Open your eyes and find your passion

Charissa Acree

Charissa Acree (FL ’14), account director, RunSwitch PR

by Charissa Acree, Focus Louisville November 2014 –

On a sunny Friday morning nearly eight years ago, I arrived in Louisville as a newly-minted college graduate with a head full of “big city dreams” and a Honda Civic loaded to the brim with all of the worldly possessions I could call my own. I spent the rest of that weekend exploring the city: finding restaurants, determining which local coffee shop to regularly haunt, and circling the loop of Cherokee Park.

Over the years, my “love affair” with Louisville has grown and evolved just as the city has grown and evolved around me. I’ve made an effort to be an active part of the community that surrounds me, and thought I knew just about everything there was to know about this city. It turns out, I was wrong.

This fall, my company afforded me the opportunity to attend Focus Louisville—and it was a positive experience that opened my eyes to areas of Louisville’s organization and structure that I had previously overlooked or taken for granted.

Over three days, I was immersed in seminars, tours, and visits that focused on Louisville’s history, arts, economic development, government, safety, educational opportunities, and charitable organizations. I networked with professionals of all ages who represented varied careers and industries. Along the way, we were all encouraged to “find our passion”—that area or cause to which we felt most drawn to contribute our individual skills or expertise.

The most powerful moment of my Focus Louisville experience came on Saturday morning, when Cathy Dykstra of the Family Scholar House spoke to our group about The Power of One.

“Don’t ask yourself IF something CAN be done. See the need and ask yourself HOW it WILL be done.”

These words were delivered by a woman whose calling and passion have positively impacted the lives of thousands of people in our community. I will carry those words with me throughout my life and my career when I come up against a daunting task, project, or need.

I am lucky in that I have already identified my passion: our community’s children and the organizations who invest in their lives, dreams and goals. Focus Louisville gave me a fuller understanding of the importance of my contributions and efforts and gave me the motivation I need to push through when the obstacles are many.