We understand that the team will thrive when we fully trust one another and assume the best intentions, support one another, and work toward a common goal. We build strong relationships by collaborating with one another and having fun along the way.
Our Purpose, Vision & Values
To identify, connect, and develop purpose-driven business leaders.
It’s the year 2020, and the Small Giants Community has over 500 members that are actively engaged in our programs. Our team has grown, too – we now have five full-time employees, each with their own specialization to contribute to the growth of the Community. We’ve built a team-first culture: our working relationships are defined by empathy, collaboration, and having fun. Although we’re still virtual, we have great trust, great communication, and great support. We also have quarterly team outings that are dedicated to relationship building, learning opportunities, and getting out into the world together. We continue to invest in learning and development, seeking new opportunities to grow our skills and strengthen our weaknesses. We support each other in identifying these opportunities so we can help each other accomplish our personal and professional goals.
The first Journey cohort has graduated and they’ve become a close-knit group of friends. As they reflect on the last three years together, they share how great they feel about what they’ve learned and how they’ll maintain and institutionalize it at their respective companies. Our 2016 Journeyers are now designated Small Giants, a distinction that is displayed proudly on their company websites, social media, and their personal communications.
There are eight Journey cohorts in progress, and demand is high to join future cohorts. Even better, Journeyers across cohorts are more engaged with and excited about the Community than ever. They are distinguished in our Community database as either Journeyers or designated Small Giants and they serve as mentors or masters for other members. As they progress through the Journey, they become our best brand ambassadors: they promote our offerings, support our members by hosting company visits, serve as mentors for other Journey cohorts, and share valuable content at the Summit.
Our Virtual Peer Groups are a hit! We have ten thriving U.S. groups facilitated by Paul and other established leaders in the Community, including graduated Journeyers. We also have three international groups that are facilitated by trusted leaders abroad. Our Virtual Group members are high quality – they are reliable, engaged, and aligned with the principles and values of the Small Giants philosophy. The content of our Virtual Groups is robust, but the driving purpose remains to develop deep, lasting relationships with one another.
Once someone becomes a Virtual Group member, they tend to stick around as a Virtual Group member for years. Some eventually move on to facilitate a Virtual Peer Group, others go on to join the Journey. As a team, we’re starting to consider how we can segment our Virtual Peer Groups into meaningful groups: whether it be by industry, revenue, stage of leadership, or other specific areas of focus. It’s a way for us to deepen group member engagement and grow the offering with purpose.
Our partnership with Forbes has grown in powerful ways. We’ve just published our fifth annual list of Forbes Best Small Giants, and this year’s announcement made the biggest splash yet. There is enormous PR around the annual celebration in New York for honorees past and present and it’s driving quality leads to our brand. The list has become more than just an article – it’s a year-round conversation that creates meaningful buzz for the Community.
Over the past three years, we’ve created amazing Summit experiences. We now host over 200 attendees, maxing out at a capacity of 250 to protect the spirit of the event. The Summit format is tried and true, consisting of Long Story Shorts, breakout sessions, interactive workshops, and panels, but our content is now much more centered around the six qualities of a Small Giant. We’ve really taken our content to the next level – we’ve built an incredible database of contributors and the Summit is a platform for their stories to be shared.
We have found innovative and meaningful ways to connect people and grow relationships at the Summit. Our meetups beforehand are intentionally designed to provide new information about the Community while fostering relationship building and fun. The Day of Mojo has now become a preview of the Journey experience. The Summit is supported and sponsored by true partnerships with organizations and individuals who are aligned with what we do. The Summit is now one of our greatest recruiting tools – about a third of Summit attendees are motivated to stay involved and sign up for one of our offerings after the Summit ends.
We now have an awesome Community database that is entirely member-focused and user-friendly. Our leaders use this database to foster connections, support one another, and share resources throughout the year. We also use this data for highly-targeted marketing communications, to understand our sales pipeline, and to form partnerships with sponsors. Our website is now entirely member-focused, too. When you log onto our site, the menu is organized into pathways for those new to the Community, those already involved, and other personalities. Anyone who visits the site immediately understands who we are and what we do. There are engaging quotes and creative testimonials that paint a vivid picture of what it is like to be involved with the Small Giants Community. When someone Googles “purpose-driven companies” or “organizations for companies with great cultures,” we are one of the first to come up.
The content on our blog is high quality and stronger than ever. Our articles are organized around the six qualities of a Small Giant, and people seek it out to gain practical tips and nuggets of wisdom. We’re also providing a platform for leaders within the Community to become thought leaders. Our guest contributors are experts in the Community and they consistently share their pieces with their own networks, helping us gain a greater following. When someone Googles “how to write a vision statement,” our blog comes up. People outside of the Community are reading our materials and looking to us as experts on how to run a purpose-driven company.
Our Online Fishbowls continue to be a meaningful touch point with our members and a valuable offering that delivers great insights and tangible best practices. We’ve tapped into new technologies that have made the conversations more interactive, and we share a video of each Fishbowl with the larger Community after each session has ended.
We’ve accomplished so much in these past three years – and that includes becoming a profitable business! We’re now a self-sustaining organization and we’re able to re-invest in our growth. As we scale our offerings and expand, we’re careful to grow with purpose. Our hard work is driven by our core purpose: to identify, connect, and develop purpose-driven business leaders. Three years later, we’re proud to say that more than ever, we’re fulfilling that purpose.
We continuously invest in our learning and development, seeking new opportunities to grow our skills and strengthen our weaknesses so that we can better serve the Community.
We prioritize meaningful, quality work over everything. We’re committed to being present with the current objective and giving it our full attention, providing the best possible opportunities and resources to our Community.
We are committed to doing things differently. We understand that the Small Giants difference is high-class, personal and meaningful experiences that result in lifelong learning and lasting relationships.
We believe in meeting and exceeding the promises we make. In working with each other and with customers, we are responsive and accountable.
Meet the people working behind-the-scenes to put the Small Giants philosophy at the forefront of conversation and practice.
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Hamsa is a business leader who is passionate about people, process and growth. She grew up in Baghdad, Iraq, moving to the U.S in 1991. Her first language is Arabic, and she speaks English and Spanish. Hamsa received her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Wayne State University and her MBA from Walsh College. After college, Hamsa worked for an immigration agency to help refugee and asylee populations assimilate into the US, learn English, and find employment. She then joined Walsh College as their first international student advisor where she helped recruit, admit and counsel over 400 international students over a period of 9 years. In her four years at Mango Languages, Hamsa recruited and mentored many employees, providing outstanding leadership. She was promoted to the COO/Integrator role in 2012, and helped lead Mango to its most successful year in 2014.
Paul Spiegelman is the co-founder of the Small Giants Community, a peer-group of purpose-driven business leaders. He is the former chief culture officer of Stericycle, the co-founder and former CEO of BerylHealth and the founder and chairman of The Beryl Institute.
Paul is a New York Times best-selling author and has been honored with the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Paul is a sought-after speaker and author on leadership, employee engagement, entrepreneurship, culture, and leading a purpose-driven life. He has made many radio and TV appearances and his views have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, and he is currently a columnist for Forbes.com.
Paul practiced law for two years prior to starting BerylHealth. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from UCLA and a law degree from Southwestern University.
Bo Burlingham is the author of Small Giants: Companies That Choose To Be Great Instead of Big (Portfolio, 2006) and an editor-at-large of Inc. Magazine. Bo joined Inc. in January 1983 as a senior editor and became executive editor six months later, a position he held for the next seven years or so. In 1990 he became editor-at-large for a number of reasons, including his desire to go back to writing. He subsequently wrote two books with Jack Stack, the co-founder and CEO of Springfield Remanufacturing Corp. and the pioneer of open-book management. One of the books, The Great Game of Business, has sold more than 300,000 copies. The other, A Stake in the Outcome, has also done pretty well and gotten great reviews.
Before joining Inc., Bo freelanced for various publications, including Esquire, Harper’s, Boston Magazine, and Mother Jones. Bo was also managing editor of Ramparts magazine. In 1982, he joined Fidelity Investments, where he wrote for Peter Lynch, Ned Johnson, and other honchos until coming to Inc. From 1992 to 1997, he served on the board of The Body Shop Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of the international cosmetics company. He was also a founder, with Tom Peters, of PAC World, a weird international networking group that gave him a chance to meet a lot of zany—and brilliant—people from around the globe.
Jillian received her B.A. in Sociology and Creative Writing from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI in 2012. She graduated with honors from U of M’s Residential College. For over four years, Jillian has worked as a freelance writer, working with a range of diverse clients to provide creative, high-quality writing, editing, and social media services. Jillian partners with brands to elevate their messaging, strengthen their voice, and create consistent, powerful copy. From managing Chevrolet’s social media to helping a small, bean-to-bar chocolate company market their mission, her experience runs the gamut. She is excited to work with the Small Giants Community to tell the incredible stories of its leaders and promote their philosophies the world over. Outside of her daily work, Jillian loves to write and read short fiction and essays. She’s a lifelong Michigander and the proud owner of a very dysfunctional – but very cute – shih tzu.
Jason jumps in wherever he’s needed, from publications, videos, infographics, logos, videos, web design and development. For eleven years, he served as Creative Director for a group of small businesses. In 2012 he started Armour Creative, his own creative services and solutions business. Jason is passionate about corporate culture and is a co-author of Smile Guide: Employee Perspectives on Culture, Loyalty, and Profit, has spoken on a panel about customer service at Inc. 500|5000, and his corporate-culture videos have been featured in the Wall Street Journal. Jason loves to travel the world with his wife, typically backpacking or camping, and making it up as they go along.
After earning her B.A. in French Literature from Oakland University, Rachel joined the colorful language-learning company Mango Languages. Within three years, Rachel transitioned into the role of Marketing Director, leading overall brand and creative strategy and implementing a full company rebrand.
Ready for her next challenge, Rachel moved to imageOne, a document lifecycle management company and all-star Small Giant, to lead its marketing department. There, she experienced what it felt like to work for an organization that radiates the six qualities of a Small Giant (spoiler: it’s an amazing feeling!).
Motivated by her inner space geek, Rachel then joined the team at the Michigan Science Center, marketing the Detroit-based science museum and inspiring curious minds of all ages to appreciate the cosmos.
Rachel loves to bake, binge watch Star Trek, and spend time in Montréal.