It felt like high school homecoming week all over again, full of excitement and anticipation. A new theme for each day, time spent with friends, inspiring speakers and engaging activities, a parade down the street, and to top it all off, the crowning of our Homecoming King and Queen during halftime at the football game …or something like that. You see, November 12-16 was Global Entrepreneurship Week here in Kalamazoo. With the support of the area’s fearless entrepreneurial experts, the Startup Zoo, our community had the opportunity to participate in activities throughout the week to promote new business ideas and engage with others who shared similar passions.
As a Maestronaut, being a part of this week really hit close to home. It made me aware of the hard work, the ups and downs, and the emotional commitment it takes to start a company. It strengthened my respect for entrepreneurs all over the world who put it all on the line to bring their ideas to life. It made me proud to be a member of Team Maestro, knowing that our founders put their blood, sweat and tears into making our company what it is today, and are now doing everything they can to be role models and mentors for others that want to travel that same road.
Like homecoming week, we participated in several of the week’s activities. We mingled at the Mentor Mixer, kicked off the Startup Tour with a “parade” through Planet Maestro, and found ourselves nominated for four out of five of the Startup Zoo’s Entrepreneurship Awards.
Standing at the awards event on the evening of the 16th with a few of my colleagues, I felt this overwhelming sense of pride to be representing Maestro. In my seven months at Maestro, I have had the opportunity to witness and feel what it’s like to be part of an entrepreneurial effort. I’ve learned there are good days and days that are downright challenging. I’ve seen amazing solutions come together when we were told it just couldn’t be done. I’ve realized that entrepreneurs are fighters – they persevere and never quit. That’s what we are made of; that’s why Maestro exists.
So, as I stood in the room of local entrepreneurs and people of the community that Friday night with my teammates by my side, I closed my eyes and smiled as Maestro’s name was called as the winner of the ‘Most Innovative’ and ‘Fastest Growing’ company in the community. The nomination was a victory in itself, and it was so humbling to be considered amongst well-known organizations in the area. While there was no tiara placed upon my head or homecoming sash draped on my shoulder, it was the crowning moment of a very special week.
As happy as that moment was, that night was about so much more. It was an all-encompassing flashback of my past seven months and the love and appreciation I feel for this company. To be a member of Team Maestro is to be immersed in the exciting, dynamic world of the unexpected – and let me tell you, it’s a great place to be.