The rain was pouring on a gloomy Thursday morning in Baton Rouge, Louisiana – which it’s known to do around those parts – as Denise Blaisdell made her way to work.
She had already forgotten her phone at home to start the day, so she was a bit rushed. She also knew there was an announcement being posted that morning on the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® International Facebook page, but she didn’t know what it was about.
She kept refreshing the page at each stoplight. Nothing. What was it?
Confused as to why nothing was happening, Blaisdell continued her journey to the office. As she opened the door for what seemed like a normal day of work, her life instantly changed forever.
Standing there with a check for $50,000 was TWO MEN AND A TRUCK President Randy Shacka and in that instant, Blaisdell knew what was happening. She was being announced as the winner of the 2023 Mary Ellen’s Moving People Forward Scholarship program.
“I can let this sit for a minute because you just put in six, seven months of amazing work to represent the [Mary Ellen’s Moving People Forward Scholarship program],” Shacka said as members of the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Baton Rouge office looked on. “This program is based on grit, hard work, but most importantly, amazing people like yourself.”
“Congratulations, we are so happy for you.”
With one simple announcement – which was being streamed via Facebook Live – Blaisdell’s career path changed. She was now the winner of the scholarship program and will become a franchisee in the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK system. After years of experience as the Regional Vice President of Operations for the TWO MEN AND A TRCK Baton Rouge and Mobile, Alabama offices, she will be taking the next step and becoming a business owner.
Her reaction in the moment said it all.
“Sheer joy. I’m overwhelmed, happy, proud of myself and my team,” Blaisdell said. “I’m so blessed to be in an organization that does something like this. I can’t believe that my life has led me to TWO MEN AND A TRUCK and that I’ve had this opportunity. I’m just overwhelmed.”
“I worked so hard for this. We worked so hard for this. It’s been a team effort.”
The tears flowed from Blaisdell’s face, and her team members embraced her with hugs and congratulations as the news set in. In preparation of the surprise – which a few members of the office were tipped off about to help facilitate the announcement – they decorated a special room to celebrate. It had snacks, balloons, and even celebratory champagne.
As Blaisdell tried to gather herself and her thoughts, she immediately began to reflect on her journey through the company and the scholarship program and reflected on how all the work she put in had finally paid off. Like any business owner, plans were already going through her mind.
“The first goal is to open in Monmouth County, New Jersey, and I’m really looking forward to getting up there, building the brand, diversifying the business, and becoming a name in New Jersey,” Blaisdell said. “But additionally, I’m really looking to continue growing my team – our team. They need to continue to move through the programs, too.”
Eventually, she wants her team to experience the opportunities she had with programs like the scholarship program, which taught her so much over the last year.
“It’s just been such a great learning opportunity,” Blaidsell said. “Regardless of me winning or not, I would have gained so much information and so much knowledge that you can’t put a price tag on.”
After a little business talk and thoughts on opening her franchise in New Jersey, Blaisdell shifted back into the moment. There would be plenty of time to talk about franchise opening plans, building a team, purchasing moving trucks, and spreading brand awareness in her new city.
The rest of the day was about celebration. Her team was ready to help and she was ready to participate.
How was she going to enjoy the day?
“Well, I think there’s going to be champagne. I’ll call my mom, my aunt, my sister. My phone has been blowing up,” Blaisdell said. “I think we might celebrate with some cake. It’s been a lot of work, and it’s going to be nice to kind of have that released and enjoy it for a day. Then, we’ll go right back at it tomorrow.”
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