Annie Gough

Storyteller at Large | Small Giants Community

June 25, 2024

Small Giants Leaders Earn a Big Honor: Celebrating our Hall of Fame 2024 Inductees


HOF long

The Small Giants Community is all about bringing together purpose-driven leaders who share a similar set of values when it comes to life and business. And we decided it was time to honor some standouts. Hence the creation this year of the Small Giants Community’s Hall of Fame!

The Hall of Fame is meant to celebrate leaders on an annual basis who represent, practice, and live out Small Giants values, philosophies, and what it means to be a purpose-driven leader. The Hall of Fame recognizes exemplary leaders in two categories: Founders/CEOs and Next Gen leaders. We hope this award inspires leaders of all ages, stages, and industries to strive to be the best leader they can be and also serves as a reminder that they have a community to lean on.

We wanted to make sure that this award was representative and reflective of our Community. So, we kept them involved in every step of the process. We put it to our Community to nominate individuals they felt embodied the Small Giants spirit using a public nomination form. After collecting many wonderful nominations, rounds of interviews with the nominees, and references, the list was narrowed down to a selection of finalists. We then asked our panel of judges (also trusted members of the Community!) to discuss the finalists and determine a winner in both categories for the class of 2024.

Despite there only being one winner for each category annually, we are in awe of every one of our finalists, and we feel they all are doing an amazing job of modeling the Small Giants philosophies to their teams and greater communities.


Meet the Finalists

2024 Next Gen Leader Finalists

Next Gen leaders are the lifeblood of the Small Giants Community. They bring energy and innovation to their teams, and we love watching them grow on their own leadership journeys.

In a nutshell, Next Gen leaders are any leaders who aren’t founders or CEOs. These could be people in the C-suite, leadership team members, managers, and the like. A true Small Giants Next Gen leader is someone who is eager to make a positive impact within their organization, particularly when it comes to processes and programs that put people and culture at the center.

To hear what their peers are saying about these wonderful finalists, click here. 

Next Gen finalists


2024 Founder/CEO Finalists

The Founder/CEO group is exactly what it sounds like: those leaders that are at the helm of their organization. Without these leaders, there wouldn’t be a Small Giants Community. It was mostly founders and CEOs of companies who were the first to take note of our Community and build bonds with each other. We admire these leaders for their courage in leading differently, their willingness to bring up the next generation, and their zest for being lifelong learners.

To hear what their peers are saying about these wonderful finalists, click here.

Founder CEO finalists


Meet the 2024 Hall of Fame Inductees

We honored our inaugural Hall of Fame finalists and inductees during the 2024 Small Giants Community Summit. After a full day of learning from one another through sessions and conversations, Summit attendees were treated to a sit-down dinner and ceremony held in the stunning Fox Theater in Detroit. It was a wonderful evening of connection, celebration, and gratitude. 

We’re thrilled to announce our first ever class of Hall of Fame inductees: Sabrina White, Tom Walter, and honorary inductee, Bo Burlingham!

2024 Summit HOF winners

Congratulations, Sabrina!

Sabrina White is a people-driven leader who cultivates strong teams by taking an individualized approach to employee relationships. Sabrina has dedicated over 15 years to people experience in a variety of industries spanning retail, hospitality, and technology. She has a knack for creating meaningful connections with individuals, and above all else, aims to be an advocate for people. Sabrina is the Head of People & Great Work at Text-Em-All, a purpose-driven technology organization that strives to prioritize greatness over growth and people over profit. Sabrina has helped the organization live their values through initiatives such as their internship program, hiring + onboarding process, and comprehensive benefits package.

Sabrina is a member of the Small Giants Leadership Academy Class of 2019, and has contributed to the Small Giants Community in just about every way possible. She has been: on our Summit stage, a Leadership Academy instructor, a podcast guest, and featured on our blog.

When asked how she felt about her award, Sabrina said she was “humbled, but honored. It’s overwhelming to a degree.”

She went on to say that it can be a challenge balancing her desire to be the best leader she can be, while also being the best mom she can be. 

“These sacrifices, these moments, matter.”

Sabrina testament  (1)

Thank you for your commitment to being a purposeful person in work and in life, Sabrina!


Congratulations, Tom!

Tom Walter is a keynote speaker, author, and award-winning entrepreneur. He has founded or co-founded 40 companies in the past 40+ years, and his employees have co-founded nine of those companies alongside Tom. One of his companies, Tasty Catering, has twice been named the Psychologically Healthiest Workplace by the American Psychological Association, as well as the Best Small Company in America by Inc. Magazine, Forbes Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal.

Tom is a longtime friend of the Small Giants Community, and has been a Summit speaker, a Sounding Board mentor, a podcast guest, and a contributor to a Small Giants ebook.

Ever the humble leader, Tom had this to say about winning the award for the Founder/CEO category:

“This is my favorite business organization of all time because everybody I meet has the same approach to life. Employees matter, clients matter. I was incredibly honored by the award. It’s very humbling, because there’s so many people in that room I thought were far more deserving. It’s quite an honor.”

Tom testament  (1)

Thank you Tom for sharing your generous spirit with the Community!


For a chance to get to know Sabrina and Tom more, and hear them discuss their experience winning the award, check out this special episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast.


Congratulations, Bo!

The inaugural class of inductees wouldn’t be complete without the man himself, Bo Burlingham. Bo wrote Small Giants: Companies that Choose to be Great Instead of Big almost 20 years ago, and he and Paul Spiegelman founded the Small Giants Community 15 years ago. Without his breakthrough reporting and writing about purpose-driven companies, and his dedication to amplifying the voices of heart-led leaders, our beautiful Community wouldn’t exist.

Thank you for igniting the fire, Bo!


The future of the Hall of Fame

Selecting the first class of inductees was a tough decision for everyone involved. What a great challenge to have, though – we truly are a Community of exceptionally strong, compassionate, and forward-thinking leaders. And we can’t wait to celebrate even more exemplary Small Giants leaders and grow our list of Hall of Fame members.

Learn more about the Small Giants Hall of Fame and the timeline for next year’s nominations here. And if you aren’t already a member, be sure to join our Community so you stay in the know about the nomination process and all of the other purposeful events, content pieces, and offerings we have on offer! 

hall of fame finalists


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About Annie Gough

Annie Gough is a writer who is driven by the power of a good story to bring people together. As the Small Giants Community's Chief Storyteller, she strives to bring out the human element in business, and provide a platform for people who emulate what it means to be a Small Giant and might inspire others to do the same. She has been a Challenge Detroit Fellow, holds a master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of Stirling, and has worked with a broad range of clients on vibrant marketing and copywriting content. In her spare time, Annie enjoys volunteering at the local animal shelter, writing fiction, simulating the cooking show Chopped in her own kitchen, and enjoying the company of her very lazy mutt, Paisley.