MILWAUKEE — Michael Sheppard lives life by design, and not by default. He thinks it's a valuable lesson for students, so he's inviting them to tour his office.
"At some point in my life I had someone who was positive that spoke life into me. And it gave me a feeling that I could do more than I was doing at the time," recalled Michael Sheppard.
Now, the managing partner and founder of IronwoodDrive Financial Group feels a responsibility to do the same for others. In the last 2 months, about 300 students have come through his downtown Milwaukee office to see the world of work.
"The first 9 schools, 100% of them, there was someone in the audience that had lost their mother," said Sheppard.
Sheppard spends time speaking to students about his personal path. And he is candid when they ask questions about dealing with loss. "Unfortunately, my biological mom, Rita Johnson, passed away 11 days after I was born," he said. Later, when his adoptive mother passed away, he was raised by his sisters. Sheppard said that he could have let the pain destroy him, but he was able to turn it into something that developed him in a positive way. He knows a lot of the students he speaks to are navigating their own difficult obstacles.
WATCH: Sheppard talks about his early life
"I want to show them that, even if you go through those things, there is a positive path," he explained. "Hopefully, they'll take what they hear and go back to class and understand why you do a little bit more. Why you work a little harder. So you can get to the things that you want."
Sheppard said he'd applaud any local business owners who are interested in welcoming kids into their spaces and doing something similar. "I think there is just something powerful about actually seeing and touching something in an environment where you feel comfortable and you feel welcomed," he said.
Educators who would like to speak to Sheppard about organizing a tour can contact him through LinkedIn.