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Business Observer Thursday, Jul. 20, 2006 15 years ago

40 Under 40 Winners Page 4

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Jeff ReynoldsAmy L. SchneiderGardner SherrillTracey Sievertson-LockeDan SinclairMark A. StevensBrian StockJeff VerkonRobert WellsDenise L. Wheeler
by: Adam Hughes Staff Writer

40 Under 40 Winners Page 4

Jeff Reynolds

Sarasota

Company/Title: Goar, Endriss & Walker, PA/CPA and the Sarasota Ballet of Florida,/CFO.

Education: M.A., B.A., University of Florida.

Professional achievements/honors: Obtained CPA license in both California and Florida; obtained Florida real estate salesperson license and have recently become a certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor. In my role as CFO for various companies, I have effectively managed difficult cash flow situations (something I consider to be an accomplishment). In one situation, I orchestrated the successful multi-million dollar buyout of a partner, which, although complex and antagonistic, resulted in both parties continuing their respective businesses.

Mentor or business hero: My parents, who started and ran a successful small business in Sarasota for over 25 years by providing attention to detail and excellent customer service.

Formula for success: Attention to detail, setting priorities, finding efficiencies in everything and treating people fairly.

Hometown: Sarasota.

Place/Date of Birth: Sarasota/April 17, 1977

First job: Champs Sports; after college, PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP in San Jose, Calif.

Years on Gulf Coast: 27

Motivation to come to Gulf Coast: Came back from California in 2000 for family and also for an opportunity to be the CFO of a successful development company.

Name one pressing issue affecting our region today:Ensuring our infrastructure is prepared for the population growth and development that is currently in progress.

How would you solve it? Better city/county planning along with tighter concurrency requirements.

Marital Status/Family: Married, with a one-year-old daughter and two Labrador Retrievers.

Community Involvement: Member of the Sarasota Young Professionals Group, the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Florida Institute of CPAs and the Sarasota County Gator Club, for University of Florida alumni.

Hours worked per week: 45 during non-busy season; 60 during busy season (February through April 15).

Hobbies: Basketball, snowboarding, kayaking, and traveling.

What's on your iPod? Rolling Stones, Rage Against the Machine, and Jack Johnson.

Name three things in your refrigerator: Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough, fruit, and hamburger.

Book you can read more than once: The Da Vinci Code

Books or magazines on your nightstand: Mostly business oriented. Currently Parlay your IRA into a Family Fortune, by Ed Slotts.

Favorite Web sites: cnn.com and espn.com

Best place outside Florida you've ever been to: Lake Tahoe, Calif. I was lucky enough to get married there.

What would you like to be doing more of? I would love to spend more time traveling with my family and doing community outreach (particularly towards homeless people and animals).

What would you like to be doing less of? Sitting in traffic.

If I had it to do all over again I would... not change anything. Everything that has either happened to me or decisions I've made, both good and bad, have resulted in getting me to this point in my life. And I'm happy with that!

Amy L. Schneider

Naples

Company/Title: Bank of America/ wealth strategist, senior vice president for the Southwest Florida Region of (from Naples to Sarasota).

Education: Masters of Laws in Taxation, University of Florida; J.D., University of Virginia; B.A. (Mathematics and History), University of Virginia.

Professional achievements/honors: Member of the Florida and North Carolina Bar Associations; current Chairwoman of the Trusts and Estates Section of Collier County's Bar Association; regular speaker for continuing education seminars and other presentations for attorneys, accountants, trust officers, and other members of the community; developer of document drafting system for estate planning and estate settlement law practice.

Mentor or business hero: My parents. My father for his integrity and my mother for her positive spirit.

Formula for success: My career is successful if I sincerely care about my clients and my co-workers. My life is successful if I stay positive and maintain my sense of humor.

Hometown: Charlottesville, Va.

Place/Date of Birth: St. Louis, Mo./ Jan. 26, 1971

First job: Cream Cheese girl/Cashier, Bodo's Bagels

Years on Gulf Coast: 6

Motivation to come to Gulf Coast: Great opportunity to work with retirees as they plan their estates and, of course, the sunshine.

Name one pressing issue affecting our region today:Attracting young professionals (executives, attorneys, doctors, etc.) to our region.

How would you solve it? Industries that need young professionals could work with local governments, local Chambers of Commerce and the Southwest Florida Economic Development Council to promote our region's beauty and economic opportunities at premier universities and graduate programs; local businesses and banks could provide mortgage assistance (whether through guaranties or lower interest rates) to young professionals and/or help them with student loan consolidation and forgiveness; local governments or businesses could offer subsidies to young professionals for their air travel, as the short vacation windows of young professionals make driving anywhere outside of Florida so difficult; local businesses could raise starting salaries.

Marital Status/Family: Single/no kids.

Community Involvement: Planned Giving Committee of Collier County's chapter of the American Red Cross (recently organized inaugural golf tournament for the benefit of the local chapter); Former vice president of Collier County's Friends of the Library; Member of Real Property and Probate Section and Tax Section of the Florida Bar; Member Trusts and Estates Section and Young Lawyer's Section of Collier County's Bar Association; participant in activities of the Young Professionals of Collier County; participant in Lee County's Relay for Life; "jailbird" for Muscular Dystrophy.

Hours worked per week: 50s-ish.

Hobbies: Ballroom dancing, any kind of dancing, listening to music, going to concerts, programming my Ipod, Fantasy Football, anything football, watching any sports, working out, reading, crossword puzzles and sudoku, boating, the beach, time with friends and family, great restaurants.

What's on your iPod? Greenday, Maroon 5, Dave Matthews, 80s mix, 90s pop mix, Hip Hop dance mix, Edwin McCain, Stevie Wonder, Elton John.

Name three things in your refrigerator: Diet Coke, Stella Artois, Red Bull (very beverage centered).

Book you can read more than once: I'm a tax attorney, so I have to go with the Internal Revenue Code.

Books or magazines on your nightstand: Patricia Cornwall, Harry Potter, Tom Clancy, Games Magazine, Cosmopolitan, N magazine.

Favorite Web sites: espn.com; youtube.com.

Best place outside Florida you've ever been to: Sailing in the San Francisco Bay

What would you like to be doing more of? Traveling

What would you like to be doing less of? Being completely disorganized.

If I had it to do all over again I would...be in sports journalism – dream job: Monday Night Football sideline chick!

Gardner Sherrill

Sarasota

Company/Title: Northern Trust/vice president, wealth strategies group

Education: MBA, University of Denver; B.A., Rollins College; CFP, College for Financial Planning.

Professional achievements/honors: My highest achievement is attaining my current position. I love my job. I work for an excellent company with a reputation that sells itself and I get to have a meaningful and positive impact on people's lives.

Mentor or business hero: My wife Dannie.

Formula for success: Curiosity

Hometown: Atlanta.

Place/Date of Birth: Atlanta/Nov. 19, 1969

First job: Bellman at the Alpenhof Lodge Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Years on Gulf Coast: 6

Motivation to come to Gulf Coast: Spouse's hometown, to raise a family

Name one pressing issue affecting our region today:Rising home insurance rates.

How would you solve it? I'm all for delegation to experts but I'll do my best here. I think that we need to build incentives to allow for more private insurance companies to compete more effectively with Citizens. We need to replenish our catastrophe fund on the state level by utilizing some of the tax revenues generated by hurricane clean up and try to legislate toward a national reserve fund. We need to lower the costs through more efficient allocation of disbursements and minimizing fraud.

Marital Status/Family: Married, with two boys, five- and three-years old.

Community Involvement: Endowment Board and Capital Campaign of the Anna Maria Community Center; Chair of the Capital Campaign for the Manatee Red Cross for a Mid-County facility we just completed; board member of the Manatee Symphony Association; ad-hoc member of the Ringling Museums' development committee; advisory board of the Manatee Community Foundation; member of the Lakewood Ranch Rotary Club

Hours worked per week: 55

Hobbies: Golf, Tennis.

What's on your iPod? Jerry Garcia Band, Dire Straits, The Wiggles.

Name three things in your refrigerator: Bacon, Cookie Dough, Lipitor.

Book you can read more than once: The World is Flat.

Books or magazines on your nightstand: Retirement Income redesigned

Favorite Web sites: Wikipedia, Amazon

Best place outside Florida you've ever been to: Jackson, Wyo.

What would you like to be doing more of? Playing golf with my 5-year-old son, RG.

What would you like to be doing less of? Paperwork

If I had it to do all over again I would...Not change a thing.

Tracey

Sievertson-Locke

Ybor City

Company/Title: TLS Media/principal

Education: B.A. Journalism, University of Arizona

Professional achievements/honors: In my first career as a television reporter, my stories earned several awards from the Associated Press and Broadcaster's Association. However, the stories that had an impact on people's lives or affected public policy were the most rewarding. In 2005, I launched TLS Media.

Mentor or business hero: I have always followed Oprah Winfrey's career. She has made her own path and touches the lives of so many people. I had the opportunity to interview her a few years ago and she is as nice and down-to-earth as she is accomplished.

Formula for success: I write down my plans for the day, week, month, year etc. Plans may constantly change. But it helps me stay focused on where I am going.

Hometown: Chicago, Ill.

Place/Date of Birth: Washington, D.C./ Sept. 22, 1969

First job: Selling shoes. I still have a Carrie Bradshaw-like shoe obsession.

Years on Gulf Coast: 5

Motivation to come to Gulf Coast: Beautiful place to live. Growth of area. Great place to do business.

Name one pressing issue affecting our region today:Affordable housing.

How would you solve it? There is no easy fix. Large employers need to be involved in the discussion. I would encourage the legislature to figure out a compromise on the portability of property taxes. Also, government could provide some incentives for developers to set aside property for teachers, firemen and police officers. Public and private investment in our commercial corridors that go through residential areas would also be a place to start.

Marital Status/Family: Married, one son.

Community Involvement: Volunteer work at Church and Crossroads, a drug rehabilitation program for women.

Hours worked per week: 40-?. I don't keep track of hours. When it's your business, you work until the job is done and clients are happy.

Hobbies: antiquing, rehabbing old houses, travel

What's on your iPod? It's all vintage. Louis Armstrong; Marilyn Monroe; Tony Bennett

Name three things in your refrigerator: Wine. Water. Way too many condiments.

Book you can read more than once: I try to re-read "The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity," by Catharine Ponder every couple of years. I have a dog-eared old copy from my freshman year of high school.

Books or magazines on your nightstand: The Illuminated Rumi, by Coleman Barks, The 21 irrefutable laws of Leadership, by John C. Maxwell, The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren.

Favorite Web sites: I don't surf for fun. I spend a lot of time on www.expedia.com and www.tlsknowsmedia.com (shameless pr plug).

Best place outside Florida you've ever been to: I love New York. We try to go several times a year for the big city fix.

What would you like to be doing more of? Spending more time at home with no plans. I have a tendency to overbook.

What would you like to be doing less of? Commuting.

If I had it to do all over again I would...not change a thing. Mistakes or setbacks are opportunities for growth and learning. Every experience in my life has shaped who I am today.

Dan Sinclair

Fort Myers

Company/Title: Sinclair, Inc./president

Education: Three years of engineering at Canada's top engineering school, Queen's University; B.S. in Accounting from AACSB accredited St. Cloud State University in Minnesota.

Professional achievements/honors: Founder of the Young Professionals, a young business people's chamber of commerce which has 750 paid members in Lee and Collier counties, and works hand-in-hand with local chambers. Inspired and helped start approximately six other young professional groups around the country. Leadership Lee County graduate of the Spring 2004 class. Founder and facilitator of the Southwest Florida IT Management Group (www.ITLunch.com), a group of over 300 CIO's, IT Directors, and IT vendors. . 

Mentor or business hero: That would show my political affiliation.  I plead the fifth.

Formula for success: Give back to the community, work smarter rather than harder, deliver more than you promise, delegate more, surround yourself with fun people, and just have fun.

Hometown: Thunder Bay, Ontario

Place/Date of Birth: Fort William/Thunder Bay, Ontario/ April 17, 1967

First job:  Industrial construction company at 13

Years on Gulf Coast: 12

Motivation to come to Gulf Coast:  Beaches, ocean, lifestyle, job, and proximity to family winter condo.

Name one pressing issue affecting our region today: Affordable housing and lack of proper freeway planning.

How would you solve it? Affordable housing: We are already putting that in place. Build affordable housing using modern technology and vertical integration, as well as new design and property ownership concepts. Lack of proper freeway planning: Expand the Regional Expressway Authority to plan and implement an integrated freeway system that covers East/West as well as North South. Put in place prior to dropping the millage rate on property taxes in Lee and surrounding counties.

Marital Status/Family: Married, one daughter; 14

Community InvolvemeNt: Served on the board of directors of numerous local organizations, including the Lee County Chapter of the American Red Cross for five years. Have planned and ran the Young Professionals annual Networking SuperEvent since 2004; also work with a number of groups on the affordable housing issue. 

Hours worked per week:  60-80 hours for work, 30-40 hours community.

Hobbies:  Haven't had time for many.  Boating, rollerblading, lifting weights, cycling, running.

What's on your iPod?  80's and 90's music, because I haven't had time to download anything new.

Name three things in your refrigerator: Apple juice, vitamins, prepared meals.

Book you can read more than once: none. Who has time to read?

Books or magazines on your nightstand: Flying, Private Pilot, Professional Builder, Gulf Coast Business Review.

Favorite Web sites:  www.YPFL.com,  as well as new Online Ordering and Tracking System for homes www.Sinclair-Construction.com

Best place outside Florida you've ever been to:  Shebandowan Lake, Canada

What would you like to be doing more of?  Lifting weights, rollerblading, boating, and traveling.

What would you like to be doing less of?  Handling daily duties.  i.e. would like to do more strategic planning.

If I had it to do all over again I would... have kept my construction company going that I started in high school, and gone to college at night. Engineering gave me a late start into the work force.

Mark A. Stevens

Fort Myers

Company/Title: Stevens Construction Inc./president

Education: Cape Coral High School, Edison Community College (Associates in Arts Degree); B.S., Building Construction, University of Florida

Professional achievements/honors: Grew a business in 2 years from a start-up construction company to a company that currently employs 25 and will have gross receipts of over $30 million in 2006. Recipient of 4 Summit awards for outstanding projects in 2006. Summit award recipient for "Newcomer of the year 2006." Recipient of the Safety Star award from the Associated Builders and Contractors for an outstanding safety record and program.

Mentor or business hero: Donald Trump (less the hair cut, TV show, and ego).

Formula for success: Set reasonable expectations with clients and strive to exceed them. Treat team members as the valuable assets they are.

Hometown: Cape Coral, Fla.

Place/Date of Birth: Connersville, Ind./ Nov. 17, 1966

First job: Cleaning animal cages at Baywood Veterinary Hospital in Cape Coral while I was in tenth Grade.

Years on Gulf Coast: 31

Motivation to come to Gulf Coast: I was only 8-years-old so my motivation was simple: I did not have a choice.

Name one pressing issue affecting our region today:Affordable Housing

How would you solve it? Work with local government and private industry to both increase the wage scale of our lower income population and seek ways to provide additional funding, low interest loans, and incentives to dedicated and responsible recipients.

Marital Status/Family: Married 10 years. Wife – Kim, Three children; ages three to eight

Community Involvement: Building Industry Association, Board Member; Shady Rest Care Pavilion, Board Member; Chairman of the Commercial Builders Council for the Building Industry Association.

Hours worked per week: 50-60.

Hobbies: Boating, Fishing, Hunting

What's on your iPod? Believe it or not the only iPod in my family belongs to my 8-year-old.

Name three things in your refrigerator: Milk, eggs, A1 Steak Sauce.

Book you can read more than once: How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie.

Books or magazines on your nightstand: Florida Sportsman, Lost and Found (management book).

Favorite Web sites: ebay.com, Boattrader.com

Best place outside Florida you've ever been to: London.

What would you like to be doing more of? Enjoying my hobbies

What would you like to be doing less of? Explaining to clients why construction costs are 20% higher than last year.

If I had it to do all over again I would...Change nothing.

Brian Stock

Naples

Company/Title: Stock Development / CEO

Education: BA, Saint Norbert College

Professional achievements/honors: 2005 Governor's Entrepreneurship Award; 2005 Excellence in Industry Entrepreneurship Award; Named 2006 & 2005 Development Company of the Year by the Lee Building Industry Association; 2006 & 2005 Grand Award by the News Press; Named 2005 & 2004 Company of the Year by the Naples Area Board of Realtors.

Mentor or business hero: Father

Formula for success: Surround yourself with good people.

Hometown: Oconto, Wis.

Place/Date of Birth: Oconto, Wis./ Jan. 18, 1970

First job: Working in family's lumberyard

Years on Gulf Coast: 4.5

Motivation to come to Gulf Coast: To start Stock Development

Name one pressing issue affecting our region today:Hurricanes

How would you solve it? As a builder, we are taking great strides to assure that our homes are built to the highest standards and above code in many areas. We are also offering many options such as impact glass to ensure that the home remains safe and secure if a storm should hit.

Marital Status/Family: Single.

Community Involvement: Involved in many local and charitable organizations, including: the Tim & Tom Gullikson Foundation, the Boys & Girls Club, the Liberty Youth Ranch, the American Cancer Society and R.C.M.A.

Hours worked per week: 70-80 on average.

Hobbies: Sports, fishing.

What's on your iPod? Keith Urban, Jack Johnson, U2.

Name three things in your refrigerator: Water, sandwich meat, leftovers.

Books or magazines on your nightstand: Florida Trend, Builder Magazine and Sports Illustrated.

Best place outside Florida you've ever been to: Monterey Peninsula.

What would you like to be doing more of? Traveling.

What would you like to be doing less of? Driving in Traffic.

If I had it to do all over again I would...not change a thing.

Jeff Verkon

Tampa

Company/Title: IT Resources Corp/president and CEO

Education: B.S. Florida State University; MBA Webster University

Professional achievements/honors: I gauge my success on how well my troops and current employees perform. My greatest honor was when one of my former military troop's wife called four years after leaving the military and told me her husband would not have been the true professional soldier, honorable husband and wonderful father he is today without my guidance and leadership. Something like this, which no one else heard, actually means more to me than professional awards given.

Mentor or business hero: John West; former CEO of SystemOne and current CEO of Acclaris.

Formula for success: The formula for success that I put into place is to have a vision and clearly define each vision with goals. While in the military, I was always told to know your troops' job, but when going into the field be certain that your troops are the experts at what they do. Most importantly, I know I cannot be successful without spending time with God and in prayer asking for his guidance.

Hometown: Tampa.

Place/Date of Birth: Corning, N.Y./ March 4, 1969

First job: McDonalds. It wasn't glamorous but it set the ball rolling. It was a motivator because I knew that I did not want to do that forever.

Years on Gulf Coast: 8

Motivation to come to Gulf Coast: In 1998 when I left the military, first job offer was in Tampa.

Name one pressing issue affecting our region today:Tampa's infrastructure.

How would you solve it? First project the Tampa Bay area's population 10 to15 years down the road. Based on current knowledge forecast where the majority of the population base will live, work and commute to/from. Once the projections are made, immediately initiate a plan to accommodate the future population, so that we are not continually trying to catch up.

Marital Status/Family: Single; two great Dogs: Kona & Karley.

Community Involvement: Involved in two local churches; in the process of putting together a group of volunteers who would like to visit our veteran nursing homes in the Tampa Bay area, to simply give back to those who are facing death alone.

Hours worked per week: While my actual in office hours are around 50, my mind is always grinding on how I can improve the firm and how can I make my employees more successful.

Hobbies: Running; reading; FSU football and traveling to historic places in the U.S.

What's on your iPod? I don't have one, but from what I know most people wear them when they are running or working out. That wouldn't work for me because when I run, this is the time when I can actually think about and solve problems; business and personal.

Name three things in your refrigerator: Milk, corn on the cob and 18 Meals from Let's Eat!

Book you can read more than once: The Bible; specifically the book of Luke.

Books or magazines on your nightstand: Goals by Tracy Morgan; Good to Great; and the Bible.

Favorite Web sites: www.foxnews.com and www.tallahassee.com (have to keep track of my 'Noles).

Best place outside Florida you've ever been to: Canyons in Salt Lake City, Utah.

What would you like to be doing more of? Growing as a Christian man and figuring out a way to make my employees become more successful. I gauge the success of my firm on their success; I am only as successful and happy as my employees and they believe this as well.

What would you like to be doing less of? Mowing my lawn and yard work.

If I had it to do all over again I would...[change] nothing.

Robert Wells

Pine Island

Company/Title: Cabbage Key Inc., Tarpon Lodge/general manager

Education: Major in Finance, University of Florida

Professional achievements/honors: board of directors, tourist development council for Lee County; board of directors, Southwest Capital Bank (in organization); board of Directors, Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce; 2003-2006; divisional vice president in the Municipal Securities Group, UBS New York 2001 – 2002.

Mentor or business hero: My father.

Formula for success: Correctly identify who your customer is and provide them what they are looking for.

Hometown: Cabbage Key Island, Fla.

Place/Date of Birth: Highpoint, N.C./ Sept. 26, 1973

First job: Busboy, Cabbage Key Restaurant.

Years on Gulf Coast: 20

Motivation to come to Gulf Coast: You can't beat the lifestyle.

Name one pressing issue affecting our region today:Labor supply.

How would you solve it? Our areas leaders and citizens are already working to solve the problem but we can always do more. We have a lack of affordable housing on the Gulf Coast. It will be imperative to offer incentives to builders who work on single family home developments to provide affordable family housing for our booming population. Marital Status/Family: Married

Community Involvement: board of directors, Edison-Ford Foundation; Lee County Commission Liaison Committee for the Bridgeless Islands; Lee County Commission, Rookery Island Task Force, 2003-2004.

Hours worked per week: Depends on the time of year.

Hobbies: Boating, fishing, traveling.

What's on your iPod? One by Mary J. Blige and U2; All These Things That I Have Done by The Killers; Baila Me by the Gipsy Kings.

Name three things in your refrigerator: Beer, grapefruit, soda water.

Book you can read more than once: Sharks of Lake Nicaragua, by Randy Wayne White.

Books or magazines on your nightstand: Travel and Leisure, The Kite Runner.

Favorite Web sites: Google, USA Today.

Best place outside Florida you've ever been to: Lake Como, Italy.

What would you like to be doing more of? Traveling.

What would you like to be doing less of? Worrying about hurricanes.

If I had it to do all over again I would...worked harder at being a pro golfer.

Denise L. Wheeler

Fort Myers.

Company/Title: Fowler White Boggs Banker PA/managing shareholder, Fort Myers office

Education: B.S. in Accounting from University of South Florida ; J.D. from Stetson University College of Law.

Professional achievements/honors: Recognized by Florida Trend as Florida's Legal Elite in labor and employment law, which represents the top 2% of Florida Bar members selected in a peer review survey; recently named a 2006 Florida Super Lawyer.

Mentor or business hero: Warren Buffett

Formula for success: Do what you love, excel at what you do.

Hometown: Ft. Myers, FL

Place/Date of Birth: Des Moines, Iowa, 1969

First job: Restaurant hostess

Years on Gulf Coast: 31

Motivation to come to Gulf Coast: I moved to the area with my family at age 5 and never wanted to leave.

Name one pressing issue affecting our region today: Lack of affordable housing for middle income employees such as school teachers, police officers, fire fighters, etc.

How would you solve it? Initiate legislative review of public employees' compensation for reasonableness based upon education, skill level and experience Create solutions to make development of affordable housing profitable and/or required for the developer, such as tax breaks, waiver of impact fees, condition approval of high-end communities on the development of affordable housing within the community.

Marital Status/Family: Married; three sons (twins, age 6 and an 8-year-old).

Community Involvement: Vice President, Lee County Association for Women Lawyers; volunteer at Allen Park Elementary; Leadership Lee, Fall 2005.

Hours worked per week: 50-60

Hobbies: Running, boating, reading

What's on your iPod? Keb Mo, Green Day, Cheryl Crow

Name three things in your refrigerator: Champagne, juices boxes, glow sticks

Book you can read more than once: Harry Potter Series (with 3 boys, I had no choice, but I did enjoy them!)

Books or magazines on your nightstand: Women's Health, Family Fun, Florida Bar Journal

Favorite Web sites: cnn.com & amazon.com

Best place outside Florida you've ever been to: Costa Rica

What would you like to be doing more of? Traveling

What would you like to be doing less of? Cooking

If I had it to do all over again I would...travel more before deciding to have children

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