EO Celebrates 36 Years of Connecting and Empowering Entrepreneurs

Happy Birthday, EO!

On 17 September 2023, EO marks its 36th anniversary as the world’s premier, purpose-built organization designed with a mission to empower entrepreneurs from every sector, culture and industry. EO was created by a small group of young business owners, led by Verne Harnish, as a community of entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. Today, we are an evolving catalyst that provides not only inspiration but also the tools and strategies entrepreneurs seek to unlock their full potential and drive the world forward.

Since 1987, EO has evolved from a groundbreaking concept into a thriving network with over 18,000 members in 220 chapters across 76 countries worldwide.

We’ve learned a lot in our 36 years, some lessons came easily; others, with more challenge. But like all 36-year-olds, we’re old enough to appreciate the wisdom of our journey to this point, but still young enough to experiment, adapt, grow and keep charging ahead. So we rounded up some insights from a group of famous faces who also have 36 candles on their birthday cakes this year, and whose advice echoes EO’s core values. Happy birthday to all of us!

Together We Grow

In EO, we are committed to each other’s growth and well-being, propelling each other to new heights both personally and professionally. We build deep human connections across rooms, cities, countries and continents. Our community is inclusive, and we value the kaleidoscope of diversity stemming from different cultures, backgrounds, religions and experiences. Diversity is our superpower, and EO is the secret sauce that binds us together and makes us unstoppable.

“I’m lucky to be part of a team who help to make me look good, and they deserve as much of the credit for my success as I do for the hard work we have all put in on the training ground.”  — Lionel Messi, Argentinian soccer player

“Don’t pretend to know everything. I’ve been blessed to work with a lot of veteran actors, and I soak up lessons from them like a sponge.” — Michael B. Jordan, American movie actor

“I look at where I’m at today and realize that most of my success is owed to the mentors that was in my life.” — Kendrick Lamar, American rap artist

Trust and Respect

In EO, our fundamental perspective is that each of us is unique and equal. We listen with open minds, open hearts, and deep appreciation. We are eager to uncover every ounce of wisdom and perspective generated by different viewpoints, which helps erase our inherent blind spots. We accept that there are things we don’t know, and we welcome the opportunity to learn exponentially from those with different life experiences from our own. Through trust and respect, we create a safe space where you can always be your complete, authentic self.

“I can’t begin to express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self.” — Elliot Page, Canadian movie actor (Juno, Inception)

“Never let success get to your head and never let failure get to your heart.” — Drake, Canadian rap artist

“I was dating a guy once who spoke rudely to a taxi driver. I got out of the cab and walked home. Treat people with respect. I’ve waited tables, and that’s why I just exceedingly overtip. It’s exhausting work.” — Kesha, American-born pop singer

“You should never make fun of something that a person can’t change about themselves.”
― Phil Lester, English YouTube sensation and vlogger

“Be yourself. Unapologetically.” — Kesha

Thirst for Learning

In EO, insatiable curiosity is a common trait — high-level learning is a driving force behind why entrepreneurs choose EO. In our lifelong quest for growth, we challenge status quos, try new things, and embrace new ideas and perspectives. It’s in our DNA to remain curious, push boundaries and shatter limits because within us is an unquenchable thirst to learn.

“My father always said, ‘Never trust anyone whose TV is bigger than their bookshelf’ — so I make sure I read.” — Emilia Clarke, English television actress

“I was born to make mistakes, not to fake perfection.” — Drake

“I have many years to get better and better, and that has to be my ambition. The day you think there is no improvements to be made is a sad one for any player.” — Lionel Messi

Think Big, Be Bold

In EO, innovation is our North Star. We are fearless, we take risks and see opportunity in every challenge. EO members are on a mission to make the world a better place — for our teams, families, communities, and for humankind. We think big; we are bold. We know entrepreneurship can (and will) turn the wheels of progress and make a difference beyond ourselves. As visionaries, we cannot rest until we make a positive impact through our work.

“It’s never too late to realize what you want in your life, and it’s never wrong to fight for it.” — Drake

“You have to fight to reach your dream. You have to sacrifice and work hard for it.” — Lionel Messi

“I like to be part of the change I want to see in the world. Not being afraid of criticism is actually a big advantage.” — Ronda Rousey, American mixed martial arts fighter

As we celebrate EO’s journey of entrepreneurial empowerment and innovation, our birthday wish is that more of you, our members, partners and friends, find new ways to unlock your fuller potential so that together, we can move the world forward through the unique talents and passions that individually drive us. We’ll keep thinking big, being bold, and making a lasting impact on the world.

Happy 36th, EO!

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Quotes that appear in this post were sourced from Quote Fancy and Brainy Quote. For more insights and inspiration from today’s leading entrepreneurs, check out EO on Inc. and more articles from the EO blog

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