Thinking It Out Loud

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Carisa Stark


Q&A with Carisa Stark.  Carisa is the owner/operator of MaryJane Burgers and Brews and Jackson Street BrewCo in Perryville, MO.  Perryville is a small town approximately 70 miles south of St. Louis.  Known primarily as a small farming community, MaryJane Burgers and Brew has put Perryville on the foodie and libertine map.

  “Mary Jane was created to display our passion for fresh, local ingredients prepared into stunning dishes and paired with amazingly delicious craft beer. We pride ourselves by using only the freshest ingredients. We buy local when possible to support our small town economy. Our burgers are prepared fresh daily using Midwest-raised cattle, no GMOs, no antibiotics and are accompanied with fresh-baked buns.”

Typical pub fare with a flair..everything from street tacos, in house salsa, to burgers with everything AND the kitchen sink…all in a cool vibe with functioning garage doors that open the restaurant up to let the outside in.  Beer club, a changing bar menu, and an on site party suite make this small town gem a destination for weddings, reunions, and a local watering hole.  With the addition of her own brewery, Jackson BrewCo, and the rotating 20 taps, MaryJanes is a great place to indulge and enjoy the day or evening with friends.

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Breaking the Ties That Bind-Champion Thinking

Lets talk about Sugar Ray’s quote.  Arguably one of the greatest athletes that has ever lived and competed.  Born in 1921 his family moved from Georgia to New York to escape the deep south and all that meant for a young black man.  He began boxing as a young teen and at 19 had won the New York Golden Gloves championship and turned pro.  Never looking back, he went on to win fight after fight…at one point he had a 91 winning streak going.  91! Champion thinking at its finest.

91 times he stepped into the ring KNOWING that the other person was there to take him down.  I can tell you right now, without knowing a thing about boxing, that streak had 20% to do with his physical training and 80% to do with his MENTAL training.  He believed he had prepared for each fight to the best of his ability and he KNEW that he was there to win.  Despite the people cheering or booing, Sugar Ray Robinson stepped into the ring, EVERY TIME, to win.

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Entrepreneur Spotlight: Autumn Masterson Pettit

Q&A with Autumn Masterson Pettit.  Owner of Private Correctional Services. PCS works with non violent offenders through the court system and monitors drug and alcohol abuse  through drug tests and breathalyzers, ankle bracelets for house arrest’s, and provides contracted probation services to the courts.

Basically Autumn is a bad ass with dimples and a soft spoken manner.  Some might say a pretty version of Dog the Bounty Hunter.  I just call her my friend.  Autumn is a vegetarian, animal lover (ALL kinds) and wife and mother as well as business owner.

Q: How did you come into the business of private corrections?

When I was in college I had an interest in law enforcement. Unfortunately, that career path required weekend and night work. I waited tables through college and was keenly aware that night, private events, and holidays was something I didn’t want to work on. So, I opted for corrections. I started my first job in the field at a private agency in 2007 and worked there for two years before being hired on with the Board of Probation and Parole in Caruthersville, MO. In  2007, an opportunity became available to bid on the contract for the private agency that I once worked for. I decided to create a bid and relay how I felt a probation office should be ran. I was awarded the bid in 2007.

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Breaking the Ties That Bind-Part 1


It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there will be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.

– Mahatma Gandhi

A quick moment about the SWAG picture attached to this post…I just love it.  It’s a cute version of “yeah, I know what the world says…and I don’t give a flip.  Get over it.  I am me and I rock.”  I LOVE this picture.  Could be because I am little chubby and I got SWAG like crazy…at least some days.  Working on swag on all my days!


We come into this world with our very unique DNA.  It’s like a 1 in 4 trillion chance that each of us is…..well, us.  Did you know that?  Think about that.  There are only 7 billion people alive in the world.  So if its 1 in 4 trillion that you are even you, as you are right at the moment of conception, do you think you might have some unique ideas?  About how to make something better?  How to do or create a new type of career?  Or how to problem solve from a unique perspective?   Yes, YOU have the power.  Those thoughts or ideas that you have dismissed as “not doable”…well, guess are wrong.  If you have the power to conceive it then you have the power to ACHIEVE it.

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Entrepreneur Spotlight: Dr. Monique Carlisle Johnson

Q&A with Dr. Monique Carlisle Johnson, owner of MCJ Consulting.  Based in the Cincinnati area, Monique works with schools and organizations and individuals who are ready to improve, grow, and change in ways that make a difference in the world.  MJC  Consulting is especially committed to full customized counsel, guidance, and support to educational organizations focused on student success.

Among other achievements Monique has her doctorate in Counselor Education with a focus in Higher Education Administration and a minor in Human Resource Development for Trainers, The Pennsylvania State University.

*Editors privilege:  When you meet Monique you can’t help but know that she is committed to what her role is.  I love to give this example of how she and her family live.  She and I were GS leaders together on an overnight camp out.  Camping is NOT Monique’s thing.  When she told her husband that “camping is for the birds” his response sums up their family mantra:  “So be a bird then”.  And you know what…she was a bird.  She cooked out, hiked, and sang songs like her entire heart was in it.  Because that is who she is.  Committed to the role she is in and gets the job done.

Q: Did you always want to have your own business?

No, I describe myself as the accidental entrepreneur. After being hired as a consultant (independent contractor) by the local school district two years ago, I realized that I was a business owner but did not see myself in that way.
 Over the past year, I began studying entrepreneurship and had an inspiring encounter with a retired Principal who inspired me to own it. MCJ Consulting was born in June of 2016.
I’m no stranger to business ownership.  My husband and I have owned a rental property business for the past 14 years.  He’s always been very entrepreneurial and owning real estate was a goal of his.  We bought our first home in 2002 and we now have 18 homes. We work together to manage the properties.


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The Ties That Bind


I got a whole Matrix theme going on for this weeks post.  Something about the place I am in life and feeling more alive and awake than I have in years has called up this movie for me.  It’s not even one of my favorites.  Actually, I am not certain I have seen the whole thing to be honest.  Nevertheless I feel like I am having a Matrix moment.  Like I just realized…the things I am doing now, and the freedom and fun I am having…well, I could have been doing those things all along.  But as Morpheus says…I wasn’t ready to be unplugged.  Are you?

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Entrepreneur Spotlight: Tricia Zimmer Ferguson

Q&A with Tricia Zimmer Ferguson.  While not big on titles, for all intents and purposes, Tricia functions as the CEO in this family business. Kaldi’s Coffee, Honolulu Coffee, The Frothy Monkey Roasting company, and Firepot Tea.   Along with her husband, dad, brother, and sister, Tricia has worked hard to develop and expand what began as regional coffee roasting company with 6 cafe’s, into a global business.  To date there are 17 Kaldi’s locations in 4 cities in the USA, 45 Honolulu Coffee locations in Hawaii, Guam, Japan, Canada, and China.  The Frothy Monkey has 4 stores/cafe’s in the Nashville, Tennessee area with a new location coming to Chattanooga.  Firepot Tea can be found in 8 different states including Kaldi’s locations as well as Honolulu Coffee locations and cafe’s across the board.

Q: Why Coffee?

I don’t think it’s just the coffee but what coffee does. Coffee brings people together. It’s about the memories and experiences you have when drinking coffee. It’s one of those constants through life that’s there through ALL of the times. 

Our companies are all built around the mission of bringing our customers and guests together for a memorable experience,  bringing our employees into a long term growth environment that practices sustainable business practices and educational opportunities, and supporting the communities that are supporting us. Coffee is about coming together.

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The Face of Female Ambition


Yes, I know that picture I chose is huge.  Its a little in your face…and that is the point.

Did you know that right now, based on a title that includes the words “female” and “ambition” there are people that just said, nope.  Not gonna read it.  Why?  Somewhere in our psyche we have this crazy notion that women + ambition= bitch. Click To Tweet So I guess that must be me. Cause I am definitely a women with ambition.  Ambition to be kind, funny, charitable, financially wealthy, a life of time freedom choices, and an ambition to be in the public eye.  There I said it…now you know I want to be a YouTube star..except I am about 20 years to old for that I think.  Maybe I can get the daughters…kidding!

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Entrepreneur Spotlight: Ali Altenthal


Q&A with entrepreneur/professional model Ali Altenthal.  Ali is a wife, mom to step son Parker, barrel racing, gun toting, bow hunting, 5’11 ball of cowgirl attitude with super model looks.  And she is 100% nice to boot!  Yep, its the girl we all want to dislike..but can’t help but love.  First signed by Ford Models at age 15 Ali has worked with top names in the industry.  To name a few- Tommy Hilfiger, Teen Vogue, Kenneth Cole, Top 5 finalist in the nation for Victoria Secret Angel Search, Diane Von Furstenburg, New Balance, Glo Jeans, Elle Magazine, Gander Mountain, and TJ Maxx.

Q: Horse Vs. Camera.  What do you enjoy about both?

I got into horses and fell in love with them when I was fairly young. They taught me patience, trust and how to work hard, but I came to realize very quickly how expensive they were. Especially when I started getting into barrel racing.

Being in front of the camera at a young age really helped me financially to make my dream a reality, I paid cash for my first truck and trailer and was able to buy my first barrel horse that I could be competitive on. The camera in my life has led to me being able to live an interesting life that includes travel and financial security.  I have been able to make the country girl inside me a priority.  Isn’t that what any business owner wants to be able to do?  I own business’s that enables my chosen lifestyle to be a reality.


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