The 35U began with a vision to inspire the leaders of tomorrow by telling them about the leaders of today. With millions of people involved in government,education,business and community service across the country, it sometimes may be hard for the 35U to connect to leaders individually simply due to an age barrier. The 35U to us is any young adult from the ages of 18-35 in this country. These individuals have a voice – they can vote, serve, and most importantly, they can make a difference for future generations.

Never has there been a point in history in which information could travel as fast as it does today, and although this sometimes can be inhibiting, it is also what makes the 35U so powerful. The 35U Journal is a tool to showcase young adults that serve their community on a national and local scale. Our goal is to get young people more involved than ever and to inspire them to be catalysts for progress that our nation sometimes seems to lack. Today, Florida entrepreneur and reporter J. P. Hervis is our subject. He has a lot of wisdom to share with up-and-coming entrepreneurs and journalists alike, and he tells us what a leader means to him.

Why did you choose this career path?

My career path started with the combination of my lifelong passion for communication and…sports. I always wanted to be a sports reporter, work [for] ESPN. I majored in broadcast communications and focused my studies and internships in that direction. When I graduated from school, it was especially difficult to find a sports anchor job anywhere in the country. TV stations just did not seem interested in what I had to offer. I knew that getting on the air was the most important part. So, after 54 rejections of sports anchor/reporter job applications, I applied for three news reporter position.

All three called back. Shortly after taking my first news reporter job at twenty-two years old, I fell in love with the new business. I’ve always been fascinated by human interaction, history and [storytelling]. This career had me involved with all three. I was a news reporter and anchor in
four cities over thirteen years and had the opportunity to file reports for national news outlets.That amazing experience was the prelude and advanced education that lead to starting my public relations and advertising firm, Brandstory Communications. Five years into this next stage of my
professional life, I still get to do what I came to love the most while working in news, tell stories that connect and inform the public.

Who inspired you to get involved?

I never really thought I would be an entrepreneur. It just kind of happened. I had a different idea of how to approach public relations and advertising. I was fortunate enough to have successful entrepreneurs who were willing to get my firm off the ground because they believed in me and
my ideas. Ultimately, my want and willingness to try to build a company came from my mother. She was able to always be there for my brother and [me], while also achieving great success as a therapist with her own practice, university professor and, eventually an owner of a family
therapy institute that [teaches] her method to other therapists across the country. For me, success is balance like my mom achieved. Close family and a successful business.

How do you define a leader?

A leader sets out a vision and does what they must to achieve it while keeping their team motivated, positive and hungry. I also believe a leader shows a willingness to learn and listen,but is ready to make the tough and unpopular decision when necessary.

What projects are you currently involved with in the community that engages the next generation of leaders?

I have an opportunity to interact with dozens of potential leaders through my business. I always make it a point to make myself available to [them] to share my experiences, successes and mistakes, in an effort to guide and help them meet their potential. Sometimes [the] best way to give back to your community is to make yourself available for those who need help.

What advice would you give to the next generation of leaders who want to get involved?

Expect obstacles and constant alterations to your long term plan. In all aspects of my life, I work to remind myself that nothing that is really worth it is ever easy and the path to a worthy goal is never smooth. Most anyone can captain a ship in a calm bay, but leaders are those who guide their ships through the storms in vast ocean.