In bestowing the honor at the 2019 National Character Awards on October 24, the organization said, “This award serves to recognize role models and mentors like you who inspire us to dream – to reach for joy, laughter, compassion, hope, integrity, and all the character traits that you and your family have displayed through your tireless efforts to not only create a sustainable quality product but also creating a lasting impact by limiting harm on the environment through your company’s initiatives.”
Character.Org is a national advocacy group that promotes character education and strives to influence people in other areas, including the workplace, the family and sports. The National Character Awards “honor individuals who have committed themselves to living out character-driven lives.”
In accepting the honor, Bigelow, who is the third-generation CEO of the family-owned company, praised the organization for promoting and building character in youth starting at a young age.
“I firmly believe that character is developed at an early age,” Bigelow said. “And I had the best role models in the world — my parents. Especially my father, who believed nothing was too small in terms of acts of kindness or in making sure you were always trying to do the right thing.”
She shared examples of how her father taught her the meaning of character and said, “That is how I have tried to run my life and run the business. I have realized more and more as the years have gone by that we are all role models — no, we are not perfect, and we make mistakes — but we are role models to everyone around us.”
“Every day, every action we take counts: our words count, how we treat people counts,” she said. “So, getting this award from a room full of role models is very humbling and very reinforcing of the good people and good work being done every day.”
Bigelow has a Bachelor of Science degree from Boston College and an MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management. She has received honorary doctorates from Johnson & Wales University, the University of New Haven and Fairfield University. She often speaks to students and industry leaders on business ethics and career development.
Among the other honorees were George Raveling, college basketball player and coach and member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, who received the American Patriot Award, and Clifton Taulbert, noted author, entrepreneur and business consultant, who was given the Sanford N. McDonnell Lifetime Achievement Award.
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