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Celebrating National Entrepreneurship Month

Eric Curts

Have you ever wondered what it takes to start your own business? 

In late November, approximately 40 students enrolled in Intro to Business, Human Relations, and Career Search I, courses at Marietta High School for the opportunity to find out firsthand what it means to start your own business. Four local entrepreneurs took time out of their day to discuss their journey during a panel discussion: Ryan Smith from Marietta Adventure Company; Alice Chapman from Ely Chapman Education Foundation; Geoff Schenkel from REsolve Studios; and Michelle Waters from Michelle Waters Photography. The panel was facilitated by Pamela Lankford, Director of the Small Business Development Center in Marietta.


Art, education, and adventure–from all perspectives–self-employment is an option. Students learned that all four entrepreneurs have a passion for what they do. The discussion kicked off with each entrepreneur telling the story of how they got started and why. Pamela highlighted emerging patterns from the discussion, such as common skills necessary and the common actions taken by all four of the entrepreneurs throughout their journey. The discussion ended as an advice-giving session addressing many different areas of life. 

One student asked if they (entrepreneurs) were ever afraid, and if so, did they eventually get over the fear? The answer was ‘yes, there was a lot of fear. And, no, you do not get over it.’ Passion for what they do outweighs the fear, so it is not a barrier to moving forward.

Colin Schaad, a senior at Marietta High School, enjoyed hearing the life stories of the entrepreneurs. He had never heard of the Small Business Development Center, and didn’t realize that there was, “a business meant to help other businesses.” 

Entrepreneur Alice Chapman (Ely Chapman Education Foundation) is an example of a social entrepreneur who wanted to solve the problem of students slipping through the cracks in school. This is not an area of entrepreneurialism that the students had previously encountered. 

The interactive day of learning concluded with a final piece of advice from the panel given to the whole student audience: Take time to explore the multiple options that are out there. 

About the Author

Tasha Werry is currently the Director of Career Resources and Outreach for Marietta City Schools. Her role is to make connections necessary for providing real world career experiences for students. Previously, she taught for 12 years in the Marietta City School system and was the district grant coordinator—a position designed to bridge a disconnect between education and employment.