Monday, April 20, 2015

50 Years of Educating - Generations of Influence

2015 Future Alumni Essay Contest
First Place Winner
TTC Student, Lacey LeSuer

With my husband deployed and a baby on the way, I realized I needed to carpe diem and fully invest in my dream to be an independent business owner. Traveling home for the support of my family during this new and challenging experience brought me great clarity and reflection. Looking over my life and the choices that brought me to where I am today helped me narrow down the details of my career needs: I needed a business with a flexible schedule for motherhood, mobility due to our transient military life, a low risk investment, creative outlet, continued growth opportunities, and a service I could market to those directly around me. These considerations lead me to the art and business of floral design and the Trident Technical College's Floral Design Program.

Being raised by blue-collar entrepreneurs I was encouraged from a young age to find my “niche” and let it shine to the world. I have spent my life carrying around a mental magnifying glass always searching out a new and clever business venture wherever I go, just ask those who know me. Comical and perhaps even embarrassing to my husband and friends is my constant inquisitiveness at restaurants, markets, or town events, “What inspired you to get into this business? How did you get started? What makes your product better than theirs? Can I speak with your store buyer? What a witty marketing slogan! We need to write a review for this place.

As a freshman at Utah State University I studied finance, marketing, business, education, and economics never quite knowing what I should focus on or what major would help me fulfill my destiny of being a successful business owner. Eventually I graduated from a technical college with two legal certifications, hours of internship experience, years of employment on my resume, and extracurricular activities in abundance but still no business plan down on paper. With these years of foundational cultivation, a newly acquired direction and passion, and now assisted by Trident Technical College my dreams are finally becoming a reality.

Being able to attend class in a working floral shop, being taught by Charleston’s finest floral designers, is an opportunity I could not have obtained on my own. Not only has this program helped me acquire the basic tools and skills I need to create a gorgeous floral arrangement but the entire inside perspective of running a floral business. At last, a place where my inquisitiveness is not only appreciated but encouraged. I’ve learned the procedures for ordering wholesale flowers, market prices, created a portfolio, and networked with other professionals and cliental. Receiving my education first hand in an operative business means being surrounded by inspiration and gaining confidence in my qualifications to graduate and begin my own company.  

My plans as a graduate floral designer begin even before I finish this program.  I intend to become, “Lacey’s Floral and Gift” a limited liability company promptly. My business will begin in my home and mature into a sizable boutique in the future. Upon graduating I will focus my efforts on marketing through donating funeral designs in my church, corsages and boutonnieres to my youth group, and special occasion bouquets to military events and spouses like the Deployed Spouse Appreciation Dinner. I will seek a large social media following, become a vendor at bridal expos, flower festivals, farmer’s markets, and bring samples around to downtown Charleston hotels and venues.  

If there is one thing I have learned through my education and career pursuits it’s that being motivated by money only goes so far. If you truly want to find fulfillment you must measure your achievement on the journey, the progress you have reached, the person you have become, the difference you have made. That’s why giving back to Trident Technical College and future students is imperative. I can give back even now by participating in student organizations like the Women Empowerment Club, sporting school colors and attire, and attending school events like the upcoming car show and Clemente Players performances. Upon graduation I will help share my vision by offering feedback on the program, participating in focus groups, surveys, and advisory boards to cultivate new ideas and enhance other’s educational experience. As an alumnus I will volunteer my time to promote programs to military families and help them get enrolled. As an experienced florist I will participate in school seminars and workshops, take on interns from the program, help graduates transition into the workforce, and advise others on starting up their own business. I can donate floral arrangements to the Trident Technical College Foundation Banquet. My husband and I even have the goal of funding a scholarship someday.

With nearly 51 years of educating the lowcountry, Trident Technical College has played an even more enduring role in the lives of it’s students. Incalculable is the development I have achieved and the vast influence it will have upon my growing family and community. An ancestor of explorers, pioneers, innovators, and of course entrepreneurs my college degree will be the  next stepping stone for a long line of courage and progress. Trident Technical College will enable me to become an independent florist, fulfill my potential, and leave my mark on history!

By Lacey LeSuer

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