I was invited by Constant Contact to attend the annual Awards Gala sponsored by SCORE in Washington last month. In all the activity related to the MAPPA Show I never got around to writing a report. Here are some reflections a month later.
1. I expected to hear reports on technology companies that had figured out a business. What I saw was people who had looked at their community and decided to make a difference. Some highlights include Lynn Rippy, Youth Build of Louisville who saw disadvantaged kids getting into trouble and started a job training program for the construction industry. Now 85% of the kids get a GED, Rachel Weeks of Durham, NC believed so much in ethical manufacturing she left Duke and started an apparel company in Sri Lanka that raised the income of her employees drastically. She is now in NC reviving an old mill town with her business.
For the award for someone over age 50, Dr. Gary Bickford retired early from a pharmaceutical company and saw the need for medical clinics for people underserved in Knoxville, TN. His idea has grown to 6 clinics and he was there with his 85-year-old mentor from SCORE.
Sen. Mary Landrieu was given an award for the “Small Business Champion” from the Senate. He reported that the SCORE budget had been raised by $3 million and said, “You know more about starting a small business than the Federal Government does”.
2. I was very impressed with the management team from Constant Contact and Gail Goodman, CEO is about as down to earth a leader as you will find. I had occasion to talk to her as well as see her interact other small business owners. He also received an award for “Volunteer of the Year” for her work on the Board of SCORE.
Bottom line: There is something good coming out of Washington these days. I am greatly encouraged by what I saw.