WHITE PLAINS, New York (November 24, 2008) — Andi Gray, CEO of Strategy Leaders, Inc., a firm that consults with entrepreneurial enterprises, was recently honored by the Westchester County Association with their prestigious APEX Award for professional and business excellence.
In accepting the award, Gray spoke directly to the small business owners in the crowd of over 500 attendees. She said “Small business owners are entrepreneurial and opportunistic. Their names are Ed, Cory, Bob, Susan, Juilo, Reggie, Ling, Rich, Nancy, Jiao, Murshed, Terell, Isabel, and yes, even sometimes Joe. You own manufacturing companies, service businesses, wholesale, retail, construction, IT, real estate, import, export . . . You name it, you’re doing it.
“So what do small businesses have in common? 300. Each of you employs less than 300 workers. 50%. Together you already put 50% of our private sector workforce into jobs every day. #1. You are our #1 source of new jobs – and ladies and gentlemen, do we ever need those jobs need in these challenging times!
“What else do you have in common? You are passionate about what you do, and you are determined to succeed. You put your businesses on the line every day. You figure out how to pay your bills and you personally co-sign for your business loans.
“And at the end of the day, when you get ready to go home, you have made real profits, not paper profits. Then you go home and volunteer for Little League, soccer, hockey, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and charity events. You form small business clubs where you help each other stay in The Game.
“All of this makes you very important to our economy. And if we can get you the tools that you need to succeed now, you can be a major part of the toolkit that gets our economy back on track.
“Even more importantly, long term, small business is our last untapped economic engine. If we can teach you to stay in The Game a little longer, make a little more money while you’re in business, and exit more profitably when you’re ready to get out, you have the potential to fuel our economy for the next 100 years. Big numbers folks! This is important!
“And all of this is why I am privileged and committed to continuing to get to know you and your businesses, individually and in groups, as we team up: marrying what you are already good at, with what we know how to do, and teach you how to win at The Game of Business.
In closing her remarks, Gray thanked Dee Delbello of WestFair Inc. and all of the employees at the Business Journals for creating a voice for small business and for backing “Ask Andi,” her column that the Business Journals have published every week for the last four years.
She also thanked New Castle Community TV for taking “Ask Andi” onto cable television, and Dee Delbello, Bill Mooney of the WCA and Jerry Klein of Mahopac National Bank for helping get that project off the ground.
“And last, but never least, I tip my hat to the Westchester County Association. You honor my company, Strategy Leaders, our marketing brand Ask Andi, our employees, and our clients – the people who make us great. In recognizing us, the WCA sends a powerful message about the importance of small business to the present and future success of Westchester County.”