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Patricia Shields

Patricia Shields, left, and her mother, Susan Markush

Patricia Shields, left, and her mother, Susan Markush SUBMITTED PHOTO Purchase photo reprints »

Job title and company: Co-owner with my mother, Susan Markush, Pecan Patti, Starkweather Hill Road, Worthington

Age: 24

Your duties: Product development, wholesale/retail development, vendor management of Pecan Patti, which makes and sells candy and other confections.

How did you land your job? The idea to start the business was born while I was attending college as an undergrad, however pecans were always a part of the culinary culture in my household. I grew up with my mother teaching me confectionery recipes of generations passed down.

What do you like about your job? Having your own business is like creating a piece of art; you have complete ownership of your creative realization. It’s very rewarding and constantly stimulating.

What’s most challenging about your work? The same metaphor applies to adversity in a business. There are great challenges to consistently creating an exceptional finished product. The obstacles are a direct result of being independent and not having the resources and structure of an established business.

What is your key to success? There are no shortcuts to success. While we are still in the infant stages of our business, we welcome the increased amount of work and the responsibility that comes with a growing establishment.

How do you feel the Valley economy will fare this year? The economy in the Valley reflects the economy in the rest of the Northeast — slow growth and a gradual increase in consumer confidence. I feel confident, however, there will always be a market for consumer staples (i.e. food/ health care) and the occasional consumer discretionary items.

Why did you choose to do business in the Valley? The Valley is the most local-centric area I’ve ever experienced. The community is very embracing and people are very open to partnerships.

Who has helped mentor you professionally? My mother/partner is the most tremendous mentor. I also met a handful of wonderful people in my former position within financial services who went out of their way to provide me with resources and guidance.

Name a few of your goals for the coming year: We want to open a store (not sure where yet), strengthen our local relationships and keep making people happy!

Tell us a little-known fact about you: I love to trail run through the woods and ride horses.

What is your advice for others seeking business success? As trite as it sounds, “Don’t stop believing” — but also be a pragmatist.

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