This post is part of an occasional series focusing on Leadership Development Academy graduates and what they have done, personally and professionally, in the years following their LDA experience. Please contact us if you would like to be profiled here, or would like to recommend a graduate for us to feature.
Name & LDA graduation year
Tracy Bliss, Class of 2014
What are you doing now?
On January 1, 2018, I started my own business called DeCori Design in Beloit offering graphic design and marketing services.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A marine biologist when I was young. I went to college to be a civil engineer. My freshman year, I discovered graphic design and switched my major.
How did LDA help you on your journey?
It gave me the leadership confidence I needed, and the networking was wonderful for business contacts but it didn’t cross my mind at the time that I would ever start my own business. Relationships and connections opened up opportunities to be on the board for LDA, which opened the door to be on the board for the Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce. Without LDA, that never would have happened.
What piece of advice would you give a new LDA participant?
You get out of it what you put into it!
Favorite Rock County event?
Beloit Janesville Symphony Orchestra concerts. The Beloit Janesville Symphony Orchestra puts on 5-6 concerts a year. 50 professional musicians play beautiful classical music and it’s such a historical way to bring our community together to celebrate the arts. Something magical happens at these concerts once the music starts.
Where do you volunteer?
Leadership Development Academy Board of Directors, LDA Marketing Committee, Greater Beloit Chamber Board of Directors, Beloit Chamber Events Committee, Believe Toy Drive, Careertek, Community Action, and Life Church.
When you reflect on your LDA experience, what is your fondest memory?
The impact of the LDA facilitator at the time, Steve Scheiffer. There were times I felt I didn’t belong in LDA and he reassured me and had confidence in me that I didn’t see at the time. I was pregnant with twin boys when I went through the class, so he looked out for me.
No. A near-death experience on a motorcycle made me realize I need to live my dreams today. So I am!
Why have you stayed involved with LDA?
I 100% support their mission! I love the people I meet, connections and relationships I build and I love how they give back to the community through projects.
What was your LDA project?
We rehabbed the Beloit Domestic Violence Survivor Center’s kitchen and living spaces. Our project really opened my heart up to volunteering in general and I’m still in close touch with most of my group 5 years later!
If you could choose a community project or need to help out with today, what would it be and why?
Four years ago, one of my twins had a benign mass removed from his brain when he was one year old. I saw a need for kid’s hospital bedside toys/activity items, so I started an annual toy drive called Believe Toy Drive. We just finished our 3rd annual Christmas in July toy drive, and I would love to see it expanded.
Who do you look up to as a community leader/mentor?
Regina Dunkin. There are so many, especially women, but Regina sticks out in my mind. I love watching her in action at Beloit City Council meetings and through her community work at Beloit Health System.
Do you know of any new non-profits that might need community support now?
Adaptive Alliance in Beloit. They provide a safe, adult day service program for adults with disabilities.