Chief Strategist, Relevance
I am the Chief Strategist at Relevance. A lot of people ask what we do so it’s easiest to learn from our website about being a growth marketing agency. We also have an investment arm of Relevance. I write weekly columns for Forbes and Inc. and I contribute to a variety of other publications, including CNBC, Harvard Business Review, Fortune, and Fast Company. I am the chairman of HJRJ investments, which developed Copperstone Park in Columbia.
I started JMH Real Estate Investments while I was in college. I received my Master’s Degree from Mizzou. I then worked at JES Holdings and was the co-founding CEO of Influence & Co. In my spare professional time, I am a keynote speaker.
Time lived in Columbia:
Quote you live by:
“You are the average of the people you spend the most time with so surround yourself with amazing people.”
Favorite volunteer/community activity:
I really enjoy Missouri Startup Weekend that Scale organizes in Columbia to support entrepreneurship. There are so many great organizations to get involved with in our community.
Favorite recent project:
I’m doing a lake development in Mexico, Mo., that I’m working with Robinett Construction on. It will be something unique to mid-Missouri.
A Columbia business person you admire and why:
Brant Bukowsky. I’ve been friends with Brant prior to the success of Veteran’s United. He and his brother set a good example on staying humble and looking out for others as they’ve seen success. I used to be more of an egotistical entrepreneur as I saw success, and having people like this in my life has helped me reflect on making sure I stay grounded and look out for others.
Why you are passionate about your job:
Our office environment is pretty great. We have things like skeeball, shuffleboard, spa room, miniature golf, etc. However, I really just love the people I get to work with. They help me become a better version of myself, and we have a lot of fun at work. I wish the world could have the collaborative environment we have here so there would be a lot less drama. Life is pretty short and with all the tension and conflict in the world, it’s great to look forward to being around the people at the office.
Why you are passionate about your company:
100% the people and the culture we have built and continue to build. My business partner (John Rampton) and I have learned a lot about working together and bringing the best out in each other. Then when I see our employees constantly trying to enhancing each other’s lives and also really care about client success.
If you weren’t doing this for a living, you would:
If money didn’t matter then I’d likely be a teacher. I love mentoring and educating others, but I wish teachers got paid more to make a better living.
The next challenge facing your industry:
It’s a challenge, but an opportunity at the same time. ChatGPT and AI functionality is changing how we communicate, scale marketing, and create content. Many people are running to it and will likely make the mistake of using AI too much to save on costs. However, there will always be a need to make content unique and engage others from some level of human involvement.
Your next professional goal:
I potentially might write an updated version of my book Top of Mind or tackle another book project.
Biggest lesson learned in business:
Surround yourself with great people. If you do this, things seem to work themselves out and life is good.
How you want to impact the Columbia community:
I love bringing entrepreneurs and leaders together. I feel like if we bring good people together as a group and make efforts to make things better then we can make a bigger difference. There are a ton of amazing entrepreneurs like Sarah Hill, Willy/Jabbok Schlacks, Joseph Gaboury, Jack Miller, Kerry Goyette, and many other amazing people that I see helping others out that I’ve known for a while. Bringing people like that together and keeping things top of mind will allow people to do more in this community. I feel like we have a lot of great people in Columbia that want to do good, but a lot of times they aren’t doing it together; I feel like the biggest difference I can make is by connecting these people and helping them find resources for difficulties they encounter.
I try to be as helpful as I can to people, which has allowed me to form a lot of solid relationships.
I talk so, so much. My wife can vouch for this.
What you do for fun:
We like going to Jose Jalapenos with family/friends or Flyover with my wife. I also hang out at our office campus in Copperstone Park with the team.
Lindsay (wife), Three kids (Adelyn, Caroline, and Teddy), Baxter (dog), Violet (rabbit), and Winston (bearded dragon).
Favorite place in Columbia:
Copperstone area as I believe we have some of the best neighbors in that community.
Accomplishment you are most proud of:
I love it when the people around me get recognized; when I see them evolve in their careers. Loved it when the president of Relevance, Misty Larkins, was 20 Under 40 or when one of our employees is able to buy their dream house or we are able to host their wedding shower at our property. I love investing in people and seeing them reach a higher potential. Being a good Dad is honestly my #1, but I just didn’t want to do an easy answer.
Most people don’t know that:
I had to take a lie detector as a 14-year-old because my high school teacher thought I stole beer from her house. When I passed it, she said she thought I was smart enough to pass a lie detector test, however, I did just get a C- on her classroom test so not sure why she thought so highly of my intellectual abilities.