Introducing the Small Giants Hall of Fame

Honoring the Small Giants who go above and beyond
to lead with purpose and heart.

For the first time in our history, we’re recognizing some of the best Small Giants leaders in our Community and inducting them into the Small Giants Hall of Fame!

Nominations will open in the fall for you to recognize the Next Gen Leaders and Founder/CEOs who represent, practice, and live out Small Giants values, philosophies, and what it means to be a purpose-driven leader. 

Top finalists in each category will be announced in March based on nominations from others – the stories, reflections, and impact others share about them. We’ll celebrate all of the finalists in person during the evening reception at the annual Summit. This is also when we’ll announce the two winners from the group of finalists – one Next Gen Leader and one Founder/CEO – who will be inducted into the Small Giants Hall of Fame.

Nominations for 2025 Hall of Fame Awards will open in the fall. 

Who is in the Hall of Fame?

Who is eligible?

Anyone can submit a nomination for a leader, peer, manager, mentee or mentor, team member, direct report, or someone who you believe embodies what it means to be a Small Giant. This is a globally recognized award. 

Here’s what you should be looking for in the leader you nominate.

A Small Giant is a purpose-driven and heart-led leader who:

  • Embodies a clear sense of identity, purpose, and vision
  • Demonstrates passion and commitment to their work and soul of the business
  • Fosters deep, personal connections with employees, customers, partners, other stakeholders and even their local community
  • Cultivates and supports a caring, collaborative, and respectful culture
  • Takes action and makes decisions that authentically align with purpose and values
  • Operates in ways that also ensure financial sustainability for the business
  • Leads by example to be a model for others

Learn more about the 2024 finalists here.

The Hall of Fame recognizes standout leaders across various levels of an organization – think leadership team members, chief level roles, senior or mid-level leaders impacting culture, people, operations, and the like – who: 

  • Exhibit the traits of a Small Giants leader  
  • Have shown the ability to implement positive, purposeful change in their team or organization 
  • Demonstrate an influence on company best cultural practices 
  • Serve as a role model for purpose-driven leadership based on their actions and advocacy 
  • Are active in the Small Giants Community

The Hall of Fame recognizes current or former founders, owners, or CEOs who: 

  • Exhibit the traits of a Small Giants leader  
  • Prioritize people and making an impact above all else
  • Have paved the way for others to embody Small Giants philosophies 
  • Invest in and support the next generation of leaders
  • Advocate for purpose-driven leadership and spread the word within the greater business world 
  • Have been active in the Small Giants Community

Award Timeline

  • January 24, 2025

    General submission deadline

    Nominations will open in October 2024. All nominations for Next Gen and Founder/CEO awards are due January 24, 2025. 

  • February-March 2025

    Nomination Reviews

    All nominations will be reviewed. Those that advance will go through a verification stage, in which a Small Giants Community panel will have interviews with the nominees. Additional reference interviews may also take place during this time.

    February-March 2025

  • March 24-28, 2025

    Finalists Notified

    The top finalists in each category will be notified. Finalists must attend the Summit to be qualified to receive the award. 

  • April 30, 2025

    Hall of Fame Winners Announced at the 2025 Summit

    All finalists will be recognized during an evening awards ceremony at the 2025 Small Giants Community Summit in Detroit, and the top Hall of Fame winner of each category will be announced live. 

    April 30, 2025

FAQs

Nominations can be submitted by anyone! Nominations should be submitted by someone who is associated with and familiar with the nominee. 

It is free to submit a nomination. There is no cost associated with this award or the Hall of Fame.

Nominations for the 2025 Hall of Fame Awards will open in the fall.

Bookmark this page! Nomination forms will be available here starting in the fall.

This is a community-driven award based on nominations of others. Although you can’t nominate yourself (and no disguises either!), you can share the nomination form with a colleague and ask them to nominate you!

Nominations from others are the only way to apply for the Hall of Fame. You can nominate as many people as you’d like, and there is no limit to how many nominations someone can receive on their behalf.

You can apply every year whether you were named as a finalist or not. 

Once you receive the Hall of Fame award, you can no longer be eligible to apply for future years. 

Next Gen leaders come from different levels of an organization – think leadership team members, C-suite members, senior or mid-level leaders influencing culture, people, operations, etc. If a leader is not an owner, founder, or CEO, then they are considered part of the Next Gen category!

A Small Giant is a purpose-driven and heart-led leader who:

  • Embodies a clear sense of identity, purpose, and vision
  • Demonstrates passion and commitment to their work and soul of the business
  • Fosters deep, personal connections with employees, customers, partners, other stakeholders and even their local community
  • Cultivates and supports a caring, collaborative, and respectful culture
  • Takes action and makes decisions that authentically align with purpose and values
  • Operates in ways that also ensure financial sustainability for the business
  • Leads by example to be a model for others

Top finalists in the Next Gen Leader award category and top finalists in the Founder/CEO award category will be announced in April. These top finalists will be recognized during an in person ceremony at the evening reception of the Summit. 

One winner from each category will ultimately be announced live during the Summit and will be inducted into the Small Giants Hall of Fame.

Learn more about the 2024 finalists here.

All nominations will be reviewed thoroughly by a tenured representative group of leaders and founders from the Small Giants Community. Nominees will be interviewed, along with other potential references.

Since the awards ceremony will be held live during the Summit, finalists will be recognized in person, and the Hall of Fame recipient in each category will be announced live. Therefore, finalists must attend the Summit to be qualified to receive the  award. 

You can learn more about and purchase your ticket for the Summit here.

The Small Giants Hall of Fame recently launched in 2024, and we were pleased to induct these Small Giant leaders into the Hall of Fame: 

  • 2024 Next Gen Leader Inductee – Sabrina White, Head of People & Great Work at Text-Em-All
  • 2024 Founder/CEO Inductee – Tom Walter, Founding Parter of Tasty Catering
  • 2024 Honorary Inductee – Bo Burlingham, Co-Founder of the Small Giants Community
You may remember the Forbes Small Giants Award in which Small Giants partnered with Forbes from 2016-2020 to recognize the top small companies in America. That partnership concluded in 2020. The Small Giants Hall of Fame is different, as it is a community-driven award recognizing individual leaders in their personal work, passion, and drive to live out Small Giants principles and values.

Please email hello@smallgiants.org with any questions.

Recognizing Small Giants Through the Years

Want to attend the Hall of Fame awards ceremony?

Small Giants Community