After my undergraduate studies at the University of Iowa, I began what turned out to be a long tenure at Morgan Stanley & Co. After earning my MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, I moved to another great investment bank at Robert Baird & Co. I have a deep passion for the financial markets and I truly enjoyed the teams of people with whom I worked, the intellectual stimulation, and the fast pace environment.

By most people’s standards, I was “living the dream.” But by my heart’s standards, I was living selfishly and arrogantly. Desperately unhappy with my direction and facing spiritual bankruptcy, I needed to change.

Then Kilimanjaro happened.

On a short but much-needed vacation from the stressful 14-hour workdays, and four days into what turned out to be a life-altering, six-day climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro, it hit me: before my grandfather passed away from his second form of cancer, he simply asked me to carry on his spirit in my life. It was in the rocky Karanga Camp at 16,000ft when I understood what my grandfather’s words meant to me: I needed to give back to others. Hearing “the little voice” in your head and thinking it is right is one thing but acting on it is usually the hard part.

Less than a month later, I took the leap of faith and decided to resign from my job to pursue my philanthropic and entrepreneurial interests. From here on out, I would be following what my heart said to do: help better the lives of kids who are battling cancer, and to inspire others through example that they can not only follow their dreams, but that they are capable of far more than they ever thought possible.