20 Under 30 Class of 2012

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to meet the 2012 class of 20 Under 30.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.

(page 5 of 10)

When he started his education at Missouri State University, Tyler Snodgrass wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted to do with his life. His interest in writing led him to take a bunch of English classes. Eventually, he decided to explore the education route, and he’s loved it ever since. He completed his student teaching at Central High School and was offered a job the same semester. When he’s not teaching English to high-schoolers, Snodgrass keeps a crowd laughing with his gig as a mainstage performer at The Skinny Improv. Five months after winning the Deadpan Comedy Festival in 2007 at age 18, Snodgrass was invited to perform on The Mystery Hour. Two years later, he was encouraged to audition for Improv Sports, and in fall 2010, he became a mainstage performer at The Skinny Improv.  

417 Magazine: How would you define the secret to success?
Tyler Snodgrass: Figure out how to do what you want to do, and go for it. Life is too short to be bored or unhappy.

417: How did you end up at your current job/profession?
T.S.: I became a teacher because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, and I was really interested in writing and studying literature, so I took a bunch of English classes at MSU. Eventually, I decided that I should make sure I get a degree that will help me get a job, so I explored the education route, and I have loved it ever since. I completed my student teaching at Central High School and was offered a job the same semester, and I’m really thankful to be there, it is a really great school.

I wound up at The Skinny after I performed some stand-up there when I was still a teenager. I won the Deadpan Comedy Festival in 2007 and was invited to perform on the Mystery Hour. By knowing Jeff Houghton, I met several other members of The Skinny and former Mainstage cast member Leah Gunn pressured me to audition for Improv Sportz back in 2009, which I was terrified to do because I had only ever performed written and memorized material. But I tried out, made it, and have been doing improv nearly every week ever since.

417: Where do you find passion to do what you do?
T.S.: I get the most satisfaction out of my work when I’m able to be creative, and when I’m able to make people happy. When I’m teaching English, doing improv, doing stand-up, and teaching music, I’m able to accomplish both.

417: What are your hobbies (when you’re not working)?
T.S.: I play guitar, banjo and mandolin. I actually teach guitar too, which I guess counts as work probably. I’ve played guitar since I was ten, but other instruments I’ve only picked up in the last couple years. I write and read quite a bit—I mostly write jokes, stories about teaching and the occasional rap, which I’m a little embarrassed to admit.

417: What charitable organizations are you involved in?
T.S.: I perform on the Mainstage Cast nearly every Friday and Saturday. I organize the Skinny’s stand-up open mic and usually host the event. I created a show with Sarah Jenkins called Use Your Words, which is a “literary book show”—the entire show is inspired by passages from books brought by the audience. I also perform in the monthly Armando show, and in Skinny Science Theater 3000, where we make fun of bad movies live.

417: What’s your favorite thing about your career?
T.S.: I get to have fun every single day. I always get to do things that are creative, intelligent, and goofy, whether I’m on stage or in my classroom.

417: What’s your favorite thing about working in 417-land?
T.S.: The consistent and predicable weather.

417: If you could go back and give the high school version of yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
T.S.: Don’t be afraid to take a few more risks. Also, shop at Borders a little more often, because it won’t be around forever.

417: What was your “dream job” at age 5?
T.S.: Cartoonist. I wanted to draw comic strips.

417: List three traits that define a successful career:
T.S.: Creative potential; being able to experience new things; continued learning

417: Why are you a 20 under 30?
T.S.: I have two lifestyles that are seemingly very different: high school teacher, and comedian/improviser. I have worked very hard to be where I am in both education and comedy, and I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish for only being 22.

417: What projects do you have on the horizon at your job that you’re excited about?
T.S.: I sponsor and I teach the Improv Club at Central, and they’re a really great group of kids. I’m excited about how well they are doing and I can’t wait to see put on some hilarious shows. Also, my kids have a test over Animal Farm coming up—that’s not quite as exciting, I guess, but it is on the horizon too.

417: What completed project are you most proud of?
T.S.: I’ve been able to open for comedians like Mike Birbiglia and Bo Burnham, which have been some of my best moments in my standup career. Winning the Deadpan Comedy Festival in 2007, when I was only 18, was a big deal to me at the time, and it is probably very responsible for where I am today, performing improv and stand-up over a hundred times a year.

Fill in the following blanks with five words or less:

Laughter and irony makes life worth living.

A day at work wouldn’t be complete without a student making fun of me.

Ten years from now, I hope I’m able to grow a beard that covers my entire face.

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would run like crazy because I wouldn’t want to be stoned to death. That was a literary joke, sorry. But really, I would make the zero-gravity battle game from Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card, a reality.

The best part about being a 20 under 30 is being under 30.

In 2006, Nikki Love-Adkins gave up her job as the face of the Springfield Cardinals. Although she loved the busy lifestyle that came with the role, she was five months pregnant and wanted to prepare for the arrival of her daughter, Bostyn. Love-Adkins planned to go back to work after Bostyn arrived, but she and her husband, Donald, quickly learned that Bostyn had several severe food allergies, so Love-Adkins decided to become a stay-at-home mom. “I started doing yoga to get back in shape, but I soon found that, more than anything, it helped me to keep my mind clear,” Love-Adkins says. “I felt compelled to share it with everyone I met, so I became certified and started giving yoga lessons to friends, family members and several groups of teachers.” In March 2009, Love-Adkins was offered the head cheerleading coach position with Missouri State and started giving them yoga lessons. Then, in May of 2009, Love-Adkins’s best friend, Stephanie Lael, told her about a hot yoga studio that was opening in Springfield. The two were eventually offered a chance to attend Sumit Banerjee’s month-long training program in Arizona, and when they returned, they were offered teaching jobs at Sumits Hot Yoga. In December of 2010, the former owner sold the business to Love-Adkins and Lael.

417 Magazine: What charitable organizations are you involved with?
Nikki Love-Adkins: My business partner and I have been involved in or donate to BCFO, the Humane Society, Joplin Relief, GYNCA, Relay for Life, the Heart Ball, Ozarks Food Harvest, MSU Cheer, March of Dimes, local runs and more.

417: How did you end up at your current job/profession?
N.L.: In 2006, I had just quit my job as the face of the Springfield Cardinals. I worked a hectic schedule (which I love… I’m kinda crazy like that!), but I quit when I was 5 months pregnant with our daughter, Bostyn, to prepare for her arrival. I had always assumed I would be right back to a busy work schedule after she was born. We found out within a few weeks of her birth that she had severe food allergies to peanuts, soy, dairy, corn, wheat, tomato and eggs.  Learning how to feed our baby, as well as how to keep her environment as safe as possible for her, was very stressful. Due to her food allergies, I decided the best thing for her and our family was for me to become a stay-at-home mom. I started doing yoga to get back in shape, but I soon found that, more than anything, it helped me to keep my mind clear. It allowed me to release some of the fear and anxiety that was consuming me. It also taught me how to stay focused and calm in difficult situations. I felt compelled to share it with everyone I met, so I became certified and started giving yoga lessons to friends, family members and several groups of teachers after school in Springfield and Rogersville.  In March 2009, I was offered the head cheerleading coach position with Missouri State and started giving them yoga lessons. Other college coaches began to approach me about private lessons for their teams to help prevent injuries, and that’s when I realized yoga can help nearly anyone in any situation. (I have worked with Drury Baseball, Softball, Basketball, MSU Baseball and the MSU Cheerleaders and Sugar Bears).   In May of 2009, one of my best friends, Stephanie Lael, told me about a hot yoga studio that was opening in Springfield. She had just moved back from Chicago, where hot yoga was already established, and told me how incredible it was. We went as soon as it opened and learned all about the amazing benefits of the heat. Yoga done in a warm environment protects the muscles and joints, helps you to sweat out more toxins and purifies the body, among many other things. I was hooked. Within a couple of weeks, we were offered a chance to attend Sumit Banerjee’s month-long training program in Arizona. Without the support and help of my husband, in-laws, parents and grandparents, it would not have even been possible for me to leave Springfield for a month! I’m so grateful for them. Once we returned, we were offered a teaching job at the studio. In December of 2010, the current owner offered to sell the business to Stephanie and me, and we couldn’t say no

417: Where do you find passion to do what you do?
N.L.: I truly believe yoga is a gift, and I feel so blessed and fortunate that I get to share it with people everyday! My business partner and I work extremely well together and crack each other up constantly. Our staff is so fantastic. You have to go through the month-long training in Arizona to teach for us, so it’s not like we’re hiring anyone who needs a job, they all have a real passion for it, too.  It’s really hard to not want to find passion in what you do when you’re surrounded by people who feel the same way about your business!

417: What are your hobbies (when you’re not working)?
N.L.: From 2009-2011 I was the Head Cheerleading coach at Missouri State. I have stepped down and volunteer my time as the assistant coach since we bought the business so I can still be involved.  Coaching is something else I’m very passionate about, so I spend a lot of my free time working with them.  When the weather is nice, my husband, daughter and I love to go for walks and have our friends over for dinner and games. Steph and I like to do fun yoga workshops at the studio, too. We try to travel back to Arizona a couple of times a year to refresh our teaching skills and enjoy some yoga. I also volunteer and teach yoga in my daughter’s pre-school class at Immaculate Conception.

417: Are you a member of any professional organizations?
N.L.: Chamber of Commerce, and we are looking in to joining a new BNI chapter.

417: How would you define the secret to success?
N.L.: Set a goal, have patience as you work hard and most importantly, have faith in yourself. Take the necessary steps to get you to the goal, but be flexible with your timeline. If something goes wrong or is different that your plan, be grateful for it, use it as a learning tool and move on. Take a step back every now and then, and readjust your plan if needed.

417: What’s your favorite thing about your career?
N.L.: That I get to share the gift of physical and mental health everyday while working along side one of my best friends! Every day is new and exciting. I have found a lot of balance in my life with this job too. Being a yogi, I am reminded to let go of the little stuff, focus on the important stuff and give gratitude. Being a business owner reminds me to stay grounded and use common sense and a detailed thought process to make important decisions. Also, even though I put in a lot of hours, they are flexible, so I get to be at all of my family’s important events.

417: What’s your favorite thing about working in 417-land?
N.L.: The people in the Ozarks are just so kind, generous and appreciative. It’s a great place to own a business and meet like-minded people. Our community offers just as many opportunities as a big city, but with an intimate, small-town feel.

417: If you could go back and give the high school version of yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
N.L.: Slow down and enjoy it. I wish I would have appreciated my mom and step dad more in high school too. I didn’t realize it then, but they are the ones who taught me the value of a dollar and that hard work is just a way of life. To me, life is just more enjoyable when you are finding a way to give your all. They taught me to be honest, do what’s right and work hard to accomplish my goals, big or small.

417: What was your “dream job” at age 5?
N.L.: I was a huge tomboy at that age, so I probably wanted to drive a dump truck for a living or something!

417: List three traits that define a successful career:
N.L.: Patience, determination and assertiveness mixed equally with compassion.

417:  Why are you a 20 under 30?
N.L.: I’ve worked really hard and tried to make it a personal goal to stay on track to attain my dreams.  It’s always been important to me to help the people I love and care about accomplish their dreams too by contributing to their needs however I can, even if it means getting off track for awhile. I genuinely care about our community the people I make connections with.

417: What projects do you have on the horizon at your job that you’re excited about?
N.L.: I’m really excited that Sumits Yoga is a part of the Mama Jean’s Meltdown program that’s happening right now in our community. I think a healthy lifestyle is a key component to a happy life. Also, we are working out details to some big changes to the studio, and it looks like we are going to be lucky enough to hold a local teacher training for Sumits Yoga. I can’t reveal too much on those last two projects yet, though!

417: What completed project are you most proud of?
N.L.: Coaching college cheerleading requires a lot of time, and I’m always second guessing it during the year, but at the end of each year, when I take a step back and reflect on the character of the individuals I coach, I feel really proud. Many of them were raised with great values, but I like to think that they learn a little something from me in the gym that they can take with them in to the real world, like discipline, team work, initiative and how to treat each other when times get stressful. I’m really proud of how my business partner and I communicate. Most people would say owning a business with your best friend is a recipe for disaster, but because we are up front and honest with each other and share the same goals and values, it just works for us. Also, even though marriage is never really a completed project, my marriage is something I’m proud of. We work hard to help one another out and to be kind and considerate to each other. It’s important to us to treat the other with the same respect we would treat a friend or client.

Fill in the following blanks with five words or less:

Friends, family, yoga and music makes life worth living.

A day at work wouldn’t be complete without laughter, an inspiring student and a lot of sweat!

Ten years from now, I hope I’m still doing and teaching a lot of yoga and that my family is happy and healthy.

If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would travel the world with my family and friends and start a few more yoga studios…the world would be a better place if everyone did yoga.

The best part about being a 20 under 30 is that I feel like I’m making an impact on our incredible community.

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