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  • Writer's pictureNielsen Studios Inc

American Faces #99 - What's next?

Updated: 3 days ago



So, 99 subjects and their stories has led me to an understanding of people that I think I should have come to right away. It’s that each person is unique, and their story or journey is just as unique. No two people are alike. Maybe that's why I have enjoyed this series more than any other personal creative project I've done. I don’t go in with an agenda, other than to take some photographs and hear someone's story – what they have overcome, or built, or in the case of Megan Effertz, what they have written. I’ve known Megan as a client and a friend for closing in on two decades. She’s a woman with incredible drive, and an entrepreneurial spirit that doesn’t stop. That drive has led her to write  a book titled Maddie + Max. It’s a love story that unfolds in the Excelsior, MN and surrounding Lake Minnetonka area.  – the same area where Megan grew up. It seemed like the perfect place to create the photos for her American Faces story.  Water Street shops, Haskell’s and the Port of Excelsior  in the background to help anchor us in Megan’s experience (Sorry for the nautical theme, but it is the Lake Minnetonka area after all).


  -Continued Below-


As Megan and I enjoyed our drinks of choice at Dunn Brothers in Excelsior, we caught up on family news, the changes in our business worlds and talked about Megan’s decision to write a book – no easy undertaking (but with Megan’s focus, something she could surely handle). As she talked about her book she shared that the process actually helped her through the grief of her dad’s death. She was able to relive the places, times, sights and sounds of her youth as she wrote about her fictional character’s’ lives. But maybe more than that, she got to think back on her time with her dad and mom, her family’s life around Lake Minnetonka and the person those experiences helped her become.  It was evident as Megan spoke that this book brought healing to her heart. Maybe that's the most profound part about Megan becoming an author –she’s worked through the grief she felt as she wrote the love story of two young people. Megan’s story is unique to her. But like all of us, her story has layers and complexities. It has health and heartache. It has promise and hope. If her story had a cover, it would have  “bright future” written all over it. Megan doesn’t know what the word stagnate means. She’s a “what’s next” kind of person. Check out her LinkedIn profile and you’ll understand.


Wow. How do I end this one? Maybe by first saying “thank you” to Megan for impacting me, my business and my family, as she shared wisdom for my business. Megan was also one of the first people to ask me to create content that emulates the kind of work I’ve created for this American Faces Series. In closing, I encourage you to push into the unknown and uncover who you are yet to become. It helped Megan work through her grief. What’s next for you?


Finally, Megan, I think your dad would be so proud of you! He would also probably say, “What’s next?”


Photos and story by: Nielsen Studios 

Editing by: Scott Whitman






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