Frederick Douglas

I read a short bio on Frederick Douglas today.  He definitely did not choose the easy path of just taking his lumps. It reminds me that my struggle is hard, but nothing like what his must have been to fight for freedom and rights for both minorities and women during that time when to do so must have been terrifying and infuriating.
I feel beat down most days by my decision to fight for the rights of the impoverished in housing, but I come from a place of privilege, unlike Douglas. Isn’t it then my responsibility to do something with that??

Unconscious Bias in the Workplace

The Leadership Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question, “How can you play a role in advancing workplace equality?” is written by Dennis Yang, CEO of Udemy. There’s been plenty of talk about…

via How Unconscious Bias Is Holding Your Company Back — Fortune


Local Entrepreneurs Rise to the Occasion and Share the Ride

As written for 10/2016

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you have no doubt heard of rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft.  What you may not know is that Cape Girardeau is poised to get its very own version by the name of carGO.  The ride share service is designed to work in micropolitan, or hometown markets, where people are more likely to know each other.  Up until now, this is a market untapped by larger rideshare companies as they tend to focus on larger cities.

I recently sat down with carGO business managers, Gunnar Knudtson and  Kyle Campbell, to get the scoop on their exciting new venture.   James Stapleton of Codefi and Jeffrey Maurer of Mayson Capital Partners of Cape Girardeau spearheaded the micropolitan rideshare concept.  The service is designed to be an on-demand ride service similar to those in the larger markets.  A major defining feature of carGO is the ability to request a ride from your smartphone – connecting you with background checked and safety trained drivers.  A further defining feature specific to carGO is the ability to “favorite” and request particular drivers or be matched with nearby drivers.


L to R, Maurer, Stapleton, Campbell, Knudtson

When I asked Gunnar and Kyle why this particular business, they said an opportunity like this right out of college was not something they could walk away from.  Both Gunnar and Kyle were studying business at the University of Mississippi, and both had no plans to come back to Cape.  But as we all know, life is funny that way.  Gunner explained the pair received a call one day indicating Stapleton and Maurer wanted to meet and discuss the business idea over dinner.  Gunner recalls with a laugh, “that meeting lasted over four hours.”  He said they felt like they were on “cloud nine” afterward, recognizing that they had an incredible opportunity in front of them.  Although the pair has a background in business management and interest in starting a business, neither has experience launching a tech-infused start-up.

Gunnar and Kyle immediately took up residence in the Codefi co-working space in the Federal Building and started the grind.  Although the business idea was already in place, the pair would have to create processes and finalize details.  This meant partnership agreements, working with the app development, logistics, and a host of legalities and marketing issues related to locating drivers and riders.  Then there is the fact that the service has never been tried in the Cape area.  No pressure guys.  Gunnar and Kyle both express sincere gratitude to the folks at Codefi ( and for the way the up and coming Tech District have nurtured the process.

When asked what success looks like for the new venture Kyle said, “getting that first ride requested and completed.” As the pair laugh, Gunnar chimes in saying that he is hopeful for “future expansion into multiple markets” as the long-term indicator of success.  Both gentlemen agree that the experience is going to be a great learning experience.



The carGO app and website are currently under development.  Potential drivers and riders can visit the site to sign up for more information.

carGO headquarters will be located in the Marquette Tower Tech District.

A Weekend in Southern Illinois

As written for 8/2016

Looking for something fun to do over the weekend?  Why not take a trip over to Kinkaid Lake in Murphysboro, Illinois? There is a surprising array of things to do in the area!  I was actually going to open this story by telling you that the beach is only an hour away.  But truth be told (journalism rule #1) it’s not a real beach.  However, the “beach” at Kinkaid Lake does offer a tranquil spot for a sunny picnic or a quiet fisherman’s stop.


The 2,750-acre lake was built in the late 60s in an area surrounded by sandstone bluffs and the Shawnee National Forest.  A partnership between the Department of Natural Resources, the US Forest Service, and Kinkaid-Reed’s Conservancy District means the lake is meticulous maintained year-round.

The beautiful shorelines cutting into the bluffs and the surrounding forest remain untouched by residential building.  The lake is perfect for skiing, jet skiing, kayaking, tubing, or my personal favorite – relaxing with a cold beverage.  For the outdoorsy type, the lake system shares a border with the 31.5 mile Kinkaid Lake Trail System.  Buttermilk Hill trail juts into the lake and offers a picnic area accessible by foot or by boat.

For the more lively crowd, the party cove is just the spot.  Named Three Mile by visitors, it offers panoramic views of, well, other boats and party people.  It is a great place to meet up with friends, take a gander at the houseboats, or float along with your kiddos and dog.

Don’t have a boat?  The Marina offers rentals! They also have camp spots to accommodate RVs or tents and a restaurant with the best cheeseburger around.  If you are looking to make a weekend out of it, you can take a jaunt around to Little Grand Canyon in the Shawnee National Forest.  As a bonus, there are several points of interest you can hit along the way.

My trip from the Cape area often includes a stop by the Ware Produce stand at Route 3 and 146. They have a great selection of seasonal fruits, veggies, and specialty cheeses.  The journey from IL-146E to IL-127N will take you past the county Fish and Wildlife area, and on a scenic drive by the Brown Barrens Nature Preserve.

The winding drive along 127 takes you by grapevines, ranches, and scenic overlooks in Alto Pass.  Alto Pass offers several stops including wineries along the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, the Bald Knob Cross, a brewery, the strangely unique Root Beer Saloon, and a farmers market.

You never know what is going to be around the corner as you drive to the Little Grand Canyon – an area known for year-round wildlife spotting and scenic views.

My stop in the Little Grand Canyon included a 30-minute hike down to the Mississippi Valley, complete with a dog and a camera man.  You can take the trail to the canyon, or complete the entire loop which is about 3.6 miles. The trail we took was not too difficult, and the large beautiful trees provided shade along the way.  The trail is well maintained and offers benches to rest your feet or soak in the quiet nature of the area. The Little Grand Canyon is only about 30 minutes travel time from Lake Kinkaid.


No trip to Lake Kinkaid is complete without a stop by the Spillway- it is always worth the extra couple of minutes! While you are in the Murphysboro area why not take a peek around downtown?  There are several shops and great options if you are hungry.  Whiffleboy’s pizza is amazing, and in the event your caveman fire-building skills fail, they do deliver to the campground!  If you are in the mood for barbecue, you will not be disappointed with 17th Street Bar and Grill.  The staff is friendly, the beer is cold, and there isn’t a bad thing on the menu.