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Omaha Magazine

Roundtable: Making a Difference

Jan 18, 2024 12:54PM ● By Kim Carpenter
b2b february march 2024 roundtable Nick Shannon, CRPC, financial advisor and founder of Prestige Wealth Tessa Porter, veteran confectionary, food scientist, and founder of Sprinkk Danelle Schlegelmilch, founder of Passport Public Relations Maven Media Collaborative

Photos Provided.

[L to R: Danelle Schlegelmilch, Nick Shannon, Tessa Porter]

Business is a wide and varied field. We asked three Omaha professionals in vastly different industries to reflect on their areas of expertise. They include:

Tessa Porter, veteran confectionary, food scientist, and founder of Sprinkk, a candy development and manufacturing company.

Nick Shannon, CRPC, financial advisor and founder of Prestige Wealth, which specializes in wealth management, retirement solutions, and protection strategies.

Danelle Schlegelmilch, founder of Passport Public Relations, a public relations boutique, and co-founder of Maven Media Collaborative, where passionate creatives gather to exchange ideas, master techniques, and elevate their craft.

B2B: What are some of the ways your company is making a difference in the industry?

TP: Sprinkk is reducing hurdles in the candy industry by making manufacturing more accessible for smaller brands and for bigger brands with new ideas. We not only offer development services to help bring new product ideas to life, but we also have manufacturing capabilities on a smaller scale for those who truly want to test things out before going big in manufacturing. Sprinkk pulls back the curtain on contract manufacturing, giving our clients ownership of formulas and education on how things are made. 

NS: At Prestige Wealth, our mission is to partner with our clients so they can have the financial confidence to live their best lives.  We take great pride in spending extra time educating our clients about the complex financial landscape. Financial planning is the foundation of our firm. This planning process allows our clients to become financially organized and allows them to see how certain decisions will affect their financial future. We have found that confident clients tend to live less stressful and happier lives.

DS: At Passport Public Relations, we have the resources, contacts, and experience of larger national agencies with the personalized service and affordable rates of a boutique firm. This opens the door for more brands to be able to have someone on their team with 20+ years of award-winning experience without paying big agency retainers. There aren’t many PR boutiques in Omaha, and we’re proud of the top-tier results we get for clients. We’re making an impact for our clients by helping them gain more visibility through both locally and nationally earned media stories, winning industry awards, and gaining thought leadership through speaking opportunities. This year we have helped our clients earn stories in Forbes (5x), Country Living Magazine (3x), Midwest Living Magazine (2x), Martha Stewart Living, Sports Illustrated, US News & World Report, The Food Institute (3x), Garden & Gun Magazine, Parade Magazine, Sunset Magazine, and many more.

B2B: What has helped you get to where you are and what advice would you have for others who want to set off in a similar direction?

TP: Many people, a lot of curiosity, and grit (and possibly some naïveté) have all helped me throughout my career and the creation of Sprinkk. I have asked “what if” a lot throughout my life and then can’t help but seek to find out. Luckily, I’ve asked this question enough to mentors, engineers, and people with far more experience than I have and have been pointed in the right direction. My advice to anyone looking to explore new things is always to just take a step forward in curiosity to explore it. Ask questions, make a mess, and determine the next step from there. No one knows the exact right path to take. You have to blaze your own trail sometimes.

NS: I have been very fortunate to work for some of the largest financial institutions in my career. At each stop in my journey, I have proactively found a mentor. The guidance and insight gained from these mentors has been invaluable to the trajectory of my career. I would strongly suggest finding a mentor that has a vested interest in your success. In addition, I have been willing to take calculated risks. I spent several years in the leadership side of our industry, and this experience allowed me to lead, coach, and develop hundreds of top advisors. As a result, I have been able to create a world-class business for my clients based upon integrity, experience, and excellence.

DS: A whole lot of wonderful people have helped me to get to where I am today. After graduating from UNO with a degree in journalism/public relations/advertising, I knew I wanted to continue to share stories that made a difference through PR. I started my career at ad agencies and nonprofits, and it really opened my eyes to all that was out there. Thanks to my mentors and supporters believing in me, I had the confidence to start Passport PR in 2016. My advice for anyone wanting to join me in a similar adventure is: Go for it, you got this! What are you waiting for? Sure, it’s scary, but we have an amazingly supportive community in Omaha that puts collaboration over competition. We are here to cheer you on. 

B2B: Are there any emerging industries in which you are particularly interested?

TP: There are always new trends emerging within candy, so it is tricky to branch into different industries. However, I’m always on the lookout for new bridges to other industries, such as the beauty and fashion industries and health and wellness. Currently, [I’m] loving the growth of the bridge between sports nutrition and confectionery and creating products to serve that market. 

NS: FinTech, or financial technology, has really burst onto the scenes over the past few years. The technological improvements in our industry over the past couple of years have truly been impressive. The financial planning software enhancements and integrations have drastically improved the client experience. We can organize a client’s financial life, help them make informed decisions, and help them understand how those decisions will affect their financial goals.

DS: I am really interested in AI and how it is a total game changer when it comes to not only public relations but also every industry. I have been experimenting with it for almost a year now, and it has been a priceless tool in my toolbox. From being able to quickly gather research and get new inspiration for projects, to helping me put together recipes and travel itineraries, AI is something everyone should check out. It helps me to work smarter, not harder, and maximize my time.

B2B: Is there something your company does that you wish everyone was doing? Why?

TP: It is really quite simple but often rare...but at Sprinkk, we genuinely care. Being the founder of Norma’s Handcrafted Fruity Snacks in addition to founding Sprinkk has allowed me to put myself in the position of many of my clients. Not only do we help companies develop new products and scale them into manufacturing, but I’ve also personally experienced all of the other parts of launching a product to be able to anticipate how our process and manufacturing can impact the other moving parts of running a product business. While everyone might not be able to do this exact thing, the main thing that it helps me do is care about the client and the product as if it were my own. If I can help a client avoid a pain point that I ran into with Norma’s, I’ll help direct them in a better direction.

NS: In today’s fast-paced world, we spend dedicated time educating our clients instead of just recommending a plan of action. Here at Prestige Wealth, we have a rule that allows us to have a true partnership with our clients. We won’t move forward on a recommendation until the following three things happen: the client needs to know what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and how much it costs. We emphasize education, which allows us to build a strong foundation that strengthens our client relationships.

DS: At Passport PR, we’ve learned how to leverage both our business and personal credit card bonuses and benefits to earn free travel. We believe in the power of travel and how it opens your mind to new possibilities and sparks ideas. The passport in our name is a nod to the doors that open to new adventures when you have the right credentials and put yourself out there. You can find us expanding our horizons and networks by staying curious and exploring new places with the help of our credit card points. Life is too short to stay in one place and not experience all this beautiful world and its people have to offer. 

This article originally appeared in the February/March 2024 issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  

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