Who Will Stand on Your Foundation?

It’s always good to practice what you preach, but it’s a blessing to be able to do so as part of a community. That’s the reality my husband, Carlo, and I are embracing as we create a foundation focused on Christ, Commerce and Community.

Last month hundreds of community members joined us at the launch event for the Carlo and Nika White Foundation. Our goal is to share Christ’s love, which gives people the hope to make their big dreams come true, and to empower people with the resources to uplift them economically. The event was a humbling experience for me. Emotions flowed as we heard inspirational stories, honored hard-working entrepreneurs and reflected on personal journeys.

 

Why hope matters

Carlo and I are both entrepreneurs. At the event, he shared how the hope Christ has inspired gave us courage not only to embark on the adventure of marriage, but to strive toward continued excellence in our business endeavors. He talked about the fact that we have always dreamed together. We often sit at the coffee table and say, “What are we going to dream up next?”

A lot of us wish for this or that, but a true dream prompts focus and effort. When you see fruits of your labor take hold, that’s a special feeling. I believe being a dreamer is part of the leadership journey. That’s why we talk about leaders being visionaries able to inspire hope in others.

My brother in law shared a quote from John Quincy Adams: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more and do more, well, you are a leader.” That is the kind of leadership that anyone can access no matter where you are on your journey.

 

Dreaming in community

Although Carlo and I could continue to work toward our dreams on our own, we feel a broader effort is crucial to having lasting impact. We want to unite a community of people around this biblical principle: You are blessed so that you can go and be a blessing to others.

That includes helping to support nonprofit organizations already doing good work in education for at-risk youth, helping them set the bar much higher and achieve more than what they can now imagine.

Our foundation also brings together donors who want to make financial investments into young businesses. In reviewing our first round of grant applications, we were so impressed by the dynamism of these small businesses. As a result, we decided even those who were not chosen to receive funding in the inaugural round should have free access to our upcoming entrepreneur leadership seminar. That way we can all continue to move forward, together.

 

Standing on strong foundations

Our parents loomed large over the event. It wasn’t just their attendance, but our repeated acknowledgement that their faith and striving made that night possible. Carlo’s father, who started a masonry company over 45 years ago that still operates today, has inspired us. I became emotional when I saw my mom. Like Carlo’s mother, she modeled the deeply personal and motivational relationship with Christ that we can claim for ourselves today.

When I think about intentional leadership, a big part of that is not just about being out in front leading people forward. It’s also being that person they will think of when they look back and see how far they have come. Sometimes people forget to give proper recognition to those who have done so much to help shape who we are, but we see the launch of our foundation as a tribute to the blood, sweat, and tears our families and others have sacrificed for us.

I encourage you to turn your wishes into active dreams. And, as you work toward those dreams, know that you are inspiring others. When those dreams finally come to fruition, become a true leader by remembering who helped you along the way and figuring out how what you’ve built can become be a foundation for others.