Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs
"I am blessed. Better than blessed.”
— Vanilla Beane, age 102
On 12 November 2021, Vanilla Beane was inducted into Babson's Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs.
The first recipient was Berry Gordy. Those who followed are undeniably some of the most POWERFUL names in the world: Soichiro Honda, Diane von Fürstenberg, Rupert Murdoch., J. Willard Marriott, Sir. Richard Branson, Robert Kraft, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Jr., Steve Forbes Jr.
On accepting this award -
THERE ARE NO WORDS to describe the honor of standing to accept an award whose previous inductees need absolutely no introduction. The first recipient was Berry Gordy. Those who followed are undeniably some of the most POWERFUL names in the world: Soichiro Honda, Diane von Fürstenberg, Rupert Murdoch., J. Willard Marriott, Sir. Richard Branson, Robert Kraft, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Jr., Steve Forbes Jr.,. To be in those ranks...
This past weekend, my grandmother, Vanilla Beane joined them, and was inducted as the 2020 recipient of the Babson College Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs.
One of the things I remain most inspired by, is her desire to do something without being recognized. She may never forgive me for sharing her story with the world, but I will never apologize for that! She would love nothing more than to make hats, and not have to talk about it. It’s hard not to stand out when your talents are displayed in a Smithsonian museum, on a US Postal Service stamp, and when Chris Wallace makes you, “Power Player of the Week.”
I’ve come to realize that each and every one of us is a light in the world. Don’t be afraid to shine. Your light may be bright, it may be dim, but, if you are here on this earth - I truly believe that your light is certain. And, you may never ever know the full extent of how your presence lights the way for others.
Your light, like your life, is meant to be shared. And, how amazing is it when we learn that our sparkle isn’t diminished by sharing our light with others?
If on this journey you meet 100 people who doubt your ability, 101 times you should say, “I will succeed, because I can.” The first time you say it, say it to yourself as an affirmation of why you started out in the first place.
For anyone who has ever had a dream, but never thought you could make an impact: shed the worry, ignore the doubt, live the dream, do it alone, do it broke, do it tired.
If you need encouragement just know that there is a lady back home - who is in your corner, and through a trembling voice you will hear her message loud and clear - be fearless.
Do what you love, because the life you lead is the legacy you leave.
- Jeni Hansen, granddaughter
15 November 2021
Read full acceptance speech here.