In this month’s Spotlight, Tylere Presley takes to the orange chair to share how he found his current path in life, along with some of the twist and turns he has experienced along the way. He’s the kind of guy that has always had a clear picture of what the future can bring, and has always been able to see the positive in life, despite the circumstances. Please read on to see the good, the scary, and power of a positive perspective.
YPC: Let’s kick things off from day one. Where are you originally from?
Tylere: I was born in Battle Creek and then made the big move to Marshall when I was in 2nd grade.
YPC: What did you enjoy most about growing up in Marshall?
Tylere: I liked that it was the kind of place I felt I could do anything and be anybody. I always felt comfortable to try something new growing up here.
YPC: That’s awesome. When you were at Marshall High and looking towards your future, what were your dreams?
Tylere: I wanted to go to college, go to law school, become an attorney for 10 or 15 years, and during my time as an attorney serve on a school board or city council…
YPC: You had all of this mapped out in High School?!
Tylere: Haha, yeah! And after that all of that, I thought I’d run for a position on the state level and see where it goes from there.
YPC: With the path in mind, what did you end of studying in college?
Tylere: I majored in political science and minored in legal studies and psychology at Central Michigan University (CMU).
YPC: What followed after graduating from CMU?
Tylere: My first semester at CMU I was interested in joining a fraternity, and I found Beta Theta Pi. When I was pledging, I met some people from our national staff that traveled the country, visiting different chapters and alumni groups. I thought that sounded pretty interesting, and I knew it would be good to take a break before heading off to law school – to network and challenge if it was something I still really wanted to do. While at CMU, I worked hard to make that a possibility. I held various leadership positions, ended up being chapter president, and attended some national conferences. I’m happy to say it all paid off and I got the job I was after..
YPC: And where was that?
Tylere: Oxford, Ohio, which is where our headquarters is based. But, while that was technically home base for me, 75% of the time I was traveling around the country.
YPC: What was your travel like? College campus to college campus?
Tylere: Yeah. South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida were my main territories, and I also spent a little time in Texas.
YPC: That’s a ton of time on the road. Did that experience teach you anything new, or was your eye still on law school and that initial dream you shared?
Tylere: For the first year on the road I definitely still wanted to go to law school. I should mention that, during college, I also had an internship with a law firm in Chicago and worked in Jase Bolger’s office when he was speaker of the house, so I had the opportunity to see what it would be like to be an attorney and in public office. I definitely liked both of those experiences, so that’s why I was still so dead set on going to law school. It wasn’t until my second year when my job description changed and I moved to Atlanta that my mindset started to change. I met some attorneys there that said, “Man, you really don’t want to do this.” My goal had been to get in-state residency in Georgia and apply to the University of Georgia Law School, but yeah, they persuaded me not to do that. And at that time, I started to have aspirations to do some different things, so when I started to think about my return on investment of going to law school, it just wasn’t there.
YPC: Were you surprised to hear that advice from them?
Tylere: At first, yes. But the more we talked about what it was I wanted to do, where I wanted to go, and how to get there, it just made a lot more sense to not do that.
YPC: So you’re down in Georgia at that point. With the new change in mindset, is that when you moved back to Michigan?
Tylere: Initially, no. When my project in Atlanta ended I moved to West Lafayette, Indiana, with the anticipation of being there for a year. But then I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, so I did 6 months of chemo – which finished in January of 2015 – and, 2 days after my last chemo, I moved down to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for an opportunity at the University of Alabama. In December 2015 my cancer relapsed, and that’s what essentially brought me back to Michigan and to Marshall.
YPC: So you had your first round of treatment down there?
Tylere: Yeah, my first round of treatment was in West Lafayette, Indiana. I had everything diagnosed at the University of Michigan in 2014, but I had just moved to Indiana and didn’t want to move back to Marshall. With West Lafayette only 3 hours from home, that was the concession I made with my mom. One of the worst parts of being diagnosed the first time was when the doctor said I was going to have to move home for 6 months. I really didn’t want to do that. Once it relapsed, I had a couple of different options of where to go, but I was more concerned about making it easier on my family. So that’s why, reluctantly, I decided to go to UofM to get treated. And I’m glad I did. They provided great care, and, based on my last visit, I’m all good now! My last treatment was in August of 2017.
YPC: That first diagnosis…did that just knock you right down
Tylere: Yeah, is a sense. I didn’t really know what it meant. I didn’t know what life was going to be like. But, as someone who always has to be doing something, I would get chemo treatments and go back to work…
YPC: That’s awesome you were able to still be so active.
Tylere: Yeah…but I will say, what really helped lessen the blow of the bad news was, a month before, I had noticed some swollen lymph nodes on my neck. I was visiting home and my mom noticed them as well, so we went to the doctor. Before going, I asked my mom what it could mean as she is a nurse-practitioner. She said it could be nothing and be addressed with some antibiotics, but if that doesn’t work, it could be some form of cancer. So I was already thinking worst case scenario at that point, or at least had it in the back of my mind. When the swelling didn’t go down, they said I needed to go get these scans done, it was like, “Okay…cool. Something way more serious is happening here.”
YPC: Wow, man, we cannot imagine. With the second diagnosis that followed, that must have been crushing
Tylere: Yeah…when I was told it had come back, it was almost a similar story. I had just gotten a six-month check-up scan that came back fine, but then I started to notice a lymph node under my left arm, and I was like, “I don’t think that is good.” So I called up the doctor’s office and had another scan done. A week later the call came in. It was back, and this time it would require a much more aggressive form of treatment.
I was super bummed about this because I had already started planning the next steps in my life. Around the time I was first diagnosed I had picked up a GoPro Camera and started playing around with that. A couple months later I bought a DSLR (photography camera) and started making little videos and taking photos, and I really enjoyed it. The fraternity had asked me to do a bunch of work for them video-wise, so not only was I back in Alabama, but every other weekend I was in some other area of the country filming some sort of project. I was super pumped about what was coming next…and then I was hit with that news. I didn’t know what the final outcome was going to look like. If you relapse, you know it can’t be good. On top of that, moving back wasn’t the most exciting thing for me, but I decided to make the most out of it, and I’m enjoying it. I enjoy being back.
YPC: Was it that GoPro that got you into the work you are doing now?
Tylere: It was the spark that re-ignited a fire! I had played with videography and photography in middle school and high school, but outside of that, it was all just for fun. Once I started to work towards law school, I stopped doing it. I kind of just put it away, but once I picked it back up, it was as if I never stopped. And now I can purchase much better equipment which makes it even more fun, hahaa.
YPC: What’s your dream job? Presidential Aspirations
Tylere: No, but I still feel public service is something I would like to do. Just not sure what level. Working for the fraternity taught me how much I value autonomy. As a recent graduate, they allow you to do a lot, and that’s pretty crazy…
YPC: No kidding. As a recent graduate, it seems like you’re usually under a magnifying glass.
Tylere: Yeah, but definitely not the case in this instance. Right away they told me that I would be running 15 different projects. They trusted me and my best judgement, and it really instilled in me the confidence to deliver. That experience is what inspired my desire to own my own business. A media business with photography and video, working with social media…really any kind of content creation. I’d like to create a small team and help develop them and their talent to deliver compelling stories for organizations, businesses, schools, and people. If someone wants something done, let’s help them. But let’s do it in a fun, unique, and compelling way.
YPC: As far as storytellers go, who captures your eye and imagination the most?
Tylere: It varies and I find inspiration everywhere. I like to watch a wide range of things made by a wide range of different people. It’s more so looking at how they shoot something, how they tell a story and how they edit it, and then I try to see how I can mimic or improve it.
YPC: Is there anything recent that has really captured your attention?
Tylere: I’m really into the show Peaky Blinders on Netflix. The lighting, the cinematography, the editing, the music, the dialogue, the story, everything. It’s just a really great show for so many reasons.
YPC: So what’s the story with Tag Along Media? Is that the dream business you’re looking to grow?
Tylere: Yeah! I started Tag Along Media when I moved back to Marshall. I was told the chemo treatment this time around was going to be 18 months to 2 years and I knew I would have to stop working for the fraternity and focus on my health. I was super bored, had a lot of ideas and I knew I couldn’t sit around and do nothing all day. I had some camera equipment to play with and people started asking me to film stuff for them, so I was like, “Sweet, let’s do this.”
YPC: Where would you like to see Tag Along in 5-10 years
Tylere: I’d like to have built a small team. Whether that is in Marshall or a different market, I’m not sure. With the way the world works, the awesome power of the internet, and travel, it is amazing how you can be connected with anyone, anywhere. And that’s happened for a lot of projects I’ve worked on. I get a call, I hop on a plane, and I’m there to help capture an event. I think it would be cool to be able to set up here in Marshall though, for sure.
YPC: We definitely don’t mind hearing that! When you think about Marshall, what are some opportunities you see for town?
Tylere: That’s tough…I’m trying to think what could be improved about Marshall versus what are the things I miss from other places I’ve lived. That’s what’s been so great about being able to travel around the country. I am able to compare and contrast, and traveling away from Marshall made me realize how special of a place it is. We are spoiled in so many different ways and I’d like to work to promote all those special things.
It would be awesome if we had more young adults in town, as it is something I miss from living in larger cities. Yoga was a big part of my life while living in Atlanta, especially hot yoga, and having different studios to go to would be great. Affordable downtown living would be awesome. I wish there were more downtown apartments, because as a young person in town, I am very attracted to that kind of space. I’ve spent some time in the current apartments and Marshall feels like a whole new place in them.
YPC: Big change of pace, but what did your experience having cancer teach you?
Tylere: In a weird way, it taught me to care less about what other people think and more about the things that make me happy. To work towards those things and get rid of the negative in your life. Going through that experience, I’ve seen a lot of different people in hospitals. Every time I walked in to get my treatment I’d joke that I just lowered the average age. Everyone looked so sad and somber, and it was a tough place to be. But I had to have a different mental state than that. Does cancer suck? 100 percent. It wasn’t something I wanted or something I asked for, but there was nothing I could do to change the situation. The only thing I could change was my attitude. It was the one thing I had control over in that situation and, frankly, most situations. So that’s what I did. Don’t get me wrong though, I was upset about it, but you have to be the best you.
YPC: Who do you look up to, or who inspires you?
Tylere: I don’t think there is any one person. It’s an amalgamation of different people. Parents, grandparents, some teachers and professors, former colleagues and bosses…I have a ton of great people in my life.
YPC: Any words of wisdom for the extra youngish in town
Tylere: Be you, be weird. Try new things, and don’t let other people tell you no if you know that’s something you want to do,
YPC: Favorite place you have ever traveled?
Tylere: Charleston, South Carolina. It stole my heart the first time I pulled in.
YPC: Favorite Podcast?
Tylere:I’ve been really into the Studio Sherpas. When I found it, I listened to 10 episodes in a row on a long drive and thought, “Where has this content been!?”
YPC: Final thoughts? Shout-outs?
Tylere: It would be great to see more people at Youngish events, as I think the YPC is a much-needed body in Marshall. In the short time it has been here, I have definitely checked out different places in Marshall that I didn’t know were there, and it is super exciting to see all that they are doing.
YPC: Thanks, man, and thank you for all that you do.
Tylere: Thank you.
Interested in utilizing Tag Along Media’s expertise to showcase your organization, business, or a personal story to new audiences? Great! Please contact Tylere directly (firstname.lastname@example.org), and get ready to see some phenomenal work. We have been fortunate to work with him, as have many other groups in town, and we can only share our high praise for his talents! The photo above is one of his favorite photos, taken using one of his favorite toys, and it’s just one of the many unique perspectives he can provide you or your business.
Until next month’s Spotlight, be active, be engaged, and be Youngish!
And for those out there fighting cancer, be strong.
We’re all in your corner!