As a young musician, I was lucky enough to discover the Denver Folklore Center, where I studied the tools of my trade from established performers who were kind enough to share their wisdom. I learned how to put together a set list, how to work the mic, how to keep the audience engaged while you tune up or change a string, and how to book a tour.

A few years later I was performing at a club in Bethlehem, PA, called Godfrey Daniels. After the gig we sat around swapping songs until early the next morning with a talented wannabe songwriter who seemed eager to soak up whatever he could from everyone who came through the club. That songwriter turned out to be John Gorka, who went on to a very successful career of his own.

My next stop was the Denver Zephyrs, a minor league baseball team where I learned how to fill a stadium with no marketing budget, gleaned lessons in life from baseball legends, and understood that no matter how good you are there is always someone just as good or better.

As a nonprofit PR director I was inspired by committed, driven leaders who taught me that healthy communities thrive when everyone pitches in. And I never would have gained the chutzpah to start Pushkin Public Relations 15 years ago without the guidance and support of PRSA colleagues who had already taken the entrepreneurial leap.

I can think of no better way to honor our 15th anniversary than setting up a fund to help young Denver public relations professionals get started in their careers. By helping these young pros attend PRSA Colorado programs and become active chapter members, I hope that they will be able to speed their professional development by learning the tools of their trade from talented, experienced mentors.

It helps to be smart, but achieving success in your career does not require you to be a rocket scientist. It just means being eager to learn, determined to improve, and willing to listen. Rise and shine people. Your future is calling.