Haley Ehrke has been surrounded by entrepreneurs since day one. Literally.
Her mom is the founder and CEO of Grow Nebraska and her dad manages a row crop, feedlot and cow-calf operation near Orleans, Nebraska. So it’s no surprise that Haley has launched multiple businesses of her own and serves as a mentor to beginning entrepreneurs.
At age 8, Haley’s love for the cattle industry fueled her to start her first business, HP Ehrke Cattle Company. At age 10, she tried to start a popcorn ball business with her cousin, and then when she was a high school sophomore, she launched Wave Image Marketing. The idea for a marketing business came after a strong nudge to join the journalism program at her high school.
But it wasn’t until a bull sale that Haley realized how she could use her journalism skills to operate a business.
The bull sale was just like every other bull sale that Haley loved to attend. She was with her uncle who was raising his buyer’s number to secure a bid, but Haley was on her phone buying cattle that she found on Facebook.
“He just looks at me and he goes, ‘Do you know how to run Facebook’?”
Her answer? “Well yeah.”
Haley realized that her uncle’s cattle business didn’t have a Facebook page because no one in his company knew how to run Facebook.
“And I laughed at him and I said, ‘Well I can.’”
That was the beginning of Wave Image Marketing. All throughout high school, Haley was encouraged to join the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship program because people recognized her entrepreneurial potential. But joining Engler, and even joining UNL, wasn’t Haley’s goal. Her goal was to become a Nebraska FFA State Officer.
“Not getting state office was a blessing because that’s when I was trying to figure out where I was going to go to school because I hadn’t really committed to UNL at that point.”
That was her sign to commit. She committed to UNL, committed to Engler and committed to pursuing her entrepreneurial potential.
Today, Haley serves as a mentor to beginning Engler entrepreneurs. From achieving good grades in college to overcoming life’s challenging moments, Haley shares a message to students who are struggling.
“Just figure out what you can learn. Not what you can’t, but what you can.”
Haley is a senior at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln majoring in Agribusiness and minoring in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Communications and Engler Entrepreneurship.
Learn more about the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship program at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln here.