Chamber Insider Blog

SBA Spotlight: Rusty Foster

Thank you to Rusty Foster, CEO of BowTie Strategies for answering a few of our questions.
Congratulations on being named a finalist for Loudoun’s 2018 Exceptional Entrepreneur!
The 24th Annual Loudoun Small Business Awards will be on November 1, 2018 –Tickets/More Info Here

1. Tell us your story of how your business got to where it is today? – I started Bow Tie Strategies in September 2012 by chance. I was organizing an event and public relations efforts for two Marine Corps Veteran childhood friends of mine. They were walking across the country from Camp Pendleton, CA to the 8th and I Marine Corps barracks in Washington, DC. Originally, the gathering was supposed to be just friends catching up over dinner and drinks, but it turned into an event for about 1,500 people, a Welcome Home parade through historic Downtown Leesburg, proclamations being read on the courthouse steps, and a fundraiser that raised $5,000 for wounded Veterans. A lady that attended the fundraiser approached me after the event and asked if I did consulting work because she was impressed with the event and the media attention it received. She proceeded to hand me her business card and ask that I follow up with her. I called her about two weeks later and the rest is history. I worked a full-time job and Bow Tie Strategies for about two years before taking the plunge full-time and haven’t looked back.

2. What would it mean to you and your company to win a Small Business Award? – In my opinion, we’ve already won. I get to run a business I love. I have the pleasure of working with great people and unique clients everyday. And, the community I’ve called home since day one (yes, I was born in Loudoun) has rallied around me and my dream so I can make it a reality.

3. If you weren’t running your own business/working at this business, what would you be doing? – I would still be in the media industry of some sort. Helping people tell their stories is a unique talent. Not everyone can do it, which is why I love finding that spark in each person that makes them a star, even if it’s for only 15 seconds.

4. What book are you reading right now? / What is your favorite book? – I’m currently reading, Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek. My favorite book is Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom.

5. If you have 24-hours off, and your family was out of town, what would you do? – I would be sprawled out on the couch, ordering pizza, watching college football, napping, and relaxing with Dixie (my dog).

6. What is the smallest thing that has made the largest impact on your business? – My dog, Dixie May. Regardless if I’ve had a challenging day or a super successful day, she makes me smile and laugh. She’s only 17 pounds, but thinks she’s 80 pounds. She makes all the difference when I get home.

7. What did you want to be when you grew up as a child? / What was a childhood dream that you had? – I wanted to be a pediatrician. I love kids. It was the perfect mixture of being with children and helping/healing people. I may not be healing people in the medical sense, but I am helping people grow their businesses and to tell their stories to the right audiences.

8. Who is the one person that has influenced you the most in your career? – My mother has been the biggest influence on my entrepreneurial journey. Growing up, she always told me to “be willing to fail” and “to never wonder ‘what if.'” When I was thinking of starting Bow Tie Strategies, I heard my mother’s voice in my head “be willing to fail.”

9. What is your favorite thing about running a business in Loudoun County? – The people. We have so many brilliant business owners in Loudoun. We’re very fortunate to live in the geographic location we do. How many places can say they have Fortune 500 companies, data centers, wineries, breweries, small businesses, nonprofits, Five-Star restaurants, world renowned resorts, and the list goes on, all located in their backyard? We’re fortunate to have people running these businesses that are willing to give of their time and of their resources to share how they became successful within their respective industry. That’s one thing that makes Loudoun great.

10. If you’re not in the office where can we find you? – Honestly… across the parking lot from my office at Loudoun Brewing Company. Phil Fust and his team are top-notch. They’re good people that make great beer, and the place reminds me of Cheers! – where everyone knows you by name.

11. What is your favorite weekend activity in Loudoun County? – Well, for 20 weeks during the spring/summer/fall, you’ll find me at the Tarara Summer Concert Series at Tarara Winery. It’s the best kept secret in the DC area that produces some of the most unique cover band concerts you’ll experience. There’s nothing better than enjoying 80s music, bbq, and wine or beer, while over looking a lake. And, of course, the 2,000 of your closest friends joining you. 2019 marks 20 years of the Concert Series. Come join me – you won’t regret it.

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