Beatrice Bankauskaite, a documentary journalism master’s student who came to the University of Missouri from Lithuania on a Fulbright scholarship, said there’s nothing more exciting than practicing what you love most. An added benefit was the chance to cover serial entrepreneur and filmmaker Chad Troutwine’s campus visit.
“I thought it would be great to document Chad's visit as he shares the same love for the documentary world,” Bankauskaite said. She collaborated with documentary journalists Sean Frost, a master’s student from Prince Frederick, Maryland, and Josh Ellenburg, a senior from Bernie.
Kansas City native Troutwine, JD ’96, gave two keynote addresses and met with agribusiness and law students during his Sept. 14-15 visit, the first time he’s spoken to university students since the pandemic. He shared many insights from his multidimensional career, emphasizing that students should not shy away from audacious aspirations because Midwestern humility and modesty can sometimes be limiting factors.
“As you think about doing some kind of entrepreneurial venture or something in your professional life, do not be afraid to go for something really big,” Troutwine said, adding that students on the East and West coasts typically have more ambitious goals. “I’m going to be the crazy uncle and suggest that you go do the wild thing, the not-so-safe thing, the go-take a-chance thing.”
Troutwine graduated with honors from MU's School of Law, earned an MBA from the Yale School of Management and completed a master’s degree in public administration at the Harvard Kennedy School. He received his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University at age 19.
“I’m a believer that university campuses can be incredible launchpads for whatever kind of career you want,” Troutwine said. “You have so many resources, your friends to bounce ideas off of, faculty who truly care about the path that you're own.”
Troutwine is the co-founder of Delphi Interactive, which currently holds the video game rights to James Bond 007, and Dragonfire, a film and television studio. He co-founded Veritas Prep, where he served as CEO for 16 years before the test-preparation company was acquired by Varsity Tutors; Codesmith, a software engineering academy with campuses in Los Angeles and New York City; Spectrum Station, a network of five preschools in Missouri; Torn Label, an award-winning brewery in the Crossroads neighborhood of Kansas City; and Freakonomics Media, which produces popular podcasts. He also has been a producer on 21 feature films, including two Academy Award winners.
Troutwine is the latest speaker in the “Learn from the Best” series brought to you by the Griggs Innovators Nexus. Previous speakers were Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph and Build-A-Bear founder Maxine Clark.