Apologies for "tooting a horn", but I wanted to share the news.
Each year, regional offices of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) give out awards to small businesses and to those perceived as being business champions. On May 11, 2007 the Syracuse Office of the SBA (which cover 34 Upstate NY counties) included among its award recipients a librarian. Me. I was honored as the Minority Small Business Champion for volunteering with several organizations in the greater Syracuse region. The nominations letter, written by Joe Anderson of SCORE, used words like "loves information" and brings "a wealth of information to the steady growing number of small-business owners that belong to SSEA [a local organization]." The nomination letter also mentions that I blog for two local groups. My blogging -- according to Joe -- records minutes and notes, and "grows the groups' consciousness."
Since April/May 2005, I have volunteered with Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (WISE) and now sit on the advisory board for the WISE Center (an SBA funded Women's Business Center). And I worked on the organizing committee for the South Side Entrepreneurs Association and am now the Board president for that group. In the last two years, I've run meetings, drafted by-laws, blogged, and worked in other ways to help put the SSEA on a solid foundation. Along the way, I've also volunteered for Junior Achievement and worked on the committee that launched the first Connections conference in Oswego (NY) for women.
The awards luncheon was wonderful! Six SBA Small Business Week Awards were given and many Small Business Excellence Awards. Each Small Business Week Award recipient received a statue. I also was given a flag from Congressman Jim Walsh that had flown over the U.S. Capitol. I am not sure where I'll display either item long-term. For now, both are in the "office lounge." (With an office in my house, that translates to being the living room.)
I feel very honored to have been chosen by the SBA, but I also feel challenged -- challenged to continue to help minority business find the success that they desire. Thankfully, it is a challenge that I'm willing to take on!