Success Stories

There are many trite but true expressions about dealing with adverse situations—“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” “A diamond was once a lump of coal that was put under pressure,” and “Necessity is the mother of invention,” are a few that spring to mind. Many famous people have quotes on adversity—you can find web sites devoted to these quotes. Gloria Carter-Hicks of Hicks-Carter-Hicks, LLC, (H-C-H) exemplifies the best of these expressions. Driven, passionate, dedicated, and honorable could all be used to describe the owner, CEO, and president of this management consulting firm. She started her own business in 1999 when the company for which she was working transferred her job function to Chicago. St. Louis was home and she wanted to stay so she made her lemonade from that lemon. At that point, she had 16 years of experience in business—sales, operations, and human resources experience in retail, food service, financial... Read More

How on earth does a classically trained pianist from South Korea become a world class chef in Columbia, Missouri?  Jina Yoo’s story is as interesting as her food.  As a child, Jina showed incredible talent as a musician.  From the age of six, her career path was laid out for her, and it had nothing to do with cooking—she wasn’t even allowed in the kitchen for fear she would cut or burn her fingers and reduce her practice time.  At the age of six Jina practiced three hours a day and that expanded to eleven hours a day as a teen.  Jina was extremely talented and hard-working, but she was never passionate about music.  She graduated with a major in pipe organ and was accepted into graduate school at Indiana University.  At a recital where she made several errors, she had an epiphany that her future was not in music.  She told her professor she was leaving music.  Her professor wished her luck and didn’t seem overly upset, which surprised Jina.

Fast forward a few years to a... Read More

Almost every red-blooded female in the United States and much of the male population is passionate about chocolate.  We love it, crave it, covet it, hoard it, nibble it, gobble it, and dream about it.  We describe ourselves as chocoholics.  Chocolate is one of the decadent guilty pleasures in life.  Perhaps it eases our collective consciences a little to know that scientists now say there are health benefits to dark chocolate.

There is probably no one in the United States, however, as passionate about chocolate as Alan Patric McClure, who owns Patric Chocolate.  He and his employees make craft chocolate in Columbia, Missouri. 

Patric’s chocolates are artisan creations in the true sense.  He imports the cocoa beans, roasts them, and creates chocolate from the finest raw ingredients.  When McClure founded the company in 2006 there were no true craft chocolatiers in the U.S.  He has filled that niche.  His stated goal is to “work as hard as possible to make the best... Read More

One of the life lessons you learn as a Soldier is that there is no such thing as failure.  You adapt and overcome.  You are part of a team, and that team depends upon every member.  That means you can’t personally fail, because your team fails.  And in the Army, failure can be a matter of life and death. 

Christine Zika of CZ Concierge Services is a former Staff Sergeant of the Missouri Army National Guard with 13 years of experience as a Military Police (MP).  She served in Saudi Arabia, Kosovo, Germany, and here in Missouri.  Failure is not a concept she understands. 

Zika started her business much as she went into her career as a Soldier—as a matter of happenstance.  She joined the Guard two years into college after her parents told she’d better find a way to support herself because they couldn’t pay for college anymore.  She was taking a Military Basics course while studying Public Relations in college so she could learn to rappel off a building.    To finish the... Read More