Lindenwood Magazine - Fall / Winter 2019

FALL/WINTER 2019-20 | 11 Lindenwood University REAL SUCCESS FTER RETURNING TO CIVILIAN LIFE from the Marine Corps in 2007, Jared McGowen lacked direction. Now, three college degrees later, he is a professional, an author, and a motivational speaker, hoping to pass along to other veterans the lessons he has learned. In early 2003, 18-year-old Jared McGowen was working two “dead-end” jobs. His parents never went to college and didn’t push him to go, either. He admits he had no career plans. In March, McGowen read a news story about the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and he believed he found his purpose. “I wanted to fight,” McGowen said. “I wanted to protect our country.” McGowen enlisted in the Marine Corps and found himself in boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, Calif., by May. He eventually joined the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) Battalion as an infantryman. In September 2004, McGowen deployed to Iraq and served as the driver for the company ambulance armored vehicle and fought in the second battle of Fallujah. In September 2006, he returned to Iraq as a corporal of Marines and a commander on a light armored vehicle. In seven months, McGowen conducted hundreds of combat patrols, suffered a traumatic brain injury from a roadside bomb, and lost one of his friends to a similar explosion a month before the unit was scheduled to ship out. The death of McGowan’s friend convinced him to leave the Marines, and he was discharged after returning to the U.S. in 2007. McGowan said he experienced anger, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. He knew he needed to find direction in his life. He said his first step to righting his life was enrolling at Lindenwood and pursuing his education, something he hadn’t considered much during his years in the Marines. There, he met and started dating his future wife, Lyndsey, whom he calls his motivation and inspiration. “If I had not met my wife, I don’t know where I’d be,” McGowen said. Their first daughter was born in June 2009, which McGowen said inspired him to really start working on himself and taking “100- percent ownership” of his life. “When she was born, I decided to make my life better,” McGowen said. “If I wanted to change where I was going in life, I needed to change my thinking.” Today, he has three degrees from Lindenwood: a bachelor’s in marketing, an MBA, and a master’s in communication. He is an account executive with Express Scripts, a Fortune 15 company, and he wrote a book about his experiences, The Heart of a Marine: Building a Legacy after the Explosions Have Stopped , published through West Bow Press in November 2018. McGowen is also an inspirational speaker. He most often speaks to veterans and enjoys the experiences. He said it can be difficult for veterans as they separate from the military and often find their lives lacking in purpose and inspiration, just as McGowen did before and after joining the Marines. “The hard part is finding purpose or a life mission,” McGowen said. “I want to help vets find their purpose outside the military. I want them to achieve success like I have.” McGowen lives in St. Charles County with his wife and three children: Adalynn, 10; Reagan, 5; and Easton, 4. n A VETERAN MCGOWEN OVERCOMES OBSTACLES, Finds Purpose and Success by Brian Vorce FTER a career in various aspects of the communications industry, from news to public relations to advertising, Judy Peters has added publishing to this list. The 1984 Lindenwood University graduate is the person behind the recently launched St. Charles County Lifestyle magazine . The magazine, which published its first issue in March, is mailed monthly to 7,000 homes and 700 businesses in St. Charles County. Peters, who was previously COO for Streetscape Magazine , began exploring the magazine opportunity in 2018 when Streetscape stopped publishing regularly. Peters works with Kansas City- based Lifestyle Publications on the venture. “I’m in business for myself but not by myself,” Peters said of the partnership. “They have very good systems in place.” Peters sells the advertising space and works with her editorial coordinator, Cindy O’Hara, and local writers to generate the content around an editorial calendar determined by the company, which handles the design and distribution of the publication. “My experience with the writers and photographers in the community has been great, and I’ve gotten great support and mostly positive feedback,” Peters said. “There is never any shortage of interesting people and businesses to highlight. We focus on the good news. I hope people look at it and appreciate it.” Peters, who was born in St. Louis County has lived in St. Charles since she was 6 years old and graduated from St. Charles West High School. At Lindenwood, she majored in mass communications with a TV emphasis, but an internship at KTVI taught her she did not have a nose or the stomach for news. “I veered to advertising and PR and was later hired by Dan Borgmeyer (now mayor of St. Charles) at Borgmeyer Advertising,” Peters said. “I worked there for two or three years.” She later worked at D’Arcy Masius Benton and Bowles, at that time the largest advertising agency in St. Louis, in the PR Department. After a few years there, she came back to Lindenwood as an employee in development and alumni and later served as alumni director, starting in 1990. She started in Streetscape in 2007 in ad sales. “I feel very proud to be a Lindenwood alumna, as well as a past employee, and my son went there as well,” Peters said. “In all these areas, I’ve always been proud to be a part of Lindenwood. Early on, the real-world experience I gained there was important in giving me confidence.” Now that she is a magazine publisher, she said she anticipates staying with her current venture for a while. “The future looks good for increasing the size and scope of the publication,” Peters said. “This should go on for a very long time.” A digital subscription to the magazine is available for free at the Lifestyle Publications website; hard copy subscriptions are available for a nominal fee by emailing judy. n A THE PAPER CHASE Peters Launches St. Charles Lifestyle Magazine 10 | FALL/WINTER 2019-20 Lindenwood University REAL SUCCESS