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Lessons Learned, Part V

Lessons Learned, Part V

Alumni December 03, 2019
A continuing reflection on life acquired in and out of the classroom — from the Classes of 2009, 2010 and 2017

What brings her joy

Emily Hunt ’17
Graphic design major
Owner/Instructor, Busy Being Kids Yoga Studio, Cincinnati, Ohio

Luckily, what I do to pay the rent is what brings me joy — teaching yoga. I got kicked off my high school dance team, picked up yoga and never dropped it. I had horrible ADHD and organization issues, and I noticed how much yoga helped me focus naturally. I decided to learn how to share it with children so they could practice mindfulness a lot earlier than I did.

Emily HuntI would advise new UD students to just relax. Be in the moment and soak it all in. I remember one of my first few days on campus being blown away because I didn’t have to look at the time, be anywhere or answer to my mom. It was incredible.

I often feel like I could always be doing more or be better. Almost like it’s never enough. I guess that’s partially human nature.

My idea of success is being happy. 100%. You definitely need money, of course, and having as much as you can muster is not a problem. However, if you are not blissful to get up in the morning you are truly supposed to be doing something else. 

I have somehow replaced coffee with lemon ginger water every day. It seriously works like a charm.

The most important lesson my parents taught me is don’t lie.

The younger generation really motivates me, particularly the awesome kids who could use a little more support and positive role models.

If I could give my 21-year-old self some advice, it would be, “You’re going to be fine.”

I don’t know much about my family tree, except that I’m related to Ulysses S. Grant.

Enjoy life. Trust in it — even the hard and ugly parts.

Enjoy life. Trust in it — even the hard and ugly parts. Be grateful. Take some pressure off and just be in the moment. Get quiet, and hear more ‘whispers’ of what you’re supposed to do and where to go.

Being their own boss

For this installment of Lessons Learned, we selected a Flyer couple who have started a business, are raising three young sons and taking the time to share some of the important life lessons learned along the way with UD Magazine. We asked them to answer the same questions, and as you will see, while they are both Flyers, each brings a unique perspective to their professional and personal life that we found interesting.

Audria Ali Maki ’09
International business major
Owner, Reza’s Roastery and Café, Dayton

Ebi Maki ’10
Co-owner of Kairos Research and COO of Reza’s, Dayton

Audria Ali Maki: I started Reza’s while I was a stay-at-home mom. This allowed us to organically build the business without a big financial stress. It was still stressful — especially the two years spent hauling three small children to our roastery and trying to work with them there. They get hungry and bored and want to go home and you have to keep working. We have juggled soccer practice and birthday parties with roastery and café every Saturday for the last four years. It’s always a logistics nightmare.

Ebi Maki: My advice to entrepreneurs is to do your research. Don’t quit your day job if you have one. Know you are going to be working very hard. It’s not going to be an 8-5 job, it will be 24/7. Try to keep your personal and business life separate.

Ebi Maki and Audria Ali Maki
Photo by Lauren Stewart

AAM: For me the best thing about being the boss is making decisions. I like to be in control of where things are moving and at what speed. The worst thing about being a boss is that you never really get a day off. 

EM: The best thing is that you are your own boss, you are in control. The worst thing is that you are your own boss. It’s all on you to make it happen.

AAM: My grandparents started a company here in Dayton in the 1950s when they had four young sons and my parents run it today. My grandparents are actually some of my best sources of advice because they have been there. My Grandma tells a story of how she used to shut herself inside the pantry to take customer orders so her kids couldn’t be heard in the background. I get that! Even though they are in their 80’s I talk to them every day about my current business struggles and their perspective is always dead on. My Grandpa is full of slightly inappropriate sayings from his business days and they often pop into my head and make me smile inside when I am in a stressful situation. Two of my favorites: “Even the man on the cross couldn’t please everyone” and “I may be a son of a bitch but I’m a fair son of a bitch.”

EM: These things never translate well from Farsi but my Dad always says, “If you want an investment buy a lamb not a sheep.” This is something I think about in my business today. I look for opportunities where there is potential for growth.

AAM: This is probably no surprise, but having three sons has taught me patience and that sometimes you have to let go of perfection. My days start with a cup of coffee and end with a glass of wine.

EM: Kids never get tired until they crash because they don’t think about being tired. My kids remind that if I don’t think about it I can keep going longer.

AAM: My motto: Ebrace the chaos.

EM: No pain no gain.

AAM: A good work ethic is everything — especially when you own your own business. Finding a partner (both in marriage and in business) whose work ethic mirrors your own is equally important.

With a good work ethic, you can make up for any of your weaknesses.

EM: With a good work ethic, you can make up for any of your weaknesses.

AAM: We married much younger than a lot of our peers, and we didn’t put much thought into it other than we wanted to be together all of the time. Twelve years later I realize how lucky we are. Working together, we have achieved so much more than we could have on our own. Ebi is my best friend. He understands me more than any other person I know, and I can’t imagine life without him. It feels like the longer we are married the stronger we have become both as a couple and as individuals. 

EM: Marriage has taught me that compromise is necessary. And I don’t mean compromise as a bad thing. You have to give up a little bit of yourself. There is no place for selfishness in a marriage. We are stronger as a team and learn so much from each other. We make better decisions as two people.

AAM: Failure is an opportunity — it should be admitted and learned from. Time is more valuable than money.  Money is a tool and should never be used to judge your own self-worth or that of another person.  Curiosity, when given space in our lives, is where great ideas come from.

EM: What she said.