is Happy to Announce our 2018 Scholarship Winner!

Share share this ran a $2,000 "Scholarship Contest" from November 2017 through September 2018.

The scholarship is for use towards college tuition, books, or other expenses associated with the winning student's schooling.  

Students were asked to write an essay answering the following questions, in 800 words or less.

Choose an entrepreneur or business leader that you admire and answer the following questions:

  • What entrepreneurial qualities do you believe have allowed them to achieve their success?
  • How has this person positively impacted society?
  • What have you learned from this person's journey?
  • As a future business leader, what do you hope to accomplish that will positively impact society?

Scholarship details can be found here:

We received over 100 entries for this contest, and are happy to announce the winner is Annette Conrad.

About Annette:

"I like to turn broken things into what is useful and beautiful - and am willing to look foolish doing it.  I take that compassion to my career, which leads toward advancing the children of Burkina Faso, the forgotten country whose people helped me break out of the box.  I spend my time digging in the garden, building things, baking bread, working on start-ups, and studying scripture.  My little boys are two reasons I went back to school online, an option that is helping a lot of people like me get a degree."

Annette's Essay:

Auntie Anne Beiler

    Anne Beiler, as a young Amish girl, didn’t have the idea of “businesswoman” and certainly not “owner of an international franchise company” on her radar.  At forty years old, after years of silent pain from the death of her young daughter and guilt from a sexually abusive relationship with a counselor, even a bright future was unthinkable.  When Anne confessed her unhappy secrets to her husband, she didn’t know that, in her words, “one confession would give me the power to transform my life.”

    As Anne and her husband were reunited through confession, they felt their purpose was to minister to other couples struggling in pain.  In order to support her husband in providing free counseling to couples, Anne started selling pretzels at a farmer’s market. She had little education, money to start, or plans for the business; she’d never even made a pretzel before!  But as her small store grew to over 850 locations in 48 states and 24 countries, with annual sales over 800 million, she found out - as she said during her TEDx talk in Willow Creek – that “To overcome obstacles in life and business, one must overcome themselves.”  Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, known today as a modern business miracle was, for Anne, a personal miracle following in the wake of painful confessions. Anne found out in a very real way that breaking one’s silence may be the hardest work a person can do, but it is what propels entrepreneurs into their life purpose.  Putting one’s self out in the open makes one vulnerable to the risks, embarrassments, disappointments and even dangers of a business venture, and it is the first step of real action that deters many would-be business owners.

A key ingredient in Anne’s story is that of not being bound – neither bound by the fear of confession and the darkness of pain nor by the glory of unexpected success.    Entrepreneurs must learn the skill of letting go. Success in business, like success in life, doesn’t come from being stuck in one’s life situation. To combat in the business field without getting mortally wounded, one can not be bound by the pain of failed attempts or the fear of mistakes.  Dealing responsibly with mistakes while healing from them is a learned talent.

Anne talks about the need to connect with others and “be real” with them.  “Our world needs transparency, honesty,” she says, and freely confessing mistakes or wrong doings allows both the leader and all the employees of an organization to freely forgive.  The result of being “real” is mutual trust and concerted effort, while all members of the organization learn to value one another at a deeper level.

Entrepreneurs must also know how to let go of something that’s been lots of hard work in order to follow the direction of a higher calling.  Even with the huge monetary, physical and temporal investments that went into Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, in 2005 Anne and her husband sold the company to dedicate their lives to speaking, teaching, and counseling. They had learned that holding on too tightly to anything – even something vested in hard work and producing millions of dollars – is not the way to happiness.  In doing so, they returned to their original purpose, not forsaking the ends they pursued at the beginning.

As entrepreneurs, our purpose is to serve the world, not for the world to serve us.   Following one’s heart desires to meet some need in the world should not be overcome by the daily stresses and demands of starting or running a company.  Therefore, the entrepreneur must also be a skillful leader, willing to let go of controlling small details and appoint managers who can organize the company from day to day.  Here again, leadership points to connecting with others, knowing that successful entrepreneurship is not accomplished alone. Anne learned this team work principle as a young girl working with her siblings on the family farm.  Working together, much can be done by people who know and trust each other.

I was a sheltered Mennonite farm girl just off to college - and then my life changed drastically and I lived in Burkina Faso, West Africa for three years.  There I saw first-hand the silent sufferings caused by the lack of quality education. That motivated me to return to school to learn how to work with the public and manage a business so that I am equipped to empower others.   The foremost of my goals is to establish innovative intercultural and bi-lingual schools in Burkina Faso. I am encouraged to have come across an entrepreneur with a story that inspires my own.

  • Author: Gary Blanchard
  • Date: October 26, 2018
  • Category: Professional Development
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