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No Hill For A Climber

This is a show in which you will meet surprising business people. The nun from Corpus Christi who founded the top microlender in the country. The black man who grew up in Jim Crow Mississippi who - to his surprise - took over the chairmanship of the nation’s 2nd largest bank following the 2008 crisis. A 17 year-old girl in Round Rock Texas who has cracked the code of 2 different social media platforms, on the way to building her multi-million dollar business, a business which she runs in between studying as a junior in high school and going to band practice. A San Antonio restaurateur whose roots go back to the earliest days of settling the Panhandle of Texas, and whose favorite days are when his restaurant is empty.

This is also a show in which you will hear about the complexities of business - business not about announcing the latest earnings, and certainly not the latest product pitches. But I mean the complexity of business as a calling, as a life-project. Business as a way to make a living, yes, but also where failure might be - and often is - just around the corner. Business as a project that makes us ask ourselves. What is success? And also, what do I still not know?

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  • Janie Barrera founded one of the largest and most successful non-profit business microlenders in the country. Her journey to that founding has roots in her youth in Corpus Christi, Texas, and by no means was Barrera’s a typical path to starting a finance company.
  • Tirso Sigg took a leap of faith coming to the United States from Mexico and taking a job at Disney World for which he wasn't quite qualified. Thanks to a little luck and a lot of ingenuity, he now owns a restaurant business and went on a personal journey to overcome his fear of the unknown.
  • Younger Melissa Jones would never have believed, as a teen growing up in good standing with the Church of Latter Day Saints, what older Melissa Jones now does. Her Sexology Institute in downtown San Antonio grew directly from her experience within the Mormon Church, but eventually led her very far from her childhood roots in Provo, Utah.
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  • Stuart Allen is an artist in San Antonio, a working artist, who vehemently rejects the myth of the starving artist. He practices and models in his own career the idea that the artist needs to be a small business person. Tracking Inventory. Accounts Receivable. Appropriate Technology Innovation and Investment. Time Management. Small business basics. Too much of the art world, he believes, misunderstands the “working artist as small business owner” mindset. Too much of our society thinks money and art cannot coexist. Too many art schools train art teachers, rather than artists. We talk about this and more in this conversation that touches on his successes, his setbacks, his first big break, and whether he is too cheap.