Kent started attending Corporate Alliance meetings and retreats a few years ago as a representative of Quality Used Office Furniture, the business he and his dad built. He quickly found that Corporate Alliance was not only a venue where he could tell others about his own business, but also an environment of mentoring and friendship. These friendships have extended to our family as we've found reasons to get together with these interesting business leaders and their families outside of the networking setting, inviting them to our home, at the Young Entrepreneurs Academy for our oldest two daughters, and at Food Freaks events.
Kent realized this year what I have known for ten: one of his gifts is his ability to bring people together. Whether it's using humor to unite a crowd or a listening ear to know which individuals need to meet each other, he knows how to connect people to build better things. For example, he started a book club of sorts this year for a select group of business associates that he thought needed to know each other. From what I've been told, they enjoy these monthly lunches discussing ideas and mentally contributing to each other's work. Kent is intent on building relationships, and his nomination to receive a CARMA Award recognized that. CARMA is Corporate Alliance Relationship Mastery Award. (Yes, a little redundant to be an ...Award award, but these are business leaders, not English Professors.) Members of Corporate Alliance were asked to vote for the person who best represented their Learn, Serve, Grow philosophy. For Kent, being nominated meant he had arrived in the eyes of his peers. It was simply icing on the cake for him to win. Well, technically he tied--but that's close enough!
It was fun, at the awards luncheon, to see the serious and thoughtful video clips of the other nominees, in contrast to Kent's humorous interview. In fact, Kent had only one appearance in the main video, wrapping up the show with a wry little comment that elicited a chuckle from the crowd. I'm pretty sure the outtakes were created so his clips could show up somewhere, because he dominated that portion of the video. I like the Picasso-esque shot I was able to get, above. Do you see that hot tub to the left of the screen? Yeah, he didn't win that. That was given away in a game of Rock Paper Scissors for which the contestants were chosen at random. But Kent didn't leave empty handed: