Skip to main content

Alum of the Year Adventures

by Jimmy Tomczak
2011 Elks Scholar Alum of the Year

Hi, my name’s Jimmy Tomczak. I was honored as a 2011 Elks Scholar Alum of the Year. I spoke in Phoenix at the Elks National Convention. I served on the Elks Scholar Advisory Board, I helped at the National Hoop Shoot Finals, and I became even more involved in my local community and with Elks scholars at the University of Michigan, my alma matter, where I completed my Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience plus the College of Engineering’s Program in Entrepreneurship. But not everything’s a success story.

Andy Warhol once said you have to be willing to get excited about nothing. I was trying to get excited about everything. I didn’t realize that with all the highs of life that I was experiencing while living and building a company—I somehow thought I could escape the equally low lows.

After starting with nothing and taking my first company from a crazy idea, all the way to being selected to appear and taped for an episode of Shark Tank, things just didn’t work out. After investing years of my time and countless resources, I failed. Or chose to fail. I spent months figuring out what went wrong. I wondered if I had fear of success. Fear of failing at what was next? I was barely ready for putting the past behind me, let alone ready for what could be next. But then again, when is anyone ready for anything? When you choose to be ready.

I kept on keeping on.

As I willed myself to move forward, I recall doing more of what really mattered in life: connecting with friends, helping family, serving with strength in ways that made me happy and truly helped. I traveled. I worked at other business concepts in areas where I could learn the most the fastest. I love learning.

I remember sitting down with one of my mentors who runs a software development firm in Ann Arbor, Mich. He’s famous for bringing joy into the workplace. In fact he wrote a book on the subject.

Joy Inc. is the story of his organization and has been featured all over the national media. His award-winning company is noted as an outstanding workplace that puts out exceptional products and services for the world.

I asked him how he knew it was a good time to write a book. I too wanted to share some of what I learned in hardcover form with the world.

“Should I do more before writing a book, or can I start writing now?” I asked him.

He told me you’re never really ready—but you’ll know the right time.

In fact, when I purchased a copy of his book—now a bestseller—I caught him one day between his intense tour and speaking schedule to ask him to sign it and meet to update each other on where we were at. We chatted about life and joy and doing good work. His handwritten dedication in the book to me: “Jimmy, It’s been great walking along together on our journeys. I wish you JOY on the journey ahead." – Rich.

* * *
Voyages through life’s highs and lows make life worth living. When we embrace all experiences equally we can really shine. We can live, love, and serve with boundless energy. I chose to build a community around the concepts of inspiration and living your best life now. I found the best way to do that was to ask people to support what I’ve already been doing along the way: documenting my personal journey that started from very little to learning a whole lot by doing. I created a Kickstarter campaign to create a one-of-a-kind hardcover book—a book you’d be proud to own. A book that looks like art just sitting on your coffee table. A book that can be passed along to future generations.

If you’d like to learn more or order your copy of Lakeside and Tide, please visit lakesideandtide.com

Thank you for your support. I wish you the best on your journey.

-- Jimmy

PS: Know that nothing would bring me greater joy than to connect with you and find how we can share inspiration. If something resonated with you in this post or something else you found about me online please reach out via facebook, twitter, email or via my website jimmytomczak.com.

Connecting with each other and becoming real friends is so powerful. I’ve watched friends I met at Elks events go on to do big things: Clara raised money for a train ride across the country to meet other millennials and promote healthy food. Maryann got involved with the ENF at the organizational level. Macy’s volunteered at more Hoop Shoots than anyone I know. I still keep in touch with Sean, Erika, and other scholars too. Sharing these kinds of experiences and the ones we will in the future make for the warm-fuzzy-feels of joy and happiness every day. The Elks National Foundation helped teach me how to serve to the best of my abilities.

So how can I help you, really?

by Jimmy Tomczak
2006 Elks Most Valuable Student Scholar
2011 Elks Scholar Alum of the Year
2011 Elks Scholar Advisory Board Member




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Katie Gets Acquainted with the ENF

by Katie Graves
Lodge Grants Programs Coordinator
Hello! My name is Katie Graves, and I am excited to be one of the new Programs Coordinators in the Community Investments Program office.

I graduated from Valparaiso University with a degree in English and Secondary Education with a minor in Social Work in December 2018. I spent the next six months building and growing my small online vintage clothing business, working retail at a Swedish furniture store (any guesses?), and searching for a purposeful job that I could fall in love with that would also allow me to move from southeastern Wisconsin to Chicago. When I landed the Programs Coordinator position at the Elks National Foundation, I was ecstatic to begin this journey both professionally and personally. I was moving to my dream city, and I was going to be doing a job with purpose focused on helping passionate groups of wonderful Elks do good in their communities with CIP grants.

I became a part of the ENF family at an exciting time of…

Meaghan's First Month

by Meaghan Morris
Lodge Grants Program Coordinator

Hello! My name is Meaghan, and I am thrilled to be the new Programs Coordinator in the Community Investments Program office.
I graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2015. Since then, I’ve jetted around peripatetically, travelling to 46 states and 24 countries, and living in Western Massachusetts, Boston, and the mountains of rural Wyoming.  I moved to Chicago in 2016, and the Cubs won the World Series a little while later. I attribute my move as the main catalyst for the breaking of the Curse of the Billy Goat, so, you’re welcome for that, Cubs fans!
I joined the ENF during its busiest time of the year. I started working in the CIP office one day after grant applications opened for the new year, and our office was inundated with hundreds of grant applications in that first week alone. On top of the busyness in our office, Fundraising, Communications, Hoop Shoot and Scholarships were excitedly (yet gracefully!) preparin…

Living Out My Pacific Northwest Dreams through Service

by Melissa Hoffman
2017 Most Valuable Student Scholar
My name is Melissa Hoffmann. I’m a sophomore studying Environmental Studies at Vassar College in New York. I’m involved in climate justice and environmental activism work on campus and with the community. Traveling to Portland, Oregon, with the Elks marked my first time traveling alone, and it was to a place I’ve never been with people I’ve never met. My first Elks Scholar Service Trip ended up being the best spring break I’ve ever had.
One of the reasons I was interested in the trip to Portland, aside from wanting to connect with other Elks scholars and use my energy to make a difference in the world, was the location. As an environmentalist who fully embraces my love for a good soil composition and a low-carbon lifestyle, Portland has always interested me. It is known as one of the greenest, if not the greenest, city in the U.S. for its high-quality public transportation, walkability and bikeability, access to green spaces, and sust…