Lisa Tellinghuisen, 17, has a bubbly, engaging personality that matches perfectly with her sky-high career aspirations. Her enthusiasm and outgoing nature also helped her recently be named the Otto Bremer Student Entrepreneur of the Year for North Dakota.
A recent high school graduate of West Fargo Sheyenne High School, Tellinghuisen believed even as a child that her social skills would someday lend themselves well to a business setting.
“Neither of my parents are in the business field, but I’ve always been very outgoing and willing to try something new,” Tellinghuisen says. “I think those things are a big part of being in business. You have to be willing to put yourself out there and you have to know what you want to get out of a particular situation.”
Tellinghuisen got an opportunity to test her budding entrepreneurial skills first-hand when she participated recently in the JA Company Program through her school. Along with several other students, Tellinghuisen helped develop a company called Cre8fulEight, which produced and sold colorfully decorated Mason jars designed to dispense soap or other products.
“We were a little worried at first because no one had any crazy-good ideas right off the bat,” Tellinghuisen says. “We decided, ‘Well, if we want to make something, where can we go for ideas? Pinterest!’ One of our teammates found these Mason jars and I found there are a lot of really cool things to create with them. Since I was head of the supply chain for our company, I was a big part of the creative side. I thought it was really cool that I painted these jars and they looked good and turned out nice and everyone really liked them. I was really proud of myself.”
As a result of her JA Company experience and through competing in the JAUM Company of the Year competition—the first time the event has been held in North Dakota—Tellinghuisen received a $1,000 scholarship, along with the honor of being named Student Entrepreneur of the Year. The Otto Bremer Entrepreneurship Fund, a multi-year initiative to promote entrepreneurship and its opportunities to youth, supports a number of JA efforts, including the JA Company Program, and it also funds scholarships for members of qualifying company teams.
This fall, Tellinghuisen will attend Minnesota State University-Moorhead to study advertising/public relations with a minor in media analysis. It’s a college path she hopes will translate into a career as a social media analyst, helping companies strengthen their social media communications.
“I was always really curious about how someone actually started a business,” Tellinghuisen says about her JA experience. “I’ve known people who’ve started businesses and became really successful, but I had absolutely no idea what the steps were. That’s why I was so excited about this JA program because I really got to learn what goes into making a company.”