Friday night movie nosh and a Saturday morning breakfast? Donuts, of course! And what’s better than a plain ol’ donut? A donut made with crescent dough! And where can you find such a mouth-watering, eat until you’ve popped a pant button delicacy? Nightlight Donuts in Waco, Texas.

You would think that in order to create such a unique and one-of-a kind morsel of delight that one would most certainly be a sort of donut or pastry aficionado. You would think. When Jackson Wren came up with the idea of Nightlight Donuts, his experience with donuts was… eating them. Eating a lot of them actually.

Not that starting a business was a new idea for Jackson. He’s a natural-born entrepreneur. Jackson and his twin brother founded Dapper Bear while still students at Baylor, and Dapper Bear just happens to be the home of the official Baylor plaid. But how does one journey from plaid to donuts?

Jackson shares all the details of his Nightlight Donuts adventure in an Ask the Entrepreneur interview.

Q&A

Tell us a little bit about your background and how one journeys from plaid to donuts.

I started my first business when I was thirteen because I wanted to buy a car one day. My brother and I started a car detailing service. That was my first taste of entrepreneurship. From that point on I loved it. 

I started Dapper Bear (Baylor’s official plaid) as a student at Baylor. To me, the switch from plaid to donuts is not so much about the industry but it’s more about making someone’s day better. I saw a way to do that with both the plaid and donuts.

 

Why did you decide to open a donut shop in Waco, Texas?

About four years ago I was driving to Austin and was stuck in horrible traffic. Cars were at a stand-still. I saw a donut shop nearby. If you’re like me when you see a donut shop, you immediately want a donut. But it was 6:00 pm and the donut shop was closed. Why are donut shops always closed at night? 

My brother and I moved to New York City and lived there for about a year. We just so happened to get an apartment that was above a donut shop that sold cronuts. I was immediately obsessed. I ate a cronut every day we lived there. When we moved back to Waco we had an idea… maybe we should bring a crescent donut to Waco.

 

What was your thought process in deciding to start a business in such a competitive industry?

I gave that a lot of thought. I put a lot of planning and research into it. Being such a competitive industry is intimidating, but helps you maintain focus.

 

What do you do to make sure that Nightlight Donuts is different from any other donut shop in Waco?

Our product and our people make us different. Product, all of our dough is crescent dough. People, we have four values for our business: 1) be kind 2) be individual 3) be exceptional 4) own it. Everything we do goes back to those values. We hit the jackpot with our staff!

 

Is there anything you would have done differently?

Yes. I completely over estimated the time I had available for starting the business.

 

What was it like starting a new business in the middle of a pandemic?

The week we broke ground on Nightlight Donuts was the same week everything started to shut down. It was an incredible amount of stress. We really didn’t know what to do. We kept going because I believed in our product and I believed in the Waco community.

 

Did being a student entrepreneur help prepare you for this venture?

There are so many things we did with Dapper Bear that we did differently with Nightlight Donuts.

 

How did studying entrepreneurship at Baylor prepare you to start your own business?

The real world experience that the Baylor entrepreneurship department provides is what prepared me the most.

 

What is the most important thing you’ve learned during this entrepreneurial journey?

You should resolve to not waste life.

 

What advice would you give to a Baylor student wanting to start a business while still in school?

Research like you’ve never researched before. If you feel like it can still work, then go do it.

 

Finish this sentence – entrepreneurship means to me…

Entrepreneurship means to me… adventure with purpose.


For the complete interview, please visit the Baylor Baugh Center YouTube page at https://bit.ly/3qIwboZ.

For more information about the John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneur/.

 

Danielle Young, Revival Eastside Eatery


Work hard and be nice.

-Danielle Young


What would you like for lunch? If you’re feeling a sandwich, maybe the Weight of Glory or the Technicolor Dreamcoat. Or maybe the Golden Calf burger, but then there’s the Eve salad…

Those who have been to Revival Eastside Eatery on Elm Avenue in Waco are familiar with this unique menu. Revival Eastside Eatery has been around for about sixteen months and has made a big splash with it’s not-so-typical menu names and delicious food.

One would think that successfully opening a restaurant with an outside-the-box menu in an up-and-coming neighborhood the owner would have to be born and bred an entrepreneur. One would sorely be mistaken.

Danielle Young opened Revival Eastside Eatery with her husband, Travis, in the summer of 2019. Originally from North Carolina, Danielle and Travis moved to Waco in 2011 so she could attend Baylor. She received both her master and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from Baylor. After falling in love with the city, the two decided to make Waco their home. Danielle soon took a role as Clinical Research Coordinator at Baylor while also seeing patients as a clinical psychologist serving children. Opening a restaurant wasn’t even a blip on their radar. 

Well, it wasn’t until it was.

This self described risk averse, research loving psychologist was simply enjoying life in Waco. She likes to say that Waco just kind of sucks people in after a while.

On one fateful night in 2017 Danielle and Travis were driving around Waco trying to find a place to eat dinner. They wanted to support a local business, but they also wanted something a little on the healthier side. One thing led to another and someone actually uttered the famous last words . . .  How hard could it be to open a restaurant?

The consensus between the two was instead of complaining about the lack of restaurant variety, they instead should do something about it. Afterall, how hard could it be? Danielle and Travis spent the next eighteen months working on a business plan for a restaurant. They evaluated if it was feasible, the kind of costs involved, what the competition would look like and who the customers would be. How hard could it be? Very hard. But the two soon started to dream of what could be.

The dream… a restaurant with unique food that’s fresh, tasty and is Texas-sourced; a place that’s not too fancy and kind of casual; somewhere with exceptional service and reasonably priced menu items. The dream wasn’t novel by any means, but Danielle and Travis felt it was novel for Waco.

The next big, big thing for Danielle and Travis to consider was location. Where would be the best place for their novel-to-Waco eatery? Danielle looked at the development of downtown Waco and felt that it made sense to expand beyond downtown. Elm Avenue was the perfect spot. Lula Jane’s was already an established neighborhood favorite, but there was nothing on Elm like the dream. Elm was deep in history and rich in culture. To Danielle and Travis, Elm was perfect.

They soon agreed that 704 Elm Avenue would be home to the dream. This particular property had been vacant for about ten years. It was previously the Waco Community Baptist Church. As the demo work on the building began, locals immediately flocked to the property to share stories and memories of attending the old church. It became clear that this dream-inspired eatery would also be steeped in that deep Elm history and culture. And what better way to pay tribute than to call the restaurant Revival! More specifically, Revival Eastside Eatery to also acknowledge the up-and-coming East Waco neighborhood. 

Since the building was an old church, the two decided to completely lean into it with the menu. And this is where the Weight of Glory and Technicolor Dreamcoat sandwiches come into play. Other notable mentions are the Golden Calf burger and the Eve and Garden of Eating salads.

This novel-to-Waco eatery became a hit. Word spread and Revival soon became a hot spot for locals and out-of-town folks alike. The eatery even received a nod from Magnolia.

Remember that question… how hard can it be? In less than a year of opening the unthinkable happened. In March 2020, restaurants were in a mandatory shutdown due to Covid-19. From the onset, Danielle and Travis were committed to do what was necessary to keep all of their staff. To say there was an immediate pivot in day-to-day operations is the understatement of a lifetime. At the time of the shutdown, the eatery didn’t even have online ordering. Literally overnight, an online ordering system was developed and “curbside pickup” became the new norm.

With the mindset we’re all in this together, the next task at hand became how to help the community. Families were now at home together. Parents were both working at home as well as teaching their children at home. With that in mind, the idea of Family Meals came into play. Keeping it as easy as possible with an “order today and pick up tomorrow” concept. The benefits of Family Meals were two-fold, not only did this give families room to plan ahead but it also allowed for the eatery to prepare without a significant amount of food waste. The Family Meals soon became a huge hit and ultimately helped carry the restaurant when the dining room was closed.

After the eatery was able to open up the dining room again, Revival continued with Family Meals. While not near as many orders are placed, it’s still a popular menu item.

In effort to be socially conscientious, Revival also made some front-of-the-house adjustments. Instead of counter-service ordering, customers are now seated and ordering is done table side. QR codes are affixed to the tables so customers can view a touchless menu via scan. While the initial implementation of the table-side ordering with QR codes was for social distancing purposes, Danielle likes the process and actually looks for it to continue.

Throughout all of the unexpected ups and downs the past eight months have thrown at Danielle, she continues the day-to-day mindset of work hard and be nice. A mindset that definitely helped make a dream come true.

Q&A

Question submitted by Dr. Boris Nikolaev, Entrepreneurship Professor
The restaurant business is very competitive. Were you aware of the risks when you decided to open a business?

Yes, and people thought we were insane for opening a restaurant. We were aware of the failure rates and did our own research. We learned a few things along the way. We learned some of the common causes for failure are:

  1. Renting and not owning your own space — rent can go up and you have no control
  2. Location. Location. Location.
  3. Underestimating costs

Question submitted by Dr.Peter Klein, Entrepreneurship Department Chair
How have the city’s specific development efforts on Elm Avenue either helped or harmed your business?

With TIF (tax increment financing) the mindset is there are small grants that can help renovate buildings. We were able to get a little bit of money to help redo the facade work. The city took care of new sidewalks. Elm Avenue will be under construction for the next 18 months, so it will be good and bad. Great improvements, but folks will have a hard time getting to the restaurant.

Question submitted by Bradley Settles, student
How do you feel about the current direction of the East Waco development?

We’ve been in business for 16 months. The city is very mindful about development on Elm Avenue. City Center Waco also works with the community, being intentional about development and striving to put the community needs above businesses. 

Question submitted by Dr. Boris Nikolaev, Entrepreneurship Professor
What do you do that sets your business apart from other similar businesses?

We do a really good job of being hospitable and welcoming. We work hard to train our staff. Our customer service is great! We also don’t take ourselves too seriously. We have the mindset of whatever the customer wants, we will make it — a picky eater’s delight!

Question submitted by Gib Reynolds, Director 1845 Incubator
With turnover being so high in this industry, what do you do to take care of your staff?

We started July 2019 and still have four of an original staff of nine. We practice shared tips. With shared tips, our staff takes home somewhere between $16-$18 an hour depending on the day.

Our philosophy is everyone is working hard whether or not the customer sees it. We want to make sure our people are taken care of. The cool thing about being an owner and working on site you get to regularly see your staff and their needs. Loving employees well is something we do differently.

Question submitted by Dr. Boris Nikolaev, Entrepreneurship Professor
If you could do something different on your entrepreneurial journey what would it be?

When we first started we were looking at chefs and actually paid someone to create the  menu and recipe development. We very soon realized that we were investing a lot of money. Two weeks before the Revival grand opening we let the chef go because we didn’t have anything tangible. In the two weeks before opening I redesigned the entire menu. I reworked food costs and sought out Texas-sourced vendors. In hindsight, I would have believed more in myself from the get-go.

Even though Revival isn’t exactly what we thought it would be, we feel it’s even better now. It’s fun to watch what happens when you trust the process and absolutely trust yourself.


For additional outtakes from the interview with Danielle, please visit the Baylor Baugh Center YouTube page.

Outtake 1: https://bit.ly/3o7sGaI
Outtake 2: https://bit.ly/35cA6AD

For more information about the John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneur/.

 

ENT Buzz | Gib Reynolds


Gib Reynolds, Director 1846 Incubator Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation

 

WHO IS GIB REYNOLDS?

Is it possible to bleed green and gold? As an undergrad I studied Entrepreneurship at Baylor and then received an MBA in Entrepreneurship from the Acton School of Business. I married a fellow Baylor grad this past December and we just bought our first home in Waco. I’ve worn a lot of hats in my career, from lettuce farmer to crepe food truck owner. Currently, I’m in the high-end collegiate apparel business. In my free time, I enjoy doing anything active with the potential for unintentional broken bones or bruises –  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, cycling, hiking…


WHAT DO YOU DO AT BAYLOR?

I’ve worked for Baylor in a variety of roles for more than seven years, from an Adjunct and teaching the Accelerated Ventures program to serving as the Director of the New Venture Competition. I am currently the Director of the 1846 Student Incubator. In this role, I coach students of all majors who want to launch their own businesses. Deep down, I’m both an entrepreneur and an educator who is passionate about empowering students to start their own companies.


WHAT’S SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT WORKING IN THE ENT DEPARTMENT?

I’ve had a really unique experience here at Baylor. I’ve transitioned from student to co-worker with some of my favorite professors. I appreciate how approachable our faculty were when I was a student, but to be able to form personal and mentoring relationships as co-workers has been incredibly rewarding. 


WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BAYLOR TRADITION?

How can you not love the University-wide Thanksgiving Dinner on Fountain Mall? It’s awesome to see students, staff and faculty come together and celebrate the season and to reflect on how blessed we all are. It’s the perfect way to kick off the Thanksgiving holiday.


WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A NEW ENT MAJOR?

Just do something. Start and then learn by doing. You will learn so much more by taking a risk and testing yourself. Entrepreneurship is not an easy calling, so start early and take advantage of the resources around you while you’re on campus.


For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.

 

ENT Buzz | Marlene Reed


Marlene Reed, Senior Lecturer, Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation

 

WHO IS MARLENE REED?

I am a proud Baylor graduate. Never in a million years did I ever imagine that I would end up getting my PhD and teaching at my alma mater. I’ve had the privilege of teaching students and faculty in England, Scotland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Armenia, Russia, China, Australia, New Zealand, Zambia and Rwanda. God has blessed me richly!


WHAT DO YOU DO AT BAYLOR?

At Baylor I’ve taught the Business Excellence Scholarship Team (BEST) and Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship. I love teaching these courses. I previously owned a Christian book store and I feel my first-hand experience as a business owner helps me understand problems that managers may run into while operating a business.


WHAT’S SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT WORKING IN THE ENT DEPARTMENT?

A funny and kind of weird thing that happened while working in the Entrepreneurship department is the time Mary Abrahams (former Associate Director of the Baugh Center) and I went to Europe to plan the first Entrepreneurship European Experience. Late one night while in Milan, we couldn’t find our way back to our hotel. To make things worse, a drunk young man kept following us telling us he would help us find our way. We finally lost him and wandered around for an hour until we found our hotel.


WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BAYLOR TRADITION?

I can’t pick just one favorite. I have two — Homecoming and Sing. I think I love Homecoming so much because I get to reconnect with friends from the past. Something that a lot of folks don’t know is I was actually a Baylor Homecoming Queen nominee. Unfortunately, the Asian flu was going around that year, and I got it. After appearing on the football field at halftime, my parents whisked me away to Houston because we had all been asked to leave school if we could. I also love Sing, and I just happen to be on the Sing Faculty Committee.


WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A NEW ENT MAJOR?

My advice to a new Entrepreneurship major is to enjoy every minute of your time at Baylor and get involved in everything that appeals to you. The time spent at Baylor is so short, and students need to get the very most out of. I certainly did.


For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.

 

ENT Buzz | Kathy Carr


Kathy Carr, Program Manager Baugh Center Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise

 

WHO IS KATHY CARR?

I am a Baylor grad with a BBA in Marketing. My daughter, Emily, is a Nutrition Sciences major and she just wrapped up her freshman year here at Baylor. I love living in Waco. For me, the perfect Saturday morning in Waco is a long walk in Cameron Park and a stop by the Waco Downtown Farmers Market, followed up by coffee at one of the local coffee shops. I may or may not drink a little too much coffee, but thankfully Waco is full of locally owned coffee shops!


WHAT DO YOU DO AT BAYLOR?

I’ve been working in the Entrepreneurship department for almost five years. For most of my career, I worked in marketing and communications within franchising organizations. As a Program Manager in the Entrepreneurship department, I’ve been able to blend my past experiences within an academia setting. One of my favorite things is managing the Confessions of an Entrepreneur speaker series. I love getting to know local business owners and giving them a platform to talk about their entrepreneurial journey… a platform to confess. I feel that these business owners have so much insight to offer and that Baylor students can learn so much from them.


WHAT’S SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT WORKING IN THE ENT DEPARTMENT?

I was used to working with executives and business owners so the transition to working with professors has definitely been an adjustment. Who knew that stuffy business school professors could actually be quirky and cool! One Entrepreneurship professor rides his Razor Scooter to the office each day and another actually had his five-minutes-of-fame while unwittingly walking in the background of a TikTok video that was filmed in the business school. Good times!


WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BAYLOR TRADITION?

The Baylor Line is such an incredible experience that is unique to Baylor. It was so much fun watching my daughter run the line this past football season. I was never able to actually find her on the field in the sea of gold jerseys, but fortunately I did get a “Mom, I didn’t fall!” text each game.


WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A NEW ENT MAJOR?

Get to know the Entrepreneurship department faculty and staff! They may be quirky and cool, but they also have a ton of experience and know-how. 


For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.

 

ENT Buzz | Priscilla James


 

Priscilla James, Program Manager John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise

 

WHO IS PRISCILLA JAMES?

I am a small-business owner from Houston. In 2018 I received a Baylor MBA with a concentration in Entrepreneurship. My goal was to use my new-found, entrepreneurship know-how to grow my business, Priscilla’s Joyful Events. I also thought that my new business savviness would come in handy with the business I co-founded with my mom, Hephzibah Online Evangelistic Ministries. I stay busy. In my downtime I like to relax with my Chiweenie, Jack. He recently learned to tap a bell to go outside and he’s also learning to jump on command. Should I nickname him Jumping Jack?


WHAT DO YOU DO AT BAYLOR?

I’ve now been on staff at Baylor for two years as the program manager in the John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise. I actually started working at Baylor just two days after graduating with my MBA. My main focus as program manager is to manage and develop the Baylor New Venture Competition. I really enjoy networking with successful business leaders and connecting them with young entrepreneurs. I like to think I have a small part in helping dreams become a reality for these budding entrepreneurs.


WHAT’S SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT WORKING IN THE ENT DEPARTMENT?

One word…treats! Deana Steele makes the best treats ever. We can always count on Deana to bake birthday goodies every month. She even bakes between celebrations. Deana really doesn’t need a special occasion to bake. The entrepreneurship-15 may become a real thing.


WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BAYLOR TRADITION?

I love the sound of the McLane Carillon at Pat Neff Hall! I smile every time I hear the bells toll. I especially enjoy hymns and Christmas carols during the holidays. 


WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A NEW ENT MAJOR?

The folks in the Entrepreneurship department can be a great source of advice and support. Getting to know the faculty and staff in the Entrepreneurship department can certainly open the door for a deeper learning experience.


For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.

 

Jeremiah Allison, 2020 Outstanding Student in Entrepreneurship

 

You have to enjoy everything God has planned for you along your journey, and remember it’s not just about the final destination.

-Jeremiah Allison


Jeremiah Allison has a history of forging his own path. Taking the road less traveled, he was often met with twists and turns and even a few detours. So, how does this non-traditional student go from barely squeaking out a high school diploma to being recognized as the Hankamer School of Business 2020 Outstanding Student in Entrepreneurship?

Growing up, Jeremiah was surrounded by a spirit of entrepreneurship, even though he didn’t realize it at the time. Jeremiah’s dad was self-employed; his grandma operated her own music agency; one uncle made a living working in lawn-care and landscaping; another uncle ran a successful IT company. As Jeremiah puts it, “I can clearly see now that there is definitely some entrepreneurial DNA in me.”

Jeremiah graduated Round Rock High School in 2009 through a program called Success. On the verge of dropping out, the self-paced program allowed Jeremiah to take evening classes to fulfill his graduation requirements while working full time during the day.

Throughout his early adult years, the self described partier jumped around from job to job. Jeremiah explains that he was always a hard worker, but just lacked purpose. He was searching for a sort of inner peace to ground him.

By the time he was twenty-two, Jeremiah had several outstanding warrants for his arrest and had a suspended driver’s license. Low on money and out of options, Jeremiah and a friend hopped on a Greyhound bus for a one-way trip to California to work on a cannabis farm. In California Jeremiah was able to save enough cash so that he could return to Texas and settle his legal issues. This was a turning point for Jeremiah. Back in Texas, he got a full-time job, paid off his debts and even enrolled in a local community college. There was still something missing. Jeremiah lacked a vision. He was missing purpose.

During the fall of 2014 Jeremiah’s life veered in a completely new direction. He started going to church and even joined a life group. By November, Jeremiah gave his life to Jesus and felt a passion to be a man of God in the marketplace. Jeremiah found his purpose.

As Jeremiah wrapped up his course work at the local community college, his plan was to transfer to University of Houston to continue his studies, but a mentor planted the seed to pursue a degree at Baylor University. With prayer, scholarships and a few twists and turns, Jeremiah started class as a Baylor Bear in the fall of 2017.

Jeremiah had two options for his Baylor degree plan. He could select one major and graduate in two years, or a dual-major and graduate in two and a half to three years. Jeremiah chose a single Finance major. That was a solid plan until Entrepreneurship Professor Tyler Self told Jeremiah about an opportunity for entrepreneurship majors/minors to earn additional scholarship monies. Jeremiah felt God asking, who have I made you to be

With his entrepreneurial DNA becoming more apparent, Jeremiah changed directions to pursue a dual-major of Finance and Entrepreneurship. Jeremiah jumped in feet first in the Entrepreneurship department by serving on the Entrepreneurship Student Advisory board and also volunteering with departmental events such as the New Venture Competition and Texas Family Business Awards. 

Jeremiah was recognized as the 2020 Outstanding Student in Entrepreneurship during his final semester at Baylor. A semester full of promises of new beginnings, however, took a very odd turn when COVID-19 changed everything. There were no final handshakes or goodbyes and even graduation was postponed to a later date. But to Jeremiah, what really matters is that he found his calling and his passion. He found his purpose. Jeremiah sums up his experience, “You have to enjoy everything God has planned for you along your journey, and remember it’s not just about the final destination.”

After Jeremiah completes his coursework at Baylor, he and his wife will follow an entrepreneurial path to join his dad at Intralife in Houston, Texas. Jeremiah is excited to use his classwork experience in real-time situations. Ultimately, the duo feels a calling for long-term mission work overseas. But Jeremiah explains, “For now, we are going to enjoy our journey and everything that God has planned for us in Houston.”

Following a road less traveled, indeed. Sic ‘em!


For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.

 

ENT Buzz | Brooklyn Bolton


 

Brooklyn Bolton, Program Director Business & Innovation LLC

 

WHO IS BROOKLYN BOLTON?

I graduated from Baylor in 2015 with a BBA in Business Fellows, Math and Economics. Shortly after graduation I married my Line Camp crush, Aryn, and we moved abroad to work with college students in East Asia. It was such an amazing experience and I knew that God was calling me to work with college students on a professional level. I started my job at Baylor after we moved back to Waco. Aryn and I now have two cute kiddos. Eden is 2 and Judah will be 1 this month. They are the biggest (little) blessings and we are so grateful at how God has guided our journey.


WHAT DO YOU DO AT BAYLOR?

I oversee the Business & Innovation LLC. It’s basically my dream job. I get to work with entrepreneurially-minded, undergraduate students in the residence hall. I work directly with our student leaders to create programming that promotes student engagement outside of the classroom. Each year (who am I kidding, each day) looks a little bit different. We have dodgeball tournaments, Bible studies, golf lessons, guest speakers, pancake parties…you name it! My office is in the residence hall, right in the middle of student activity. I am an ambassador-of-sort for the Entrepreneurship department. I find joy in connecting our students to people and resources/programs that the Entrepreneurship department offers.


WHAT’S SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT WORKING IN THE ENT DEPARTMENT?

I love this department so much that it’s really hard to choose. If I had to pick one thing that stands out, I’m pretty sure it would be when we dared Gib Reynolds to do a backflip on one of our prospective student campus tours. He was in a suit!  In true entrepreneurial fashion, he did not back down from the challenge.


WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BAYLOR TRADITION?

Homecoming! Aryn and I got engaged at the Homecoming bonfire during our senior year. Now that we are local alumni, we host our college friends in our home during Homecoming. It’s always such a fun weekend.


WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A NEW ENT MAJOR?

Live in the Business & Innovation LLC!  Am I allowed to say that if I run it? But seriously, the LLC offers so many resources and connections for our residents. Another great program that is open to non-LLC students is Oso Launch. We have some amazing faculty and staff that have created an awesome program for freshmen students to start and grow a successful venture.


For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.