by Francine Hardaway
We had a very successful AZEC09 (formerly Fourth Annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference) last week. It was oversold, at the last minute. The bills aren’t all paid, and the sponsorship money hasn’t all arrived, but I know for a fact that we raised the money to offer another program to the disadvantaged, and we are going to research and choose an agency to partner with now that we know we have the funds. Let me first thank Joan Koerber-Walker, Steven Groves, and Merlin Ward, board members who took their responsibility above and beyond to help put on the conference.
And let me also thank Life Pilot, Microsoft, InfusionSoft,, the Business Journal, and EmpowHer for their major sponsorships in this difficult year. A whole host of in-kind sponsors, listed on the event site, also helped make this possible.
A few highlights for me (I didn’t see everything):
- Kevin Surace’s excellent keynote on green building and its role in America’s competitiveness;
- Merlin Mann’s admonition that we check our email every five minutes because we can’t stand uncertainty, not because there’s anything important;
- Michelle Robson’s courageous slide of her first company name and logo; an incredibly good panel on health care entrepreneurship consisting of three doctors who see what’s wrong with the system and are working to fix it;
- Tara Hunt, Joan, and me singing an original song made up by a fan of Tara’s; and
- Dan Gillmor helping Mary Kay Reinhart of the Arizona Guardian move from old to new media.
And today I got a note in the mail from a man I know from the gym. He’s 94, and a retired entrepreneur himself. The handwritten note says: “this cheeseball wants to support your Foundation,” and enclosed was a check for $50. This was a response to a blog post I wrote while planning the conference complaining about the lack of community support for entrepreneurship. Clearly, I was wrong.