Director of Client Experience, boostDFM
Chris Laney really means it when he says doing something for young people in the community is important to him.
The best example is the State of Jobs conference, an event in Sarasota Laney helped organize through the Sarasota Young Professionals Group. The goal of the conference, says Laney, is to connect high school and college students with companies in the area.
“We hear about brain drain all the time,” says Laney, lamenting young people who move away for jobs. “I wanted to show the high school students we have some cool companies to work for in the area.”
The first State of Jobs conference, held in April, included a CEO panel discussion with executives from leading companies such as Venice-based PGT and Sarasota-based Sun Hydraulics. Laney, the 2014-2015 Sarasota YPG chairman, is already making plans for the next conference in 2015. “State of Jobs is kind of like my baby,” Laney says.
When he’s not doing work for YPG and conferences or spending time with his family, Laney’s other job is in technology. He’s long had a passion for website development: In 2002, when he was 15 years old, he built a website for the Chick-Fil-A at the DeSoto Square Mall in Bradenton. Other firms Laney has worked for in digital marketing and branding include The Joy FM in Sarasota, Digital Frontiers Media and boostDFM.
— Mark Gordon
City of residence: Sarasota
Twitter handle: @IMchrislaney
Years on the Gulf Coast: 25
Marital status/children: Married, two kids.
Alma mater: State College of Florida
Best place to network: Young Professionals of Sarasota
Coolest business experience: I’ve had many different “experiences” that have been incredible. Each of my stints with businesses has provided its own cool experiences that are hard to forget. One of my favorite experiences was the first time I attended a Christian music conference at Disney World. Being surrounded by every record label, artist, and radio station in the country was such a cool experience. I’ve now gone four years in a row and it still always has a special place in my heart even though I’m no longer in that industry.
The most important business lesson I’ve learned: Humility. Being “successful” at a young age made me very arrogant. I realized that I wasn’t happy, and it didn’t make the people around me very happy. Being humble in my success, and patient in my failures has allowed me to thrive, even in the tough times.
One website that makes your job easier: I spend a lot of time on twitter. It’s where I get my news, information on trends, and stay updated with my friends.
One community group you’re most involved with: The Young Professionals of Sarasota is the organization I’m most involved with.
Favorite off-hours activity: Spending time with my family. My boys can be a lot of fun to be around.
Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: John Adams and C.S. Lewis.
Best award you ever received: 2014 Sarasota’s Young Professional of the Year.
Most adventurous thing you’ve ever done: When I was 16 years old, my best friend and I were on a trip in Honduras. Our group left us at the compound because we slept in. We spent $10 to a guy that spoke no English and had a machine gun to drive us two hours away to meet the rest of the group. During this time, Honduras and Columbia had anti-American strikes that added to the danger of our safety.
What’s at the top of your bucket list: I have yet to travel to Denmark. It’s where my ancestors are from.
What new skill would you like to learn: One of the skills I’m still looking to develop is Web development theming. I want to be able to design a custom design and theme that design to a content management system myself.
Who would play you in a movie about your life: Shia Labeouf, when he’s not crazy.
If I had a magic wand I’d: Travel to Denmark. Saves me money on the airline tickets and time sitting.