Class Note: Business on the Bucket List

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“Deciding to be a full-time mom over working full-time is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make,” says Marie Nielson Canaday. In fact, it’s a decision she still struggles with. While tending to two active boys keeps her very busy, Canaday is nurturing both her sons and her thriving love of all things business.

At age sixteen, Canaday scribbled “get an MBA” on her bucket list. When she came across that list ten years later, she knew it was time to cross off that goal. She returned to school and received her MBA from Weber State University in April 2014, furthering the education she received in the Marriott School as a 2010 business management grad.

“It was a great experience and very fulfilling,” she says. “I loved being able to study and learn more—with hopes of owning my own successful business someday.”

That day may not be too far off. Canaday has already set off on several small ventures. While living in Ogden, Utah, she began a small garden. Finding herself with, as she says, “peppers and tomatoes coming out of my ears,” she began selling fresh salsa and produce at the local farmer’s market. Her special recipe? Cherry tomatoes for texture and fresh-squeezed lime juice.

Canaday’s husband, James, is in the air force, so the family recently relocated to the Los Angeles area. Though her garden has drastically downsized, her proximity to the ocean has opened up another business opportunity: last winter she started an Etsy shop, Oceanwood Creation, selling home décor fashioned from driftwood.

“I love trying to find the perfect thing to make out of each unique piece,” she says. “It works great from a business perspective because of the very little material cost. It’s fun experimenting with different ways to build a microbusiness with little to lose if it fails.”

As for the rest of her bucket list, she’s not quite through yet. “Fortunately,” she jokes, “most things left on my bucket list aren’t so expensive and time consuming.”

—Katie Pitts Olson

This article was originally published in the Summer 2015 issue of Marriott Alumni MagazineRead more class notes in Alumni News.