Five inspiring people who followed their passions to career success

By Susan Pohorski

Many young people are overwhelmed by the career choices available to them. They don’t know what they want to be when they grow up. Others have definite career goals in mind. These individuals know their interests and are already spending time practicing or learning about the thing they are passionate about. 

As a parent you can help your child identify the things they are passionate about. Point out how they spend their time, what they read, clubs they are involved in or even television shows they watch regularly. You can make the connection between their interests and possible careers. 

Passion for subject matter can provide great motivation in school. When students see the connection between class work and their interests they will do well in those subjects. 

These five individuals followed their passion and it led them to satisfying and successful careers. 

  • Christopher Kelling’s passion became apparent to him at a young age. When he was nine years old Chris started repairing television sets. That interest morphed into computers as the technology changed. Chris pursued that passion at Gateway Technical College and now works as an IT help desk technician.
  • Mike Balistrieri is passionate about food. As an eighth grader he knew he wanted to become a chef. That passion led him to Fox Valley Technical College’s culinary arts program. Mike eventually became executive chef at several fine-dining establishments. Now he shares his passion as an instructor at FVTC.
  • Russ Linder’s passion is farm equipment. He pursued this passion through the Agriculture Power and Equipment program at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College. Russ he likes customer contact as much as working with the equipment. He found the perfect combination as a service technician for Mid-State Equipment.
  • Mike Shannon didn’t discover his passion until he took his first marketing class at Moraine Park Technical College. He gained more experience and skills through participating in DECA, a student organization and completed an associate degree in marketing. His other passion was cars and Mike found success combining both passions. As president of Holiday Automotive, he was named Wisconsin’s Quality Dealer of the year 2015.

Do you know someone who followed his or her passion at a Wisconsin technical college and found success? We would love to hear their story.

Add new comment