Thoughts from CO.LAB Executive Entrepreneur Charlie Brock on his recent appointment as CEO of Launch Tennessee.

In recent weeks, I’ve found myself constantly reminded that, in the end, it always comes down to the people. Who did you meet, what relationships did you form, and how did you work together to impact people’s lives?

As I prepare to take on my new role as CEO of Launch Tennessee, I’m becoming even more appreciative of the incredible staff that I work alongside at CO.LAB. Each member of our team has a servant’s heart that gives them perspective beyond self; an entrepreneur’s DNA that drives them to try new ways of doing things; and an evangelist’s passion that makes their work important and meaningful.

I do take some pride in the progress that has been achieved over the past 15 months in our region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. But it’s a collective pride. We, the “Chattanooga team,” have worked together diligently, checking our egos at the door and making decisions based on the most desired outcome for the entrepreneurs and for Chattanooga – as the goals for these two target audiences are synchronized.

This collection of teammates extends far beyond the CO.LAB staff. It’s the members of the GigTank I steering committee who met every week for 10 consecutive months. It’s the mentors, local and regional, who have offered their time and talent. It’s my partners at Chattanooga Renaissance Fund, the corporations and foundations who have stepped up early and often to provide financial support, the partners and staff at Lamp Post Group, and many others, too numerous to name.

It’s also the entrepreneurs – those who toil every day in our community, as well as those who took a chance on coming to Chattanooga for GigTank I. They are creating, innovating and changing lives, and we are indebted to them.  As always, the entrepreneurs lead, and the rest of us need to support them, challenge them and take risks alongside them.

Too often in life we move quickly from one treadmill to the next, failing to take time to reflect on the journey itself. Well, we should stop and celebrate our progress. It’s been substantial. And the best is yet to come – our community has an opportunity to be a national leader in entrepreneurship, and we have the right people, working together, to make it happen.

My position at Launch Tennessee will give me the opportunity to learn about best practices from a new team of talented and experienced people. I can’t wait to share those lessons with my teammates in Chattanooga – and many others across the state – as we strive to attract, develop and support Tennessee’s entrepreneurs.

If we’re successful, it will come down to the people, once again.

– Charlie Brock