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A passion for business

Not every student who goes into the Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship CEO Program has a passion for business before committing to the nine-month program.

Going into his senior year at Hillsboro High School Student Lucaas Secrist was interested in becoming a Natural Resource Conservation Officer in Illinois. But Montgomery County’s CEO Program opened his eyes to what being a leader is all about.

“Being a good leader is more than managing the process, it’s about inspiring others,” he said. “In order to do that you have to be personable and relate to other people. Each person has a great ability to grow, and everyone changes over time.”

Secrist said right off the bat he was able to become a leader in the classroom and within the Hillsboro community by working with classmate to raise seed money through selling nametags and by helping the local Rotary Club with volunteers and fundraising through the Interest Club.

By October, Secrist had gone through about a half-dozen business ideas, but none of the ideas seemed viable. Then, while watching his mom make a product she’d made for years, Secrist decided to redesign his mother’s invention to produce, “Nana’s Warm and Cozies.”

“My mom has always allowed me to have growing room to explore and become my own,” he said. “She’s been absolutely fantastic and always supportive. She understands that it’s my business. So this CEO program and my business has helped to make those decisions on my own as I move off to college.”

Alongside his mother’s support, Secrist also found working with his CEO mentor was also very beneficial.

“My mentor here in Montgomery County has been huge,” he said. “He has been helpful, very insightful with his years and years of experience. Even though we’re in two completely different fields, he had a ton of resources to hook me up with, explained different business concepts to me and being able to understand what I was going through.”

Secrist was chosen as the representative from the Montgomery CEO Program to present his business at the Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship 2016 National Trade Show from 4 to 6 p.m. on June 13.

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