Alumni Relations

John Chad Seewald

John "Chad" Seewald

Sweets So Geek
Co-Owner and Head Cake Designer

B.A. '10 - Elementary Education
 

Q: How has your degree in Elementary Education been beneficial to you and your career? 
A: In some ways, it has been directly helpful as I teach employees and create activities for the children's birthday parties we host. I like to include various aspects of educational teaching into the activities so kids learn without even realizing it. It has been indirectly helpful as I learned the discipline required for completing a long-term goal like achieving a degree. As well, there are numerous skills that I learned through all my classes that I use daily.

Q: How did you become interested in the field of baking and pastry making? 
A: I started work as a dishwasher at a four star restaurant in Muncie named Foxfire's shortly after I married my wife. I had no desire to remain a dishwasher, so I came to work 8 hours prior to my shift, everyday for months, working for free, just to learn from the amazing group of chefs that were gathered there. I slowly worked my way up and, within six months, I was promoted to Pastry Chef, taking over from the previous French Chef who had retired. And then, through the desire to have a family, I left the restaurant business which doesn't lend itself towards being there with your family. I chose to go back and get my degree and after graduating, I found myself too far in debt to take a job teaching, so I went to work in business sales. Though successful at the job, I found absolutely nothing rewarding about it personally, so I returned to my love of pastries and desserts in my spare time and started making geeky chocolates as gifts and just for fun. It caught on, and a few years later, here we are.

Q: What is the best career advice you have been given? 
A:
 I was told from an early age that you get out what you put in. Whether that's in a personal sense, your education, or your job, I've always believed this. And it follows that yes, hard work is rewarded, but, at the same time, it also follows that the good you do with that hard work is rewarded even more. So, karma is imperative.

Q: Was there anyone during your time at IPFW who acted as a mentor to you?
A: 
Dr. Jonathan Hilpert, one of my education professors, who has since moved onto another location, was a mentor and friend during my time at IPFW. He guided me through my Honors project, taught me how to wade into the world of academic research, and was an amazing sounding board when things got rough. Without his help, understanding and guidance, I don't think I'd have achieved as much as I did at IPFW, nor would it have been as fun.

What course(s) have you found to be most valuable in your professional life? 
A:
 There isn't one particular course I can point to that I draw upon more than any other. There are lessons that I have learned from every class, and sometimes that lesson isn't apparent until I finished my education. I tell people that there are classes that I don't think I needed to take, but I learned from those classes the imperative need to simply stick to it, persevere, and be better for it.

Q: What would be your advice to someone who is considering IPFW (either as a new student or a returning adult)?
A:  Go. Definitely, go. There is far more to a degree than just a piece of paper at the end. It's the proverbial journey, the understanding, and the investment in hard work and time; and they all matter. IPFW provided a place to ease back into education for me, as a returning student, and I was immediately accepted. Go. Get your education. And be proud of doing so.

Q: What advice would you give to current IPFW students?
A: Make the absolute most of every class and opportunity. Ask questions, strive to do more and better, and exceed your own expectations. Only you can make yourself a better you.

Q: Do you have a favorite and/or funny story about your time at IPFW?
A:
One of my favorite memories is during a class on teaching reading taught by one of the kindest men I have ever met. Halfway through a 3 hour class, he bent over to retrieve something, and, well, simply, his pants ripped. He wanted to continue the class, not just send us home early. He didn't have a sweater, or anything else to cover up with, so I gave him my sweater to use the rest of the day. His thankfulness was boundless and he went on teaching as if nothing happened. Later, he wrote me a thank you note which I still have.

Q: What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments, both personally and professionally?  
A: Personally, I am proud of the fifteen years I've been married to my phenom of a wife and the two souls we've brought into the world together. Professionally, I am continually energized by the reactions to our products, custom cakes, and desserts. Each gasp of astonishment, happy dance, or tear of joy that I help create is a bit of energy that helps me move one and do more.

Q: Where do you hope to be in ten years?
A: I hope that Sweets So Geek has become even more established in the area, perhaps expanding to another location, and maybe moving to a bigger space. I hope to be involved still with the North Anthony Corridor, as the area is not only where our business is located, but where I live and raise my family and I want to see amazing things happen here. And I hope the Fort Wayne Small Business Owners Association, which I'm working to create now, has become a point of positivity for entrepreneurs and the community.

Q: How would you like to be remembered?
A: I hope that my family and friends remember me with a smile, that they're strong enough to become amazing people in their own right, and that they occasionally tell stories and laugh about my exploits. If someone other than my family remembers me, well, that's just a bonus.