The Future is Bright, by Thomas Sanchez with Anthony Shop

The future is bright.  That simple mantra is what has allowed Anthony and me to dream and create our future together. As a kid growing up on a family farm in Missouri, my family would plant seeds each spring with the optimism that the results months later would be worthwhile. It always yielded results.

My experience growing up on a family farm is something I am grateful for and often look back to in how it shaped my life. Today, I am the CEO and founder of Social Driver, which is a digital agency located in Washington, D.C.  Together, my husband and I have built this family business to be one of the nation’s leading digital agencies.

One of the most important aspects of running Social Driver is creating an exciting culture. We believe the future is bright, all progress is social, and that drivers make history. We don’t just apply that to our work, but also to our lives.

When Anthony and I were growing up in Missouri, we didn’t know each other yet, but we shared a sense of optimism about the future. It didn’t matter that we were gay, or that I was a first-generation college graduate. We thought that we could achieve a bright future despite any challenges.

We understand not everyone is as fortunate as we are. That is why we get involved with organizations that share the same belief that the future can be bright for everyone. One example is my alma mater, Northwest Missouri State University. Students there believe that they are investing in the future by attending – and they are right. I love going back to campus to guest lecture, encourage entrepreneurship, and most importantly, mentor future leaders. It’s paying it forward.

Entrepreneurs are some of the most optimistic people I’ve met. Not to mention that running a small business is the American dream. All families should be able to do what Anthony and I do. That is why I was incredibly happy when Social Driver was named the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce “Supplier of the Year”. To stay further involved, I am a member of the Mid-Atlantic Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce that is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, as well as the Capital Area Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce here in Washington, DC. These organizations were created and furthered by people – like our mentors Eileen Kessler of OmniStudio and Dan Nilsen of Bishop-McCann – who believe in making the future better for those around them.

My hope is that by sharing our story, we are planting more seeds for others who will create their own American dreams, and make a better future for themselves, their families and our communities. The future is bright – that’s what the American dream makes possible.

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