At CEO Connection’s Mid-Market Convention this year, I was honored to be given the Rising Star award for my work as CEO of Pacesetter. Getting here has taken a lot of hard work, some luck, and the incredible support from my team and family. This award, in my mind, belongs not just to me but to all of us — as well as the other rising stars out there.

First, a little about CEO Connection. It’s the only membership organization in the world reserved for CEOS of mid-market companies, those with revenue between $100 million and $3 billion a year, of which my company Pacesetter is one. They connect CEOs to one another and to helpful people and resources, as well as acting as a co-op purchasing group and trade association.

CEO Connection’s Mid-Market Convention is sometimes referred to “Davos” for the Mid-Market. There, C-Level executives from mid-market companies gather to honor achievements and join top minds together. This year’s theme was “Innovation Meets Scale,” and if you know me, you’ll understand why this is right up my alley.

There are four awards given out at the convention. These are 1) Mid-Market Company of the Year, 2) Mid-Market CEO of the Year, 3) Mid-Market Rising Star of the Year, and 4) Social Impact Award.

All of these are prestigious honors, and I couldn’t be more blessed to be signaled out as a rising star. The Rising Star award, by description, goes to “the mid-market executive, who early in his/her career, has demonstrated the greatest potential for leadership and lasting impact.”

It was an amazing feeling to be presented with such a reputable award in front of so many great up-and-coming and experienced CEOs. But like I said before, I really can’t take all the credit. At the convention I accepted the award on behalf of all the other rising star CEOs, and my exceptionally passionate and talented Pacesetter team, without which I wouldn’t be the leader I am. It’s also thanks to my parents, from whom I learned so much and who gave me the opportunity to succeed, and my husband, who is a constant source of support.

Being a rising star, to me, means creating an environment where my associates — who I truly consider family — all can thrive. I feel that it’s my responsibility to create an environment where we celebrate our successes together and give back to the community. Being a rising leader has and will continue to come with extra challenges, which I’m happy to embrace full-heartedly and take head-on.

I may have been singled out this time, but there are so many rising leaders out there, both in the C-suite and elsewhere. To all of these rising leaders, I advise you to follow your heart, do what you are most passionate about and never sacrifice your integrity. Always be willing to challenge the status quo, learn from others, and do not waste time reinventing the wheel.

To rising leaders and aspiring ones, I promise you have what it takes if you embrace your strengths and understand your weaknesses. Being a strong leader means surrounding yourself with a team of people with diverse talents who are smarter than yourself. Challenge that group to be their very best, to continue growing and to develop their teams. Drive passion through your organizations by leading by example and empowering your team to thrive. Help them to focus on what they are best at and the most passionate about. And most importantly, have fun doing it!

I’m truly blessed to be acknowledged for my leadership at Pacesetter, a role that I take to heart as part of my being. But a rising star can’t rise alone. I consider all of my associates, peers, family and friends stars on the rise, and I know that we will only continue rising if we’re in it together.