Editor’s Note: This article was written by 25 Under 25 Class of 2013 honoree Belinda Waggoner, owner of People People, about her thoughts on winning the 25 Under 25 award that year. We wanted to share it with you again as we celebrate the Class of 2017. When you launch a business, you toil over the details, sweat the small stuff, lose sleep and pray a lot that it’s all going to work out.
You don’t actually allow yourself to think of it all working out and being successful. You’re too busy with the build to pay any attention to whether anyone is paying any attention. That’s why at the tender age of three years old, it’s really a huge, ginormous and hairy big deal for us to have been named a Class of 2013 25 Under 25 award winner – you see, we’ve been really busy over here but we didn’t think anyone noticed!
We were sort of surprised when Kelly Scanlon called to let us know – in a good way of course – but having immersed ourselves in the Kansas City metro entrepreneurial hotbed we call home, it’s an accolade we are really tremendously proud of. And, we say that not for ourselves, but for our fellow Class of 2013 winners and those who have gone before us in winning in years past.
We’ve been truly blessed to have more than a handful of previous winners as clients – rock stars all of them – and it’s plain to see why they were named winners. They share a common gene. We’re not sure where it lives but you sure know it when you see it. They’re driven, passionate and have overcome many an obstacle, but there’s more. They’re truly great entrepreneurs that care deeply about their employees and their businesses, but they also care deeply about this community where they live and grow their enterprises. They have spent their time helping other entrepreneurs along – we know this for a fact, because when we started out, many of them helped us. So many people giving their time, energy and making connections we wouldn’t have made unless they had made a point to get to know us and to help us. And, that’s what it takes—people who will take the time and give back a little of what they’ve taken from the community. That’s why Kansas City IS the City of Entrepreneurs—because it takes a village to be successful.
We’ve aspired to be them as we’ve built this business, since we’ve admired them as we’ve worked alongside them. Quite honestly, being named a winner this year gives us a huge sense of pride, if not a huge dose of humility at being ranked alongside them.
So as the awards ceremony nears this coming Saturday, February 23, 2013, and we all get ready to celebrate, we—actually I—would like to raise a glass to the Class of 2013 and all the classes who have gone before. You should be proud—we should all be proud. More importantly, let’s raise a glass to the Class of 2014 and beyond—they’re in the midst of building THEIR contribution to the community and we should give them all the encouragement, mentoring, a helping hand and the kind of advice that we’ve been fortunate to have.
Cheers everyone, and see you in your finery on Saturday. Thank you Thinking Bigger, our clients, our friends, our families and our employees—and this great community of ours.