Much of who I am today was shaped by the fact that I come from a very big family in a small town. The number of Ellises in my town is more than 80, so I grew up constantly being compared to those who came before me. When I started playing football in high school, I heard constantly how good my cousins Brad and Lance were at football, and that helped me try just a little harder. In the classroom, it was my cousin Angie who set the standard for me to follow. Even within the last few years, as I have begun planting the seeds of a future public-service career, most introductions are quickly followed by “Are you one of THE Ellises?” Growing up in the shadow of my family wasn’t bad, though. I had constant support in everything I ever tried, and because I am one of “THE Ellises,” some doors have opened up for me that may not have opened otherwise. And because I constantly had to try to match the achievements of my forerunners, I worked hard and gained many rewards for my efforts. My family was on hand when I won a prestigious award for outstanding high-school athlete for my achievements in football, track and field, weightlifting, and wrestling. When the door to my chosen college slammed in my face following the first of several knee surgeries, and my hometown university offered me a full academic scholarship, I jumped at the chance to shine in my own back yard. When I become the first Ellis to ever earn a college degree, I think you could hear the noise from miles away.
I am enthusiastic, creative, and extremely helpful, and I have had a lot of practice with problem solving. I have successfully completed many group projects, and working in groups is definitely something I love to do. I believe that work can be fun and challenging as well as serious. As a member of the American Marketing Association, I have shown that I am active in the marketing community. My job is also my hobby.
Many people and events throughout my life have shaped me into the person I am today. I have always greatly valued my family and friends, because they have provided many opportunities for me; I am also fortunate to have had the chance to live in foreign countries, which has given me a new perspective on culture and people. Along the way, a significant stabilizer in my life has been classical music. Reading about the challenging lives of composers and musicians of the past and listening to the many emotionally profound and diverse pieces of music have turned me into a very patient, open-minded, curious, relaxed, and optimistic individual.