Together We Grow
EO Louisiana, just like all chapters of the global Entrepreneur’s Organization, has always been a source of mutual support for business leaders, a community they can turn to for advice, inspiration and encouragement. Those three things are crucial for persevering through challenging times, even when the world outside provides the normalcy and respite we need to decompress and reassess—and even more so when that normalcy is gone.
“Being a business owner can be a lonely place sometimes, especially when you have an issue that your employees or spouse can’t really advise you on,” says EO Louisiana Chapter President Jude Olinger. “Having peers in EO is tremendously valuable. You can be open and vulnerable without feeling like you have to hold back, and you can trust they understand your situation because they’ve been there, too.”
When the world was thrown into flux by COVID-19, changing the ways entrepreneurs engaged with their employees and clientele, along with the ways they conducted their personal lives, the support of EO Louisiana became more important than ever. Not only did members have access to a global network of support, but small groups within chapters called forums allowed for engagement on a more personal and specific level.
“EO, and especially my forum, has helped me keep perspective,” Olinger says. “In the early days of the pandemic, when there was so much uncertainty and fear, it was reassuring to have a group of peers who could give one another a perspective that helped to counter the negative, self-talk and inspire you to see the opportunities from this—new markets, new ideas and new ways of thinking.”
Olinger says EO Louisiana adopted an informal “No one left behind” motto to ensure everyone had the support they needed, which turned out to be a timely declaration. A few months into the pandemic, the global EO Network announced a complete rebrand and introduced a new organizational core value: Together We Grow. Olinger says he’s extremely proud that EO Louisiana had already embraced that principle, a sentiment shared by chapter members.
“My membership in EO has helped keep me stay grounded and connected as both a leader and entrepreneur—especially over the past year, amidst the uncertainty of the pandemic,” says Cate Swinburn, President and Co-founder of YouthForce NOLA. “I can say with certainty that I am in a better place than I would have been had I not joined EO.”
J. Lowry Curley, CEO of AxoSim Inc., echoes that EO Louisiana has been “a vital resource” for him, both before and during the pandemic.
“As Chief Executive Officer of a 6-year-old Biotechnology startup, the connections and relationships made through EO have supported my business endeavors and personally given me a strong support system of local entrepreneurs to provide feedback and guidance,” says Curley.
Even as Olinger prepares to pass the torch on to President-Elect Ben Gootee, EO Louisiana members can rest assured that the fostered sense of unity and encouragement will only grow stronger. Gootee says the support system he established within EO provided him with the wisdom and insight he needed to navigate his business with confidence during the pandemic, and he looks forward to offering that same security to existing and new members.
“As incoming chapter president, my goal is to help the EO community achieve our full potential and enable transformational growth in our lives,” Gootee says. “This purpose and ambition is the core ideology of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Coming out of the pandemic, I think everyone is ready to move from defense back to offense. We’ll continue to think big and be bold.”
After all, Gootee says there’s no reason to face an undertaking so demanding and unpredictable as entrepreneurism alone. He says the value of joining an organization like EO is expressed concisely by a famous Warren Buffet proverb: “It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes.”
Learn more about EO Louisiana apply for membership at eolouisiana.squarespace.com