Feb
29

Turning Struggles into Passions

My name is Ryan Conrad. I am a Senior at Juanita College. Lisa asked me if I wanted to share my journey with the readers of Entrepreneur The Arts. This is my short story about how I turned my elementary school struggles into my passions. These passions have given me a new outlook on life while setting in motion my entrepreneurial spirit.

In elementary school it was difficult for me to read and write due to a learning disability called dyslexia. Dyslexia in it’s most basic form is a reading and writing disorder. However, I learned that Albert Einstein, Jay Leno, Leonardo da Vinci, Winston Churchill, and Walt Disney were also dyslexics. Desire to excel have pushed me beyond my limitations. The experience of living with a learning disability has been challenging, but at the same time, has empowered me to become a better person and have a new outlook on life. I know what it feels like to be consider the “other” and feel powerless, but from that experience I have gained the courage to start to question what I have been told and make a positive difference.

Even though I participated in numerous activities during high school, and carried a 3.8 GPA, I felt like the “other” day in and day out. I was told by a band director that I never could make the snare drum line in the marching band because of my disability. Many dyslexic individuals will switch letters around and he believed that I would do the same with the music.

It was suggested to my parents by a variety of people within the school district that it might just be best if I stayed at home and went to a college near my house, because I might not survive on my own without someone there to help me if I struggled learning college material.

I never truly gained confidence in my abilities until the summer before my senior year. In the summer of 2003 I organized a large scale charity 5k as my senior project, which raised close to 2,000 dollars for charity. My race was featured in newspapers, on television, and even in Runner’s World Magazine. For one of the first times in my life I did not feel like the “other.” Rather, I felt as if I had a gift to lead people and organize large events. That fall I made the snare drum line in the marching band and I found out that every college I applied to I was accepted.

Fast Forward to 2008….
I wanted to reflect upon my past experience in order to give everyone an idea of my past. These experiences allowed me to grow as a person and really start to find my passions in life. Looking back now, I find it very interesting that my first passions (music/event planning) in life are now how I hope to make a living. Below is a short overview of my business concept that I have been developing over the last few months.

Direct Fusion Entertainment
There are two necessities for college students that can not be denied. We need clothing and we crave music. Direct Fusion Entertainment is a company that organizes a touring fashion show and professional DJ set party concert series targeted at colleges.

In March of 2007, Direct Fusion Entertainment took the worlds of fashion and music and created the ultimate collaboration! Direct Fusion organized a fashion show at Juniata College that included six clothing companies, a band, DJ, massage therapists, and haircuts, back by corporate sponsorships. As the DJ cranked beats student models walked the run away. After the show a touring band provided the entertainment as students purchased clothing they viewed.

My goal is to implement this same concept nationwide. As the student director of major events at Juniata College, I realized a need which was waiting to be filled. The need for an innovative new type of entertainment not just the regular comedian, hypnotist or band who are competitors in college entertainment.

Hopefully, the background information I supplied will help to provide a context for my blogs in the future. I look forward to sharing my story of how I’ve combined my passions to hopefully create a business concept that will grow in the coming months!

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