Meet Marcus and Kellie Straub. Marcus is a life, business, and success coach at Life is Great Coaching and Consulting. He is deeply passionate about leadership and helping individuals live a fulfilling life of happiness and success. Kellie is a big entrepreneur and is now living her dream as the VP of Strategic Partnerships for Advanced Genomic Solutions where she is responsible for the development, oversight, and implementation of innovative programs, projects, partnerships, and strategic initiatives.
Marcus: I first came to Grand Junction in 1989 to visit my parents who had moved here for Spring Break from college in Northern California. I started hiking here and just fell in love with the area, finished up college, packed my stuff and moved out here. I went to Mesa State for 2 years and then was in Fort Collins for about 2 years. I did construction in Vail for about a year and then moved to Idaho for a couple of years and then moved back to Grand Junction and have been here ever since. I’m a life coach, business coach, leadership development person, a hiring expert, and I have written a book “Is It Fun Being You?” I am very fortunate I get to do what I love to do. I get to help people, I get to help businesses, I get to help the community, and every day I am fulfilled by that. I feel very grateful. Facebook: @marcus.straub.lifeisgreat
Kellie: I am a Colorado native, I was born and raised here in Grand Junction and graduated from Grand Junction High School. I spent my first semester of college out in Indiana at a very small private college and that just really wasn’t for me so I came home and did a semester at Mesa State (at the time) and then I went to CU Boulder which is where I fell in love with genetics. I had a double major in psychology and genetics and it was right at the beginning of mapping the human genome and I just knew that’s what I was going to do with the rest of my life.
Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
A: Marcus: I was investing a private pool of money and I was sitting at my computer screen one day watching the market go by and I just said I don’t want to interface with machines I want to interface with people. So, I just shut the business down that day. I sat back in my chair and I asked myself what did I really want to do at that stage in my life? I didn’t have any children, I wasn’t married, and I said I wanted to be a professional whitewater raft guide. I had been privately rafting for 10 years and I went out to Adventure Bound and I walked in and interviewed and it went really well – they hired me! I did that for 4 years and at the end of my fourth season and I started wondering what is next? What else do I want to do? I met a lady named Peggy Pillmore on the trip, it was a 5-day trip, and typically people rotate around from boat to boat and on this particular trip nobody else ever got on my boat but her. We just went down the river and we did hikes and we sat around the fire and we talked. She had been around the world to meet with some of the most well-known and prestigious people to help her with different things that she was struggling with and at the end of the trip she came up and gave me a great big hug and she asked me why I wasn’t helping people and it was as if a light went off! At 32 years of age I finally knew what my purpose was for the first time in my life. I had thought maybe there was something wrong with me because I didn’t know what my purpose was etc. but then I did. I got off the river and looked into life coaching and got everything setup and ready to go, I jumped into the business and here I am 16 years later!
Kellie: My plan was to do genetic counseling and go to medical school so I went to Phoenix for 2 years and worked for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I had 1500 clients at the age of 22 and had no idea what I was doing but was having the time of my life. Then I decided to come back to Grand Junction and get married and start a family and it was fortuitous because my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer about 2 weeks after I got home. I got to spend the last months of her life with her and then it was kind of like now what am I going to do? I had kind of given up pursuing my education and that part of my dream. Scott & Lori McInnis lived next door and within a couple of days I was running his congressional office. The 3rd Congressional District of Colorado. I worked for him for about 10 or 12 years. After that I started teaching fitness classes and exploring different things and one thing lead to another. I’ve kind of had an interesting professional life… I’ve taught fitness classes, I’ve done personal training, I worked in politics – got out of that because it was either go all in or get out, and that just really wasn’t for me at all. I launched Supper Solutions and did that for a few of years until the economy took its last turn. I have always been very entrepreneurial and about 2 ½ years ago I had an opportunity to join the leadership team for Advanced Genomic Solutions based out of Scottsdale and Hong Kong and that has really been a dream come true. It’s been a lot of fun to take 25 years of professional business experience and that kind of development/project management that I love and my passion and education for genetics and pull it all together. AGS does health and wellness, drug sensitivity, skin and other genetic testing.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in The Grand Valley, and what do you love there?
A: Marcus: We really like El Tapatio in Fruita and sitting out on the patio – we order the Carnitas de puerco and a grande margararita with no salt to share!
Q: Who is your favorite hike in The Grand Valley? Or your favorite landmark?
A: Marcus: Liberty Cap Trail
Kellie: I would say my favorite hike is The Ribbon Trail in Eagle’s Nest off Little Park Road
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: Marcus & Kellie: Tonga, Bora Bora, Fiji, New Zealand & Australia. That whole area is on our wish list. Maybe a month on each island.
Q: What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?
A: Marcus: My favorite movie is Avatar. It’s the first movie Kellie & I saw together (as friends before we even started dating). I think the first movie I ever remembering seeing was called Song of the South in a drive-in theatre in Lakeview, Oregon.
Kellie: My favorite movie of all time is On Golden Pond.
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: Marcus: I would encourage people to believe in themselves more than they do. To understand that there is so much hidden potential within them and that any barriers that they see before them are really just illusions and oftentimes self-imposed limitations that can be gotten over and when they are your life will open up. I just really encourage people to be who they are and let the chips fall where they may. Just be the best decent human being you can be. Be who you are. Be authentic. Be genuine and let people know you as that and let them accept you or not accept you because you can’t make everybody happy, but make yourself happy and accept yourself first and foremost.
Kellie: Life is a constant and never-ending landscape of learning and growth. The greatest lessons you have to teach others are the very ones you must also learn yourself. At the moment that we are giving and teaching we are also learning and growing.
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: Marcus: I would love to own a quaint rustic home on the water. I’d love to live on a lake, a river in a forest, or by the ocean – some form of water. A single-story house, simple, lots of windows, open space, a beautiful deck and a firepit that just really lets you enjoy the elements whether you’re outside or inside.
Kellie: Mine is 2 weeks down the Grand Canyon with NO electronics. Marcus has done it – I have not. The solitude and peacefulness would be fantastic.
Q: What is your favorite music / 3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: Marcus: Underwater lounge and bluegrass. I would love to go to a Pink Floyd concert.
Kellie: Allison Krauss, Laura Love, Steel Pulse
Q: What current/former local business makes you the most nostalgic about The Grand Valley?
A: Marcus: Crystal Cafe
Kellie: Rainbow Roller Rink & Gene Taylors
Q: Choosing any non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? Where in The Grand Valley would you have lunch?
A: Marcus: Nelson Mandela. I want to fully understand how he went from an angry rebellious young man who was fighting for his people and his country to somebody who went to prison, suffered the massive injustices that he did there and come out on the other side to unify a country of black and white human beings so that they could live in peace for a change after so much suffering and so much brutality. I would just love to know more about the transformation that went on inside that man’s heart and his mind that put him in a position to do that. I would take him to Diorio’s in Palisade for a hot pastrami sandwich and we could go to the park and eat sandwiches and visit.
Kellie: Abraham Lincoln. He was a disrupter of his time and he took a stance on some things that were going to change the course of our country forever. Especially in light of the political landscape today I would love to sit down and have a conversation with somebody that fought really hard to get where he was. I would take him to the patio at El Tapatio and have a grande margarita.
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about The Grand Valley?
A: Marcus: The grandeur of nature here is really beautiful – The Mesa (world’s largest flat top mountain), The Book Cliff Mountain Range, and the fact that you can do so many things right in this area. The pace of life here is also awesome. You can go out here and maybe not see anyone in a whole day’s hike. You just don’t vibrate so high here in The Grand Valley.
Kellie: I was born and raised here and I think what I love most about our community is the opportunity that we have here naturally. The Monument, and being so close to Moab and Vail and Aspen and the mountains and rivers. I love the commitment of our community to embrace its growth but at the same time maintain the sanctity of The Grand Valley because it is very special.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
A: Marcus & Kellie: We really want to see the whole country. We’d like to put together a vehicle package that allows us to take our mountain bikes, our kayaks, our ATVs and to be able to camp where we want to and work remotely and see everything this country has to offer and chase the seasons. We’d like to be able transition to that kind of lifestyle. We’d like to have a home base somewhere with rivers, lakes, and the ocean.
Q: What is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: Marcus: (answering about Kellie) She is such a beautiful soul
Kellie: (answering about Marcus) I think most people who get to know Marcus through his professional work understand how seriously he takes confidentiality and listening, but Marcus has such a passion for humanity and justice that is really remarkable. It’s not just about his immediate family but all of humanity. When Marcus does his work on a professional level it’s with the intention of creating these ripple effects that go out into humanity in a really positive way. He is also one of the funniest people on the face of the planet.
Q: If you could be on any game show what would it be?
A: Marcus: Hollywood Squares
Kellie: Match Game
Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: Marcus: Sanctuary, love. peace
Kellie: Family, sanctuary, contentment
Q: Who would you like to see nominated for this project – The Faces of The Grand Valley?
A: Marcus: Robin Stevens who is the new owner of Peterson Plumbing is an incredible woman.
Kellie: Tom Y. Sawyer is a very remarkable human.
Q: If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
A: Marcus: Robert DeNiro, Jack Nicholson, and Robin Williams. I pick three!
Kellie: Morgan Freeman
Q: What is one or two of your favorite smells?
A: Marcus: Fresh rain in a sagebrush desert and the smell of flowers
Kellie: The ocean and fresh flowers
Q: Favorite month? Favorite Holiday? Best single day on the calendar?
A: Marcus: My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving because it has nothing to do with presents, it has everything to do with family, friends, food and being grateful for what you have in your life.
Kellie: My favorite holiday is Christmas. My favorite month of the year is June (SUMMER!)
Q: If you had a full-time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose & why?
Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer or Nanny?
A: Marcus & Kellie: None of the above…as much as we would love a full-time, paid housekeeper, we’d much prefer an on-demand, at-home massage therapist. 😉