Paul Ellebrecht ‘06 attended Carleton College where he earned a B.A. in International Relations. In 2012, he earned his M.S. in Information Science from the University of Michigan, and in 2018, he earned his MBA in Strategy and Entrepreneurship from the University of Southern California.
Danny Ellebrecht ‘08 graduated from USC in 2012 with a B.S. in Business Administration with a minor in Managing Human Relations.
David Ellebrecht ‘11 attended USC as well and earned a B.S. in Business Administration with a minor in Music Industry in 2015.
How did Whitfield prepare you for college and beyond?
Paul: Whitfield lets you be as challenged as you want to be which is great for people who are curious. My love of learning started to really develop at Whitfield and that has been critical to everything I’ve done since then.
Danny: Whitfield taught me how to think in a way that goes beyond math problems or history questions; I was taught how to learn and develop new skills. By the time I got to college (and after college), I felt well-prepared to think through new issues, learn new skills, and develop personally and professionally. Additionally, I think my writing skills were above those of my peers, largely thanks to the volume of writing experience (outlining, drafting, revising, etc) that I received at Whitfield.
David: I think that the block schedule for classes was great preparation for college. Being prepared for that type of class setup made it easier to transition into college classes.
What are you most thankful for from your Whitfield experience, both in and outside of the classroom?
Danny: I think Whitfield’s emphasis on being well-rounded put me in a great position not just for college, but beyond, and has been invaluable since I graduated. From academics to sports to arts, being well-rounded in life pays dividends, and Whitfield positioned me well to continue to develop into a well-rounded adult.
Paul: I think what Danny says is exactly right. I started to develop the focus on being well-rounded when I was at Whitfield because of the opportunities to get involved in so many different things.
David: Inside the classroom, the time the teachers spent with me outside of class hours helping me to learn material that was challenging taught me I could learn any material if I continued to work on it and sought support when necessary. Outside of the classroom, my soccer coaches taught me so much more than soccer skills; they also taught character skills to help their players develop into good people.
What opportunities did Whitfield provide you that you might not have had elsewhere?
Paul: Because Whitfield is a small school, there were opportunities to get involved in a wide range of activities. I participated in soccer, baseball, and theatre to name a few. This was great preparation for Carleton where everyone was involved in all kinds of activities.
Danny: I think the small classes at Whitfield were a great experience and helped me develop my individual skills more than I would have been able to elsewhere. From personalized and individualized attention to teacher accessibility to in-class involvement, small classes helped me develop the skills that I rely on today. Additionally, the ability to be involved in a variety of activities, from theatre to soccer and baseball to ceramics, really formed a basis for my interests moving forward and made me realize the importance of more than just good grades and strong academics.
Describe your career.
Paul: I work at Collaborative Strategies, which is a small strategy consulting firm in St. Louis. We focus on strategic planning for privately owned businesses and nonprofits. I love the opportunity to work closely with company founders to help them find new ways to grow their businesses and executive directors of nonprofits to help them find ways to increase the benefit they provide for the community. I started my career working at IBM in technology consulting before I decided to pivot and focus on strategy. Down the road I could see working in house at a technology company, but at the moment I really enjoy the problems that I get to solve every day.
Danny: After graduating from USC, I spent two years working at Disney in corporate finance, although I quickly realized I preferred smaller companies and was more interested in real estate; I had spent a few years working/interning in real estate during college. In 2014, I co-founded Turnstone Capital, a Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm focused on value-add workforce housing throughout the Southwest United States (California, Arizona, and Texas). Since 2014, we’ve purchased over 50 properties and currently manage over $200M in assets and 1,500 units.
David: After graduating from USC, I went to Buenos Aires for six months to work at a wine exporter / wine tasting room. After this, I returned to L.A. to work in Private Equity recruiting. After a year, I made the transition to work in Operations at Turnstone Capital, a sponsor of multifamily real estate investments in CA, TX, and AZ, with my brother Danny.