I love a start-up. It’s like being handed a blank canvas and given the time and space to create something beautiful. The passion is intrinsic to me personally. Dreaming, vision-casting, strategic planning, building: All of the factors that contribute to a successful start-up are things that interest me. When I first realized this about myself, it felt like defining a big piece of who I am.
The barista at my favorite coffee spot still shouts “Buggy Bunch” instead of my name when my café mocha is ready. Even now, almost two years after moving on from The Buggy Bunch, it makes me smile to think that people still see me around town and associate me with the ministry. Looking back, it is amazing what this community was able to accomplish in early years with me at the helm. At the time, I was new to Indian River County and had no connections, no ministry experience, and no significant strengths in the areas of writing and public speaking. I wouldn’t have considered myself for nonprofit leadership; I had never raised a penny or even heard of a 501(c)(3). But some friends and I saw a need in Indian River County: a networking community for moms of all ages and walks of life to be given opportunities to connect and share our faith.
Although my credentials didn’t add up to much, God surrounded me with an amazing team, a tribe of talented women and men who used their individual strengths for the good of others. Donors, volunteers, and individuals all over our community came together and rallied to create something special. I largely learned by doing: testing ideas, experimenting, evaluating, failing, asking for feedback, and self-correcting. I hardly ever attended the very mommy ministry programming activities I was organizing and promoting. I am insanely introverted and often felt a bit out of my depth. I contributed my own strengths to the organization, as did many others, and the total was greater than the sum of its parts. We had no blueprint, no goals, and no way of evaluating our own effectiveness- just an assignment given by God. We learned by piloting. The Buggy Bunch became one of the largest organizations of its kind in the nation. The true enjoyment for me was seeing a unique start-up go from non-existent, to over-the-moon, to truly sustainable.
Yes, after almost ten years The Buggy Bunch reached a point where it ceased to be a start-up and therefore had different leadership needs. I’m a corporate girl at heart; developing long-term non-profit timelines, fine-tuning every day programming operations, and managing large numbers of public sector employees are just not my strengths. The time came to transition the organization to other talented people who could continue to soar, taking the organization to heights not possible under my leadership. The amazing Tara Wright assumed command in March of 2018, and has spearheaded the hiring of new staff, casting new vision for the organization, and bringing an ambitious capital campaign to just shy of completion. It is now my pleasure to see The Buggy Bunch flourish without me.
If you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to since The Buggy Bunch, surely you’ve guessed I’m back doing what I know I do best: start-ups. I founded Leadership Consultancy, which provides consultancy services to Chick-fil-A franchises and their employees nationwide. I love the work. What most people aren't aware of is that I've been consulting and coaching in this capacity for almost two decades as a hobby. I’m pouring into the next generation of leaders employed by what is, no doubt, one of the best companies in America. Our current and future clients impact communities all over the US and now Canada. By coming alongside these leaders early on in their leadership journey, our team provides a treasure trove of insight and wisdom that will influence millions of people. No one was filling this specific role--or at least with excellence--until Leadership Consultancy took on the challenge.
Being back in start-up land has provided a new energy that I've missed. Casting long-term vision, setting BHAGs, producing business and marketing plans, scaling up, and creating sustainability are my jam. It's been amazing to again assemble a strong team of professionals who are passionate about the work and experts in their specific fields. They challenge me and make the organization what it is. Together we are able to squeeze out every bit of creativity and determination in order to find innovative solutions for our clients!
If you are a start-up entrepreneur... I feel you. You are my people. If I had a magic wand, I would wish you surrounded and supported by those who challenge you to be better, grow, and reach for the stars. I've found my tribe in entrepreneurial mentors, experts in my field, teammates, and at a local co-working space, COLAB.
I believe that success, in many ways, is a direct reflection of the expectations of those with whom we surround ourselves. Mantle yourself with those who are successful, forward-looking, inspiring, and producing results! Find your tribe and you'll have people who support you and won't allow you to settle. Make it a priority to find those that inspire you to Get At It.