In the spirit of Thanksgiving, it’s important to remember not just what we’re thankful for, but who we’re thankful for. After all, there would be no Siegfried without a Roy, no Kirk without a Spock, and no Elmo without Ernie.
This is why we’ve asked seven entrepreneurs to tell us about a person that they – and their careers – are thankful for. Whether this special someone provided the inspiration for a business, or the support necessary to build that business, they deserve a shout out.
Mark Daoust, Founder of Quiet Light Brokerage
Quiet Light Brokerage specializes in high-end website sales and offers free valuations to determine your present and future website value. Since 2007, they’ve sold hundreds of entrepreneurs’ websites for over $80 million.
Who I’m thankful for: My friend, Chris Berry.
I first met Chris when he was a client of mine in my first job out of college. My job was to sell him additional hosting services and to help him grow his business, but this professional relationship turned into a great friendship, mentorship, occasional business partnerships, and continues to this day with regular weekly phone calls in which we discuss business, sports and our personal lives.
Few people understand the life of an entrepreneur outside of fellow entrepreneurs. For me, Chris has been more than a resource, he’s been a friend first. He’s the first person I tell about an idea, and he’s the first person to tell me when I am making a mistake.
So this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for a lot of people, but especially Chris!
Katy Blevins, Co-Founder of the Modern Femme Movement
The Modern Femme Movement is an annual three-day convention that brings together 900 working women from all walks of life to redefine their personal success, and to celebrate a professionally adventurous life that also focuses on being fully present and purposeful at home.
Who I’m thankful for: My business partner, Somer Chambley.
I owe my business partner a huge THANK YOU for being just the right fit for our business to grow and flourish. Alone, we were smart and effective business owners, but together, we are able to accomplish so much more –
with a higher level of creativity and excellence than I ever thought possible.
Choosing a business partner can mean the difference between long-term success and a fiery crash into failure. Having the right business partner means I am held accountable, I am inspired, I am motivated, I am
challenged and I am able to move forward with the trust that we’re on the same page and are “in it to win it.”
Thank you, Somer Chambley, for running this crazy race with me, for helping Modern Femme Movement to come into its own, and for sticking true to what means the most to both of us: family.
I’m incredibly grateful for this perfect partnership and I’m most especially thankful for you this year!
Julian Maha, MD, Founder of KultureCity
KultureCity is a impact driven nonprofit with the mission to create a world where all individuals with autism and their families can be accepted and treated equally. We believe that these children are not limited by their diagnosis and deserve a future without limits.
Who I’m thankful for: My autistic son.
Without my son Abram, I would never have had the courage to do what I am doing now. You see, in 2011, my world was turned upside down when my oldest son was diagnosed with autism. I was told by his physician that he would never talk, never say I love you, and be institutionalized in two years.
With his grit and determination, my son has defied all of that. Although he is non-verbal, he has taught us that despite his diagnosis, he is a bright and loving boy who is proving daily that autism does not define his future.
He has shown us that only true acceptance can change the culture of how these children are viewed by society, so that ALL children can have a future without limits.
It is his courage that inspired us to start KultureCity, an impact driven nonprofit start-up that in two short years has reinvented the non-profit model. It has become not only the best-reviewed non-profit in the USA, but was also recently selected by Microsoft as one of the top non-profits in the United States.
My son showed us a better way, and we are forever thankful for that.
Cory S. Charlupski, President of The Babysitting Company
The Babysitting Company is luxury childcare company that provides services to hotels and resorts, private homes, professional sports teams, special events, worldwide travel and more.
Who I’m thankful for: My two grandfathers.
My two grandfathers are my inspiration and drive, both in business and life. Having come from extremely different backgrounds, they elevated their lives to unknown measures.
My paternal grandfather, Allen Charlupski, survived the Holocaust and Auschwitz, and began a successful career in the meat industry after coming to America after the war.
Although he has since passed, the way he ran a business lives with me. He was not the owner on paper, but rather the executive in the warehouses and plants, meeting all the employees and making sure they were taken care of. He increased productivity and morale tenfold.
My maternal grandfather, Morris Rochlin, grew up with meager means in Detroit, and went on to become a successful engineer and inventor in the auto parts industry. He also proved that with simple hard work and an amazing team, he could create a successful business.
The work ethic, business philosophy, and positive attitude of both these men influences me daily.
Dan Nainan, Comedian, Actor, Voiceover Artist
Dan Nainan is a 100 percent clean comedian who has performed in 27 countries for figures like President Obama, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Steve Wozniak, Michael Bloomberg and Rudolph Giuliani.
Who I’m thankful for: My friend Maria Martin
Years ago, I was absolutely financially destitute. I had left my job at Intel to pursue comedy, but it wasn’t going well and I had burned through my nest egg. It took over two years to make my first five dollars.
When I met my good friend Maria Martin, totally by chance, in the lobby of my building, we struck up a conversation. We quickly became friendly, and I told her about my situation. She told me that I could use my equity in my apartment to get a loan. She knew people in the financial business, and she totally set everything up, and next thing you know I had a check for $190,000.
At the time, I was just starting to earn money doing private shows, and charging about $300. She told me that I should be making tens of thousands of dollars a show, and I have to tell you, while I agreed with her, I was
very skeptical that I could accomplish this.
Fast forward a few years, and I now earn up to $20,000 performing one hour of comedy for corporations.
Needless to say, I owe this woman the utmost gratitude. She believed in me, even when I didn’t.
Aalap Shah, Co-Founder of SoMe Connect
SoMe Connect is a full-service digital marketing agency offering content marketing, SEO, paid search and social media on behalf of its clients.
Who I’m thankful for: My wife.
I’m incredibly thankful to my wife for supporting my idea of co-creating this agency. She is my rock and cheerleader every step of the way, no matter how hard or challenging it became. Even when I was earning
virtually $0 and literally working non-stop, she supported me and encouraged me to pursue my dreams of building my digital agency.
Today, we’re a thriving agency, and it’s really because she supports me and is an awesome teammate in both sharing duties for our kids and our home. It’s incredible.
Carrie Aulenbacher, Freelance Writer & Author
Carrie is a working mom in the logistics industry by day, freelance writer and author by night. She currently contributes to [Fridge Magazine] and iUrban.org and lives with her family on the shore of Lake Erie in Pennsylvania.
Who I’m thankful for: My editor, Henry Reith.
As a budding freelancer, I feel SO grateful this year for Mr. Henry Reith from Fridge Magazine who took me on in 2014 and has given me a chance to craft articles for him. I never thought I’d have such an opportunity, and he has really allowed my creativity to thrive.
I met Henry through answering a HARO query. He was asking for tips from entrepreneurs looking to improve their productivity, and asked me to expand my submission into a full length article because, and I quote, “I’ve actually found your advice to be extremely interesting and different to the generic tips I’ve received.”
Things took off from there and I took the invitation to submit again as a wink from the universe to step in this new direction. I find him to be very professional and driven, and it inspires me to keep pushing my creativity and my writing.
Rivals have motivated me, but he’s given me a chance. And in this day and age, it means so much.