What a Journey: Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year
So I just returned from Palm Springs, where my wife and I enjoyed a long weekend participating in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year (EOY) awards events. I was there representing Florida in the Technology Category and was truly humbled by all the amazing entrepreneurs from different facets across the country. The event was first-class – everything from the EOY-branded keycards and seminars to event signage, a laser light show and a concert from Foreigner. They went all out.
But most impressive was the special guests and speakers. Just an incredible line up of talented, passionate and successful individuals with a lot to share. Some of the celebrities included Ben Stein, Dara Torres, Deborah Norville and Jay Leno.
A standout for me included Howard Schultz of Starbucks. He left Starbucks and came back last year to help turn the company around. He talked about the importance of creating and retaining a culture, about his love of the company and the people. Starbucks may only make a cup a coffee, but the way in which the employees interact with their local customers and community is what defines their business. He’s built a brand around being local.
Did you know he took 10,000, yes, 10,000 Starbucks employees to New Orleans to help with Hurricane Katrina cleanup? They donated 50,000 community service hours! What an unbelievable gesture of respect for one of their communities - I walked away inspired.