"I believe that the best way to serve my community is to a great ambassador for it. I love Columbia, S.C., and I would like to see it grow into a dynamic, business-friendly and fun city."
— Agata Chydzinski
City of birth: Warsaw, Poland
Education: B.B.A., American Business School, Paris; B.S.B.A., University of South Carolina
Your job: General manager, Cromer’s P-Nuts
The best thing about my job: One: my colleagues – the most diverse, hard working team I have had the privilege to work with. We all have different stories and are from very different walks of life, but we make each other laugh every single day. Two: the reactions of customers during their first store visit: The looks on their faces laced with excitement are priceless. We are Columbia’s Willy Wonka of popcorn, peanuts and old timey candy and there is a little magic in every single one of our products.
Community involvement: I believe that the best way to serve my community is to a great ambassador for it. I love Columbia, S.C., and I would like to see it grow into a dynamic, business-friendly and fun city. Two years ago I was asked to help co-found and co-organize the Columbia chapter of 1 Million Cups. 1MC is a Kauffman Foundation program that was designed to educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs over a million cups of coffee. I believe that organically grown startups have the most impact on our community and 1MC allows us to not only promote them but also help them grow. I am also on the board of Healing Icons, a local nonprofit that promotes art as a form of healing. What I love about it is that their mission … our mission can be applied to anyone: a cancer patient who used drawing as an outlet to deal with their illness, or a soldier with PTSD for whom words are just not enough.
Something I wish I’d known earlier in my career: My career is based on my decisions and I stand by every single one of them. Of course there are failures along the way, but failures are really just learning experiences that allowed me to grow as a person and as a leader. One thing I wish I’d known earlier in life is that when you have a good idea, make it happen, don’t wait until someone else comes up with it and puts it out on the market before you do.