This morning I had the distinct pleasure of representing Date-Line Digital Printing (and being the least formal attendee) at America’s Small Business Summit where the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recognized our little company as one of 100 Blue Ribbon small businesses in the country.
Being one of those 100 Blue Ribbon businesses also put us in the running for the Community Excellence Award which was decided by online voting. We were blown away by the support we received from our friends and neighbors in Fairbanks as votes poured in for us back in March.
Well, the winner was announced this morning…and it wasn’t us. Except, that’s not entirely true.
Here’s the thing: We are a tiny company, from a tiny community, and somehow we were recognized for a national award being presented in Washington D.C. When our community found out about this recognition they rallied like crazy to support us further by voting for us in an online competition against larger companies from much larger communities.
Winning the Community Excellence Award was a stretch at best, so we don’t care that we couldn’t muster enough votes to get an award for our excellence in the community, we care that we are so incredibly fortunate to get to do what we do in such an excellent community.
It’s been fun for Date-Line to be the center of attention for a bit, but we recognize that none of what we do would be remotely possible outside of Fairbanks. Our emphasis on gratitude and our heretical people-before-profits business practices would likely get us crushed in other communities and we are so thankful that we live and work in a place that affords us the great luxury of running a business based on our values and not on the pursuit of profits at all costs.
As I reflect on the events of the past 6 months I can’t help but wonder how we got here. From being named the 2013 Business of the Year by the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce, to getting to tell the story of Thanks Fairbanks at TEDxAnchorage, to sitting in a hotel in Washington D.C. with a name badge emblazoned with the words “Award Winner”…I wouldn’t have dared to dream of any of it a year ago.
I am coming home tomorrow incredibly proud to have been able to represent my home town here in D.C. and completely sure that, in spite of awards and flattering recognition, the most important work we can do is to take care of people and try to make things a little better today than they were yesterday.
Let’s keep working on that and let the awards sort themselves out.
Also, here is an incredibly awkward selfie taken from the stage at the Blue Ribbon breakfast when I accepted our award.