Mar 27, 2019 - News

Small Businessperson of the Year finalist: 5 questions with Carrie Cook, founder of EmpowHERment and executive director of GreenLight Fund Charlotte


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Carrie Cook was already an up-and-coming leader in the political world when she fell ill after one of her frequent international trips. In her hospital bed, the Charlotte native decided she was ready to make an even bigger impact.

She launched EmpowHERment in 2012, a nonprofit dedicated to connecting girls in Charlotte with female leaders to give them guidance and a role model of success. Seven years later, it’s still going strong. But a few years back, Cook brought in an executive director to run the day-to-day while she helped launch another difference-making venture: GreenLight Fund Charlotte.

As the organization’s founding executive director, Cook has brought GreenLight’s unique approach to solving civic problems through targeted investment to Charlotte.

All that’s led Cook to be named a finalist for Axios Charlotte’s Small Businessperson of the Year award in the Nonprofit category.

Get to know Carrie and learn from her success through these five questions.

What’s the first hour of your day look like?

Wake up, work out, motivational music or podcast.

What’s the most valuable business lesson you’ve learned?

1) Put everything in writing and know your numbers.
2) Good intentions don’t equal good strategy.

What’s a recent purchase of less than $100 that you love?

A Japanese kimono I bought from a thrift shop in Okinawa last Christmas while visiting my Mom. I wear it lots of different ways and it makes me feel connected to my Mom while she’s living there.

What’s the best book you’ve read in the past year?

“Becoming,” by Michelle Obama

What other small businessperson do you admire?

Michelle Keaton Barrow, Sherrell Dorsey, Garrett Tichy, Fabi Presslar


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