As a CEO, one of your biggest jobs is to be a leader for those in your company. And leadership sometimes necessitates putting yourself out there and being in the spotlight. This is one of the biggest struggles for me – I think all the recognition should go to my very talented team, not myself. So it was with trepidation that I learned I had been nominated for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Northern California Awards.

This is a serious award – leaders of great companies, such as of Elon Musk of Tesla, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, and Lynn Jurich of Sunrun have all received this award in the past. While it was a great honor to be nominated, and then make it to the semifinals, I was apprehensive to share the spotlight with so many distinguished entrepreneurs from San Francisco and the Silicon Valley.

However, as I worked my way through the interview process, I realized that I had a really unique and compelling story to tell…about how Matt, Jason, and I took the leap to build a company the way we wanted to, with a focus on helping families save money on monthly expenses.

The awards gala was an incredibly inspiring experience. Hearing the stories of some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the nation – understanding what motivates them and what they hope to accomplish in their business was an remarkable experience. And I got to share a table with Jason and Matt, our spouses, and my good friend Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity, who won in the Services category, and celebrate this great achievement.

Paramount Equity® was recognized as a finalist – the only finalist (and semifinalist) in the Sacramento area. I learned so much through this process. While hesitant to put myself in the spotlight, I realized that it’s not about me, it’s about recognizing the company that we’ve built together. It’s sharing our story of starting this company from nothing, and building it into multiple companies that have helped more than 55,000 people with $12 billion in loans. It’s about how we help each other every day to do something meaningful and great. I am so incredibly proud of this achievement and feel it’s just a matter of time before we’ll take the big award.