Chris Dornfeld, President of Bonfyre

Chris Dornfeld and Monica Castello Main

By Monica Castello

My Mentors and What They Taught Me

Joanna Collins – My high school visual art teacher

“She was an incredibly talented artist. As I was struggling with high school, she noticed and took me under her wing. She helped me find balance and direction and taught me a lot about how to grow as a person. She also taught me what’s truly important and to really believe in myself. The value of doing things that are really impactful versus doing things for recognition and praise of others. At a young age, you’re trying to fit in, and it forces you into these awkward social patterns by trying to be accepted. She helped me see beyond that.”

Dr. Bill Peck – Former Dean of Washington University Medical School

“We worked very closely to help build the entrepreneurial community in St. Louis. He’s a wonderful resource to shape ideas. He led me to be more thoughtful and to really move ideas to effect change. He taught me how to overcome the impatience of youth and to be more disciplined. I learned to be more successful in driving the goals and outcomes I was trying to achieve. “

What I Still Have to Learn

“Everything. I’ve begun to understand things and to learn more personally and professionally. After being exposed to a lot, I have a better understanding of excellence, what’s behind it, and how far you are from it. I’m always amazed by people who profess themselves as experts. Then they get exposed to people who truly are experts. For me, excellence is really learning the breadth of what people can offer and how deep that can be. Every time you learn more, you’ll find there’s more to learn. I’ve learned a lot, but I realize there’s much more I haven’t learned.”

What I Could Teach


I could teach people how to translate ideas into things. As professionally trained as an architect, I found it’s really the practice of developing a creative solution to a problem. Then working with a diverse group of people and skills to see that idea translated into something real. You don’t have the luxury of building half a building. You can’t start and say, well, we didn’t see that coming so we’re going to stop. It’s a lot of problem solving along the way. It’s really being disciplined and understanding what is it we’re trying to achieve. Then consistently working through complexity to get there. It’s a skill set I’ve used many times to build companies and organizations.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Monica – thank you for the interview opportunity! And Jeff, Amy and Jen – thanks for launching Sticky Business, great concept and look forward to learning more from you 🙂


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