Golden LEAF Scholarship Alumni Spotlight: Daniel Hartness

Golden LEAF Scholarship Alumni Spotlight: Daniel Hartness

Name: Daniel Hartness
High School Attended: Murphy High School
Home County: Cherokee
College Attended: Western Carolina University
Major(s): Computer Information Systems (CIS), Integrated Health Sciences (IHS)
Minor(s): Data Analytics, Economics
County Now Living In: Jackson
Employer: Self-Employed, Next Level Marketing
Title: Owner, Digital Marketer
Years Working for Current Employer: 9 months

What are some of your major accomplishments during college?

I was either on the Chancellor’s or Dean’s List every semester. I graduated Magna Cum Laude. I was one of the two lead team managers for the student lead project: North Carolina Data Dashboard (NCDD). I attended the World Wide Data Vault Consortium with my co-manager, Sean Duffy, and we were the first-ever student presenters at the conference where we explained the NCDD project, how we lead teams of students, and how we were showcasing economic data for the whole state of North Carolina. I became the first student consultant for the Corporation for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) at WCU. I became a student ambassador and eventually the senior student ambassador for the College of Business at WCU.

What would you tell someone interested in applying for the Golden LEAF Scholarship about being a recipient?

If you have a passion for rural areas in North Carolina, similar to where you live or were raised, this scholarship is meant for you. It’s the best scholarship you could get and will continue to fuel your passion to give back to rural areas after you graduate.

What helped you decide to live and work in a rural area?

I’m from Murphy (Cherokee County), which is in rural North Carolina. My heart has always been to give back and be a forward leader in economic development, innovation, and in integrity for any and all rural regions that I can in North Carolina. I’m specifically focused on the Western Prosperity Zone, as I feel that it is often forgotten about or even unknown to people.

What kind of leadership roles are you serving in currently?

I’m the co-owner of my marketing company, Next Level Marketing, managing tons of projects and managing multiple sub-contractors. I’m a consultant for the Corporation for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI), which allows me to take advantage of many leadership opportunities by advising clients on business strategy, data analytics, etc, like my role in my business when working with clients on marketing strategy. My clients look to me for expertise and innovative ideas, which still feels a bit strange being so young and fresh out of college.

What would you like to share about your personal/ professional growth as a result of attending college? 

College was extremely beneficial to me. I made incredible lifelong friends, grew significantly in maturity and my relationship with Christ, and learned an immeasurable amount about how I can help people by starting my business, using my ideas, authoring student oriented books like I’m working on now, and volunteering.

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