Hall Of Fame- Success Story
Ms.Mary Kurek -Your True North is in The Thread of Your Life.
As a young girl, in a small town in eastern NC, I wondered what it would be like to someday visit and work in London. I was quite shy, in fact, so shy that it was excruciating for me to raise my hand in class, even when I knew the answer.Like many youngsters, I imagined myself occasionally on a movie set or on a stage, only to completely dissolve at the thought of being in front of people.
But, it was a form of media and that fascinated me. Around age 16, I discovered a blooming talent of writing. It started with poetry, then short stories, and articles. In high school, this ability opened an opportunity for me to step into the chief editor role of the newspaper. It was a passive way of “raising my hand” and letting people know that I existed.
But it was more than that…I just didn’t realize it then.
There’s a thread that runs through our lives that sews together
this wonderful quilt of who we are becoming.
As a young adult, I found myself as the youngest member of the NC Governor’s Staff – working with the Press Office team where I had the opportunity to write proclamations, press releases, and even a speech. Later, I worked with an international visitor agency programming schedules for dignitaries from other countries and enjoying the regular occasion to have them at my dinner table. Eventually, I took the Executive Director job for a Chamber of Commerce, and while there, leveraged my relationship with the Governor with whom I had worked to create a special Chamber membership opportunity.
I wrote a business networking book that was published, bearing the endorsement of the American Business Women’s Association.
I hit the speaking circuit, conducted entrepreneurship workshops, and started my own marketing consultancy aimed at startups. I hosted/produced my own local television show and ended up doing a little work in the film industry.
I co-founded 2 area nonprofits and revamped my marketing consultancy into what it is now…a business development agency that focuses on impact spaces, helping global innovators make the connections that will change people’s lives. And, the primary tool I use to conduct business development is the online magazine I publish called Frontrunners Innovate.
Moving from my young girl phase to young adult phase you can see how connection to media continued building throughout my life, and how writing became an important tool to move my work forward. It’s easy to see how my lean toward working in an international environment is present, and how working with entrepreneurs and innovators would be a natural market for my business. Working in a nonprofit (Chamber of Commerce) gave me the ability to help co-found two other nonprofits (one involving youth leadership and one involving aging support) where the heart of these types of organizations lies in mission-related impact. And collectively, my experiences grew me in confidence so that a microphone not only doesn’t scare me…just try to pry it out of my hands, now. I also learned how to develop and leverage relationships for the greater good.
I tell people who are struggling to find their “true north”
to prayerfully look at what’s happened in their life;
what stories and threads do they see.
My business now is basically about helping people. My magazine is seen in 160 countries. The companion network to that magazine is called Frontrunners League, and it includes about 220 innovators, diplomats, philanthropists, and corporate and government leaders. I have a significant business partnership with a global nonprofit with a similar mission and, together, we work about a dozen business development cases at a time. We’ve helped them find funding, publicity opportunities, board appointments, clinical trial partners, and contract leads. I have a 10-person advisory board, and a Communications Director who works virtually. We are truly blessed.
And, this once very shy girl credits the opportunity as a Legislative Page
when the Lt. Governor invited her to work on his gubernatorial campaign.
His winning that election put me in a unique spotlight as the youngest member of his staff
And set into motion almost every other opportunity.
About Mary Kurk:
Mary Kurek is the President and CEO of Frontrunners Development, Inc. which conducts business development in impact spaces, particularly health, wellness, and technology. She is the publisher of Frontrunners Innovate magazine and often quoted in online media publications, such as msnbc.com, businessinsiders.com, cnbc.com, and more.
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