To see the FULL list of SBA Finalists, click here.
1. Tell us your story of how your company got to where it is today?
Morven Park is over 200 years old and was once the private residence of the governor of Maryland during the Civil War and the governor of Virginia during WWI. Starting as a modest farmhouse in 1780, Morven Park’s mansion evolved into an impressive and grand estate. In the 1960s, Morven Park’s mansion and grounds opened to the public as a nonprofit park for the enjoyment of visitors and dedicated to protect and preserve this unique, historic Loudoun County resource. Morven Park is the home of three museums: the Davis Mansion, the Winmill Carriage Museum, and the Museum of Hounds and Hunting. People come from near and far to hike and ride horses along our miles of trails. Athletes play soccer, lacrosse, rugby, ultimate Frisbee and flag football on some of the finest and best cared-for sports fields in the area. We are one of Loudoun County’s most sought-after wedding venues, providing couples an exclusive and elegant setting for their most memorable day. We are home to Loudoun Therapeutic Riding and Virginia Tech’s Equine Medical Center. The Morven Park International Equestrian Center is a world-renown horse park, and I amproud to be leading the efforts to do an extensive renovation. In 2018, we will welcome the return of horse racing, bringing British country-style racing to Leesburg, where race goers can enjoy picnicking, tailgating and enjoy a day in one of Loudoun’s most beautiful settings. Today, Morven Park is truly the “Central Park” of Loudoun County (in fact we are larger than NYC’s Central Park), with 1,000 acres of protected parkland right here in Leesburg where we welcome 200,000 visitors a year, 7-days-a-week.
2. What would it mean to you and your company to win a Small Business Award?
As a nonprofit organization, we rely on donations to keep our gates open to the public, so we look forward to the exposure the Small Business Award can bring us. People are so impressed with the stunning beauty of this park, they enthusiastically support our efforts by becoming loyal donors. It always surprises me to hear people say that they live in Loudoun County but they’ve never heard of, nor been to, Morven Park. The park is an asset not to be missed.
3. If you weren’t running your own business, what would you be doing?
If I weren’t running Morven Park, I would choose to remain in the nonprofit arena. Working to further a cause has always been very motivating to me. Other nonprofits I’ve had the pleasure to serve include the American Red Cross, the Prevent Cancer Foundation and HealthWorks for Northern Virginia. Each of those organizations has a noble mission that inspired hard work by dedicated people.
4. What book are you reading right now? / What is your favorite book?
My favorite book is “Angela’s Ashes,” a memoire by Frank McCourt. In his written word, I could clearly hear his Irish lilt.
5. What is your favorite app (computer/phone)?
I like to travel, so I tend to use travel apps frequently, like Travelocity and Expedia. Even Google Earth helps me get a street view of the places I’ll be visiting.
6. If you have 24 hours off, and your family was out of town, what would you do?
I’m a private pilot, so I would take my small plane out for a couple of hours to enjoy the peace and quiet I find when I’m flying alone.
7. What is the smallest thing that has made the largest impact on your business?
In the nonprofit arena, a board of directors with vast experience in the business world can make all the difference. I credit the current Board of Trustees of the Westmoreland Davis Memorial Foundation with Morven Park’s recent success and progress. The foundation has oversight of this multi-faceted organization, and each individual Trustee brings a different skill set and professional expertise to our board room.
8. What did you want to be when you grew up? / What was a childhood dream that you had?
I’m a lifelong horse owner and rider, so as a kid, I wanted to be either a horse vet or a jockey. Today I keep a tiny bit of that dream alive simply by riding as often as I can and by spending time with my two beloved horses, Patrick, a retired, 30-year-old race horse, and Lemonade, my yellow palomino quarter horse.
9. Who is the one person that has influenced you the most in your career?
That would have to be my father. Shortly before he died, he wrote a very private memoir of his work life starting from the time he was 10 years old as a newspaper delivery boy. He had a the craziest jobs when he was young, selling Christmas trees on cold winter nights huddled around a fire on street corners in New York, and helping his dad remove aircraft “dope” (a lacquer applied to fabric-covered airplane wings) as they repaired planes in his garage on Long Island. He taught me to work hard and take pride in your work.
10. What is your favorite thing about living/running a business in Loudoun County?
As a 25-year resident of Loudoun County, I have found this to be a wonderful place to raise a family. My children graduated from Loudoun Valley High School, so I’m very pleased to see that the western part of the county is now being valued for the benefits the rural economy brings to all residents of Loudoun.
Thanks, Stephanie Kenyon, of Morven Park, and congratulations on your nomination!
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The 22nd Annual Loudoun Small Business Awards is Friday, November 4th! Register Here