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- The State of Small Business: My Interview with Ashley Williams from Wix.com
- Out with the Old; In with the New
- The Invisible Workhorse: Xerox’s WorkCentre 6515
- Always Say Thank You!
- 2 Simple Ways to Run a Better Business in 2017
Unsung Heroes, Today’s Social Entrepreneurs
My brother Mark sent me an article, written over 30 years ago, by Pete Axthelm. Pete was a family friend and former sportswriter for Sports Illustrated and Newsweek.
In the 8/6/79 issue of Newsweek, Pete wrote a poignant article titled “Where Have All the Heroes Gone?” It described his visit to the Alamo that year, and how, in 1979, America had to look much harder to find heroes to compare to Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, William Travis and James Butler Bonham, to name just a few.
After reading it, I wondered who Pete would write about when searching for heroes in the 21st century. Clearly, he would have been deeply moved by the brave men and women who died on 9/11. He would also write about the selflessness of our armed forces fighting overseas (tying in his love of sports by writing about Pat Tillman). And, I’m sure he would have dedicated an entire article to Jason Dunham, a 24-year-old Corporal who fell on a grenade to save the lives of at least two other soldiers while fighting in Iraq.
After reading several articles on today’s heroes, something clicked in my head. I decided to do a search on entrepreneurs who made giving back part of their company’s core mission. What I found was an amazing collection of stories on social entrepreneurs who are doing their part (and more) to make the world a better place to live. In one article, I learned about the Skoll Foundation, which awards millions of dollars every year to support the efforts of such social entrepreneurs. Another article talked about Muhammad Yunus, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and the founder of Grameen Bank. Yunus is working to solve the problems of poverty, hunger, and inequality through micro loans to poor people (mostly women) to help them launch businesses and lift their families out of poverty.
The short journey I took from reading Pete’s article to learning more about social entrepreneurs was enlightening. I’ve always felt that the term “hero” was over-used, but definitely agree that some distinction is necessary for people who are willing to commit their time, energy and resources to making the world a better place. I imagine that the people honored for their work don’t consider themselves heroes either. They see themselves as people working to make a difference because they have the resources, and because they can.
And to them, I say “thank you.”