Michael Jon Stallsmith
Company: Theory House
Position: Account Supervisor
WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
Green Bay, WI
HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN CHARLOTTE AREA?
2 Years 3 Months
TELL US A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT YOU?
As I was born and raised in Green Bay, WI, I’m obviously a cheesehead. I say that because even though I have been living out of the state for over 7 years, Green Bay and the state of Wisconsin is a huge part of who I am. I am always one to remember where I came from. That includes my home, family, friends and mentors. I am an extremely loyal person and hold tight my close friendships and relationships. Too many people have helped me to this point in my life to forget. Everything I do from this point moving forward, is in some way influenced by relationships I have now or have had in the past.
Athletics was always a big part of my life having played several sports including football, basketball, soccer, golf and lacrosse. As I look back at all of my sports experiences growing up, I realize that they all have had a dramatic impact in how I live and approach life. Even early on in my career the athletics influence carried through at Dick’s Sporting Goods where I learned to transfer much of how I operated on the field of play to the world of business and retail.
I find myself to be a blended introvert/extrovert. While I’m extremely outgoing, can hold a conversation with a stranger and am the one who walks around the office consistently interacting with all of my coworkers, I’m also the kind of person that is completely satisfied with an evening home alone reading a good book, writing or working through my latest idea. I go to concerts and breweries, travel the world and do hot yoga because a close friend somehow convinced me it was a good idea. But then I can take a weekend and go hiking in the mountains or explore a new city like San Francisco where I have zero connections and explore the world on my own terms.
I’ve overcome challenges, like all of us have, at various points in my life. But the reason I am where I am today and why I’m hopeful about realizing my goals and dreams is that I have the drive to make it happen. I live my life with an optimism and gratitude for today and what is to come my way in the future. And I know I will never be able to achieve any of my greatest ambitions alone. My most memorable moments in life have been with other people by my side, and I know it will take my ability to connect meaningfully with others to continue on my path. The thing that drives me most is that I never want to look back on my life and say, “what if”. What if I had taken that new job? What if I had gone on that trip I thought I couldn’t afford? What if’s scare me to death. Regret is one the single biggest drivers of my actions and most important life decisions. I can always fix mistakes and learn from failures, but I can’t correct anything I don’t even take a chance on in the first place.
DURING YOUR TIME VOLUNTEERING FOR A COMMUNITY ACTIVITY OR PROJECT, WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORIAL MOMENT?
My most memorable moment was participating in my first Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Guys and Dolls Auction Gala. It was the type of experience I needed to show me how much more of myself I had to give and make an impact in our community. Walking on stage that night and raising several thousand dollars with a group of such dedicated people was an experience and night I’ll never forget. It was the proof that showed me what great things can be done when like-minded and driven people work together for a common purpose. That night has been the catapult for all that I have continued to do and have high aspirations of achieving in our city.
IN YOUR OPINION, HOW DO YOU CONTRIBUTE TO THE COMMUNITY?
If I am being honest, I feel as though I am only just scratching the surface in my contributions to the community. I have been a Charlotte resident for just over 2 years now and have been increasing my involvement each year. It’s been two years with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation both as a “Guy” in the Guys and Dolls Auction Gala fundraiser event and then as a committee member this year which required that I mentor a new participant through their experience and fundraising.
I’ve been a committee member for a local Make-A-Wish event called GUTS in 2017 and will be doing the same this year. The event is a pumpkin carving contest organized in partnership which much of the local creative community with all funds going to our local chapter of Make-A-Wish. It’s been an opportunity for me to give a small amount of my time to a great cause, support a coworker in his efforts of leading this event and gain new connections within the local creative community that which I have become a part of with my move to Charlotte.
But both experiences have for the most part sparked my interest in finding the one opportunity that I know if I give everything I have, that I can make the biggest impact with my time and talents. I’ll continue staying involved with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, but I’ve realized that fundraising isn’t my greatest skillset. Over the years, I’ve realized that I am most aligned and engaged in life when I’ve been coaching or teaching others. Whether that be tutoring middle school students while I was in college or mentoring our latest wave of interns. The realization of my talents and passions have led me to begin the application process to become a “Big” with Big Brothers Big Sisters. I know that this is where I can have the greatest impact with my volunteering. I’ve already completed the application process and begin my orientation next month.
I’ve also been continuing to explore other areas of community involvement in hopes that I may find the niche where both my talents and passion can combine with the time I can give to make the most impact personally possible in this city. This is a much larger and more long-term effort I am just beginning to navigate.
While exploring, I came across the Foundation for the Carolinas and the Robinson Center for Civic Leadership last summer. I met several times with individuals within the center and made the decision to join as an Emerging Leader. It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made since moving to Charlotte. Aside from my monthly donations, to this point it’s been primarily a learning vehicle for me. I have several goals for making a broader impact in the community. Connecting with other members and leaders within the organization and learning more about what all the foundation and the city of Charlotte is doing to continue to grow and build a future city for all to succeed has been invaluable. I’m just scratching the surface with the organization.
I began attending the Faster Forward by Design breakfast series hosted by Faster Glass and Queen City Forward to support my learning and growth goals while connecting with members of the community. In the process, I met the Queen City Forward organization and joined their first cohort of members this past January. I’m still in the early phases of involvement with the organization, but I’ve already met with several local leaders in the early going. I have a few social impact and entrepreneurial goals in addition to my retail profession. I’m hoping the involvement with Queen City Forward can help to create the environment I need to support those efforts and gain the knowledge I need to accomplish them.
Lastly, I declared 2018 my year of action. I had spent much of 2017 focused inward and exploring all the things and the ideas that drive me. I made volunteering a more concerted effort and part of my life, so I would learn how to juggle all the commitments. I joined new organizations that would force me to interact with people I otherwise would not. In that process, I produced many ideas of what I could embark upon that would create the meaningful impact I so desire. I’ve made a concerted effort this year to attend one community, business or educational event at least every other week. I’ve attended various local meetups and community gatherings not always knowing fully what I was getting myself into but have found myself getting something out of each commitment I’ve made. That may be connecting with someone new, learning more about the ecosystem of Charlotte and goals for its future or simply being inspired to continue pursuing my own ideas.
I listed out all of this in a way, so that hopefully you recognize not what I have done, but more my ambition for what I hope to achieve. I’m working hard to integrate myself in this community. I want to see where the dots are connected and where the gaps may lie. I am looking to better understand the challenges our city faces and the opportunities that exist as we look to our future. I may not be acting on anything just yet, but this has been my time to learn. As I shared previously, I’ve been in athletics all my life. You train and practice for the game. I view my contributions to the community to this point as my practice. I may not be in the game just yet, but that is 100% what I am working towards.
PLEASE LET US KNOW ANY AWARDS OR RECOGNITIONS YOU’VE RECEIVED IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL CAREER:
I have no awards in my professional career to this point, but later in my college career as I was exploring my budding passion for retail, I participated in and won an intercollegiate case competition hosted by the National Retail Federation and American Express. Myself along with 4 of my fellow teammates from other universities were awarded $2500 for our retail solution and were given the opportunity to present our ideas at the annual NRF show in New York City in front of a crowd of international industry professionals and executives. To this day, it remains a pivotal experience in my retail journey and personal development.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES OR INTEREST?
I’m an extremely active person. If I’m not seen running the rail trail or at the gym, I may be at the National Whitewater Center, at a local golf course, hiking, rock climbing and dabbling in a hot yoga class or two among other things. I grew up with sports as an integral part of my life and now make exercise and fitness a top priority for my personal well-being and social interaction.
While physically active, I’m also a craft beer enthusiast. I love spending time with family and friends at our many local breweries while having quality conversations and enjoying the great weather that I never take for granted since moving south.
I’m also an avid learner. I prioritize time every day to my personal growth. The may entail reading and listening to my favorite podcasts, getting out and attending local business and community events or checking out new retail concepts to expand my working professional knowledge. My goal is to grow each and every day and that requires I spend my time intentionally on activities and with new people I have the opportunity to learn from.
Traveling is where I have experienced many of my greatest memories in life and something I plan for each and every year. I live for stepping outside my comfort zone and experiencing new places and people. Each year I’ve planned to visit at least one city/region here in the U.S. that I’ve yet to experience and then since studying abroad in college (one of the greatest times of my life), I’ve traveled abroad for an extended period to a new country every other year. Traveling is a deep passion of mine. Destinations and events around the world consume my life’s bucket list.
Lastly, I love music of all types. I could go from listening to latest song from David Guetta and then switch to country the very next. I attend local concerts when I can and have traveled to various music festivals over the years. I’ve come to see that music is one of those things that can bring people of all backgrounds together. And my love for music has influenced a more recent goal of mine which is to begin taking dance classes, specifically salsa. Ever since participating in a 2-week Spanish immersion program in Costa Rica while in high school, I’ve had an affinity for Latin culture. As I mentioned before, I’m one that is not typically afraid to step outside of my comfort zone and try something new.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE THAT YOU STAND BY?
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I read this quote to start every morning and end every night.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS? 10 YEARS?
Professionally, I have long-term goals of establishing myself as a retail thought leader. This will require consistent development and action over the next 5 – 10 years both personally with how I present myself to the industry and my network, but also how I grow as an employee and stakeholder in the future of Theory House. We’re a still a young and relatively small company, yet work with many great brands like Delta Faucets, Google and Pepsi. I have the fortunate opportunity to play an integral role and influence the trajectory of the organization, while at the same time, further establish my own individual presence within the industry. I see myself with a greater portfolio of written work shared publically and having successfully shared my expertise through various speaking engagements.
While having grown professionally, I also see myself having made tremendous strides personally. My consistent commitment to daily betterment will pay off as I make a more meaningful impact in our community. I will have established many new meaningful relationships in Charlotte that will afford me the opportunity to give my time, talents and money to social causes I’m passionate about. And one of those primary areas of interest is the future of education and what we need to do as a community, city and country to make lifelong learning and continued education affordable, accessible and of value for both the future economy and workplace needs as well as our own long-term health and well-being as individuals. I have ambitious goals as to how I may influence this education transformation over the next 5-10 years.
CAN YOUR SHARE ONE THING THAT IS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?
Win the Amazing Race. It’s the one reality TV show I would do in a heartbeat. I’ve already mentioned my passion for travel, and this would take it to a whole other level. However, I’m still working on finding the right partner. In due time, I will have at least applied and then the rest is out of my control.
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU USED YOUR PASSPORT?
Guatemala – January 2017. I attended the wedding of a close college friend who is from the country and a large group of us stayed for an additional week to explore the country and spend quality time together.
WHAT IS A FUN FACT ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NO ONE KNOWS?
I was almost run over by the Queen of England. (It’s better when I can give the story some context.)
WHO IS YOUR HERO?
My father. I’ve spent my entire life working to be a son he’s proud to call his own. Whether that has been in athletics, school or my professional career, I’ve worked to be someone he’s proud of as I know all that he had to sacrifice in his own life to ensure I grew up with all the opportunities to succeed. While I know I’ve taken for granted the influence he’s had on my life at various times, there is no doubt that the man I continue to grow to be is because of what I have learned from him.
He’s taught me so much about life, family, work ethic, sacrifice and how to balance it all. It’s hard to put into words because the men in our family can be men of few words when together, but I have always and will always continue be the best version of myself I can be so that I can carry on the family name with pride.
WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?
How To Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
WHAT WAS THE LAST MOVIE YOU SAW?
WHAT WAS THE LAST CONCERT YOU SAW?