Friday, November 12, 2010

Insights from a new VP

By Michelle Merritt of The Chamber

I am inspired. I admit to being someone who seeks inspiration to keep my creativity level high so I'm often inspired. I become inspired by the little things most often. Inspiration comes to me from a simple statement someone made unknowingly, an act of kindness I see in the world, an exceptional sunset or even the sound of hustle and bustle. However, this time inspiration surprised me.

I attended KPC's 2010 Innovation Awards at Sweetwater Sound yesterday. (You can read about the winners at Business Weekly.)

It's hard not to be inspired when you enter Sweetwater but I'd been before so I wasn't anticipating extra inspiration. I have an incredible respect for innovators and for those who are creative on a technical level. My personal lack of technical knowledge often leaves me in awe of those who have it but I didn't anticipate extra inspiration from the innovators either. I knew sitting in such an amazing venue with such amazing people and honoring such amazing talent would inspire all of us.

What I didn't expect was the inspiration that came from where their innovation comes from. We heard story after story of why people do what they do and how it affects them personally — people wanting to be sure their communities were connected and educated, people who wanted to make medical procedures easier for children, people who simply wanted to make life for caregivers of disabled children better, even someone who wanted to make sure the dog didn't run out of water.

As I sat and listened to each story, I realized that we all have opportunities to be innovative. Each one of us has a story, a cause, a desire to help someone in our lives, or a problem that needs solved. Fort Wayne is full of amazing people who have the desire to make the world better.

This is how great companies begin. They begin with an individual saying, "I'm going to try and if I fail, it's OK. I'll just get back up."

After all, our greatest lessons come from failure, not success. Great companies come from teams of people with guts and determination saying, "I'm going to give it a shot. I'm going to make a plan and execute it."

Fort Wayne companies do great things because great people decided to share an idea and take pride in where they live and where they work. We really are a great community!

What a great way to end the week! I know I'm putting my great ideas to the test and am going to take a chance on what they can become. Will you?

Michelle Merritt is vice president of member relations and communications at The Chamber.

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