AmiSights: Financing the Future For Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs
AmiSights: Financing the Future For Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs Apr 18, 2023
117: How Running a Business Goes from Checkers to Chess for This Female Entrepreneur
In today’s podcast, MultiFunding President Lynn Ozer, aka SBA Queen, and I talk to Angela Pointon, Owner and President of 11outof11, a digital marketing agency that offers outsource content marketing services and HubSpot expertise and training. Angela tells us about what makes her tick and the inspiration behind her book, “Stop Blending In: The 7 Steps for Achieving Thought Leader Status and Standing Out in Your Field.”
She explains that when she was working for an agency, she was working 60-70 hours a week, commuting an hour each way and hardly seeing her then-very young children. While she climbed the ranks to COO, she was burnt out and took some time off to freelance before launching 11outof11 in 2017.
“Our business model is comprised of a lot of subcontractors – people who really own their own work-life balance and choose how much they want to work in their life versus spending time traveling or doing other things or spending time with family,” she said. “Being able to empower people to own that themselves and dictate that whatever that means for them is something that really makes me tick and gets me excited.”
She admits she didn’t know much about running a business when she first started, but loved the newness of the first few years.
“With every client that signed, I got really excited, and ‘I can't believe they want to work with us’ was more my attitude going into that, not because I didn't think that we could deliver, I was just kind of a kid in the candy store, just excited that it was taking off and growing and making money and also empowering people to build a life that they wanted,” she said.
As the business grows, she is trying to spend more time working on her business rather than working in it, and empowering others to take control and do what they do best.
“Delegation is a lot about trust. It was really about building the team and providing training or coaching in areas that they needed to grow,” she said. “If it's not done the way I want, I swoop back in and do it myself. That's my bad behavior from a delegation perspective. When you have people who actually do things better than you could, you get away from that feeling.”
Listen to learn about what marketing expertise her company provides, how she thinks tools like ChatGPT will affect content creation and how she sets goals.
116: What an Ecommerce Marketing Guru Did When the World Shut Down
In today’s podcast, MultiFunding President Lynn Ozer, aka SBA Queen, and I talk to Jon MacDonald, founder and president of The Good, an ecommerce conversion rate and customer experience optimization advisory that helps brands understand the clicks and movements of their website visitors, and use that data to convert more existing visitors into buyers. Jon also tells us how he spent his extra time during the pandemic writing a step-by-step book, “Opting in to Optimization.”
“I said, ‘If I come out of COVID, what is the one thing that I could really do for the business that is going to move the needle?’” he says. “The more I thought about it, the more I thought, I have time to write a book and share with the world our thought process on how we optimize over the past 15 years for ecommerce brands. I started by interviewing my teammates, my core team members at The Good, and said, ‘if you could tell the world anything, what would it be? And let's figure that out.’”
The book, available at bookstores, thegood.com, and Amazon, where it has been a bestseller the past four or five months, is aimed at ecommerce founders or managers who are at the second or third stage of growth, Jon says.
“The third level is really when they start to dial it up. You are spending money to drive traffic, it's working. Now you want to get a better return on that ad spend. Those are the folks who really will get the most out of that book,” he said.
While his company primarily works with large companies like Nike, Adobe and Xerox, he started a new wing called The Good Ventures which provides products for small businesses, such as the UserInput tool.
The Portland, Oregon company’s name, The Good, derived out if its “mission is to remove all of the bad online experiences until only the good remain," Jon says.
While doing good by its customers, the company also does good by its employees and the community as it is a certified B Corporation.
“We put a lot of emphasis on culture, making sure that we have the right teammates, who embody and are attracted to that benefit corporation where we're putting people and planet before profits,” he explains.
Listen here to learn how Jon’s larger-than-average shoe size prompted him to delve into ecommerce optimization, how Obama’s first presidential campaign changed digital optimization, and how The Good was prepared for what was coming when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit China.
115: Are You Navigating Economic Landmines Successfully?
In today’s podcast, MultiFunding President Lynn Ozer, aka SBA Queen, and I talk to Chris Earley, an ex-franchisee, founder and president of Liberty Inspection Group, based in Media, Pennsylvania. Chris tells us how he started his own home inspection company after getting his feet wet with a franchise. He also talks about diversifying his business to make it through the fluctuating real estate market. If your business is or isn’t experiencing shifts because of economic factors, let Chris’ story inspire you on how to navigate economic landmines.
“The franchise was good for us for a couple years; the business-in-the-box was really, really good – kind of got me going faster than I would have ordinarily,” he explained. “But after a few years, it was just kind of like a waste of my royalties. I'm giving them 11% of everything I make, and I'm not getting any value in return.”
He was one of the first franchisees to leave the company and was only in year eight of a 10-year non-compete agreement. So, he switched the name and kept the number and kept all the same clients. Although the franchisor came after him and he had to pay their attorney fees, it was worth it for him as he made back the money that he would have paid in royalties within a year.
Although the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 took its toll as he didn’t have any income coming in, people began to “buy houses like crazy” and everybody was getting an inspection. But for the past 12-18 months, not only has the volume of sales down, but people are waiving inspections.
To compensate, he decided to start a handyman division, Canopy Building Services, with a separate C corporation and separate employees from the inspection side. Both companies share resources and have the same leadership team. The business model is also similar to Liberty’s as they both incorporate Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) and operate on traction.
Listen here as Chris also discusses what people should be aware of before selling their house, how his peer groups helped him through tough times, and the possibility of franchising his business.
114: The 5 I’s of Leadership and How It Drives Your Top and Bottom Lines
In today’s podcast, MultiFunding President Lynn Ozer, aka SBA Queen, and I talk to Marissa Levin, a five-time, 30-year entrepreneur, speaker, best-selling author, mindset expert, and globally recognized growth and spiritual strategist. In today’s episode, she tells us about her latest venture, I5 Conscious Leadership, a leadership education and consulting firm guided by a mission to elevate the consciousness of the world through leadership.
"At the heart of all of us is a beautiful spirit, and my spirit is definitely one that is here to uplift and empower others," she said. "My lifetime legacy mission – LLM – is to empower 1 billion people to live their most joyful lives. And I do that through the work that I do, through 30 years of entrepreneurship of helping people move past their self limiting beliefs, their deeply ingrained patterns that hold them back, and really step into their highest potential and remember who they are."
The impetus for this mission goes back 30 years to when she branched out on her own after working for a man who capped her value way below her worth, despite her education and how much money she was bringing into the company. She started her first business, Information Experts, a strategic communications and education firm. She launched the firm as a solopreneur with a $35,000 contract and grew the organization to approximately $14 million in revenue and 75 employees until she exited in 2012.
The model for her latest business, I5 Conscious Leadership, is intention, identity, integrity, insight, and inspiration.
"The first thing is you have to create a baseline, you have to know what you’re working with," she said. "We start with an assessment of the organization in terms of where they are with their leadership. So many of the problems that can be avoided come from having the courage and the awareness to do the work to bridge the gap between how the leaders see themselves and how the employees see themselves."
The gap leads to disengagement, which according to research through Gallup and other sources, is high. The research finds that only 21% of employees are engaged at work, 90% of employees are fully miserable and 60% of employees are emotionally detached.
Listen here to learn more about the types of businesses I5 serves (hint: all types and sizes), how Marissa’s public speaking boosts her business, and the importance of building a trusted team around you.
113: A Serial Entrepreneur Takes His Horrific Accident and Turns it Into a Business
In today’s podcast, MultiFunding President Lynn Ozer, aka SBA Queen, and I talk to Joe Torres, CEO and president of Developmental Therapy Associates, based in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina. He also runs a software development company and a real estate group and holding company. In this episode, Joe tells us how a near-fatal incident changed the trajectory of not only his career but also his life.
In 2012, he was riding his motorcycle to the gym when he was hit head-on by another vehicle, changing his life forever. He spent a month in the hospital and three months in a wheelchair and was introduced to the industries of physical, speech, and occupational therapy and rehab.
"I didn’t know anything about it because up to that point, I never broke a single bone, and in that one accident, I broke over 22 of them. Both femurs, which I now have titanium rods and screws everywhere," he said. "I was introduced to this amazing industry that I would argue till I'm blue in the face helped me live whatever my normal, my new normal, would be."
A year later, he met his wife, who was, incidentally, a speech therapist.
"I immediately was enamored with her even more so because of her profession, and what it just did for me a year prior to even meeting her," he said.
A few years after that, the company his wife worked for went up for sale, and he put in the sweat equity to explore ways of making it happen.
"It was a multitude of different things. One, I took some of my other investments that I had and liquidated them and put that towards the purchase. The other was an SBA loan," he said.
While learning the ins and outs of an SBA loan and business acquisition was a challenging experience, he was comfortable in the decision because of his wife’s experience and knowledge of the company.
While he is not a clinician, he believes that actually helps in running the business.
"What happens is a clinician, whether it be a medical doctor, primary care, dentist, it doesn't matter, they're actually clinical first, their mind is not business. Their first thought is, ‘I want to help people.’ And then what starts to happen is they find themselves in the middle of this business that they have no real earthly idea of running," he said.
Although the company is growing with four locations in North Carolina, hiring licensed practitioners continues to be the biggest headwind.
Listen here to learn more about how Joe and his wife divide the business duties based on their individual strengths and how a strong leadership team allows him to balance all of his business interests, as well as a few hobbies, too.
112: Maximizing Business Value: Benefits of Thinking about Exit Strategies from the Start
In today’s podcast, MultiFunding President Lynn Ozer, aka SBA Queen, and I talk to Tom Bronson, founder and president of the Business Transition Summit, as well as Mastery Partners and Mastering Mergers and Acquisitions. All three companies empower business owners to maximize business value and serve business owners in different capacities to help them achieve their dream exit. In this episode, we focus on what every business owner needs to know about business exit strategies for business success.
“I am what most people call a serial entrepreneur. I have owned, operated, and sold 100 businesses in my career,” he said.
For every business that comes on the market, only 17% of them actually reach a closing table, meaning there's an 83% failure rate for businesses that attempt a transaction.
“My team and I started thinking about the things that we did in our businesses to make them more attractive and more valuable and prepared them for going on the market,” he said. “And so we developed our own intellectual property around this where we do an assessment of the business, then we build a roadmap to get the business from where they are today to where they want to be, then we help that business owner and team execute that roadmap and ultimately reach a transaction.”
His theory is that entrepreneurs should be thinking about their exit strategy when they first start up or buy a business, if not before.
“I have never gotten into a business without first thinking through what my exit strategy is going to be because I know that I'm not going to own this business forever,” he said. “Every business on the planet will eventually transition, because we have an expiration date.”
In order to be ready for a successful exit, a business must avoid owner dependency at all costs. He advises owners to document the tasks that only they know how to do, then teach somebody else how to do them and watch somebody else do some of those things.
“I get rid of all of those non-strategic things that I'm doing so I can spend more time thinking about strategy, and the business just starts improving,” he said. “If you can't take time out of your business, then your business is owner-dependent, and you need to find a way to solve that. That is deal killer number one.”
Listen here to learn what Bronson believes are the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make, who makes a good candidate to sell your business to, and how to transition the leadership team.
111: The Comeback of Rosati Ice, America's First Italian Ice Company
In today’s podcast, I talk to Rich Trotter, a U.S. Army veteran-turned-entrepreneur who has led Rosati Ice for over 25 years. We talk about the catastrophic consequences caused by the pandemic shutdowns and how his employees pulled together to keep the company afloat. By having such loyal and dedicated employees, Rich has been able to continue his legacy and stay true to his value of “Mission First, People Always.”
After graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point and serving five years as an artillery officer, Rich eventually joined his dad's soft pretzel business. When the company was sold, Rich bought Rosati Ice – the "best Italian ice company" – in 1997 and adjusted the business model.
Instead of making the highest profits of the year just during the three or four months of summer, he focused on selling to K-12 schools to give him steady profits throughout the year. That model worked fabulously – making up 70% of the company's sales – until schools were suddenly shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When the pandemic hit, it dropped our revenue by more than 50%,” he said. “On paper, the company became bankrupt very quickly.”
Support from his friends, family, and peer group kept him going during tough times. But it was his dedicated employees who saved the business. In December 2020, after asking the bank not to foreclose on the company, he laid off the entire staff, including himself. Half of the employees arrived the next day knowing they wouldn't be paid.
"They knew that if they stayed away, the business would certainly not stay in business. And they did whatever they needed to to help keep us afloat,” he said. “And to them, I'll be forever indebted.”
He also is forever grateful to his wife of 41 years, Debbie, who provided a respite at home from the grueling days at work.
"The support and space she gave me were off the charts," he said. "It allowed me to catch my breath when I did come home. She allowed me to stay completely focused on the business. And when it came to the family, all she wanted me to do was enjoy it, my kids and grandkids."
Now that schools are back in session, Rosati Ice still has a big hole to climb, but sales are inching toward pre-pandemic levels.
Rich is entirely hands-on, tracking the business' cash daily and constantly traveling to reconnect with customers he hasn’t seen in a few years due to the pandemic.
110: Demystifying Stakeholder Capitalism and Helping Build Thriving Stakeholder Businesses
In today’s podcast, MultiFunding President Lynn Ozer, aka SBA Queen, and I talk to Kent Gregoire, Co-Founder of Stakeholder Business, which is on a mission to help entrepreneurs transform their companies for maximum impact. In addition to his work with Stakeholder Business, he is also the Founder and CEO of Symphony Advantage. Being one of seven certified conscious capitalism consultants around the world, Kent wants to create more opportunities and solve more problems for stakeholders. The main topics of today’s discussion will be conscious capitalism and stakeholder capitalism.
"Conscious capitalism is a way of being able to express, through business, how to elevate humanity to solve worthy problems for society and the planet," he explains. "Conscious capitalism itself is also a theory where stakeholder capitalism becomes the practice around creating companies that not only just say they do good, but their representation of what is happening is also doing well for other people."
While it may seem that conscious capitalism consists simply of giving a percentage of profits to a particular charity or creating a foundation, Kent says it goes deeper than that. It is a deliberate operating model set in place from the get-go rather than waiting to see if the business turns a profit. And it doesn't just have to relate to sharing profits.
"You can engage your stakeholders to help them innovate, find out what their purpose is, help your stakeholders be successful," he said. "If your stakeholders are successful, it's going to help you innovate in your organization, help you get access to products from other organizations faster, and help you with retention."
Learn more as Kent explains the five elements of stakeholder capitalism and how it changes business for good.
109: How One Entrepreneur Did a 180 from Running Salons to Launching a Tech App
In today’s podcast, MultiFunding President Lynn Ozer, aka SBA Queen, and I talk to serial entrepreneur Celeste Trapp, who has started an exciting new venture after nearly 20 years in the salon business. Celeste has begun her next venture as the CEO and Founder of Whoz, a SaaS social invite and engagement app to help companies and associations engage and retain their valued employees and members.
After working more than 10 years in marketing, Celeste founded Hair M – one of the first high-end men’s grooming salons – in October 2003. Based in Portland, Hair M had seven salons at its peak. The pandemic, combined with social unrest in downtown Portland, took its toll on the operation, cutting her locations to five.
Her new venture, a SaaS social invite and engagement app called Whoz, has been nine years in the making.
“In life, I think that people are either an organizer, a joiner, or a no-goer,” she explained. “I'm an organizer. I love bringing people together doing all kinds of things. And I get a lot of joy out of seeing those connections happen. What I realized over the years is there's just not a good tool to do that.”
Sure, Facebook groups and Slack channels help people connect. But often, they end up creating a lot of noise for some who aren’t interested in the conversations that don’t align with their interests. The Whoz app will allow users with specific interests, like golf or travel, to connect at specific times and places.
We ask Celeste about the differences between launching a brick-and-mortar business and a tech app. Obviously, she says, an online-based business doesn’t have to deal with building maintenance and rising rents, but also doesn’t need as many employees, thus greatly reducing overhead.
But the same “creative problem solving I just get so jazzed up about” remains constant in any venture.
Celeste also shares how she plans to make money with her new app and what she plans to do with her salons when she hits it big with Whoz.
108: Why Contract Lawyers are so Important to a Small Business Owner with Donya Gordon
In today’s podcast, MultiFunding President Lynn Ozer, aka SBA Queen, and I talk to Donya Gordon, a contract attorney who focuses on commercial contracts, eCommerce M & A transactions, contract dispute resolution, distress business sales, and escrow services. The main focus of today’s conversation is what an entrepreneur should do to prepare for a successful transaction before the deal arrives on the attorney's desk.
After working with prominent law firms and as a judicial clerk for several years, Donya went out alone a couple of years ago without any outside financing. As a result, she is a one-woman show, except for contractors who help with heavy loads.
E-commerce is especially hot now, coming off the pandemic, with much movement in buying and selling businesses. Donya explains the importance of having an attorney specializing in e-commerce to guide entrepreneurs through the process.
"You don't want just to do this blindly," she says. "If your car breaks down, you're not fixing it yourself. And if you need a root canal, you're not doing it yourself. So why do you think you can be the attorney in a transaction? I encourage people to have a lawyer, but encourage you to get an e-commerce lawyer instead of just a lawyer."
We ask Donya what buyers and sellers can do well in advance to prepare for negotiations.
For buyers, make sure you have the money, she says. For sellers, make sure your financials are in order. You don't want poor bookkeeping or debts hampering the sale. And make sure you continue to put your foot on the gas. Just because you have an interested buyer doesn't mean you can give up. Deals can fall through at the last minute; ensure you have done your due diligence until the papers are signed.
107: Controlling How You Scale Your Business with Josh Watson
Welcome back to the AmiSights Podcast! Today we welcome our new Co-Host, MultiFunding President Lynn Ozer, aka the SBA Queen. On this episode, we talk to Josh Watson, founder of EIS Automation, a Las Vegas-based manufacturing automation company focusing on product handling and end-of-line solutions. This is a must see episode for entrepreneurs in exponential growth mode. We discuss how to finance growth and how saying no can lead to success.
Josh, who grew up in the printing industry, worked for a larger company when he decided to go out on his own in 2012. However, he maintained a consulting contract with his former employer until 2017. Since then, he has seen steady growth, including a big bump during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, when he was considered an essential service catering to the medical space.
Although he has considered adding angel investors, he realizes that comes with risk, especially since he is in the hardware world, which is very capital-intensive and has much longer build times than just a software business.
He reached his “aha moment” last year when he realized he was in a position to pick and choose his customers rather than accepting every bid that came across his desk.
"You have to look at where you want to go and not get distracted by the shiny things on the side of the road," he said. "Not every opportunity should be taken, especially if you have a goal in mind in the direction you want to go."
He is weighing his immediate and long-term needs with higher interest rates. After all, interest rates can go down, and the monthly payment is the point to worry about.
Looking back, he realizes he needs to trust the process and not sweat the small stuff.
"You always cook it hotter than you eat it. So a lot of situations resolved themselves," he said. "It requires a lot of personal growth."
We learned a lot from Josh, and we’re sure you will too.
106: Eric Schurenberg: Is Media Integrity Possible in a World of Endless Information?
In today’s podcast, I talk to Eric Schurenberg, editor-in-chief of Amplify Publishing Group and former CEO of Inc. and Fast Company.
After a long and successful career as a writer and editor, Eric manages a "concierge book publishing company." The opportunity was created, he says, by the "broken state of traditional book publishing in which book publishers are no longer able to fulfill the model of being the impresario for your book." Instead, in the hybrid model, the author is the client and can make most of the decisions and keep most of the money.
Eric is also heading the Newsroom Trust Project, a not-for-profit startup he describes as a "boot camp for working journalists to help them engage with…the declining state of trust in the profession."
We discussed media integrity, which is leading to our divided country. With all the information and the opportunity for anyone to be a "reporter" on the internet, who do you trust?
Whether it is a self-published subscription-based platform like Substack or a large organization with ample resources like the New York Times, news organizations need to control how they are seen out in the world and how they can deliver information worthy of people's trust, Eric says. And remember, those in the middle are responsible for keeping checks and balances on local and state government.
It’s a fascinating topic that has no easy answers. Listen to our conversation here.
105: Unlock Your Digital Marketing Potential with Scott Empringham’s 8-Step Framework
In today’s podcast, I sat down with Scott Empringham, CEO and Owner of Empringham Media. We talked about what an entrepreneur should know about embracing A.I. technology and how to explode their business in 90 days or less with his 8-step social media framework.
Much has changed in the marketing world over the past 20 years, and Scott has seen it all, including almost losing everything a couple of years ago when two of his largest clients went out of business.
He picked up the pieces quickly and started over using his own 8-step framework, and now he is busier than ever teaching his clients how to win using digital marketing.
“It was a horrible thing I went through, but the best thing I went through to help small businesses and rebuild my own business,” he said. “I shifted my focus from big car companies to working with small businesses.”
He explains the process he takes businesses through to build and maintain their marketing strategy.
The first question that needs to be asked is, "who is my ideal customer, and what problems can I solve for them?"
He also discusses how to use AI intelligently and shares his favorite success story, which involves a mom-and-pop restaurant that adapted and thrived during the pandemic.
Scott is a recognized digital marketing and social media expert with 20+ years of expertise helping over 1,000 entrepreneurs, small businesses, and Fortune 50 companies (Ford, HomeDepot, etc.).
His services include providing step-by-step growth strategies via an on-demand social media course, VIP mastermind coaching for CEOs and marketers, and full-service agency support.
Scott’s committed to helping small businesses and offers a complimentary monthly workshop to help businesses answer three key questions: “Where do I start?”, “What do I say?”, “How do I get it all done in less time and less money?”
104: Seth Barnes: Building an 8-Figure National Brand with Your Spouse
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Seth Barnes, Co-Founder and CMO of Raddish, on building a business with your spouse - the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Seth is the Co-Founder and CMO of Raddish, a cooking club for kids! Each month tens of thousands of kids learn to cook with Raddish's thematic kits, activities, and tools discovering that the kitchen is the tastiest place to learn. In his role, he oversees marketing, product, technology, and customer service. Before Raddish Seth held senior marketing roles at Savings.com, Edmunds.com and United Online. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Raddish Founder Samantha Barnes and their two children.
103: Unlock Innovation and Drive Explosive Growth with Josh Linkner
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Josh Linkner, Author & Speaker, to discuss how the pandemic grounded him as a speaker - but did it change his life forever?
Josh Linkner is a Creative Troublemaker. He has been the founder and CEO of five tech companies, which sold for a combined value of over $200 million. He’s an internationally recognized expert on innovation and is the author of four books on the subject including the New York Times Bestsellers, Disciplined Dreaming, and The Road to Reinvention.
Josh is passionate about starting and building companies. He’s the co-founder and Managing Partner of Muditā Venture Partners - an early-stage venture capital firm - and was previously the CEO and founding partner of Detroit Venture Partners. Over the last 30 years, he's helped over 100 startups launch and scale.
Today, Josh serves as Chairman and co-founder of Platypus Labs, an innovation research, training, and consulting firm. He has twice been named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and is a recipient of the United States Presidential Champion of Change Award.
Josh is also a passionate Detroiter, the father of four, a professional-level jazz guitarist, and has a slightly odd obsession for greasy pizza.
102: Stephan Aarstol, One of the Biggest Success Stories in Shark Tank History
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Stephan Aarstol, Founder of Tower Paddle Boards, on if he had to do it all over again, would he have gone on Shark Tank?
With over two decades of Internet experience at the executive level, Stephan is an Internet industry veteran. He has founded a number of ventures including the No Middleman Project, Tower Electric Bikes, Tower Paddle Boards, the Tower Beach Club, Sidepot Gaming, and more.
Founded in 2010 and funded by billionaire Mark Cuban, Tower Paddle Boards is one of the biggest success stories in Shark Tank history. With only $100K in lifetime sales at the time of the 2011 pitch, Cuban invested just $150K, and since then Tower has done well over $40M in sales. In 2014 with a staff of just 5 people and revenues of $5M, Tower was named the #1 fastest growing private company in San Diego by the San Diego Business Journal. A year later Tower was #239 on the INC 500 list of America's fastest growing companies. Tower was the #1 brand out of over 2 million 3rd party sellers signed up for the pilot Amazon Exclusives program, and he and his company were mentioned by name in Jeff Bezos’ 2015 annual letter to stockholders. Tower was named to Internet Retailer's 2016 "Hot 100" list of the world's most innovative e-retailers.
Stephan holds an MBA in New Venture Management from the University of San Diego. He is a widely published entrepreneurial thought leader and he speaks regularly at Harvard Business School on the recently published HBS case study, “Selling on Amazon at Tower Paddle Boards”.
In 2015, to challenge long held delusions about unhealthy start-up work culture, Stephan moved his whole company to a 5-hour workday and would later write a book titled “The Five Hour Workday” about the experience, which would spread the idea to tens of millions of people worldwide, and get press in over 20 countries (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and more). He was subsequently hailed, "The World's Best Boss" by Hamburg Germany's #2 newspaper, MorgenPost, and "America's Best Boss" by the UK's Daily Mail.
101: Biggest Challenges Ahead For Businesses In The Equipment Rental Industry, with Josh Nickell
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Josh Nickell, VP of the American Rental Association (ARA), on the biggest challenges ahead for businesses in the equipment rental industry.
Josh is a rental industry specialist focused on helping businesses get more out of less. Businesses, like rental, face new challenges and increased complexity and have the potential to reshape our economy.
Josh grew up in the rental industry as a 3rd generation rental entrepreneur. Over the last 20+ years, Josh has had the opportunity to run one of the fastest-growing rental companies in the country (4x Inc. Magazine — Inc. 5000 winner). In addition, he’s spent time at a national rental company, consulted with local rental companies, served as a board advisor for startups and rental marketplaces, and worked in rental-specific software for companies worldwide.
100: Your Guide to Accountability with Michael Caito
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Michael Caito, owner and CEO of Management Action Programs (MAP), to discuss what MAP is, how it works, and how it compares to EOS or Scaling Up.
Michael’s entrepreneurial roots date back to the early 1990s when he and two partners launched Restaurants on the Run with a mere $6,000. Michael spent the next 20 years building that business. When the company sold in 2015, it was valued at 12x EBITDA and scaled 10 markets, 600 people, and $40 million in revenue. Michael contributes much of that growth and success to his implementation of the MAP Management System™. In December 2017, Michael purchased MAP, the very company that helped him so much over the years.
A member of Entrepreneurs’ Organization for 20+ years, he’s served as a past Global Chairman and traveled to over 25 countries, engaging with countless company owners and organizations. Michael is also active in the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO).
99: How the Pandemic Created an Opportunity to Evolve and Grow with Jimmy Walicek
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Jimmy Walicek, Co-Founder and COO of CLUBWAKA, on his journey managing CLUBWAKA pre, during, and post-pandemic.
Jimmy is the Co-Founder and COO (Chief Opportunity Officer) of CLUBWAKA, a company that offers sports leagues, social activities, and events for adults over 21 with the mission of fostering lifelong friendships.
With over 25 years of experience in the customer service industry, he holds degrees in Engineering and Economics from the University of Virginia and is actively involved in EO Richmond, an organization that helps entrepreneurs achieve their full potential through networking, collaboration, and continued learning.
98: The Lows, Highs, and Challenges of Being a Certified EOS Implementer with Stas Balanevsky
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Stas Balanevsky on the life of a Certified EOS Implementer - the lows highs, and challenges.
Stas is an entrepreneur with more than 35 years of experience in sales, marketing, business development, and business management. He has worked in a wide range of industries including medical devices, sporting goods, digital media, retail and e-commerce, and international finance.
From 1994 to 2007, Stas was the Vice President and Co-Founder of V&S Corporation, an international healthcare equipment and supply integration business focused on creating, financing, and delivering healthcare projects in the developing world.
Following his exit from V&S, Stas held EVP and GM positions in digital marketing companies that focused on digital and performance marketing campaigns. His primary responsibilities included business development, complex negotiations, and business management.
Stas is currently a Certified EOS Implementer. He is a local speaker, and a member of the Western New York Vistage trusted advisor group and serves on the board of Holimont Ski Club.
97: Helping Leaders Master both the Inner and Outer Game, with Peter Schwartz
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Peter Schwartz, Vistage Chair and CEO Coach, on what he means when he talks about helping leaders develop their inner and outer game.
Peter has over 30 years of experience taking early-stage concepts and companies to maturity. He has been a Chair with Vistage Worldwide since 2005. In 2013, Peter was named Best Practice Chair for the Washington DC/Baltimore market. A Master Chair and 4-time STAR award winner, Peter was selected from over 550 Vistage Chairs to receive the Robert Nourse “Vistage Chair of the Year” award in May 2016. In 2020, Peter received the “Don Cope Memorial” Award, the highest honor a Vistage Chair can receive.
As a Vistage Chair and CEO Coach, Peter became fascinated with leadership development early in his Vistage Career. He believes leadership development is at the center of the Vistage Value Proposition. Consequently, he has obtained a number of certifications in leadership development, in particular, The Leadership Circle and The Leadership System. Peter uses this instrument/program extensively in his Vistage Practice. Recently 13 senior leaders of a Fortune 50 company formed a “Vistage Inside Group”. This group went on a year-long leadership development journey utilizing the TLC 360 profiles and the accompanying Leadership System.
Peter resides in Reston, VA, and Mt Pleasant, SC. He graduated with a BS in Psychology from Old Dominion University. He is a graduate of Georgetown University's Leadership Coaching Certification; Harvard’s “Immunity to Change” Coaching program; and is currently leading the Vistage/Stanford Executive Leaders Program for select Vistage CEOs in the Mid-Atlantic.
96: How To Finance Your Future Today with Patrick Donohue
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Patrick Donohue, founder of Hill Capital Corporation, about his book, Breakout Valuation, and his key lessons for entrepreneurs.
Patrick is an entrepreneur and valuation expert who got his start with a lemonade stand at age four and bought shares of Coca-Cola at age ten. As an investor, stock analyst, and advisor to numerous entrepreneurial ventures, he offers unique insights into the dynamics of money and business.
The founder of Hill Capital Corporation, a private investment fund that finances and supports emerging growth companies, Patrick holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, has served on the boards of Entrepreneurs’ Organization of Minnesota and the CFA Society of Minnesota and founded 1 Million Cups Eden Prairie.
95: Acquisition Entrepreneur, Eric Rozenberg is in The Hot Seat
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Eric Rozenberg, acquisition entrepreneur, speaker, podcaster, and two times Amazon bestselling author, on how he's thinking about his search to acquire his next company and how he is going to finance it.
Eric Rozenberg has helped thousands of entrepreneurs grow and manage their business better. His purpose is to inspire people with integrity and honesty, help them take action, get results, and develop their business and their Life.
For two decades in his previous life, Eric has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and produced award-winning sales meetings, incentive trips, product launches, and conferences in more than 50 countries across diverse industries. He believes organizations must create meetings and events that are not only breathtakingly memorable but which bring corporate strategies to life and amplify team motivation/performance.
His podcast "The Business of Meetings" is the first podcast in the Meetings & Events Industry dedicated to business owners. Every Tuesday, listeners learn something new they can apply in their business and/or get inspired by amazing guests.
His first book, Meeting at C-Level, is the first book on the « Why ? » of a meeting. It has been endorsed by 20 of the most influential leaders from the corporate and association worlds and helps professionals to position themselves as strategic partner.
His second book, Before It’s Too Late, A Love Letter to my Daughters and America, is a story of grit, perseverance, and courage. It describes why and how he and his wife brought their daughters to America and why it is the greatest country on Earth.
Eric is a current member of the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) and The Strategic Forum. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Demoucelle Parkinson Foundation in Belgium and was the first European to serve as Chairman of the International Board of Meetings Professional International (MPI), the largest professional association in the Meetings and Events Industry.
94: Jenny Feterovich: What Does it Take to Follow Your Dreams?
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Jenny Feterovich, Executive Producer at Arcadius Productions Inc. about her favorite stories and lessons learned from her TV Show, Start Up.
Partners Gary Bredow and Jenny Feterovich are responsible for producing the critically acclaimed and Emmy nominated PBS series "Start Up" and "A Craftsman's Legacy", internationally distributed documentaries "High Tech Soul", "Urban Roots", and "Bridging the Gap" as well as branded content for major corporations including American Express, Chrysler, The UPS Store, State Farm, Coca-Cola, Ford, and Microsoft.
Arcadius is responsible for over 1500 hours of national television programming. As the Executive Producers of the PBS series "Start UP," going into its 5th season in the fall of 2017, they show extraordinary people that have followed their dream of creating a small business. As one of the top 4 business shows on TV, they have helped paved the way for other popular business focused programs.
Arcadius is dedicated to telling real stories and giving viewers the unique opportunity to see life through the experiences of our characters.
93: Leverage Competitive Intelligence to Overcome Public Affairs with Jeff Berkowitz
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Jeff Berkowitz, founder and CEO of Delve, on assessing political and reputational risks — and what those can do to businesses that don’t take them seriously.
Jeff is the founder and CEO of Delve, Washington’s preeminent competitive intelligence and risk advisory firm. Delve helps heavily regulated and highly scrutinized sectors − including energy and utilities, life sciences, financial services, and beyond − anticipate and mitigate public affairs challenges.
Founded in 2015, Delve specializes in helping companies, industry groups, and advocacy coalitions stay ahead of the curve on the political and reputational risks and opportunities at the intersection of policy and business. Today, the firm provides high-stakes counsel and insights to C-suite executives, public affairs professionals, and their teams across a range of sectors.
Recognized by POLITICO as an “opposition research and policy ace” and "one of the best-known policy and opposition researchers in D.C." by The Daily Beast, Jeff previously served as the Research Director of the Republican National Committee (RNC), where he served three tours under four chairmen across five election cycles. At the RNC, Jeff helped to craft the GOP response to current events and long-term initiatives, ranging from Supreme Court nominations to Obamacare to the Dodd-Frank financial regulations.
Jeff also served on staff or advised on five major presidential campaigns and has shepherded research and messaging operations at The White House, the U.S. Department of State, and several prominent private sector and non-profit organizations.
As a member of the Forbes Business Council and a leader in the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Jeff provides both commentary and guidance to businesses and industries of all sizes. He also sits on the board of the America’s Future Foundation, a nationwide network fostering the next generation of liberty-minded leaders.
92: Engage Prospects, Build Relationships and Drive Revenue with Josh Sweeney
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Josh Sweeney, President of FounderScale, on bleeding-edge strategies and tactics for scaling a B2B business.
Josh Sweeney is a seasoned entrepreneur, whose relentless drive has given him the platform to build big ideas and even bigger companies. One of his successes, Atcore Systems, was acquired in 2016 by a leading partner in the CRM industry.
Experiencing the impact of various sales and marketing challenges over the years, Josh founded FounderScale. He has made it his mission to help founder-led organizations increase sales. Because of his passion for growth and forward-thinking, he donates his time to the Entrepreneur Organization of Atlanta, guiding and promoting other entrepreneurs through experience sharing and camaraderie.
91: One Entrepreneurs Journey, From Lender to Farmer with George Peichel
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews George Peichel, CFO of Pure Prairie Farms, on the new food processing plant he is building and his journey to get there.
A Minnesota native, George is an experienced professional with over 30 years of financial experience in building high-growth businesses in the meat and agribusiness industries. Prior to joining Pure Prairie Farms, George served as Chief Executive Officer for Prairie’s Best Farms, where he produced results through his leadership and sound business acumen. In his years of overseeing poultry farming and live operations at Prairie’s Best Farms, he helped to create and manage a live network of 75 barns and three million square feet through his expertise.
In addition to agriculture, George had spent a significant amount of his career in banking, followed by a senior leadership role at Christensen Farms, where he led the company’s impactful large-scale expansion and advancement efforts. Through executing robust strategies within his role, George helped to increase revenue from $30 million to one billion dollars within seventeen years.
George is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, and he, along with his wife, Mary, operate a hog finishing operation.
89: How To Get Everything You Want From Your Business with Angela Kalemis
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Angela Kalemis, a Certified EOS Implementer and Community Coach at EOS Worldwide, on how someone finds the best coach.
Angela grew up in an entrepreneurial household. Working in the family business exposed her to the struggles, difficulties, and instability that owners face. Angela’s professional career spanned several large corporations – her longest tenure was 17+ years at Booz Allen, a global technology leader where she helped develop management systems to win and execute $2B in government work.
Angela is a Certified Forum Facilitator by YPO and has the privilege of working with business leaders around the world. Married to a serial entrepreneur who runs a company that had tremendous growth but hit the ceiling who got more and more frustrated as he struggled to take the business to the next level, she originally began mastering EOS with the intention of implementing it in his company, but immediately connected to the system and found a passion for helping other business owners.
Angela knows the challenges of growing and running businesses and how to powerfully apply the EOS tools to create structure, discipline, and accountability to help leaders get what they want out of their business and live a better life. If you are frustrated with your business, Angela can help you achieve your vision.
Recorded on 10/31/2022.
88: Helping Entrepreneurs Become Rich Beyond Money, with Noah Rosenfarb
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Noah Rosenfarb, Financial Advisor to the Half Percent at Freedom Family Office, about how entrepreneurs think about risk.
Noah is a 3rd generation CPA that built Freedom Family Office to help entrepreneurs produce predictable income, create their ideal life and build their legacy. He has written four books, took a company he founded public, sold eight companies, and completed over 45 real estate investments.
Noah openly shares the tools, resources and strategies he’s used to become “Rich Beyond Money” – a mantra he encourages others to practice. He shares original and curated content on Facebook and LinkedIn related to wealth, taxes, investing, real estate, and lifestyle.
As a lifelong learner, Noah is an active member of EO South Florida, YPO Global One, Strategic Coach, and Long Angle.
Noah lives in Parkland, Florida with his wife, Amanda and their two kids. He’s passionate about travel and is fortunate to have visited 70 countries on 5 continents.
88: Transforming Organizations through Talent Retention with Dr. Troy Hall
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Dr. Troy Hall on talent retention and tips to keep employees in today's world.
Featured on the Today Show, ABC, Beyond the Business Radio Show, and CEO World, Dr. Troy Hall is an award-winning culture strategist, radio show host, speaker, author, and talent retention expert.
As the author of the Best Selling Title, Cohesion Culture: Proven Principles to Retain Your Top Talent, and co-author of a Best New Book Release, Mission Matters: World’s Leading Entrepreneurs Reveal Their Top Tips for Success, Dr. Troy was once told he did not have the talent to write. His mom, Fanny, reminded him, “It’s not the successes or failures that shape your life, it’s how you handle them.”
His doctorate in Global Leadership and Entrepreneurship has sent him across the globe to help leaders create cultures of cohesion and retain top talent in their organizations.
With more than 40 years of practical leadership experience and a Ph.D. in Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Dr. Troy's passion is helping others succeed. His consulting and executive coaching sessions have positively impacted organizational leaders around the globe on how to create cultures of cohesion to retain their top talent.
From the U.S. to Canada and the United Kingdom, from the Middle East to Africa, Asia, and Australia, Dr. Troy has spoken at global conferences as a subject matter expert on the topics of culture & leadership, strategy, and change.
Dr. Troy is distinguished as an International Development Educator and recipient of the South Carolina State House Resolution for his Global Leadership Exchange program, an international mentoring program.
Dr. Troy developed the industry-recognized mentoring program for the Carolinas Credit Union League Protégé program. Using his executive performance coaching skills, he mentors emerging leaders through the College of Charleston's International MBA program where he also serves as a consulting advisor.
Dr. Troy has served on the boards of the School of Business for Charleston Southern University and Lowcountry Orphan Relief and is an advocate voice for raising funds and awareness for the South Carolina Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
For insights into his award-winning approach of developing a Cohesion Culture™, connect with Dr. Troy. Be sure to take the “quiz” to determine if your organization is on the right path. Ask Dr. Troy about culture and leadership advice by connecting with him on all social media platforms @DrTroyHall.
"You don’t have to know everything, you just need to be teachable." - Dr. Troy
87: Take the Guesswork out of Growth with Bill Flynn
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Bill Flynn, CEO of Catalyst Growth Advisors, on how to take the guesswork out of growth.
Bill has accomplished much, failed often, and learned many useful lessons from thirty years of studying the science of success. He is best described as a pragmatic Simon Sinek; an optimist and an operator. Bill embodies his core purpose - simplified servanthood - by spending each working moment to help create a compassionately productive society by enabling enlightened leaders to focus on the few things that truly matter to their teams and key stakeholders.
He has worked for and advised hundreds of companies, including startups, where he has a long track record of success spanning multiple industries. Bill has been a VP of Sales eight times, twice a CMO, and once a GM of a division of a $100MM IT services company before he pivoted to becoming a business growth coach in 2015. Prior to that, he had five successful outcomes, two IPOs, and seven acquisitions, including a turnaround during the 2008 financial crisis.
As a coach, in addition to being connected with MG 100, Women’s Business Collaborative, MassMEP, Small Giants, and EforAll, Bill has earned certifications from ScalingUp, Gravitas Impact, Metronome United, Predictive Index, and The Neuroleadership Institute.
86: How a Few Companies Make It, and Why the Rest Don't with Verne Harnish
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Verne Harnish, Owner and CEO of Scaling Up, on the biggest challenges businesses face today in this post pandemic world and how he and his coaches are helping their clients through them.
Verne is a world-leading expert, speaker, author, and entrepreneur in the field of business growth. He has spent more than 30 years educating entrepreneurial teams. As part of his personal mission to support entrepreneurs, he co-founded Growth Institute, a premier online training company that has helped mid-market companies in over 50 countries learn and implement the latest business methodologies.
He also founded the world-renowned Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) and chaired for 15 years EO's premier CEO program, the "Birthing of Giants", held at MIT. Verne is also the Founder and CEO of Scaling Up, a global executive education and coaching company with over 180 partners on six continents.
Known as the "Growth Guy" syndicated columnist, Verne is also a regular columnist for Fortune magazine. He's the author of Scaling Up, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and, along with the editors of Fortune, authored The Greatest Business Decisions of All Time, for which Jim Collins wrote the foreword.
With his expertise in high demand, Verne chairs annual Growth Summits in North America, Europe, and Asia and continues to teach in the MIT-based executive program he founded. He is also a private investor in many scaleups.
Verne is a father of four who enjoys piano, tennis, and magic as a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.
85: How Businesses Manage Performance, with Jeff Bruno
On this week's episode, Ami Kassar interviews Jeff Bruno, founder and CEO of B.Modelr, on how businesses manage performance.
Jeff has over twenty years of experience in financial and operating strategy. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from George Washington University and a Master’s Degree in International Business Administration from the Fox School of Business at Temple University.
Jeff started his career in the retail brokerage world at Prudential Securities before several stints in the start-up or small business space before his current role as CEO. Over the past 18 months, Jeff describes his journey of rebranding from Your Outsourced CFO to B.Modelr - or Business Modeler. “We are business model specialists who use modeling, measurement, and analysis to glean insight, illustrate logic, gauge [business] performance, and inform decision making.”
B.Modelr is based out of Philadelphia and works with companies nationwide. Jeff and his team help companies find clarity on their business concept, focus on the highest value areas, and decision making is supported by quantitative analysis.
Jeff has a great family with a beautiful wife and three amazing kids. While not focusing on growing his business, Jeff loves dinner out with his wife, board games with his son, and drawing contests with his two younger daughters.
84: Eric Griffin: Using His Entrepreneurial Spirit To Help Others Find Theirs
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Eric Griffin (better known as Griff), co-founder of Mobile Outfitters, on the biggest lessons learned during his entrepreneurial journey.
Griff co-founded Mobile Outfitters, a 5x Inc. 5000 company, which is a U.S. manufacturer, innovator, and consumer brand of mobile accessories, with 900 retail locations spanning 55 countries. Mobile Outfitters is best known for its award-winning RapidCut system, an all-in-one solution for on-demand manufacturing of mobile screen protection and 360° full body skins directly in retail stores, completely eliminating the need for inventory.
Griff is passionate about business strategy, vision, startups, sales development, product design, and marketing. Finding an opportunity, bringing it to life from napkin sketch to reality, and creating a game plan that turns potential opportunity into a brand that employees and customers are enthusiastic about is his favorite thing to do. Talking with people who are interested in (or are already) building sustainable, responsible, growing companies is a close second.
Griff is also a board member of the Philadelphia chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization, a non-profit network exclusively for entrepreneurs, chairman of the board at Back on my Feet Philly, a non-profit combatting homelessness through the power of running, co-founder of GSW Apartments, a 33 unit real estate development and property management company, and co-founder of PAW5, a consumer brand of puzzle feeders and enrichment products for dogs. In his spare time, he enjoys helping Philly not-for-profits, running, gardening, woodworking, cooking, and coffee.
83: “Learn As You Play” with Elisabeth Garson: What Is Gamification For Corporate Training?
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Elisabeth Garson, Executive Creative Director of Steel Owl, about her creative journey, her favorite projects, and what she is working on now.
Elisabeth is an Executive Creative Director and an Experience Producer that builds interactive brand experiences, and develops gamification for corporate training (learn as you play). She’s given dozens of lectures on experiential design, advertising, escape rooms and more. She authored two industry books and is the owner of Steel Owl Productions, with the award-winning game room, Escape The 1980s.
Her current work blends interactive, off-screen experiences with advertising and learning. In 2015, she founded Steel Owl Productions, a company that works with brands looking to promote or train via real-life experiences. She's developed interactive experiences for the museum industry, training industry and Fortune 500 companies.
Prior to Steel Owl Productions, Garson worked in Advertising for 20 years as a Creative Director. Her clients included large companies (Comcast, Advanta, The Franklin Mint), medium sized businesses and start-ups. From craft beer…to cable TV — her creative work explored consumer experience, from the perspective of targeted audience research. This knowledge acted as the primary building block for the Steel Owl business model, including game development, company branding, and puzzles to create player engagement.
In addition, she created several Philadelphia events including the sold-out “Dating Game Live” (set up like the 1980s show) and a sold out “Happening Event” where participants purchased tickets to something that was happening (but they didn’t know what it was). She was the co-creator of an independent short film that created outlandish experiences for unsuspecting deliverymen. She also the developed The Philadelphia Arts Market concept for the City of Philadelphia, which is still in process of development, and on-hold for the moment.
Over the years, Garson’s endeavors have attracted press from The Philadelphia Inquirer, CBS 3, NBC 10, ABC 6, KYW News Radio, Time Magazine and dozens of others.
82: Dave Mastovich: Is BS Marketing Holding Your Company Back?
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Dave Mastovich, founder & CEO of MASSolutions, on how to eliminate BS marketing tactics and replace them with proven growth strategies.
Dave has helped companies achieve top and bottom line growth through marketing and storytelling for decades. He helped grow the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center into a multibillion dollar healthcare system and drove record breaking recruitment in both size and academic talent for Duquesne University as a senior executive leader before starting MASSolutions, the world’s only No BULL$H!# Marketing Consultancy.
He started MASSolutions because he wanted any company, regardless of size or industry, to be able to leverage real marketing through his No BS Go To Market System. He and his team help companies achieve massive growth through strategic marketing, customer experience solutions and top and bottom line storytelling.
Dave has been quoted or published in Entrepreneur, Inc, Fortune, ABC News and many other outlets on Marketing, Branding and Crisis Communications.
He’s author of the book Get Where You Want to Go Through Marketing, Selling and Story Telling and host of the No BS Marketing Show podcast with nearly 500 episodes over 7 years. His blog has been featured in over 50 media outlets with readership of more than 1 million. Dave is also a nationally-recognized speaker.
81: Empowering Leaders to Operationalize Company Culture, with David Friedman
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews David Friedman, CEO of High Performing Culture, on the new rules about corporate culture in the post-pandemic world.
David is an author, speaker, CEO, and the developer of the CultureWise® operating system. His company helps organizations to create, drive, and maintain high-performing cultures, with a proven system that’s straightforward, practical, and easy to use. The principles that David teaches are based on the process he developed while serving as the President of RSI, an employee benefits consulting firm headquartered in Mt. Laurel, NJ.
Under his leadership and direction, RSI grew from 2 employees to a staff of more than 100 professionals and annual revenues in excess of $16 million. The firm won numerous awards including being named one of the Best Places to Work in the Philadelphia region 3 times and one of the Best Places to Work in NJ 4 times. In 2006, RSI earned the NJ Governor’s Award for Performance Excellence – Gold Level, the highest award for total quality available in the state. In 2008, RSI became a division of Arthur J. Gallagher & Associates (AJG), one of the largest insurance brokers in the world. David served as the Area President for Gallagher until his retirement in July of 2010.
In 2011, David published his first book, Fundamentally Different, based on the insights he learned and taught during his leadership career. His second book, Culture by Design, was published in 2018 and has already been called “the most useful book ever written on organizational culture.” In 2021, David published the 2nd edition of Culture by Design, which includes insights and strategies for managing culture in the new remote/hybrid work environment. Today, in addition to leading CultureWise, he’s a frequent guest speaker and seminar leader on leadership, organizational culture, and building high-performance teams. In the last 7 years alone, he’s led more than 500 workshops for more than 5,000 CEOs. In 2021, David was recognized by Vistage International as their Speaker of the Year. He also serves as a consultant to scores of companies around the country. David is a 1983 graduate of the College of William & Mary with a degree in philosophy.
80: Empowering Diverse Entrepreneurs to Build a Thriving & Equitable Economy, with John Arensmeyer
On this week’s episode, Ami Kassar interviews John Arensmeyer, Founder & CEO of Small Business Majority, on the toughest issues facing the small business community today, and how his organization is helping.
John has used his long experience as a small business owner to build Small Business Majority into a nationally recognized organization focused on empowering America's entrepreneurs to build a thriving and inclusive economy. Small Business Majority is the leading advocate for critical public policy issues facing America’s small businesses—particularly access to capital, healthcare, taxes, retirement/asset building and numerous workforce issues. In the past few years John has spearheaded the growth of Small Business Majority’s Venturize.org portal, providing critical practical resources to our nation’s 30 million small businesses and independent self-employed entrepreneurs.
Prior to launching Small Business Majority 16 years ago, John was the founder and CEO of ACI Interactive, an award-winning international interactive communications company. Information Week named ACI's signature product one of the nation's top 100 e-business innovations, and the company was cited by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the top 100 fastest growing private companies in the Bay Area. Earlier, John was the chief operating officer of a pioneering multimedia business, an attorney in New York, an aide to the mayor of Philadelphia and a staff member on Capitol Hill.
John is a frequent speaker on small business policy issues and a regular guest on TV and radio, including MSNBC's Your Business, PBS NewsHour, Fox News, Bloomberg TV, NPR's Marketplace and the CBS Evening News. In 2009 he was an active participant at the White House summit on healthcare reform. He testifies regularly before congressional committees, and has briefed White House officials and congressional leadership on small business policy issues. He serves on the Advisory Board for the Access to Markets initiative, and he recently served as Board Chair of California's Insure the Uninsured Project. He has led a study group at Harvard's Kennedy School of Politics, and has served on the Association for Enterprise Opportunity's Economic Impact Council and Micro Capital Task Force. John is conversational in Spanish.
79: Live a Life of Intentionality with Finnian Kelly
On this week's episode, Ami Kassar interviews Finnian Kelly, creator of Intentionality.com, on how the pandemic has changed entrepreneurs' mindsets.
As a sought-after speaker, retreat facilitator, and executive coach, Finnian has been dubbed “the Business Mystic” because of his unique ability to put consciousness into business and inspire leaders to find new levels of meaning and purpose through their creative endeavors. This approach flowed through his term as President of the Colorado Chapter of Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) - the largest and most influential community of entrepreneurs in the world. Finnian helps people ‘love their path’ so they can feel content with a life lived in the now.
As an entrepreneur, Finnian built and exited two multi-million dollar companies in the financial industry. He’s the Creator and Chief Visionary Officer of Intentionality.com, where he offers coaching and courses to guide people through the four paths of the Intentionality Framework. Finnian is also a retreat facilitator providing entrepreneurs with unique, mind-shifting experiences so they can awaken and connect deeply with their business and their true self.
Finnian has appeared on Sky Business, on ABC as a political commentator, and on Ten’s morning shows as a financial expert. As a guest writer, Finnian has published articles on Money Management, Smart Company, Business Insider, and more. He was also featured as an Undercover Angel in the popular National Geographic documentary series. This was a project where he was dropped into an underprivileged community to discover their core issues, build trust and come up with a project that would support their needs. He funded the entire program himself and worked with community leaders to form a family education center in Fakulteta, Bulgaria.
As a lifelong learner, Finnian has degrees in maths, physics, finance, leadership, teaching, and a master’s degree of science in positive psychology. He spent 7 years in the Australian Defence Force and graduated from one of the most prestigious leadership organizations in the World, The Royal Military College of Duntroon. Above all, Finnian is a conscious being - committed to embodying Intentionality and inspiring others to do the same. Finnian travels the world spreading Intentionality on speaking tours, exploring new places and cultures, and chasing powder as a ridiculously passionate skier!
78: What is Chutzpah and Can it Be Taught, with Mason Harris
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Mason (The Chutzpah Guy) Harris, Founder of The Chutzpah Institute, on what is chutzpah and whether or not it can be taught in an organization.
Born with a “plastic spoon in his mouth” to immigrants who found both safety and opportunity in the U.S., Mason is an observer of people and a lifelong student of self-improvement and business. His education, both formal – Queens College (BA) and University at Buffalo (MBA), and informal, the streets of New York, exposed him to many different people. Mason was fascinated by their personalities and stories. There were introverts and extroverts, and feeling comfortable with both traits, Mason eventually learned that he is an ambivert. Mason also learned that actions, perseverance, and risk-taking led to more successful lives. These behaviors, among others, are the foundation of Mason’s work on understanding and sharing "chutzpah." Interviews, research, and a worldwide pandemic led to finally writing his book, The Chutzpah Advantage, and teaching others the skillset for "going bigger, being bolder, and doing better."
77: How The Employment Market Has Changed Post-Pandemic, with Marcia O'Connor
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Marcia O'Connor, CEO and Founder of the O’Connor Group, on how the employment market has changed post covid and what employees have to do to stay ahead.
Marcia started The O’Connor Group with $10K of her own savings. It was time to build the company she’s been talking about doing for the prior 10 years! One day her then 6-year-old son looked up at her and said “Mom, can I see you more”. You can imagine how she felt, and said ‘Yes, yes you will”. Marcia had gone on vacation that July and brought the book The Alchemist and came back and quit her job. That month, The O’Connor Group was born.
The O’Connor Group was founded on September 1, 2007. Originally started as a retained search recruiting firm geared to positions in the $80K to $150K range. Marcia’s expertise was in the Talent Strategy world and consulting. Within six months she added an HR Consulting division. It wasn’t easy to start the company in 2007, right before an unknown recession. Failure was NOT an option for Marcia; she was the breadwinner. Marcia was fortunate to have one of her former employers refer her to her first client and she hasn’t looked back since. Marcia grew the company organically and didn’t hire her first full-time employee until after three years, and she is still with the company today!
2009 was a very difficult time for Marcia. 5 out of 6 clients called to let her know that they were running out of funds and would no longer need the assistance of one of Marcia’s consultants. She had one client left! It was hard for her to get work and it typically took around 3 months for a client to pay. Marcia dipped into her own 401K savings plan to help pay payroll at that time. A good friend referred another client that helped Marcia move her company to the next level. Marcia helps build HR and talent teams with the right talent in place. 75% of her clients come from referrals and most of those referrals come from current clients! Currently, The O’Connor Group works with over 150 clients a month and now has 80 employees. Marcia expects to have 100 employees by year-end. “It’s been an honor to run a company that is fun, exciting, and growing. If you take care of your people, they take good care of you!”
Recorded on 08/05/2022.
76: The Challenges of Managing a Commodities Business Through and After the Pandemic, with Andrew Geisler
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Drew Geisler, president of Mainline Metals, about how he is managing supply chain issues and the challenges of managing a commodities business through and after the pandemic.
Andrew started his career in the steel industry at the age of 19, when he was hired by Mainline Metals as a co-op student. Under Bob Dubin’s tutelage, Andrew learned the art of cold-calling and how to find and sell surplus and excess steel. Once graduated from Drexel University with a degree in materials engineering, Andrew was hired by Mainline Metals.
Andrew’s rigor and ambition have been integral to his personal success and to Mainline Metals’ growth as a company. Andrew cultivated his entrepreneurial skills from a young age, having started multiple businesses while in high school and college. Then, after making Mainline Metals his home for the last 30 years, Andrew became the President of Mainline Metals at 40 years old.
In addition to his role at Mainline Metals, Andrew is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization of Philadelphia. Within the organization, Andrew is a member of the executive board of the steel and metals network, in which he continues to grow professionally, personally and with his family. For Andrew, personal growth is an important aspect of leadership. Having a community that cultivates growth and continuous learning helps him keep his head focused and enforces his mission of bringing his best self to the office every day.
75: What Makes Forums Great & What to Avoid, with Mo Fathelbab
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Mo Fathelbab, Founder and president of Forum Resources Network, and co-founder of Harvard Business School Alumni Forums, to discuss what makes forums great - and what to avoid.
Mo is the author of two best-selling books, Forum: The Secret Advantage of Successful Leaders and The Friendship Advantage - 7 Keys to Building Relationships that Transform Culture and Drive Productivity.
Prior to that Mo served as executive director of Entrepreneurs' Organization (1991-1997) where he created the peer to peer Forum program content and initiated 100s of CEO Forums. Mo has worked with over 20,000 CEOs and Entrepreneurs over the course of nearly 3 decades in 33 countries.
Forum Resources Network's clients include Google, Young Presidents' Organization, HBS Alumni, Pathstone Federal Street, and the Atlantic Council Millennium Fellows. Mo has delivered Keynote addresses to large audiences including TEDx, Conscious Capitalism, Scale Up, SOS, and Global Leaders Organization.
Personally, Mo is dedicated to health and fitness. He loves skiing, sailing, yoga, and stand-up paddle boarding. He has completed 3 marathons, an Ironman and in 2018 placed first in USA Yoga's Midwest regional championships for men over 50. Mo serves on the board of Young Presidents' Organization Gold Washington & Baltimore and on the advisory board of Beyond CEO Coaching. Mo lives in Alexandria VA with his much better half Sally and their son Eli.
74: Ben Clark: How Learning Differences Pushed This CEO Into Entrepreneurship
Today on AmiSights, the podcast, we have the CEO & Owner of B-Unlimited, Ben Clark! In 1994, B-Unlimited began as a screen printing company in the hills of the Ozark Mountains in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Ben purchased the business in 2006 with big dreams of elevated artwork, thoughtful print, and impeccable service.
In this episode, Ben shares what it was like growing up with learning differences. He discusses his struggles and frustrations through college when trying to find his path. Ben explains that his learning differences were a good thing because that pushed him into entrepreneurship. When faced with failure, Ben tells us that he relies heavily on faith and family. He walks us through how he kept going through those challenging times to find his niche.
In his late thirties, Ben got into the apparel business and fell in love with the creative environment. He loves bringing people together and enjoyed building his organization and culture. Now, with over 250 employees, Ben dives into his current challenges, like trying to keep that culture the same after 10 years. Ben didn’t start with a mission statement, but explains an ethos - on the wall said “Be Yourself, Be Unique, Be Unlimited”.
B-Unlimited sells licensed custom apparel for universities, and got started in the fraternal and sorority arena. Although their main focus is custom collegiate apparel, they specialize in many other products in all different markets. “Yeah, we make great t-shirts. But our true end-goal is to celebrate and love all people.”
73: Ryan Surace: Have You Outgrown Your Current Accounting Process?
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Ryan Surace, Co-Founder and Co-Managing Partner of Surace & Stanton, on how to know if you have the right accounting department.
With over 15 years of experience, Ryan is especially skilled in providing high quality accounting and taxation services across a range of industry sectors. His experience in the financial arena gives him particular strength in auditing and assurance, taxation, analytics, business planning and budgeting, SEC compliance and filing, succession planning, and internal accounting functions. His clients are small and mid-sized companies across a range of sectors including manufacturing, wholesalers, construction contractors, and real estate.
Ryan is passionate about developing successful strategies with closely held business owners and individuals who are looking for security in their financial future. He provides best in class advisory and strategic planning on all areas related to tax and financial concerns and consults on the full range of back office services. Ryan is skilled at helping ensure strategies are based on timely and reliable financial information, which in turn helps ensure success. In addition, he has particular interest and competence in advising entrepreneurs and start ups and serves on the Board of the Philadelphia Chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization, a global thought leader on entrepreneurship. Whether you are acquiring an existing business or starting your own, Ryan provides trustworthy and sound financial, accounting, and tax advice that will position you for success.
Ryan received a Bachelor of Science degree from The University of Scranton. He started his accounting career at EY (Ernst & Young) and prior to co-founding Surace & Stanton, Ryan was a partner at a prestigious regional accounting firm.
Ryan is excited to work with his wife! Ryan & Colleen live in Springfield, Pennsylvania with their three daughters. When out of the office, Ryan enjoys barbecuing, running, and tinkering with his fantasy football team.
72: How to Ditch Expectations, Uphold Your Values and Embrace a Work-Life Blend with Tamara Loehr
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Tamara Loehr, Co-Founder of Beusail Academy, a serial entrepreneur very much focused on impact - all about giving back and helping bridge the gap in female entrepreneurship.
Tamara is a globally recognized entrepreneur, mum of two young girls, wife and artist (former songwriter and forever painting).
Tamara started her first business at the age of 19 years old after graduating from university with a Bachelor of Visual Arts. This marketing agency is still in operation and services national and international clients, as well as the businesses she owns under her investment company.
Tamara and her agency specialized in online sales which lead her to become a sort after expert on the topic. Tamara travels internationally speaking on the topic of how to grow businesses online, as well as sharing her experience in growing wellness brands from under $1M to over $10M without capital.
Her ‘sweat equity’ model saw swift success, leading to her winning a range of global awards including a Gold Stevie® Awards for Women in Business for ‘Fast Growing Company of the in 2016.
Tamara’s focus is now on ethical brands in the Beauty and Wellness space. All her brands follow a strict mandate; Vegan, Cruelty-free, clean, female founded, sustainable and impactful. All products have giving embedded as a cost of goods, generating impacts to United Nations Sustainability Goals.
Tamara has since delved into the world of Community Channel Marketing (CCM) which aims to disrupt the Multi-level Marketing (MLM)/direct selling industry. Her online channel ‘Beusail’ is designed to promote ethical brands, whilst developing the next wave of female entrepreneurs.
Beusail is a new breed of online marketplace whereby anyone can ‘co-sell’ products with 2 clicks of a button and earn up to 30% commission on every sale. Consumers can leverage their power of influence on their social media channels to gain additional source of income.
Tamara’s legacy is to contribute 10M Buy1Give1 impacts per annum. As a subscriber to the ‘profit and purpose’ philosophy, Tamara passionately believes business will change the world’s problems, not government. She also acknowledges that this is no longer isolated to billionaire entrepreneurs but businesses of any size.
Originally a member of The Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), Tamara was the first president in Queensland to take the role in under three years as a member. With her business interests now being in America, along with her focus on impact, Tamara is a founding member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) Impacts Chapter, as well as a YPO Hollywood chapter.
Balance is BS. How to have a Work. Life. Blend: Tamara Loehr’s book is a focused on the 42% of women in America who are now the breadwinners and know balance doesn’t work. Tamara has figured out a new solution after 20+ years as a global entrepreneur. How to ditch expectations, uphold your values and embrace a work-life blend.
Tamara’s book calls bullshit on ‘balance’ and presents a better way: it gives women permission to blend their work and personal lives together without getting burnt out. Every chapter is supported by practical exercises readers can complete to identify their values, align their energies with what matters to them most, set expectations with key people in their lives and map out the life they actually want.
71: Why Words Matter with Wendy Pease
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Wendy Pease, owner and president of Rapport International, to discuss why words matter.
Wendy Pease is the owner and president of Rapport International, a language services company that provides high-quality translation and interpretation services with a specialty in global marketing, legal, and medical services. Throughout her career, she has worked with hundreds of companies to help them communicate across more than 200 languages and cultures.
Wendy is a frequent speaker, writer, blogger, trainer, advisor, and master networker. She’s the author of the book “The Language of Global Marketing”, and the host of the Global Marketing Show podcast, which features experts on opportunities and challenges in increasing multilingual lead gen and revenue. She also leads a global speed networking group and moderates the Boston chapter of Soft Land Partners.
Wendy’s passionate about connecting people across languages and cultures. She lived in Mexico, Taiwan, and the Philippines where she fell in love with differing cultures and came to understand that we are all human, no matter the language we speak.
70: Acquiring a Second Business During the Pandemic with Russell Hunter
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Russell Hunter, owner and CEO of Colorado Mountain School, an entrepreneur who bought a business during the pandemic - we’ll discover what he’s learned and how it’s going.
After graduating with an accounting degree, Russell spent a very short nine months working as a Public Accountant. He chose to step off the tracks and become an outdoor educator and mountain guide. After two decades of leading others in the mountains, Russell saw an opportunity to become an owner of a mountain guide service and an avalanche education school.
As an owner/CEO, Russell brings together all of his experiences as an accountant, leader, adventure seeker, and risk manager to lead his two companies. Russell strives to advance a growing industry into a more professional industry that provides opportunities for guides and instructors to make a real livelihood doing what they love to do, teaching others to play in the mountains, and igniting passionate living!
69: Curated CEO Peer Groups for high-performing CEOs, with Jim Schleckser
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Jim Schleckser, CEO of Inc. CEO Project, to discuss the most important lessons learned by his clients during the pandemic.
Jim helps leaders grow their companies by helping them open their point of constraint, the kink in the hose through curated CEO Peer Groups. He has extensive leadership experience with organizations in both public and private environments and across multiple industries. Jim has built, acquired, and led several companies, including international businesses with multiple operating business units. Prior to founding the Inc. CEO Project, Jim was the president of Spirent Communications PLC, a global publicly traded telecommunications business valued at $1.6 Billion.
Jim is active with many non-profit organizations, including National Association of Corporate Directors, Boy Scouts of America and Youth With A Mission. He was previously Chair of Junior Achievement of the National Capital Area. He is currently on the boards of Defenders, Daniel Defense, and AltoVista.
Jim is an engineer, an avid soccer player, a Certified sommelier, and recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. He has done business in 40 countries and is the author of two best-selling books “Great CEOs are Lazy” and “Professional Drinking”.
68: What it Was Like to Acquire a Business During the Pandemic with Smriti Sinha
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Smriti Sinha, owner of Natural Healing House, on what it was like to buy a business during the pandemic and how it’s going.
Smriti Sinha (Sims) is an entrepreneurial leader, who is passionate about building innovative products by marrying consumer-centered creativity with analytical business strategy.
Smriti recently transitioned from leading innovation and product development at Fortune 100 companies, to the exciting world of e-commerce.
She runs a small business in the health and wellness niche, called Natural Healing House. Natural Healing House offers physician grade vitamins and supplements as well as homeopathy products to customers in the US and Canada.
Natural Healing House is a mission driven business, committed to providing wellness products curated by experts, that offer customers the highest quality ingredients at affordable prices.
Prior to running this business, Sims was the Vice President of Digital Product & Strategy at Prudential Financial, where she launched a digital life insurance product targeted at new parents. This product makes life insurance accessible and affordable for customers at a time in their life when they need additional financial protection. Smriti's financial services experience also includes running the global pricing portfolio for Business Travel at American Express.
With a proven track record in launching digital products across financial services, life insurance, travel, and technology, Smriti has developed a unique perspective on innovating in highly regulated industries. She now brings her brand of fun and energy to the e-commerce space, with a focus on health and wellness.
A self-proclaimed foodie and travel enthusiast, Smriti has traveled extensively and lived and worked in Europe and Asia, before settling down in New Jersey. Smriti is a native of India, where she earned a B.A. degree in economics and an M.B.A. and lives in New Jersey with her husband and 8-year-old son.
Here is a special offer just for the AmiSights audience, 10% off Natural Healing House - use code: SPECIAL10. This can be applied at checkout and is valid on all products.
67: Lifestyle Investing and Why it's Important in an Inflationary World with Justin Donald
On this interview, Ami Kassar interviews Justin Donald, Lifestyle Investor® and Entrepreneur, on what lifestyle investing mean and why is it important in an inflationary world.
Entrepreneur Magazine calls Justin Donald the “Warren Buffett of Lifestyle Investing.” He’s a master of low-risk cash flow investing, specializing in simplifying complex financial strategies, structuring deals, and disciplined investment systems that consistently produce profitable results. His ethos is to “create wealth without creating a job.”
In the span of 21 months, and before his 37th birthday, Justin’s investments drove enough passive income for both he and his wife Jennifer to leave their jobs. Following his simple investment system and 10 Commandments of Lifestyle Investing, Justin negotiated deals with over 100 companies, multiplied his net worth to over eight figures, and maintained a family-centric lifestyle in less than 2 years. Just 2 years later, he doubled his net worth again.
He now consults and advises entrepreneurs, executives, and successful media personalities on lifestyle investing. Justin has also appeared on nearly 100 podcasts, including Entrepreneurs on Fire, The Mike Dillard Show, Making Bank, Achieve Your Goals, Capability Amplifier, Tractionville, Inside Personal Growth, Conscious Millionaire, Franchise Secrets, the Accelerated Investor, and Unbecoming.
Justin distilled his lessons and proven investment system that reliably generates repeatable returns into The Lifestyle Investor podcast and the best-selling book The Lifestyle Investor: The 10 Commandments of Cash Flow Investing for Passive Income and Financial Freedom, released in January 2021. The Lifestyle Investor was an instant hit, making the USA Today best seller list, breaking #8 on all of Amazon.com, and #1 on the Wall Street Journal’s best seller list. All proceeds from copies of The Lifestyle Investor go to Love Justice International, a nonprofit fighting human trafficking in 17 countries.
Justin is a lifelong leader and trainer with a track record of achievement. In his 20s, he worked with Cutco/Vector and quickly became one of the top managers in the company, and one of the youngest to achieve Hall of Fame status. His personal playbook of best practices was deployed nationwide as a training program to onboard sales representatives.
While in this role, Justin began investing heavily in real estate and owns several profitable real estate related businesses, a large portfolio of multifamily rentals, OrangeTheory Fitness franchises, and several other successful operating companies. His entrepreneurial ventures include IFM Restoration, a residential maintenance and rehab company founded in 2016. IFM recently funded its Series A with S3 Ventures, the largest venture capital firm in Texas, leading the round.
Justin is a member of Tiger 21 and a board member of Front Row Foundation International. He and Jennifer contribute to various causes privately and through their church, fighting cancer, building clean water wells in third-world countries and other humanitarian efforts. Additionally, they sponsor multiple children through Compassion International. The Donalds are based in Austin, Texas, and love adventure-based international travel with their beloved daughter.
66: Challenges Swim Schools Faced During the Pandemic and How the U.S. Swim School Association Helped Overcome Them, with Lisa Zarda
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Lisa Zarda, Executive Director of the U.S. Swim School Association, on the challenges swim schools faced during the pandemic and how her association helped them overcome them.
Lisa’s career in association management spans over twenty years and includes receiving her certified association executive designation in 2010 as well as the Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional (CNAP) designation in 2012. She holds a Bachelor of Arts, in Exercise & Sports Science with an emphasis in Recreation Management and a minor in Business Administration from Carthage College in Kenosha, WI.
Over the years she has held volunteer leadership positions with both the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and the Arizona Society of Association Executives (AzSAE). She recently completed the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace Certificate from the University of South Florida Muma College of Business.
Her career has included association work with the Associated General Contractors of Greater Milwaukee and the American Association of Cosmetology Schools which has allowed her to build upon the commonalities found even in unrelated industries.
Lisa has been married for over 16 years and has an eleven-year-old daughter and an eight-year-old son that keep her on her toes. When there is some downtime, she enjoys watching football, traveling (especially to beaches), and spending time with her family in Cave Creek, Arizona.
65: Homeless Teen to Achieving the Entrepreneur Dream with Natasha Miller
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Natasha Miller, Founder and CEO of Entire Productions, about her new book and her transformation during the pandemic.
Natasha Miller isn’t your average CEO. She sits at the helm of Entire Productions, the go-to experience design, event and entertainment production company in San Francisco, and has been on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies in America for three years in a row. Natasha’s passion and commitment to giving back drive her invariable contributions and participation with numerous charitable organizations. She is also performing as a jazz vocalist and a trained classical violinist.
Natasha is a proud graduate of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and has studied entrepreneurship at the Harvard Business School and MIT and is a member of The Recording Academy (Grammys), ASCAP, SF Travel, and Meeting Professionals International (MPI). She resides in San Francisco, CA where she is a member and on the board of EO (Entrepreneurs' Organization).
64: Empowering Teens and Tweens to Thrive with Dorian Wiederholt Kassar
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Dorian Wiederholt Kassar, teacher and coach, about his new coaching business and what made him start it.
Dorian is a business owner, teacher, and coach. Since 2017, he has worked with over 4,000 teens and tweens sharing the principles and practices of mental health, connection, and authenticity. Dorian has trained with incredible mentors in the fields of coaching, martial arts, social-emotional learning, mindfulness, and healing. Through them, he learned the paths of peace, joy, connection, power, and abundance.
Dorian leads workshops and gives presentations at many schools in the San Francisco Bay Area and coaches young men to become more authentic and empowered versions of themselves. He was a presenter at Rancho La Puerta’s Family Week in 2019 and 2021. Dorian’s mission is to bring out the greatness of every young person he works with so they can thrive.
Dorian’s mentors include Les Brown, one of the world’s foremost motivational speakers, and Katie Salvage, the Director of Training at Challenge Day.
63: John & Mark Cronin of John's Crazy Socks: How A Young Man with Down Syndrome and His Father Bootstrapped Their Way to the World's Largest Sock Store
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews John & Mark Cronin, co-founders of John's Crazy Socks, about their journey working together, building their company, and the highs and lows.
John Cronin and his Dad, Mark X. Cronin are the co-founders of John's Crazy Socks, a social enterprise with a mission to spread happiness. In five years, they bootstrapped their start up into the world's largest sock store with multi-million-dollar sales in 88 nations. John may have Down syndrome, but he always says, "Down syndrome never holds me back."
More than half of their employees have a differing ability and every day, John & Mark show what their colleagues can do. They are fierce advocates for the rights of the differently abled and have testified twice before the U.S. Congress and spoken at the United Nations and recorded two TEDx Talks.
John and Mark are winners of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year and the Monsignor Thomas J. Hartman Humanitarian of the Year Award. They have addressed audiences across the U.S., Canada and Mexico speaking before social service agencies, fundraisers, universities, and corporations (e.g., Microsoft, EY & Bank of America).
Recorded on FB Live on 04/28/2022.
62: Running Have Lights Will Travel through the Pandemic with Kyle McClelland
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Kyle McClelland, President at Have Lights Will Travel, on his story of running a business through the pandemic.
Kyle got his start at Have Lights Will Travel in 2005, after asking Reg Willison, founder, when he was going to hire him. Kyle started work the very next day, and after his graduation from the University of Reno four years later, he asked Reg another question – when would he sell him the business? The pair worked out an arrangement, and in 2017, Kyle finished buying out Reg and became the full owner of Have Lights Will Travel. With the framework of this long-running northern Nevada lighting contractor well established, Kyle had big plans for additional growth and performance.
By 2019, he had expanded the business into southern Nevada and points of California, and he’s currently in the process of securing licenses in Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Idaho, and Colorado. Along the way, Have Lights has developed a reputation as one of the most knowledgeable and technologically advanced companies in town, with a highly customized approach to customer service. While the focus is always the same – delivering the best option to the customer – Have Lights recognizes that every project has its own unique challenges, and the company is known for its innovative approach and experienced team.
Kyle’s vision for Have Lights also includes a deep commitment to the community. As an active member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, which exists to build better businesses, Have Lights is proud to maintain a company culture in which every team member is valued and supported. It’s the basis for the core values at Have Lights: trust and respect, accountability, constant improvement, cutting edge, caring for others, and optimism. These are the kinds of values that build both a family and a company proud to stand behind its team and its work.
61: Business Strategist, CEO Coach, and Author, John Dame, Discusses Running Dame Leadership Through the Pandemic
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews John Dame, Owner & Managing Partner, Dame Leadership, on everything he has learned coaching clients throughout the pandemic, and what's next!
JD received a B.S. in marketing from Pennsylvania State University in 1973. He pursued a career in radio broadcasting for 32 years. His time spent in broadcasting was leveraged as a rich learning platform for his evolution as a business strategist.
JD’s reputation for insightful evaluation, planning, and a passion for driving results have grown his involvement with companies and organizations internationally. He has a fine-tuned understanding of the risks, challenges, and opportunities facing both seasoned and emerging CEOs allowing him to specialize in executive team coaching and strategic planning. His approach to strategic planning is simple and allows an organization to quickly execute better and drive results.He offers a step-by-step guide of the process in his book, Fast Track Strategic Planning.
JD is affiliated with Vistage International, the world’s largest CEO membership organization (based on revenue), as a Group Chair and the Best Practice Chair for South Central Pennsylvania. Vistage comprises 13,000 members in 15 countries with members generating nearly $300 billion in annual revenue and employing more than 2.1 million people. JD’s clients produce $5 billion in annual revenue and employ over 5,000 people.
His current focus has turned toward the role of purpose in the business environment, the new challenge of transitioning to a millennial-based workforce, and growing leadership teams within his client companies. Currently in the sixth year, the Evolution Leadership Conference series is designed to help leaders move from the old “command and control” leadership style to a more Purposeful leadership style. In 2021 over 500 leaders and executives attended the conference.
60: How to Get On Top of Your Numbers & Stay in Control of Your Business, with Brooke Lively
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Brooke Lively, CEO and Founder of Cathedral Capital, on the best advice for business owners about how to get on top of their numbers and stay in control of their business.
Brooke is the CEO and Founder of Cathedral Capital, a team of CFOs and Profitability Strategists who help entrepreneurs turn their businesses into profitable companies. After earning her MBA in Investments and Corporate Finance, Brooke built a 7- figure company in under 2 years. As a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), she and her team work with Hall of Famers, INC 5000 businesses, CEOs, and Small Business Owners.
With expertise in growth management, creative problem solving, and profitability strategy, Brooke has been named ‘Top 25 Women to Watch,’ 2016 - 2020 Diversity Journal ‘Women Worth Watching’, and ‘Fort Worth’s 2016 CFOs of the Year’. She is a highly regarded international speaker and the author of several books, including an international best-seller. Brooke has been featured in international media including CNBC, Forbes, US News and World Report, Fort Worth Business Press, Authority Magazine, and on podcasts such as The American Bar Association Modern Law Library, The Entrepreneur Way, and The Law Entrepreneur.
59: How Great Food Truck Race All-Star Winner, Daniel Shemtob, Managed Through the Pandemic
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Daniel Shemtob, Restaurateur & Chef, on managing his businesses throughout the pandemic.
Daniel Shemtob’s success is fueled by deep seeded passion, eccentric creativity, and love for community. Being raised to value hard work & intentional effort has helped him get to where he is today.
Despite skipping college and foregoing studying at any of the world’s most renowned culinary institutions, Daniel's success has never been hindered by a lack of traditional education.
From food trucks, fast casual restaurants, to fine dining, all styles of catering and his work wear footwear brand... Daniel has no shortage of entrepreneurial ventures under his belt these days.
His career has propelled him into two Food Network show wins, and multiple accolades that have helped further his vision into the world.
58: Managing Logistics and Supply Chain Issues with Mike Regan
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Mike Regan, Co-Founder and Chief of Relationship Development at TrazAct Technologies, on managing his business throughout the pandemic.
Mr. Regan is well known and active within the logistics industry. He serves on the Boards of numerous industry groups such as the National Shippers Strategic Transportation Council (NASSTRAC), as the Chairman of the Advocacy Committee. He’s also active in several industry organizations, such as the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), where he is a 2014 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the YPO/WPO Manufacturing Excellence Network.
Mr. Regan has been a featured contributor and has published several blogs in industry publications such as Logisti Management, and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal and the Journal of Commerce numerous times. Prior to founding TranzAct, he worked for the Bank of America, PriceWaterhouse, and the Union Pacific Corporation.
TranzAct helps shippers reduce their transportation spend while providing the tools necessary to make better business decisions on an ongoing basis.
57: The Pros and Cons of Global Outsourcing with Brad Stevens
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Brad Stevens, Founder/CEO of Outsource Access, about the pros and cons of global outsourcing.
Brad Stevens is a lifetime entrepreneur, 9-year EO Member and Founder/CEO of Outsource Access, an offshore virtual services firm he built to over 400 employees in just over two and a half years that was the only outsourcing firm to win Inc Magazine’s “Best in Business” award for making an impact beyond the P&L. He also co-founded a service called 1on1connections.com that connects together member organizations and conferences at scale. His prior company was in the dental/beauty industry with 8,000 accounts in 18 countries.
Brad walks-the-walk every day with expertise on scaling, automation, outsourcing and high-performance offshore virtual teams. He has spoken in 12 countries for over 100 organizations with high 9 ratings including EO, YPO, Vistage and sharing the stage with John Maxwell at his Leadership Institute. He is a published TEDx Speaker with over 200,000 views on the topic of How Personal Global Economies Are Redefining Entrepreneurship and created the podcast Automate & Delegate - What Should You NOT Be Doing in Life and Business.
Brad is also a 9-year member of the Global Entrepreneurs’ Organization currently serving as the EO US East Regional Director for Member Engagement across 22 chapters and nearly 2000 members. He has also served as President for the EO Atlanta Chapter.
Brad has worked with thousands of entrepreneurs and was chosen to run a think-tank at the United Nations for his entrepreneurial expertise and charitable contributions. A top 10 global film school also created a documentary about Brad’s business and philanthropic efforts and he has been featured in Inc Magazine, the Wall Street Business Network, and on the cover of Small Business Magazine. Brad graduated from the Wharton Business School with Finance and Marketing Concentrations and recently completed a Harvard Business School Executive Education Program on Inspiring Entrepreneurial Strategy. He lives in Atlanta, GA with his wife Cindy, a passionate educator for 13 years, and their two children that keep them quite busy, Ella and Brayden.
56: The Current State of the Mergers and Acquisitions Market with Gerald Brisson
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Gerald Brisson, President and Owner of Transworld Business Advisors of Houston, on the current state of the mergers and acquisitions market.
Gerry has thirty years global business experience which includes managing international business units, directing global marketing, directing global procurement, sales, and operations. Gerry has been involved in hundreds of negotiations across 5 continents and dozens of business sales. He has held executive leadership positions in 3 Fortune 500 companies covering 50+ countries across North America, Latin America, Central America, The Caribbean, Asia, Europe, and Africa.
He started Transworld Business Advisors of Houston in 2013 and quickly built his team into the top business brokerage firm in the Houston Metropolitan area. Houston is a market with over 220,000 businesses and a population of over 7 million. He has successfully sold hundreds of businesses with a focus on main street and lower middle market transactions. The Houston Transworld office is consistently ranked in the top 2 franchise operations in the country.
Gerry's uniquely diverse global business experience includes contract and lease negotiations, retail network development, new business development, global and local marketing, global retail brand management, retail revenue stream development, contract & lease negotiations, strategic global procurement, franchise development, general and operational management, and global franchise development. development.
Gerry is thrilled to have the opportunity to leverage his extensive business experience to assist others in realizing their business & life goals.
55: How Tony Conant Managed the ARA Throughout the Pandemic
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Tony Conant, CEO of the American Rental Association, on managing a trade association through the pandemic.
Tony is the Chief Executive Officer at American Rental Association; a trade association representing 11,000 rental locations and over 1,000 manufacturers and suppliers to the equipment and event rental industry. He is responsible for enabling operational excellence across the organization and building capabilities to support ARA’s strategic plan.
His professional experience includes over 20 years working in operations and supply chain functions at world-class companies such as Intel, BASF, Whirlpool and Bank of America. Prior to ARA, he was the Chief Operating Officer at the Institute for Supply Management, a not-for-profit association focused on the supply chain management profession.
Tony’s passion is leadership and team development. He delivers high-energy presentations on these topics that inspire others to challenge the status quo. Audiences appreciate his affable manner and practical strategies they can apply personally and professionally.
He earned a BS degree in Operations Management from Madonna University and an MBA from the University of Florida. He also completed his Six Sigma Black Belt certification from the University of California at San Diego and earned the Certified Association Executive designation from ASAE in 2020.
He is married to Amy and they enjoy spending time with their 10 year old son Beau. The Conants are a hockey family that enjoys travel, sports and classic cars.
54: Managing an Events Rental Business During the Pandemic with Ian Goff
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Ian Goff, owner of Goff Tents & Events and Purdon Rental, about his story managing an events rental business during the pandemic and what he learned.
Ian Goff, CERP, is the owner of Goff Tents & Events and Purdon Rental, both full service party and event rental stores throughout Central Kentucky. Ian also has over 20 years of experience in various aspects of the event rental industry including manufacturing, installation, event coordination, and strategic planning for large scale festivals and concerts.
Goff has served as President of the American Rental Association's Kentucky chapter since 2014, which was named national chapter of the year in 2015. He has been awarded ARA's National Outstanding Leadership award, Region 5 Person of the year as well as being named 10 to watch under 40.
Ian resides in Lexington, KY with his wife Katlyn and four children Owen (11), Miles (9), Presley (6), and Andersen (5). They enjoy spending their time away from work with family and friends and are active members of Big Hill Christian Church.
53: Tim McDiarmid’s Journey of Managing a Restaurant Through the Pandemic
On the episode, Ami Kassar interviews Tim McDiarmid, Founder and Owner at Tim the Girl Catering, The Good Kind & Ivy Hall Events, on managing a restaurant through the pandemic.
Tim grew up in Canada and always dreamt of being a chef. She loved watching her mother cook and aspired to one day work in a restaurant in New York City.
As a young woman, Tim headed to the “Big Apple” in search of fulfilling her dreams. She lived and worked in New York for nearly 20 years in every restaurant position imaginable from front of house, back of house, bartender, and eventually as a chef. This was a great learning experience, allowing her to observe all aspects of running a restaurant. Tim was able to really hone in on her craft and gain lots of knowledge from other culinary leaders in the community.
In 2004, Tim and her husband (at the time) had a son, Tappen. Unfortunately, the relationship was toxic and she needed to escape. So in 2011, Tim packed up her six year old son, and together they moved to San Antonio, TX. It was the hardest thing she’s ever done. Living in a big city, with no family, as a single parent was difficult. She had to be scrappy and work hard.
It was here that Tim began cooking from home and started her catering business, Tim The Girl Catering. This allowed Tim more time to focus on her son, continue her passion, and grow what is now a very successful group of businesses.
In 2015, Tim had the opportunity to open her very own restaurant, called The Good Kind. The concept specializes in healthy grab-n-go breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack items, plus large and small scale catering. The Good Kind builds on Tim the Girl Catering’s vision to provide the San Antonio community with food that is clean, nourishing, sustainable, and delicious.
The restaurant started as an incubator project in a popular downtown San Antonio shopping area called The Pearl. They had a Food Hall, which allowed Tim to grow and save for the chance of moving into her own space. Soon she was able to move into a beautiful garden property in the Southtown neighborhood of San Antonio.
Here Tim was able to open a permanent restaurant for The Good Kind and run an event venue, called Ivy Hall Events. It’s a beautiful garden space that can host weddings, birthdays, corporate events, and more. The three businesses work together beautifully allowing Tim to provide delicious food on the property, as well as for off-site events.
52: Lessons Learned from the Pandemic about Finance and Accounting with Jason Kruger
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Jason Kruger, President & Founder of Signature Analytics, on what the pandemic has taught businesses about accounting and finance, and what the future holds.
Jason is a leader and business advisor focused on helping business owners, leaders, and executives improve performance by providing greater visibility into their financials so they can achieve their goals through value-added financial information.
Signature Analytics’ 5-step process for client success focuses first on goal and roadmap development, ensuring confidence in timely and accurate accounting, and finally through bringing clarity to a company’s financial information through reporting to drive forward-looking decisions that impact business value, margins, improved cash flows, etc. Following our process from the beginning ensures we understand our client's goals and puts us on a path to mutual success.
Since starting Signature Analytics and working with a variety of small to enterprise level businesses over the last 20 years, Jason has a clear understanding of what it takes to push a company to cut costs, improve reporting, and enhance operational efficiencies in order to strengthen its financial position.
51: Managing a Speaking Bureau During the Pandemic with Gail Davis
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Gail Davis, founder and president of GDA Speakers, about managing a speaking bureau during the pandemic and what she learned.
Gail Davis’ decades of experience in corporate marketing and event management served as the launchpad for GDA Speakers. Before establishing the company in 1999, she spent 20 years managing the events of the Dallas-based global technology conglomerate─Electronic Data Systems (EDS)─founded by Ross Perot. While at EDS she discovered Nando Parrado, a heroic survivor of the 1972 Andes plane crash. Parrado presented an unforgettable speech at EDS’ marquee event.
Shortly after his successful keynote, Parrado signed an exclusive agreement with Davis as it was her efforts that convinced him to share his story after so many years. It was this partnership with Parrado which eventually anchored the creation of GDA Speakers.
Davis is credited with bringing Parrado’s harrowing experience to life in The New York Times best-selling book, Miracle in the Andes. Twenty-three years later, GDA Speakers continues to represent Parrado. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Andes crash, his story will be told through the upcoming Netflix movie, The Snow Society.
Davis continues to discover new talent and under her passionate leadership, GDA Speakers has vetted and curated highly qualified speakers who they deliver to clients with confidence.
Her successful business approach led to her being named the 2011-2012 President of the International Association of Speakers Bureaus (IASB). Previously developing new and improved education programs in her role as an IASB Governor, she has won numerous awards including the 2015 John Palmer Award, 2011 President’s Award, 2010 Above and Beyond Award, and the 2007 Pace Setter Award.
Davis is a frequent guest on podcasts sharing entrepreneurial insights, lessons in innovative leadership, and her vast knowledge of the speaker industry. Davis is an active member of the Entrepreneur Organization and a supporter of numerous community organizations. She was the co-chair of the 2014 Soup’s On! Luncheon, the major fundraising force of The Stewpot Alliance - with that luncheon being the most successful to date. Named to the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College Board of Visitors, she went on to be awarded the 2018 Gaylord Distinguished Alumni Award. She was also honored by the Dallas Business Journal as one of Dallas’ Top 25 Women in Business.
Being drawn to the mountains, Davis enjoys hiking and has recently traversed 43 miles in Zion National Park. Merging her love for hiking and serving the community, she has also hiked the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim as a part of a fundraiser for Project Athena and has walked over 120 miles on the Camino de Santiago hike in Spain. She is an Oklahoma native, graduating from the Gaylord College at the University of Oklahoma, and currently resides in Dallas, Texas.
50: Daniel Marcos Helps Leaders Scale Smarter, Without Drama
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Daniel Marcos, co-founder and CEO of Growth Institute, on the evolving platform for virtual learning for entrepreneurs, what has changed and where does he see it going?
Daniel is the co-founder and CEO of Growth Institute, the leading online executive education company for C-level executives at fast-growing firms. He is a keynote speaker and a CEO Coach, with a mission to help 1 million entrepreneurs scale their impact and reduce drama in the process.
He is a member of YPO and EO and is a certified coach in the Scaling Up methodology. He is a graduate of EO’s premiere CEO program, the “Birthing of Giants”, and he holds a BS in Industrial and Systems Engineering from ITESM (Monterrey Tech) and an MBA from Babson College.
Daniel was an early entrepreneur. He started a t-shirt business at the age of eight and then partnered with a car detailing franchise to provide cleaning services throughout his high school years. In the year 2000, he built an online trading business that was acquired within six months by what was Argentina's largest financial player at the time.
Daniel’s next business launched just before the untimely crash of the financial markets in 2008. His business was shut down and Daniel took on $1 million in debt. Despite the recent setback, Daniel had an abundance of experience and successes under his belt and had recently been recognized in Expansion Magazine's “30 under 30”. As a serial entrepreneur, Daniel quickly realized that CEOs are often the bottleneck of the company. In the same way that you can’t solve a problem without first elevating your mindset, a business can’t evolve beyond what the CEO can handle.
Daniel partnered with Verne Harnish in 2012 to bring executive training to the masses. What was once reserved for a small niche of wealthy companies is now available to all CEOs and their Executive Teams.
In less than a decade, Growth Institute has been recognized among the top 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the USA, with over 40,000 members across 64 countries.
49: Make Your Leadership Team More Disciplined, Focused and Successful with Herb Cogliano
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Herb Cogliano, International Business Growth Advisor & Certified Scaling Up Coach, discussing how companies remain flexible during these uncertain times, examples of companies that have done well through the pandemic as well as companies that have done poorly.
Herb Cogliano spearheads his own advisory practice based on the award-winning books Scaling Up and the Rockefeller Habits. As an international business growth advisor and experienced CEO Scaling Up practitioner, he has learned firsthand what it takes to overcome many business challenges. Herb is pursuing his passion of working with leaders of growth companies to achieve freedom by helping them create industry leading strategies and flawless execution within their organizations. He is also a Scaling Up Professor for a global Masters Scaling Up Business Course.
Herb was formerly CEO of Sullivan and Cogliano Designers, a 53-year privately held family owned, Technology Staffing and Workforce Solutions firm and in 1993, he also founded the Sullivan and Cogliano education business.
A resident of Westford, Herb graduated from Westford Academy in 1983, and received his BSBA from Boston College in 1987 and his MBA from the University of Massachusetts (International Honor Society Beta Gamma Sigma) in 2016.
Sullivan and Cogliano joined a select group of companies that have appeared on the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Company list multiple times. The Inc. 5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth over a four-year period. This achievement puts us in a unique position, especially if you consider that over 27 million businesses are registered in the USA.
His firm was a Multiyear recipient of Boston and South Florida Business Journal Best Places to Work Award. This honor recognizes Sullivan and Cogliano's achievements for changing the business landscape, in creating a positive work environment that attracts and retains employees through a combination of employee satisfaction, working conditions, and company culture.
Herb serves on the Carroll School of Management Board of Advisors at Boston College. He has been a member of the American Staffing Association, and formerly served on its Board of Directors as Chapter Relations Committee Chair. He is past president of the Massachusetts Association of Staffing Services, and previously served on the boards of Employment Resources, Inc. and Junior Achievement.
48: Versatile and Highly Customizable Technology Solutions with Deborah Moses Elton
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Deborah Moses Elton, CEO of VerisVisalign, on how digital transformation evolved over the pandemic, and how it impacts businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Deborah is the CEO of VerisVisalign. The local IT services company is a long-term Microsoft Partner, specializing in Microsoft technologies and process optimization. The company is a certified woman-owned enterprise, with certifications from PA, MD, DE (WBE), the Federal government (WOSB), and the National Council of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). She attended Montgomery County Community College (Pennsylvania) and Temple University, and has furthered her career with certifications in management, leadership, and information technology areas. She holds memberships in several local executive organizations. She has served many years as a mentor in Temple University’s annual Be Your Own Boss Bowl business plan competition.
Deborah is an active speaker and trainer, and an ITIL® Expert in the IT Service Management practitioner realm (ITIL®). She is a former recipient of the Brava! Award, and the company has several times been honored on the Philly 100 list. Deborah is also the author of Change Your Life! The CORE Approach ™ to Creating the Life You Want, a personal change methodology based on the concepts of Choice, Opportunity, Responsibility, and Expectation.
She is married and lives with her husband in suburban Philadelphia, is a mom to four grown children, three grandchildren, and several fur babies. She is an active leader in the local community and fund-raising events, and can often be seen on the stage of local theatres.
47: The Great Game of Business with Rich Armstrong
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Rich Armstrong, President at The Great Game of Business, discussing some of the most exciting transformations he has seen when companies have used the Great Game of Business.
Rich Armstrong has thirty years of experience in improving business performance and employee engagement through open-book management and employee ownership, with service as a business coach and as a current executive at SRC Holdings Corporation, a thirty-seven-year old employee-owned company and one of the United States’ top one hundred largest majority employee-owned companies. Rich has been instrumental in the ongoing development of SRC Holdings’ open-book management and employee-ownership practices through practical, “firsthand” experience leading several of SRC’s business units. This experience has enabled him to successfully apply these practices in both small- and large-scale company implementations around the world. He coauthored Get in the Game as well as the update of the number one bestseller, The Great Game of Business—20th Anniversary Edition.
Rich is a graduate of Pittsburg State University and serves on the board of the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO). He cherishes his time with his wife, Alicia, and four children, Ryan, Ethan, Rylee, and Jackson. Rich’s guilty pleasure is making music in his home studio and playing in his ’90s rock tribute band.
46: Justin Rosenberg: One Restauranteurs Story Through the Pandemic
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Justin Rosenberg, founder and CEO of honeygrow, on lessons learned from managing a chain of restaurants during the pandemic.
Justin is the Founder and CEO of honeygrow, a fast-casual stir-fry and salad concept founded in Philadelphia in 2012. With a mission to create a unique, spirited brand focused on simple, wholesome foods, Rosenberg has led the company's creation and growth, which will consist of 26 units by year end.
Prior to launching honeygrow, Rosenberg worked as an Asset Manager and Manager of Energy Services for PREIT in Philadelphia, where he was responsible for purchasing and hedging strategies, energy costing, solar power development, capital budgeting, retail re-merchandising strategies, and forecasting for a portfolio of over 35 national shopping centers and malls throughout the US.
After seven years in the finance and real estate industry, Rosenberg decided it was time to pursue his true passions of entrepreneurialism, cooking, and creative brand-building. Influenced by his recent adoption of a plant-based diet and his love for design and music, he drew inspiration for a concept set to differentiate itself from the rest. To prepare himself for this new venture, Justin staged at various restaurants from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. to gain further experience in kitchen operations, cooking, and leadership.
In 2012, the first honeygrow location opened in the Rittenhouse neighborhood of Philadelphia, and Rosenberg’s vision catapulted to the next level. Since that day, honeygrow would continue to expand its unit count and team, with sights set for becoming an enduring, sustainable organization. The company has raised over $70 million in equity financing and has grown into the Boston, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington DC, and the New York City metro areas. In 2020, Justin received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Greater Philadelphia region and in 2021, was distinguished as a member of the Philadelphia Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 class.
Justin resides in the Philadelphia suburbs with his wife, three children, and Goldendoodle, Bowie. His passions outside of honeygrow include Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, cooking, all-things guitar, hiking, and surfing. He is a member of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP) Corporate Council and a board member of the Common Market Mid-Atlantic.
45: Learn How To Launch a Bestselling Book with Anna David
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Anna David, the New York Times bestselling author of two novels and six non-fiction books, on if someone wants to write a book, why should they do it and what should they do next?
Anna David is the New York Times bestselling author of two novels and six non-fiction books. She’s been published in the New York Times, Time, LA Times, Vanity Fair, Playboy, Vice, Cosmo, The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and Salon, among many others, written about in Forbes, Martha Stewart Living, Entrepreneur, Allure, and Women’s Health and has appeared repeatedly on Today, The Talk, Good Morning America, and numerous other programs. She’s been a featured speaker at three different TedX events and her company, Legacy Launch Pad, writes and publishes books for thought leaders. Legacy Launch Pad recently re-launched David’s first book, Party Girl, which is being developed into a movie by an Oscar winning producing team.
44: Everything You Need To Know About Podcasting with Chris Krimitsos
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Chris Krimitsos, Chief Creative Officer at Podfest Multimedia Expo, on everything our listeners need to know about podcasting - and more!
Chris holds the Guinness World Records™ title for the largest attendance for a virtual podcasting conference in one week, and is a leading expert on podcasting and on-demand audio. His international conference, PodFest, is the longest-running continuous in-person podcasting event in the world and attracts thousands of attendees from over 50 countries each year. Running parallel with that event, Chris also successfully birthed VidFest, as part of his efforts to build the home for all creators.
With two decades and over 2,000 live events under his belt, Chris has worked with the world’s most influential voices in marketing, audio, and technology. Those experiences inspired his best-selling book, Start Ugly, which has quickly become the go-to guide for entrepreneurs and influencers who are beginning their creative journey.
He’s not just an educator though. His penchant for being an on-demand innovator is seen in Chris’ own Kid-Friendly Podcast Network having garnered over a million podcast downloads. As a podcast consultant and coach, he has helped ventures such as the Women’s Meditation Network grow to millions of monthly downloads.
As the go-to authority, Chris is the person to be contacted when the experts need to understand how the on-demand audio space will continue to evolve.
43: Small Business Help From SCORE with Bridget Weston
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Bridget Weston, CEO of the SCORE Association, about SCORE: How can people sign up to mentor, how people can find help, and how mentoring and SCORE have changed as a result of the pandemic.
Bridget is the CEO of the SCORE Association, which provides free mentoring and education to current and aspiring small business owners through its network of 10,000 volunteers. A respected thought leader in the small business landscape, Ms. Weston has testified before the House Small Business Committee and appeared on MSNBC. Ms. Weston earned her MBA from Temple University and a BS in economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
42: Transform Your People, Your Business, and You Life with Steve Baker
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Steve Baker, Vice President of The Great Game of Business, Inc., to discuss the Great Game of Business: What it is and how it works.
Steve co-authored Get in the Game as well as the update of the number one bestseller, The Great Game of Business—20th Anniversary Edition. Known for his engaging and irreverent style, Steve is a top-rated, sought-after speaker and coach on open-book management, strategy and execution, leadership, and employee engagement.
His audiences range from Harvard University to the Department of Defense, and he is a regular at Inc. magazine’s Inc. 5000 Conference. He has served on the Board of the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) and SRC Holding’s Ownership Culture Initiative.
Steve is an award-winning artist and lives in Springfield, Missouri, with his trophy wife, JoAnn, and three above-average children.
41: More Than Just "Hire A Bookkeeper"— Hire An Entire Accounting Department, with Dennis Najjar
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Dennis Najjar, co-founder of AccountingDepartment.com, to discuss how a business owner knows when they have the right level of accounting and bookkeeping support.
As one of the two founding masterminds behind AccountingDepartment.com, Dennis Najjar, CPA, CGMA took his extensive expertise in public accounting and his process-driven approach to problem solving and transformed it into AccountingDepartment.com. Throughout his career, Dennis has worked exclusively with small, medium, and start-up businesses, giving him the knowledge and experience to oversee the AccountingDepartment.com team in helping clients with strategic business planning for future success and growth.
In public accounting since 1982, Dennis joined Coopers & Lybrand after graduating from Rutgers University; in 1986, he started the public accounting firm Dennis M. Najjar, CPA; his practice has an emphasis on tax planning and preparation for corporations, partnerships and individuals. This background enabled Dennis to focus on developing an unparalleled solution for business owners to gain control over their accounting departments, which he brought to fruition when he co-founded AccountingDepartment.com in 2004.
In addition to founding and managing AccountingDepartment.com, Dennis serves as a speaker for Vistage International, focusing on educating business owners on how to establish accountability in their accounting departments through best practices, processes, procedures, and the integrated use of accounting technology. He was the founding author of the About.com Accounting Channel (now TheBalance.com) and is a current contributor to Vistage Financial Management publications. He has served extensively as an expert source in various financial articles and journals, including Entrepreneur magazine and Lorman educational webinars. He holds an active membership in AICPA, NJCPA, and FICPA; and is also a member of Vistage International.
40: Where the Public and Private Sectors Meet, with Rhett Buttle
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Rhett Buttle, Founder of Public Private Strategies, on the Biden Administrations' small business agenda: How things are going and what's next?
Rhett Buttle is the Founder of Public Private Strategies (PPS). PPS creates opportunities where the public and private sectors meet bringing together diverse allies including foundations, associations, corporations, small businesses, and entrepreneurs to solve pressing societal challenges. By harnessing the power of the private sector, PPS build coalitions, activate campaigns, and create strategic partnerships to drive desired policy and market outcomes. Rhett is also a Senior Fellow at The Aspen Institute. In his role at Aspen, Rhett focuses his efforts on advancing the innovative Reconnecting Work and Wealth Initiative – a cutting edge effort at the Aspen Institute that engages several of the Institute’s largest policy programs and their stakeholder networks in an ambitious re-visioning of the ways that 21st Century labor and financial markets can deliver inclusive growth and shared prosperity.
Before founding Public Private Strategies, Rhett was the Business Engagement Director at Hillary for America serving as Secretary Clinton’s liaison and private sector advisor during her run for President. Before joining the campaign, Rhett was President & Managing Director of a national business advocacy organization where he led an organization of over 25 people actively doing policy and advocacy work both nationally and in 10 states across the country.
In 2014, Rhett was appointed by President Obama to The White House Business Council and served as the Director of Private Sector Engagement in the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In this role, he was the main liaison between the department and the business community. He is an expert on healthcare policy issues as it relates to the employer community. He worked on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, public private partnerships for the Ebola response & the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative. He was a key player in the Administration’s effort to transform the healthcare system to one that is more focused on value and patient centered care. Buttle has also served in the Office of the President at George Washington University, in the Office of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and has worked on several presidential, state, and local campaigns.
Rhett frequently engages with the media and has been featured in the New York Times, CNN, WSJ and several business publications. He has spoken on business issues at the Aspen Institute, the Harvard Institute of Politics, and the Center for American Progress. He also serves on the boards of several organizations. Rhett holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of San Diego and a master’s degree from The George Washington University. In addition, he is active in many volunteer & professional organizations including American Legion Boys State. Rhett was born and raised in Las Vegas, NV. In 2016, he was honored by the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce as their Business Advocate of the Year.
39: Eric Weaver on Supporting Small Businesses & Advancing Justice
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Eric Weaver, Senior Advisor to City First Enterprises, the Aspen Institute’s Business Ownership Initiative, Community Capital Advisors, and Accion Opportunity Fund, on assess to capital to the underserved: what's going on and what's changing.
Eric brings over three decades of experience in community economic development and community development finance. After graduating from Harvard University, he began his career as a relief worker in El Salvador, bringing aid to internally displaced refugees during the civil war there in the 1980s. He then worked as a community organizer and project manager at an affordable housing non-profit in Washington, DC, near where he grew up in Bethesda, MD. After moving west to pursue an MBA at Stanford, he ended up staying in California for 30 years.
In 1992, he founded what is now the nation’s leading small and microbusiness lending CDFI—Opportunity Fund (now Accion Opportunity Fund). When Eric stepped down as CEO in 2017, Opportunity Fund had over 100 employees and a small business loan portfolio under management of over $100 million. The company has also been a leader in Individual Development Accounts, Affordable Housing lending, New Markets Tax Credit lending, and advocacy on the issue of curbing irresponsible and predatory small business lending. Last year, Opportunity Fund surpassed $1 billion in cumulative community investment.
He and his family moved back to his home state of Maryland in 2020. He now serves as a Senior Advisor to four organizations: City First Enterprises, the Aspen Institute’s Business Ownership Initiative, Community Capital Advisors, and Accion Opportunity Fund.
38: Grow your Business with Dedicated Offshore Talent, with David Nilssen
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews David Nilssen, CEO of Doxa7, about his new company and why global outsourcing is important.
David is the CEO of Doxa7, which helps businesses build and scale up high-performing, global teams. In 2007, the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) named him the National Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and his businesses have been recognized as one of the “Best Places to Work” seven times. They have also been included on many Inc 5000 lists, including the Inc 500 in 2008.
As an investor, David has provided funding to companies in neuropharma, online travel, personal financial management, transportation, digital administration, and more. Today, he serves as the Global Learning Chair for the Entrepreneurs Organization.
David is an avid cyclist, travel addict, and a food and wine snob. He lives in Boise, ID with his wife and two daughters.
37: Bringing Buyers and Sellers Together, with Andy Cagnetta
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Andy Cagnetta, CEO of Transworld Business Advisors, on what's going on in the mergers and acquisitions market as well as tips and tricks for buyers and sellers.
Andy came down to Florida in 1995. While looking to buy a business, he encountered a company named Transworld Business Brokers. He continued his search for a business but was offered a position at Transworld as an agent. He joined the company and quickly became one of South Florida’s top performers.
Now over 40 years old, Transworld Business Advisors is the number one business brokerage and an international franchisor through a partnership with United Franchise Group. They have currently over 600 business brokers in the organization and have over 5,000 businesses for sale. They also have 200+ franchisees in the US and several internationally.
Andy is a recognized speaker and trainer in the subject of business sales, valuation, and negotiations. He has taught his self-authored negotiations class to associations, construction companies, media sales teams, government agencies, high school & university students.
His signature charity event "Andy's Family Pasta Dinner" is in its 19th year and has raised over $1,900,000. He is father to two. Rachel, Lauren and his wife, Allison are Hollywood residents (Allison since 1970, Andy since 1994).
36: An Alternative Path to Growing Lasting, Private Companies with Dave Whorton
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Dave Whorton, founder of the Tugboat Institute®, to discuss some of the observations, decision-making patterns, and business lessons learned coming out of the pandemic.
Dave founded Tugboat Institute® in 2013 to connect, support, and inspire purpose driven leaders of Evergreen® businesses. Dave is responsible for all aspects of Tugboat Institute including setting the long-term strategy, curating the experiences, and developing relevant programming for Tugboat Institute along with championing and celebrating the importance of Evergreen companies. Dave believes Evergreen leaders and their businesses are simply capitalism at its best.
Prior to founding Tugboat Institute, Dave founded Tugboat Ventures® in 2006 and co-founded four companies, including drugstore.com and Good Technology. Dave holds a BS in Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Dave and his wife have been happily married for over two decades and count themselves lucky to have raised their son and daughter in Sun Valley, Idaho. Dave is also a voracious reader. When he puts down the books, he can be found hiking, golfing, and cycling with his family.
35: Win with Walmart, with Jeff Clapper
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Jeff Clapper, President & Owner of 8th & Walton, on everything that’s changed with Walmart in the last year.
Jeff is the President & Owner of 8th & Walton and enjoys leading the company's mission to educate suppliers on becoming better partners with Walmart. His retail career began in magazine publishing, as the Newsstand Sales Director for Pack-O-Fun, Inc, a 55-year-old publisher of six consumer crafting magazines, calling on key national retail accounts including Walmart. He later led the business as Publisher and independently brokered its sale to Amos Press, Inc. in 2006. In 2007, Jeff launched an online golf video game, which he sold to World Golf Tour in 2010. He holds a BA in Economics, Philosophy, and Music from Ohio Wesleyan University.
34: Cultivate Business Growth Through Personal Growth with Robert Clinkenbeard
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Robert Clinkenbeard, CEO of The Radix Group, about the Radix Group & Scaling up: what it is, how it works, and how he helps businesses and people with it.
Robert co-founded one of the largest landscape companies (ILM) in the South West Region of the United States back in 2001. The company grew to 350+ employees with 5 branches and revenue of more than $20MM. The company had a very successful exit back in 2016. Robert is now CEO of The Radix Group, which has offices in Greenville, Phoenix, and the UK. The Radix Group specializes in challenging, collaborative business, executive, and leadership coaching programs for CEOs, Presidents and business owners.
Since Robert has had the experience to scale a company up quickly he is now focused on coaching other CEO’s and Key Executives in business and personal growth. He is currently becoming certified with Gazelles International Coaches and is closely working with various peer and mastermind groups.
Robert is the past President of the AZ Chapter of the Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) and has helped grow the EO Accelerator program globally to 9 regions. He also currently serves on the EO Western Regional Council’s Board as an Area Director. In December 2017 he completed his two-year term as the President of the Arizona Landscape Contractors Association.
Robert was raised in Edinburgh, Scotland and moved to Arizona in 1999 to find a better lifestyle, new opportunities and to widen his traveling options. Robert has been married for eight years to his wife, Faith, and is kept busy with five children. He played competitive rugby and soccer for 20 years and has competed in 4 Ironman triathlon events so he fully understands discipline, strategy, and execution.
33: Double and Triple-Digit Growth in Profitability, with Karie Kaufmann
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Karie Kaufmann, Business & Executive Coach and Scaling Up Strategic Planning Facilitator, about Scaling Up, what it is, how it works, and how she helps businesses and people with it.
Karie is a master coach and facilitator, having coached over 1,000 high growth companies since 2005. Her clients have achieved double and triple-digit growth in profitability, accomplished through implementation of the Scaling Up framework and Rockefeller Habits. She helps business leaders work through roadblocks and growing pains, build amazing teams, and enable sustainable growth… all while enjoying the ride.
She is an international speaker, Global Hall of Fame Coach, and has won 14 major coaching awards. She also serves on the board of Newbreak church, and is a lifetime partner and financial contributor to B1G1: Business for Good.
Happily married for 18 years, Karie and her husband, Scott, live in San Diego with their two children (ages 8 and 11) and Frank, the golden doodle.
32: Build a Brand That Creates Irrational Loyalty with Deb Gabor
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Deb Gabor, Founder and CEO of Sol Marketing, on branding in this current world - best cases and worst cases of company responses to the pandemic.
“Leading Expert" doesn't come close to describing Deb Gabor's passion for brands. More accurate? Brand Guru. Brand Impresario. Brand Evangelist. She's written the book on branding (twice!) with bestsellers Branding is Sex and Irrational Loyalty. She's the founder and CEO of Sol Marketing, a strategy-led marketing firm obsessed with solving major business and branding problems for clients in every industry. Companies throughout the world use Deb’s Brand Values Pyramid, Ideal Customer Archetype, and “Brand Swagger Questions” to align their teams and articulate their brands to audiences.
Deb and her team at Sol Marketing have introduced her revolutionary brand strategy for organizations ranging from international household names like Allrecipes, The Associated Press, Dell, Microsoft, NBC Universal, NPR, NTT Data, and Siemens, to exciting emerging brands like hint water and Indagare. Deb also lends her brand authority with frequent contributions and commentary to major news outlets such as Entrepreneur, Forbes, FORTUNE, Inc., MediaPost, New York Times, NPR, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. Business and marketing organizations regularly call on Deb as a keynote speaker and workshop leader, relying on her as an inspiration for executives to embrace the power of branding to create Marketing That Sells.
31: LinkedIn Marketing with Colleen McKenna
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Colleen McKenna, Founder and CEO of Intero Advisory, on how LinkedIn marketing and hiring have changed and how business owners should be taking advantage of it.
Colleen launched Intero Advisory for individuals and companies focused on increasing their sales and talent initiatives. Since 2011 Intero Advisory, a LinkedIn consulting, coaching and training firm has been engaged by more than 600 companies who have increased their presence, revenue, and hiring opportunities applying Colleen’s insight, strategy, and techniques and to tens of thousands of business professionals.
Her membership site, blog, and podcast reach a global audience and more than 600 companies have benefited from her expertise.
The Intero team, over an 18 month period sourced more than 80,000 LinkedIn profiles for clients across the country for lead generation and recruiting. On behalf of one client, Intero secured more than 2.3 million in new revenue.
With a personal approach to business, Colleen and Intero shake up the status quo by maximizing an individual’s network, personal brand, and expertise.
Colleen has worked with and for startups to market leaders like Xerox, Consolidated Graphics, and Carefirst. She earned her M.A. in publication design from the University of Baltimore and a B.S. in mass communication from Towson University.
30: Become a Transformational Storyteller with Mikki Williams
Mikki Williams is a CSP, certified speaking professional, a member of the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame, and a TEDx speaker. A global celebrity speaker and transformational storyteller, she was chosen as one of the best speakers in the country by Meetings and Convention Magazine along with Tony Robbins, Bill Gates, and Lou Holtz.
Mikki is an award-winning Vistage speaker, the world’s leading executive organization, and a Master Chair of two of their peer advisory boards. If that’s not enough, this busy entrepreneur runs Speaker Schools, The Mikki Mouth Club, Keynote Kamp, Outrageous Orators, and she was recognized in Forbes as a top executive speech coach. She has spoken in every US state, every Canadian province, and every continent except Antarctica…where she can’t wear her stiletto’s.
29: The Philosophy of Frientorship® with Claudia Williams
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Claudia Williams, Chief Frientorship® Officer, Executive Coach & Leadership Mentor, Speaker & Workplace Trainer, and Author about her philosophy of Frientorship, how it works, and how it evolved during the pandemic.
Claudia improves the lives of leaders and their teams so they can thrive together to deliver superior business results and lead fulfilling lives. In her role as a Vistage Chair, she increases the effectiveness and enhances the lives of CEOs, key executives, and those they influence and impact, including their teams, customers, and clients. Claudia brings together a select, non-competitive group of CEOs and executives to harness the power of unbiased peers and purposeful education for professional and personal growth. As a result, they make better decisions, grow 2.2 times faster than their peers, and live rewarding lives.
In her work as a consultant, Claudia works to inspire leaders and motivate employees to love what they do and love the places where they work. Through Frientorship®, a combination of key principles of friendship, mentorship, and leadership, we can create a self-sustaining method to develop ourselves and our teams so that we are leaving in place an individual or a team who is ready to stand up and lead when we are done leading. Relationships matter and this methodology puts people at the forefront of a winning business and employee engagement strategy – one that delivers financial results along with business continuity.
Immediately prior to starting The Human Zone, Claudia served as Associate General Counsel, Global HR & Litigation, for The Hershey Company. She founded The Human Zone after spending more than a decade as an attorney coaching leaders of organizations of all sizes through challenging situations. Claudia believes in giving back to the community and building professional and personal legacies to last for generations to come.
28: Helping CEOs and Businesses Tell Extraordinary Stories with Steve Dobbins
On today's episode, Ami Kassar interviews Steve Dobbins, Founder and CEO of The Dobbins Group, on how marketing has changed and evolved throughout the pandemic.
Steve is a seasoned marketing and communications pro, with a passion for compelling content, brand building, audience engagement, purpose-driven business, and growing dream teams. For more than 20 years, Steve has worked side-by-side with CEOs, helping them grow their brands and blow through their goals. His areas of expertise include content strategy, digital media, social media, event marketing, visual branding, experience design, media relations, product development, and global marketing.
Clients have included IBM, SWIMS, Casco Contractors and Design Studio, AchieveNEXT, YPO, Alliance Resource Group, the CREATiON Companies, Prime Power, the Tarsadia Foundation, and many more.
Steve is a passionate leader, lifetime learner, and eternal optimist who believes in the power of business to transform lives and create a better world for us all.
His leadership journey has taken him around the world, wearing many hats, from small business owner and entrepreneur to chief marketing officer and SVP of strategic new initiatives. In April 2016, Steve co-founded a new socially-driven fitness brand, evolve, where every purchase includes a giveback to a nonprofit fighting for social justice. In August 2016, he launched The Dobbins Group, a consultancy focused on providing strategic marketing and communications support to diverse clients around the world.
Always up for a new challenge, Steve competed in his first Half IRONMAN in December 2018 and ran his first full marathon in San Francisco in July 2019.
27: Small Business Success Delivered Daily with Anita Campbell
On today's episode, Ami Kassar interviews Anita Campbell, Founder and CEO of SmallBizTrends.com, on challenges small businesses have had in her community during the pandemic and how they're coming out of it.
Anita is the Founder and CEO of Small Business Trends LLC. She bootstrapped the company from a nascent idea. Previously she was a General Counsel and CEO of a technology subsidiary of Bell & Howell. She founded this site in 2003 and was named one of the 30 Small Business IT Influencers to Follow in 2020 by BizTech Magazine.
Small Business Trends is an award-winning hub of more than two million entrepreneurs, business owners, influencers, and experts. The site features over 20,000 pages of content, reviews tech products, cover small business news, and interview movers and shakers. They spotlight other small businesses and startups. The core focus is practical content with targeted tips, trends and answers to your toughest questions.
26: Create The Life You Deserve with Megan Bruneau
On today's episode, Ami Kassar interviews Megan Bruneau, M.A., therapist, executive coach, writer, speaker, and podcast host about emotional issues and mental health among entrepreneurs coming out of the pandemic.
Megan has a master of arts in counseling psychology and a bachelor of arts in psychology and social work. With 12+ years experience providing crisis support, therapy, and coaching, she’s a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC #6420) in the province of British Columbia and sees clients globally as a coach. By sharing her personal experiences alongside her professional expertise, Megan seeks to change the way people relate to their inner and outer worlds.
Quoted by Deepak Chopra as the “Millennials’ therapist,” Megan’s no-BS, relatable voice has garnered over 30MM views and landed appearances on The T.D. Jakes Show, Good Morning America and New York 1 Morning News. Transparent about her own mental health, eating disorder history, frequent heartaches and uncertain entrepreneurial life in New York City, Megan’s vulnerable and humorous writing-style has inspired dozens of viral articles – making her a Huffington Post – homepage regular, MindBodyGreen, and Forbes favorite.
After years of struggling with depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, she came to realize she was the one getting in her own way. She healed her relationship with herself and now teaches entrepreneurs and high achievers how to do the same – so they can do the sh*t that scares them and create the life they deserve. Find her book, How To Be Alone (And Together): 72 Lessons on Being at Peace With Yourself on Amazon, and follow her on Instagram @meganjbruneau.
25: Turning An Idea into a Nonprofit with Megha Kulshreshtha
On today's episode, Ami Kassar sits down with Megha Kulshreshtha to learn all about her nonprofit, Food Connect!
Megha is the Founder and Executive Director of Food Connect, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bridging the gap between surplus food and hunger through collaboration and technology. Food Connect has helped distribute over 3 million on-demand meals through their last mile transport and logistics support in the hunger relief space. Megha has over 10 years of experience in data, technology, and process solutions. She started her career in Finance as a Data Analyst and then as a Portfolio Analyst for US Equities at Aberdeen Asset Management. For the last 7 years, Megha has dedicated her technical background towards streamlining inefficiencies in the hunger relief space. The Food Connect app has helped over 800+ food vendors across the country donate their surplus food in real time. Over 750+ shelters have received free food donations through the app. Currently, Food Connect helps deliver on average 30,000+ meals a week.
Megha continues to lead Food Connect's product testing and development to help track and understand real time shelter needs. Food Connect's work has been recognized nationally in the hunger relief space for its innovation in collaboration, integrations, and food equity initiatives.
24: An Opportunity to Reinvent Yourself and Your Businesses Future with David Anderson
On today's episode, Ami Kassar interviews David Anderson, CEO of Off Madison Ave, Founder of LighthousePE, Global Board Chair of Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), Author, Speaker, and Executive Coach, on what he learned leading EO through the pandemic and his positive outlook on this rare opportunity.
David is an experienced entrepreneur whose leadership path has taken him from president of his college fraternity to the White House. Along the way, David has seen leadership at the highest levels and the lowest. He has experienced success, but also failure. Having learned from many successes and the hard knocks of business and life, his focus is now on building businesses and sharing his expertise to allow others to learn, grow and prosper.
For over 20 years, David lived the entrepreneurial dream by starting and operating his own businesses. What started as two people working out of a garage with VC funding (that is Visa Card funding!) has resulted in a winding, and sometimes bumpy road that includes the 20+ year-old marketing agency Off Madison Ave with multiple mergers and acquisitions, a publishing company startup (which was a big failure), several real estate ventures and most recently, starting and building a SaaS-based software company, LighthousePE.
David also serves in leadership for the member-driven global Entrepreneurs Organization, EO, and has published his first book, Leader is Not a Title. Additionally, David coaches and mentors entrepreneurs all while putting two sons through college and being somewhat of a good husband to my wife of 25 years.
23: Lessons Learned from the ARA President during the Pandemic, Beth Hoff Blackmer
On today's episode, Ami Kassar interviews Beth Hoff Blackmer, Owner and President of Aspen Rent-All, Inc. on lessons learned as president of the ARA through the pandemic.
Her father decided to sell the business in 1999 after his manager became ill. With urging from some family friends, Beth decided to step into the business in August of 1999 with absolutely no background in the rental industry. Taking a big step into the great unknown, she purchased the business from her father in January of 2000. Thankfully in the fall of 1999, she attended a regional ARA event as well as the Alert software user conference and met many wonderful people who helped her tremendously over those first few years.
Since 2007, she has been very involved with different aspects of the ARA where she has gained insights, found valued colleagues, and discovered a treasured circle of friends. When she started, she had little or no experience with any of the equipment; now she is proud to say that she can operate all the equipment in the fleet. She has tripled the revenue of the business since purchasing it.
Beth is married to Kent Blackmer and resides in a rural and mountainous setting. They have two Labrador retriever dogs and two horses. She enjoys skiing, riding horses, cycling, diving, and traveling with Kent.
22: Attracting and Retaining Top Talent with Kathleen Quinn Votaw
On this episode, Ami Kassar interviews Kathleen Quinn Votaw, Founder and CEO of TalenTrust on how businesses need to be rethinking their people strategies as we get back to the "new normal".
Kathleen is the Founder and CEO of TalenTrust, a strategic recruiting and human capital consulting firm that has helped companies nationwide address immediate needs and drive long-term growth since 2003. She is the author of Solve the People Puzzle and a regularly published columnist and popular speaker on topics related to HR strategies and workplace culture.
Kathleen has overcome a multitude of personal and business challenges in becoming a strong leader who was able to exceed TalenTrust’s growth goals throughout the Great Recession and become one of less than 2% of women business owners to break the million-dollar mark. Along this journey, she has formed the core belief that people-centric, relationship-based workplaces are the key to attracting and retaining the talent to take businesses to the next level. Based on her knowledge and experience, she is a key disrupter in her industry, with a mission to help HR professionals attain the skills needed to provide strategic value to their companies.
She has helped more than 1,000 companies across multiple industries navigate uncertainty and continuous change to develop purpose-based, inclusive cultures; targeted recruitment strategies; and, most importantly, inspired employees who want to come to work each day.
From proactive hiring processes to human-centric leadership, Quinn Votaw’s practical insights and actionable recommendations have impacted diverse organizations, including: John Hancock, Kaiser Permanente, the United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Renaissance Executive Forum, EO, the Association of Corporate Growth, and Vistage International.
Kathleen recently completed a Stanford Graduate School of Business program focused on strategy, innovation, and organizational design. She has received many awards, including the coveted Inc. 5000 for two consecutive years; 2020 Enterprising Women of the Year from Enterprising Women Magazine for her work to fuel lasting change in companies across the nation; and multiple achievement awards from Colorado Women’s Chamber, ColoradoBiz Magazine, and Denver Business Journal.
21: How Companies are Repivoting with Scaling Up Business Coach, Bill Gallagher
On today's episode, Ami Kassar interviews Bill Gallagher, Scaling Up Business Coach and Podcast Host, on how companies are repivoting.
Bill is a business coach and master facilitator with over 30 years of entrepreneurial and executive experience. Bill has spent the last 15 years coaching and training others in leadership and performance and previously led 4 companies of his own and been a partner or executive in 2 others. Bill discovered the Rockefeller Habits and Scaling Up 20 years ago, has used them in his own companies.
Today, Bill coaches leaders and teams across more than 25 cities in 11 countries and the host of the Scaling Up Business Podcast. He is a passionate and playful presenter and his clients, at all stages, share a hunger to grow successfully with an openness to new approaches and thinking.
Bill Gallagher is the guy you want around to sustain growth, when you need to build consensus, or even when things explode and you need to get the team in action. Working alongside an entrepreneur, Bill is able to inspire people and companies, and then get them pulling together.
An experienced entrepreneur and executive, he has created and run companies and business units ranging from startup to over US $500 million.
Happily married for over 20 years, Bill and his wife, Lori, live in the Oakland hills. Their grown children, Jack and Sophie, are also entrepreneurial and live nearby.
20: Greg Crabtree, a CPA Who Puts Consulting First
On today's episode, Ami Kassar interviews Greg Crabtree, Partner at Carr, Riggs & Ingram, on how he helps companies manage their books, and what's different about his unique approach.
Greg Crabtree has over 40 years of in-depth experience, not only as a CPA, but also as a speaker, author, entrepreneur and financial expert. He is known for working with his clients on cash flow planning, business consultations, strategic planning facilitation, success planning, and transaction advisory services. Greg’s firm, Crabtree, Rowe & Berger, recently merged with Carr, Rigs, and Ingram, where he is now Partner in Charge. The CPA firm is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs build the economic engine of their business.
In 2011, Greg released his first book “Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits” which shares his core principles of how to turn your business into a wealth building engine. In 2014, Greg contributed a chapter to Verne Harnish’s book, “Scaling Up” on how to improve profits though labor efficiency. In 2020, Greg released his newest book, “Simple Numbers 2.0: Rule for Elite Profit and Cash Flow”. Greg has also launched a new Executive Education program for EO in 2020 called Functional Finance for Entrepreneurs that will teach any entrepreneur the basics to understand their financials and use the data to drive exceptional business performance.
19: Multiply your Revenue and Reduce the Time it Takes to Manage your Business with Dale Robinette
On today's episode, Ami Kassar interviews Dale Robinette, Business Growth Strategist, Founder of the RevX Formula, Vistage Master Chair, and certified Scaling Up Gazelles Coach to discuss what Dale has learned coaching business owners through the pandemic.
Dale Robinette has a 25-year history of successfully helping companies, across multiple industries ranging from start-ups to Fortune 50, achieve exponential growth. He is an expert at developing concise and actionable strategies that will allow your company, and its management team, to achieve results previously considered unattainable.
Dale’s career originally focused on penetrating the electronics industry. He joined the U.S. Navy as an Electronics Warfare Technician to obtain technical expertise. After four years of military service, Dale completed a business degree with an emphasis in Marketing and was fortunate to be recruited as a Sales Executive by AMP Incorporated which was ultimately acquired by Tyco Electronics, the industry’s largest passive electronics company at $13 billion in revenue.
After a few years, he became the leading salesperson out of 500 when promoted to Sales Manager, becoming the youngest Sales Manager in the 50-year history of the company. Two years later, Dale became the leading Sales Manager out of 14 in the U.S. and placed into an executive rotation with a wide variety of leadership positions.
After 15 years at Tyco Electronics, Dale joined Peregrine Semiconductor as a Director of Product Marketing (GM) of the High Reliability Products Division. He built the business achieving a C