Lessons learned from the keynote stage

When big businesses support small businesses it has a seismic impact (and warms my heart)

The blog is back! It is crazy how I seemingly should have had more “time” to write during the pandemic but alas, I did not. I suppose that happens when you are trying to figure out how to film a television series from your basement and then produce the final season of an incredibly impactful program with care and focus.

Anyway! As the New Year rolls out, I’ll be reflecting on my keynote speaking engagements, the lessons I am eagerly learning and the impact these organizations have on the world. First up is an event I was really proud to be a part of Lowe’s “Into the Blue” product pitch event.

Baron Davis and I had the opportunity to deliver the keynote speech to a room full of incredible entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes who were invited to apply for a chance to participate in this first-ever live event, during which Lowe’s pledged to invest a target of $5 million in purchase orders to new suppliers with opportunities for products to be carried within the company’s more than 1,700 retail stores and online at Lowes.com.

The opportunity was unbelievable. Talk about putting your money where your mouth is. A big business would not need to take the time and care to help smaller organizations scale to meet the volume demands of big box shelves. But Lowe’s did!

One of the things I am really passionate about in life is thinking about the value of your journey. Not just the destination itself. Select businesses chosen for Into the Blue had the opportunity to pitch directly to Lowe’s representatives and leadership executives. I shared in our keynote that if they didn’t receive a purchase order – what an incredibly valuable step in their growth. The feedback they received, the rigor around perfecting your pitch – these are all opportunities that will serve these entrepreneurs well, regardless of the outcome of this particular pitch.

As someone who has dedicated the past decade of their career to supporting small businesses, I of course LOVE to see when big brands do as well. But even more so, I love that this is a demonstration of a company that is proving it can “Do Well by Doing Good.” Beyond the pitches, there was programming and training – I was just really impressed to see how Lowe’s was supporting these entrepreneurs. They ended up awarding approximately 6 Million in new business and are currently onboarding 200 new vendors as a result of the event. Amazing.

More photos from the event:

Amanda Brinkman

January 3, 2023

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