Yesterday, I received a huge shock and honor! I was named Leavenworth-Lansing 2008 Business Woman of the Year via the ATHENA award.
My mom, me, Joy #1
I didn't know I was up for the nomination. 8 women in my area were nominated and I was selected. Turns out 4 people wrote recommendation letters on my behalf. The award is presented at our annual "ATHENA" luncheon. I went in like normal. Visiting with folks, laughing, overloading my plate at the buffet and in general enjoying myself. We had a great program with a woman who did a living history presentation by being Amelia Earhart (she was born in the next town over). Her presentation was so interesting and she stayed in character the whole time. I love "living history".
After the speaker, it was time to name the award winner. I had my back to my table so I couldn't see the faces and chatting going on behind my back. Then they started saying all these wonderful things about the award winner (they say the name at the very last to enhance the surprise). Honest, hard working, warm, friendly, sincere...dedicated to our town and it's revitalization...Lion's club member, volunteers at her church...at that point I thought hmm...then they said single mother....
I turned around at look at my table mates and my friend Andrea popped up a camera to get my expression. Then I knew for sure and turned around quickly so she couldn't capture the tears welling up only to see Joy #1 pop up behind me. And that was it...I started fighting back tears and kinda stopped listening to the speaker waiting for my name. He continued on "mixture of Dave Ramsey and Betty Crocker"... "Jennifer Brenneman".
It was overwhelmed, excited, and proud all at once. Grinning ear to ear I hugged Joy #1 and my business partner Tess, then made my way through the crowd to accept my award. When I got to the podium I saw my family standing in the very back. They were waiting in the hall, hiding from me. I rambled something off in the way of an acceptance and told the audience that if they wanted a full speech they should have given me a heads up so I could have prepared something.
I did thank Tess and my family and my opening line was, "They said I was humble but...I have a speech prepared...no no just kidding I am totally shocked." That is all I can remember of what I said. Thankfully, they had written down all the nice things they said so I could go back and reread it (since I stopped listening half way through).
I was truly surprised. I am honored, but I am also very proud.
At 17, I had a beautiful girl. At 21, I had a handsome son. At 23, I graduated from college. At 27, I got my CPA. At 27, I opened my own accounting firm. And at 32 I received the ATHENA award. God is good.