Another day, another victory for Isom Global Strategies (IGS). On January 28, 2015, the IGS team was invited to take part in the 2015 Program Support Center Small Business Exhibition; an annual event designed to showcase the metropolitan area's smaller, more dynamic federal government contracting firms. In case you're unfamiliar, the PSC (as the saying goes) "manages the business of government,”, and to be invited to such an event is an honor—a real feather in our collective cap. Taking place within the halls of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C., the three-hour event offered IGS associates the opportunity to meet and mingle with more than 100 different contracting and acquisition officials, as well as dozens of other small business leaders.
It was, quite simply, an eye-opening experience.
There is a unique brand of camaraderie that exists between small business people—people who operate outside the large, monolithic names normally associated with government contracting. We spend so much of our time performing all the various tasks – both inside and outside of our previous experiences and comfort zones – that need to be completed to make the business run smoothly, we often don't have time to step away from our desks. When we do, however, it's nice to see that there are, in fact, other people just like us, other people who face the same type of grind and have the same zeal for their jobs as we do. It's a very familial dynamic, this one. And yet, that same familial feel is also tinged with competition, too (as so many other families are, of course). Because just as we see these similar people cut from similar cloth doing similar work, we also want to be better than those other firms; we want to be more and different than they are – for the sake of both our identities and our clients. Interesting, right? And yet this energetic back-and-forth is the very ingredient that makes the small business community vibrant, alive and driven; so much that there are, quite frankly, no losers in such a game – everybody wins (especially our clients).
During our time at the PSC event, all of us – myself, CEO Towan Isom, Deputy General Manager Kassidie Blackstock, and Associate Taren Henry – all had the opportunity to meet acquisitions representatives with a wide variety of communications, marketing, and e-learning needs, as well as series of other small business owners engaging in the same type of mingling as us. Data analysis. Medical products. Defense technology. Everyone was there. Some wanted to ask questions, others were looking for future sub-contractors and partners, and others simply wanted to talk – about work, about lunch, about the Super Bowl, about whatever.
"Wow," said Towan mid-way through the morning, pausing and scanning the crowd, a throng of some 200 people by that point. "Can you believe all this, all these people?" And then, just like that, before any of us could respond, she was off and talking to someone else about some other topic or some other opportunity. That's Towan: always so busy, always so electric.
"Yeah," I said a few second later, to no one in particular. "Amazing."