Volunteer Profile: An Enterprising Reader

Last modified: 
Monday, May 30, 2011

The H&R Block Business and Career Center was designed, in part, to help people get their own businesses up and running. Now, one local entrepreneur has crossed to the other side of the help desk, where, as a Library volunteer, she works with customers not unlike herself.

Annie Sorensen is a seasoned self-starter. While working as a software designer at Cerner for seven years, she used her free time to carve a place for herself as an independent brand partner in the world of network marketing.

She became one of the top 30 earners in her company, and in January of last year, she was able to quit her day job.

“That was a business that I built up 100 percent around my full-time job – in evenings and on weekends, in the nooks and crannies of my life,” Sorensen says.

After leaving Cerner, she picked up a real estate license. Now, she and her husband own several investment properties.

Self-education – mainly through reading – has always been Sorensen’s driving force.

“I’ve always been entrepreneurially minded, but it kind of started in college,” says the University of Iowa graduate. “I really got into personal development books, which opened my mind to things like motivation, inspiration, and goal-setting.”

Some of her most influential reads: Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki (“that set me on a path to exploring”), How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (“huge impact on me for working with people”); and The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson (“if you make one more phone call, send one more email, or have one more appointment, all those things over the course of life can build up”).

Her love of books made the Kansas City Public Library a natural fit when she was looking for opportunities to give back to the community.

“There’s nothing I love more than either reading myself or talking about books, development, and businesses,” Sorensen says.

After three months as a Block Center volunteer, she’s gotten to do quite a bit of that.

“When people come into the Center, they’re working on something – whether it’s finding a job or career, or researching a business opportunity or business plan,” Sorensen says.  “Everyone who comes in is always working on something, going somewhere.”

And when it comes to finding help for fellow entrepreneurs, she could hardly be in a better place.

“One of the biggest reasons an entrepreneur succeeds or fails is planning, and you can use the Center not just for research but for building a business plan,” Sorensen says.

For someone like Sorensen, that’s a pretty big deal.

-- Jason Harper