Driving to the Startup America /Huffington Post RNC event last week, I had NO idea what to expect and quite frankly had no idea how it would benefit GuideWell to attend a political event. After all,GuideWell is a health and wellness e-commerce startup whose focus is helping people make small changes in their life in order to attain health and wellness goals. We offer education, products and solutions to many of the health issues American's face today including Weight Loss, Stress Management, Healthy Eating and Smoking. We strive to educate our members and consumers and provide them with personalized, expert advice about their health and offer them products that can improve their life. At the time, I didn't see any value or reason for my being there but now I know better.
There I was with brochures, business cards and iPad in hand, ready for whatever the day would bring. I set up my area in the exhibit and headed upstairs to the luncheon. The luncheon panel was titled "Solutions on the Job Crisis," so I sat down and was immediately impressed with the event.
Sitting at the table, I first was introduced to two gentlemen, John Mitchell and Brendan McDonald. Both individuals are a part of an amazing company called Lyfe Kitchen. Lyfe Kitchen is a lifestyle brand that opened a restaurant in 2011, and has since created a retail product link of ready-to-eat meals. I was fortunate enough to taste some of their creations (they were delicious!) and not only was I thrilled to find a product that I felt had such great taste and potential to succeed, but was even more excited to find another company at the Startup America/Huffington Post expo that was in line with a similar mission (and passion) as GuideWell's.
After a brief chat with the individuals from Lyfe Kitchen the panel discussion began. Arianna Huffington and Tom Brokaw took the stage (ARE YOU KIDDING ME?). How amazing is that? The panel talked about the various initiatives startups, nonprofits and other companies are taking in order to address the job crisis. Other panelists included Ohio Governor John Kasich, Microsoft's General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Brad Smith, President of The Rockefeller Foundation, Dr. Judith Rodin, CEO of Startup America, Scott Case just to name a few. Check out this link to watch the panel on Solutions on the Job Crisis. The panel was very enlightening and there were many well-known, influential people. It dawned on me that these successful individuals started small. They began with drive, passion and determination to make a difference. While you may be one person with one idea, it IS possible to succeed in creating something bigger than yourself. Not only can your idea come from a need to fix or better something, but it can create so many positive reactions and inspire others to create an idea and follow through with their passion.
Once the panel was completed, I headed down stairs to the expo where I was surrounded with amazing startups from not only from the health industry but also education, media, technology, and business solution. While there were many startups from different industries, it did not matter. What was important was the human connection and relationship building with people who really wanted to make a difference and who believed in their product and future success. Connecting people like this creates energy and endless possibilities. I was fortunate enough to meet Samer Hamadeh, the founder of Zeel.com. His is a site where you can find local health & wellness professionals like acupuncturists, chiropractors, massage therapists and registered dieticians, view their profiles and compare their prices. You also can book appointments on the site too. I then came across a cool app called LifeDash. It's an app that lets you gather, share and organize things like images, videos and text so you can document various events and have them in one place. Lastly, I also had the opportunity to meet the founders of Teburu, Greg Ross-Munro and his business partner, Leon McIntosh. They created a complete online and mobile ordering system for restaurants. It is a fully integrated system designed to run all aspects of online business for a restaurant, bistro or bar.
Looking back, I feel so fortunate that I was able to attend such a great event. Not only did I meet interesting founders of various health startups and companies, but also was able to really network and gain some awareness to the GuideWell brand. This guest blog is a perfect example! If it were not for meeting Anna Eisenberg, the Communications Manager at Startup America, I would not have had this opportunity to guest post!