FGCU professor aims to keep the university’s brightest graduates working in SWFL



A woman on a mission to retain the best and brightest students in Southwest Florida.

Her name is Dr. Sandy Kauanui. She started her own business at the age of 16, running the payroll for her parents’ company. Today, students at Florida Gulf Coast University call her Dr. K., and she works to keep the best and brightest FGCU students here, working for companies in Southwest Florida after when they graduate.

“They will bring new technology, new ideas,” says Kauanui. “New ways of thinking into their company. And that’s what they want. They don’t want someone to say, ‘OK, what do I do next?’ They want someone to walk in and say, ‘I have a great idea. And this idea will make a difference for this company. ‘”

Kauanui has joined Storm Smart founder Brian Rist. She asked him to share his path to business success with her students.

“When you’re in business and you make 1,000 decisions a day, not all of them are right,” Rist says. “But if I can help some students save a few steps and not make some of the mistakes I made along the way, then for sure, I think it’s a win for all of us. .”

Stormie Pruskauer is the success story Kauanui envisioned: Her all-natural hair and skin care line, Stormie Seas, is up and running.

“I have great admiration for Dr. K,” Pruskauer said. “Her drive, her passion, is not only helping others, but really expanding the business industry and helping the people that are starting the industry and helping the people who are already successful. set up a business.”

Kauanui’s name adorns FGCU’s School of Entrepreneurship, right next to the late Frank Daveler, who invented aerospace technology.

“I don’t know where this is going,” Kauanui said. “It just kept growing. And I keep filling the classes to the max. ”

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