Tag Archives: entrepreneur

Courtesy of Jennifer Adams

Jen of all trades: Scottsdale designer puts heart into homes

In order to understand how Scottsdale designer Jennifer Adams transformed her life of cleaning houses, teaching aerobics and being a receptionist to becoming a successful entrepreneur, you would need to trace her journey all the way back to home.

“I realized at an early age the power of home and what you do to your house, how that affects your everyday life, because I believe strongly that everything begins at home. That’s the basis for the rest of every single family member’s life, how the morning starts off and how the evening ends because it makes such a difference,” Adams said.

The tiny room that she shared with her three siblings and parents is the exact place where Adams, CEO and chief creative officer of Jennifer Adams Worldwide, Inc., TV personality, author and columnist, found her passion for design.

“When I was growing up, we were pretty poor. We didn’t have a lot of anything at all and my mom made everything that we had in our house. So she made our sofa, she made our shelves, she made the mattress box for our bed and she made our bedding,” Adams said. “I didn’t understand necessarily growing up what that meant but I also was always around the design aspect.”

Adams was DIY-ing before there was ever Pinterest to provide inspiration, and that in turn led her to grow fond of the space called home, even if it wasn’t much at the time.

Adams may not have had the easiest of childhoods by having to work since the age of 14 to help her family survive, but she learned a valuable lesson.

“I always pretty much have been working since the day I was able to work and I think that established a work ethic in myself in knowing things just don’t necessarily get handed to you,” Adams said.

After finishing high school, Adams attended a trade school for interior design where she met the owner who was a main inspiration in her decision to make a career in interior design.

“She interviewed me and I talked with her and she really inspired me and that’s what got me excited because she was so enthusiastic. She said she thought that I could do it and I really hadn’t had anyone believe in me up until that point,” Adams said.

Even though Adams thought she was going to have to work at a furniture store after completing trade school, with knowing only the basics of the industry, she happened to be in the right place at the right time when the owner referred her to do a project designing an airport hanger.

“So that referral led to so many other referrals. You know one client refers to the next client and that’s really how I built my business up, so I didn’t end up having to go work for somebody,” Adams said.

Adams started off designing small and humble, much like her childhood roots, and learned along the way from her share of mistakes, eventually working her way up the ladder to building a lifestyle brand, Jennifer Adams Home.

“When I very first started I could only do very basic decorating. That’s why as I grew my firm. I brought in people that had architectural degrees, design degrees that were able to do the things I wasn’t able to do. I would just envision the entire project and have a team together to help with it,” Adams said.

After a period of time doing design projects in the U.S. as well as in Canada, Korea, the U.K. and Mexico, Adams brought the firm’s focus back to the basics of home by creating products and content to help people with little time and a small budget to be somewhere in between a Martha Stewart and a Rachel Ray.

“We’ve really evolved our company now to where we focus on product design, products that can go into everybody’s home and then also content to help people be their own designer as opposed to having to hire us. I get more gratification out of giving tips for people to use in their own home as opposed to me having to do it for them,” Adams said.

Jennifer Adams Home covers all aspects of home life with products like bedding, furniture, candles, drapery, designer fabric, cleaning products and even apparel. Adams also has a blog, a book, “Bedrooms That Inspire: Rest, Relaxation & Romance”, and a weekly column, and has made appearances on channels like HGTV, which all serve as various mediums for Adams to connect, inspire and give advice to avid readers.

While reflecting her journey, Adams points out that she had a few great advisors who gave her the confidence to create a brand that empowers everyone to feel great about their own home.

“It’s easy to forget the journey or realize how much has changed,” Adams said.

Go Daddy founder and former CEO Bob Parsons is resigning as executive chairman to spend time on other ventures.

Parsons Acquires Scottsdale-based Martz Agency

Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist Bob Parsons today announced the acquisition of Martz Agency by MP Agency, L.L.C., an organization owned by Parsons. The award-winning Scottsdale based marketing and public relations firm, which will be renamed Martz Parsons, will bring creative firepower to Parsons’ growing portfolio of businesses.

Parsons has said that by looking at and structuring their marketing as a revenue generator that makes money rather than an expense item, businesses are able to not only bring attention to their brand but also increase their revenue streams. Parsons’ numerous Valley based entities, including Harley-Davidson of Scottsdale, Go AZ Motorcycles, Spooky Fast Parts & Engineering, YAM Properties, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation and Scottsdale National Golf Club, will be using Martz Parsons as their agency of record. The agency will immediately add talent to keep pace with the growth.

Martz Agency, founded by Carrie Martz in 1980, is among the most highly regarded agencies in Arizona. Moving forward, Carrie Martz will assume the title of CEO and the agency will continue to serve its existing clients. Existing and future accounts, including Parsons personal enterprises, will be able to leverage the Agency’s unparalleled talent and newly expanded resources to further develop and empower their brands.

“I am thrilled that someone I consider to be a marketing genius has purchased the Agency,” said Carrie Martz.  “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our agency and for our clients. With Bob Parsons behind us, I believe our Agency will become even more value to the clients we serve.”

Bob Parsons, like Carrie Martz, is well-known for his intense focus on providing an excellent customer experience. Moving forward, clients can expect their accounts to be managed with the same level of personalized care that Martz Agency has delivered for the last 33 years.

“It’s no secret that I am passionate about marketing,” said Bob Parsons. “The formula is simple … great brands that deliver an uncontested customer experience thrive. Martz Agency brings years of experience, professionalism and enthusiasm to the table. Together, we should knock it out of the park.”

Martz Agency’s current client roster includes Yurbuds, Arizona Commerce Authority, Toronto based Pacific Links International, Valley of the Sun YMCA, Fennemore Craig, RLC Labs, One Neck, Mirabel, The Reef Residences at Atlantis, Estrella by Newland Communities, and Olympia Group.

SimonCRE

SimonCRE, One Stop Voice Relocate to Scottsdale

SimonCRE and One Stop Voice, headed by Scottsdale entrepreneur Joshua Simon, moved into a larger office space this month at a location at Scottsdale and Chaparral roads. The new office space more than doubles the square footage giving some much needed breathing room for the expanding businesses. The purposeful timing of the move capitalizes on market conditions of office rental spaces.

According to recently published data, office vacancy has dropped to 21.4 percent in Phoenix. In large part this is due to overall employment increasing, which has created more jobs within companies that need room for growth. During the first quarter of 2013, office rent per square foot was at a six-year low, then changed direction in the second quarter with a 3.1 percent increase. In the third quarter rental rates are expected to continue to climb. Based on the data, it appears that the worst is in the past and that the market is entering a more Landlord-friendly environment. For Tenants, this means that the timing it good to now lock in rental rates with multi-year contracts.

“We paid particular attention to a couple of major factors before pulling the trigger on a larger office space,” explains Simon on the timing of his recent move. “One of those factors was that we wanted to make sure a larger office space was a prudent fiscal decision for both SimonCRE and One Stop Voice. We had the ability to make a move sooner, but waiting until now was a better answer for us. As importantly, we had a clear physical need for more space and amenities.”

The new office space covers more than 4,000 square feet with significant conveniences built-in. In their former location, community spaces were converted into offices because business growth demanded it. Now, the staff has ample room with dedicated space for both SimonCRE and One Stop Voice. A large reception area welcomes guests and comfortable conference room offers dramatic views of Camelback Mountain. The completely remodeled suite is a professional environment that is well-suited to the growing team.

The new address headquarters both Simon companies: SimonCRE and One Stop Voice. SimonCRE is a commercial real estate development firm that caters to regional brands searching to expand their reach. The firm specializes in shopping center development and redevelopment opportunities, as well as build-to-suit and single tenant projects. They have successfully completed projects across the United States. Cloud-based communications systems company One Stop Voice champions VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol communications for corporate clients. Because of the cutting-edge technology offered, the firm has experienced significant growth.

4222 E Thomas Road

Tucson Law Firm Launches Phoenix Office at Arcadia Gateway Center

hopley greg 5X7 photo

Greg Hopley

Zanes Law, a 10-year highly successful firm in Southern Arizona, selected the 90,000-square-foot Arcadia Gateway Center, 4222 E. Thomas Road in Phoenix, for its first office in the Valley.

Serving personal injury clients, the firm is led by Doug Zanes, an Arizona injury lawyer, and Claudia Zanes, the CEO.

“We chose a location that was central enough to serve all areas of the Phoenix community,” said the firm’s CEO Claudia Zanes (non-attorney). 

Arcadia Gateway Center also is the home of Phoenix Seminary, Center for Arizona Policy, Whiting Turner, Reliance Standard Life Insurance, Hormel Foods and Stealth Solar, among others.

Greg Hopley, executive vice president at Colliers International, served as the landlord’s broker. Zanes Law did not have a broker. 

“The Arcadia Gateway Center looks forward to Zanes Law serving as a dynamic new tenant that will bring additional energy and vibrancy to the business center,” Hopley said.

 

Entrepreneurs

10 Wealthiest Entrepreneurs of All Time

An entrepreneur is not an ordinary person. If you plan to organize and operate a business, you are taking a financial risk to do so — as well as personal risks and an investment in time and effort. But, sometimes the risks and investments pay off, as shown by this list of the ten wealthiest entrepreneurs of all time. The list is ordered by wealth and the focus is in the United States. The businesses created by these individuals range from oil to cars, and from dry goods to lumberyards. The wealth estimates in most cases are based upon several observations from Forbes, mainly based upon modern net worth. You might note that only one person on this list was born in the twentieth century and is still alive — Bill Gates.

1. John Davidson Rockefeller: Rockefeller founded Standard Oil in 1870, which dominated the oil industry and was the first great U.S. business trust. He was 31-years-old at the time, and his pursuits revolutionized the petroleum industry and defined the structure of modern philanthopy. Standard Oil began as an Ohio partnership formed by John D. Rockefeller, his brother William Rockefeller, Henry Flagler, Jabez Bostwick, chemist Samuel Andrews, and a silent partner, Stephen V. Harkness. As kerosene and gasoline grew in importance, Rockefeller’s wealth soared, and he became the world’s richest man and first American worth more than a billion dollars. His peak fortune? $336 billion.

2. Andrew Carnegie: After jobs such as a factory worker in a bobbin factory, a messenger boy, and an upwardly-mobile employee for a telegraph company, Carnegie built Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Steel Company. After he sold Carnegie Steel Company to J.P. Morgan in 1901 ($480 million), Carnegie devoted the remainder of his life to large-scale philanthropy, with special emphasis on local libraries, world peace, education and scientific research. Carnegie slowly accumulated capital, the basis for his later success, through investments. His life has often been referred to as a true “rags to riches” story. His peak fortune? $309 billion.

3. Henry Ford: As founder of the Ford Motor Company and sponsor of the development of the assembly line of mass production, Ford had a global vision of how to run a company and treat employees. Ford astonished the world in 1914 by offering a $5 per day wage ($110 today), which more than doubled the rate of most of his workers. The move proved extremely profitable; instead of constant turnover of employees, the best mechanics in Detroit flocked to Ford, bringing their human capital and expertise, raising productivity, and lowering training costs. His peak fortune? $188.1 billion.

4. Cornelius Vanderbilt: This entrepreneur began working on his father’s New York harbor ferry as a boy and quit school at age 11. He then borrowed $100 from his mother to purchase a boat at age 16, and began to build a complicated shipping business while also fathering 13 children. He also built an interest in railroads, eventually selling all his ships and concentrating on that business. He was the patriarch of the Vanderbilt family and one of the richest Americans in history. He provided the initial gift to found Vanderbilt University, which is named in his honor. His peak fortune? $185 billion.

5. Bill Gates: A contemporary entrepreneur, many people know how Bill Gates built his fortune. Gates is the former CEO and current chairman of Microsoft, the software company he founded with Paul Allen. In 1987, Gates was officially declared a billionaire in the pages of Forbes’ 400 Richest People in America issue, just days before his 32nd birthday. As the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, he was worth $1.25 billion, over $900 million more than he’d been worth the year before, when he’d debuted on the list. He is consistently ranked among the world’s wealthiest people and was the wealthiest overall from 1995 to 2009, excluding 2008, when he was ranked third. In 2011 he was the wealthiest American and the second wealthiest person alive. His peak fortune? $136 billion.

6. John Jacob Aster: As the first prominent member of the Astor family, John (born Johann), was a German-American business man and investor who was the first multi-millionaire in the United States. He was the creator of the first trust in America. Astor arrived in the U.S. American Revolutionary War to build a fur-trading empire that extended to the Great Lakes region and Canada. He later expanded into the American West and Pacific coast. He also got involved in smuggling opium and then began to purchase land in Manhattan, creating a land-rich empire. At the time of his death in 1848, Astor was the wealthiest person in the United States. His peak fortune? $121 billion.

7. Stephen Girard: Born in France, Girard lost the sight in his right eye at age eight, and he had very little education. As an established merchant in Philadelphia, Girard eventually purchased the First Bank of the United States charter. His bank because the principal source of government credit during the War of 1812. Towards the end of the war, when the financial credit of the U.S. government was at its lowest, Girard placed nearly all of his resources at the disposal of the government and underwrote up to 95 percent of the war loan issue, which enabled the United States to carry on the war. He became one of the wealthiest men in America, estimated to have been the fourth richest American of all time, based on the ratio of his fortune to contemporary GDP. Childless, he devoted much of his fortune to philanthropy, particularly the education and welfare of orphans. His peak fortune? $105 billion.

8. Alexander Turney Stewart: Also known as “A.T.” Stewart was a successful Irish entrepreneur who made his multi-million fortune in what was at the time the most extensive and lucrative dry goods business in the world. He received an inheritance of somewhere between $5,000 to $10,000, taking this money to New York and creating a store on Broadway. Along with his successful retail store, Stewart also established himself as one of the wealthiest men in the United States by allowing women all over the country to purchase and order items from his wholesale department store. His peak fortune? $88.9 billion.

9. Frederick Weyerhaeuser: Weyerhaeuser, a German-born son of farmers, emigrated to the U.S. in 1848 and worked in a brewery, on the railroad, and eventually became an upwardly-mobile employee in a sawmill factory. He eventually purchased the sawmill business and formed the Weyerhaeuser-Denkmann Lumber Company with his brother-in-law, Frederick Denkmann. The Weyerhaeuser Company is still the world’s largest seller of timber. His peak fortune? $79.4 billion.

10. Jay Gould: Although being ranked as the eighth worst American CEO of all time by the Conde Nast Portfolio, Jay Gould’s successes made him, at one time, the ninth richest American in history. He was a rail baron and gold speculator, masterminding the 19th-century transportation boom in America. He and financier James Fisk bought up a dominating share of the gold market, enough to directly affect market movements during his lifetime. His peak fortune? $71.2 billion.

Kate Hubbard is content editor for OnlineBusinessSchool.org.

Mayor Elaine Scruggs

Suns Co-Owner Shares Keys to Happiness

In his years as a successful entrepreneur creating and selling corporations to the likes of Coca-Cola and Kimberly-Clark, Richard Jaffe, one of the owners of the Phoenix Suns, found a few constants to guide him in business and in life.

“Love myself; live my values, and learn to give back,” says Jaffe, who gained respect as an inspirational leader.

The most important of these and the key to happiness, he says, is learning to love himself. It’s a recurring theme in the poetry he’s been writing for decades and recently published in, “Inner Peace & Happiness: Reflections to Grow Your Soul.”

“I’ve found that loving myself is fundamental to my happiness,” he says. “The one person I have a relationship with for my entire life is myself, so it’s essential to make that relationship my priority. When I have the inner peace that comes from loving myself, I don’t have to look to others to fill my emotional needs and wants.”

How does one learn to love him- or herself and to be happy? For Jaffe, it came from living and acting on his values in business and in his personal life, whether he was struggling or succeeding.

“These are the things that have worked for me,” he says. “Values guide my choices, and my choices affect how I feel about myself and how I interact with others.”

These are some of the values and tenets that have helped make Jaffe an exceedingly happy man.

• Find your passion and indulge in it. Jaffe has been expressing himself through poetry for 30 years – that is one of his greatest passions. “Poetry helps to provide me balance in life between work, family and other external commitments,” he says. “When I allow myself time to indulge in my passion, I recharge my spirit, my mind and my body.”

• Remember – givers gain. Even when he was a broke young entrepreneur, Jaffe and his wife of 28 years, Ann, always made sure to give to the community, to their temple, to charity. “Give even when you have nothing,” he says. “It always comes back to bless you, though sometimes from a different source.”

• Don’t rely on anyone else to make you happy. It doesn’t work, Jaffe says. When your happiness is dependent on your love for someone else, they control your happiness.  Love doesn’t always stick around – sometimes it comes into our lives in order to teach us how to care. We have to rely on ourselves.

• Be the very best you can be at whatever you do. Don’t compare yourself to your competition, to history, to anyone else. Instead, raise the bar on yourself. “Even if I get knocked down at something, I can be happy when I know I gave it my very best effort,” Jaffe says. “I don’t always succeed, but I can give an even better effort the next time because I will have learned from being knocked down. Defeat is being knocked down; failure is the unwillingness to get back up!”

• Control your thoughts and keep them positive. “My kids used to come to me to complain when they were unhappy about something,” Jaffe says. “I would tell them, ‘If you do not like the way you feel, just change the way you think!’ It drove them crazy!” But they did eventually understand that their negative thoughts were making them feel bad. Jaffe says beware — thinking positively is habit-forming, at least for him.

Jaffe is one of the owners of the Suns, a successful business leader and longtime philanthropist. Most recently the CEO of Safe Life Corp., a medical technology company, he also founded Safe Skin Corp., a latex glove manufacturer (acquired by Kimberly-Clark Corp.) and Nutri-Foods International, a frozen dessert company (sold to the Coca-Cola Co.) He is a member of the U.S. Golf Association’s Presidents Council and a supporter of numerous charitable projects.

employment

Purposed-Based Recruiting Increases Employee Retention

Ask any entrepreneur to explain his or her biggest struggle, and you’ll hear one answer more often than any other – finding and retaining the best talent.  Let’s face it, at the end the day, the only real competitive advantage amongst all businesses is the people.

Of course, finding and keeping star employees has always been a struggle. However, the problem is more prevalent than ever as younger generations enter the workforce. Gone are the days of joining a company as an entry-level employee and staying at that same company for their entire career. Instead, today’s workforce is choosing to climb the career ladder by switching companies more frequently.

This shift in workforce behavior is actually a positive thing for employees looking for a wide range of experiences and avenues to hone their knowledge and talents. However, it also creates an undesirable predicament for business owners. High turnover can wreak havoc on a company and create oodles of problems that quickly spiral out of control: weak company culture, negative impact on productivity, and loss of the company’s investment in employees.

This trend isn’t going to disappear any time soon. So, entrepreneurs are basically left with two options: 1. Fight the trend. 2. Leverage the trend.

Numerous studies are showing that both the younger generation of workers, as well as many of the workers who were forced into career change during the recent economic fallout, are seeking companies and opportunities which offer a well-defined purpose. Many professionals are no longer satisfied with simply earning a paycheck. They no longer view work as somewhere they must be for a good portion of their day, but instead a place that allows them opportunities to make a difference in the world—a difference that has meaning to them.

How can entrepreneurs leverage this trend?

I call the solution “purpose-based recruiting.” When communicated correctly during the interview process and any recruitment efforts, purpose-based recruiting not only reveals that your company cares about an individual’s success, shows opportunities for growth, and empowers people to hone their passion. It also filters out potential hires who might be simply looking for just a quick paycheck.

As the owner of a business that is focused on purpose-based recruiting, I see how businesses are missing the big-picture element when hiring new employees. The great thing is most businesses already have a strong vision of how they hope to make an impact in the world; they simply need to fine-tune and communicate that message more effectively to new recruits.

Follow the below steps for successful purpose-based recruiting:

1. Start with the founder. For nearly all businesses, the founder’s original vision serves as the fabric of what the company is today.  If the founder is no longer in the picture, go to the owner/CEO or executive team. Establish what the business stands for and what the future looks like. Write down key messages, and use these as talking points when hiring.  In essence, find a unique purpose that the team can align with professionally.

2. Recruit based on goals. When companies post for job openings, it’s usually a laundry list of skills a person must possess in order to apply for the position. Why not take a different approach and hire based on what that person hopes to accomplish professionally? As small business owners, we are so focused on finding the right person based on skillset and forget some of the most important elements – finding someone who is a perfect culture fit, has the potential to grow, embodies the company brand and shares the business’ mission. While finding individuals like this may seem impossible for many entrepreneurs, it’s much more manageable if the company has clearly defined purpose.

3. Ask the right questions. A company’s and individual’s goals must be synchronistic. The next step is to uncover as much information about the individual during the interview beyond the skillset. What are their career goals? What are they looking for in a company? What motivates and excites them? Discovering their professional passion and purpose can help you determine if they will be a good ambassador of your brand.

4. Communicate the company’s vision. Knowing that today’s employee cares significantly about making a difference, it is important to outline the company’s purpose and goals early in the interview. It must be made clear that finding individuals who align with a company’s purpose and believe in their goals is essential as well. Job candidates will hopefully make a decision early on if they will be satisfied working at your company.

5. Foster growth after hiring. Communicating a company’s grand vision should not be limited to the interview process. All employees should feel like they have a stake in the company’s success and are working toward a common goal. As a part of the post-hiring process, managers should stay in close contact with new employees to be sure they are working toward their professional goals and in turn, keeping with the overall company goals. Existing employees can use refreshers too. Communicate big wins for the company, be transparent about new opportunities and challenges and provide check points – quarterly or annually – to show how the company is achieving goals.

Like I mentioned before. Companies have the option to either fight the new trend, or leverage it. I strongly encourage hiring managers and entrepreneurs to evaluate the recruiting process and make sure it aligns with this behavior shift we’re seeing in the workforce. Purpose-based recruiting will help your business enormously. Not only will you see higher retention, but employees will be more productive and happy because they are working toward their professional purpose.

Max Hansen is the CEO and co-owner of Y Scouts, a recruiting firm that focuses on helping individuals discover their professional passion and connect them with a like-minded company. Hansen is also the membership chair for Entrepreneurs’ Organization Arizona, a dynamic group of 150 of Arizona’s most successful entrepreneurs. To learn more about EO Arizona and its mentorship program, visit www.eoaz.org.

Broadway Health Center, 6550 Broadway, Mesa

Multi-Million Dollar Renovation Begins on 2 Medical Office Buildings in Mesa

 

Renovations have begun on Baywood Health Center and Broadway Health Center, two, 2-story medical office buildings in Mesa across the street from Banner Baywood Hospital.

Archway Holdings Corp. of Beverly Hills, Calif., which purchased the properties in February 2012, is implementing significant exterior and interior upgrades. Improvements to the properties include a complete redesign of their exterior façades, renovations to the interior lobbies and common areas, new garden and monument signage and water saving landscaping features.

Construction started in December 2012, with completion in March 2013. LGE Design Build is the general contractor; Cawley Architects will handle the design work.

Kelley Ahrens of CBRE’s Phoenix office will handle the leasing assignment for the property owner.

“In addition to repositioning the buildings into class A assets, Archway is providing tenants with generous improvement dollars to perform renovations to their individual office suites in order to keep up with the improvements to the buildings,” Ahrens said.

The assets are located directly across the street from Banner Baywood Medical Center, a 342-bed hospital providing complete acute care services to the East Valley communities of Mesa, Gilbert, Apache Junction, Queen Creek, Fountain Hills and areas of northeastern Pinal County. The assets are also close to Leisure World, the largest retirement community in Metro Phoenix.

Baywood Health Center, a 36,127 SF medical office building is at 6553 E. Baywood Ave. Broadway Health Center, a 25,277 SF medical office building is at 6550 E. Broadway Rd. The properties are 83% and 19% leased, respectively.

“The renovations will not only add value to these properties, they will add significant value to the surrounding community too,” Ahrens said. “The new look and upgrades will attract additional healthcare professionals to the area, which, in turn, provide more medical services and create more jobs.”

 

sleep

S.T.A.R.S. Receives Gold Best in Biz Award

Sleep Testing and Respiratory Services (S.T.A.R.S.) received top honors in this year’s Best in Biz Awards, the only independent business awards program judged by members of the press and industry analysts. The company’s Director of Human Resources, Kara Chase, was honored with a Gold Best in Biz Award for Human Resources Executive of the Year.

Chase was recognized for her integral role in the 2011 S.T.A.R.S. asset purchase, and for her leadership and management as head of Human Resources for S.T.A.R.S. and its sister companies, Heartland Health and Clinical Research Advantage.

“Kara Chase has been instrumental in the success of S.T.A.R.S., Heartland Health and Clinical Research Advantage,” said Mark S. Hanley, Chief Executive Officer of S.T.A.R.S. “She was responsible for leading a series of initiatives to safeguard each company as it grew. This enabled us to manage our unprecedented growth while upholding our high standards for quality and service.”

More than 400 entries were received in this year’s awards program, from a wide array of public and private companies of all sizes and from a variety of industries and regions in the U.S. and Canada.

Winners of Best in Biz Awards 2012 were determined by an independent panel of 32 judges from top-tier news, business and technology publications, as well as broadcast outlets and analyst firms, such as ABC, Businessweek, Computerworld, ECT News Network, Entrepreneur, eWeek, Examiner, Financial Times, Forbes, FOX News, Hartford Business Journal, IDG Ventures, IEEE Institute, Inc., Insight Media, King Features Syndicate, Lab Reviews, Network World, The News and Observer, PC Magazine, ReadWriteWeb, South Florida Business Journal, Tech-Gaming, Techtalk, Upstart Business Journal, USA Today and ZDNet.

Mane Attraction Salon logo

12/12/12 Deals At Mane Attraction Salon

One time only, on a day that happens only once every 100 years, Mane Attraction Salon in Phoenix is offering the following three specials:

  1. Book your next hair appointment for Wednesday, December 12 at Mane Attraction, and receive $12 off — whether it be a haircut, color or style.
  2. For those who haven’t booked an appointment yet, the 12th caller to schedule a service that day will receive a free haircut and a deep conditioning masque.
  3. And, lastly, the 12th client to check in that day will receive all of his or her booked services for free.

12/12/12 at Mane Attraction Salon

When: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: 3156 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix
Contact: (602) 956-2996
Web: maneattractionsalon.com

Orvin & Drake

CRA Receives Gold Best in Biz Award

Clinical Research Advantage (CRA) received top honors in this year’s Best in Biz Awards, the only independent business awards program judged by members of the press and industry analysts. CRA received the Gold Award for Business Development Department of the Year.

Casey Orvin, Vice President of Business Development, and Amanda Drake, Director of Business Development, were recognized for their achievements in helping the company grow to become the largest and most therapeutically diverse integrated site network in the clinical trials industry.

“Casey Orvin and Amanda Drake have been vital to CRA’s substantial growth over the past couple of years,” said Mark S. Hanley, the company’s Chief Executive Officer. “Through their efforts, the number of clinical trials conducted by CRA increased by nearly 150%, and it continues to grow at an unprecedented rate.”

More than 400 entries were received in this year’s awards program, from a wide array of public and private companies of all sizes and from a variety of industries and regions in the U.S. and Canada.

Winners of Best in Biz Awards 2012 were determined by an independent panel of 32 judges from top-tier news, business and technology publications, as well as broadcast outlets and analyst firms, such as ABC, Businessweek, Computerworld, ECT News Network, Entrepreneur, eWeek, Examiner, Financial Times, Forbes, FOX News, Hartford Business Journal, IDG Ventures, IEEE Institute, Inc., Insight Media, King Features Syndicate, Lab Reviews, Network World, The News and Observer, PC Magazine, ReadWriteWeb, South Florida Business Journal, Tech-Gaming, Techtalk, Upstart Business Journal, USA Today and ZDNet.

FreedomRefined.com - mobility products for seniors

Scottsdale Entrepreneur Launches FreedomRefined.com

Scottsdale entrepreneur Candyce Henry, an Arizona resident and former vice president of AT&T before continuing her career at Hewlett-Packard and American Express, found herself increasingly disenchanted by the lack of comprehensive retail outlets offering senior products to aid her mother and other family members. After extensive research of the market, Henry was compelled to found FreedomRefined.com, a web-based store offering all-encompassing solutions for the aging and physically impaired. Deep product categories include mobility products such as wheelchairs, medical walkers, bathroom safety, medical equipment, sleep disorder systems, bariatric and healthy living products that support freedom and independence.

“As both a daughter and a consumer, I knew there must be a better way to address the growing needs of mature individuals like my mother, by providing high levels of customer service with extended hours, information and products that exceed expectations,” according to Henry, CEO. “It became my mission to become part of the solution that preserves freedom and independence, even if it has to be refined to accommodate physical challenges.”

FreedomRefined.com will feature over 5,000 products when fully scaled, to aid both seniors and individuals of all ages who face mobility and health challenges including permanent and temporary disabilities, and morbid obesity. Highly respected brands have been selected based on quality, durability and comfort. Since the average caregiver in the U.S. is a 49-year-old woman who typically works at another job and has a family of her own to care for, highly trained and knowledgeable Relationship Managers will be available extended hours, seven days a week to serve as a support system. The FreedomRefined.com website itself features easy-to-navigate large, legible type with deep product categories grouped into good, better and best ratings. Products on the site are also accompanied by how-to videos, articles, and a directory of licensed and bonded companies that install ramps, lifts and renovate living environments.

“Our team is proud to launch a unique business model that delivers value through outstanding, compassionate service and the creation of long-term, trusted relationships with our customers,” Henry said.

To view their life-enhancing product lines, visit FreedomRefined.com or Facebook.com/FreedomRefined. Contact Customer Care at 602-374-1000 or toll free at 855-877-1010.

hiring trend - contracted worker

Consulting Expert Sheds Light On New Hiring Trend

An important hiring trend underway right now isn’t getting much attention in the news. Companies both large and small are riding the economic recovery wave by filling mid- to high-level positions with contract employees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, no fewer than half of all the professional jobs added in the past quarter were contract, not payroll jobs. And savvy professionals in transition are repackaging and selling their talent—not just their time—on a project by project basis to cash in.

Called “supertemps” by the Harvard Business Review, consulting expert Buddy Hobart, founder and president of Solutions 21, calls them “solopreneurs” and specializes in laying out a clear map for people determined to benefit from this new business model. Hobart, and his team have taken their many lessons learned over the past eighteen years building a successful business and created the Ex3 Matters Consulting Network. Through Ex3 Matters, Hobart takes his research and experience to the front lines, teaching baby boomers, professionals and out-of-the-box thinkers how to take advantage of this new workplace phenomenon.

“It used to be that you traded time for money,” said Hobart. “That’s changed. Now you trade results for money. Talent is transferable across a wide spectrum of industries and I believe that if you are on that supply side and you have these skill sets, you need to take a hard look at how this whole transaction is changing,” he added.

Hobart is the author of three books, including his most recent Gen Y Now, co-authored with ASU Basketball Coach Herb Sendek. He is also host of the radio show “The Consultant’s Corner” on The American Entrepreneur.

Hobart is hosting an upcoming presentation in Scottsdale on how this new work model is changing the employment landscape and how professionals can put their experience and expertise to work for themselves. He will be at SkySong, 1475 North Scottsdale Rd., from 8:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. on May 15 to speak on this growing trend. The presentation is free and includes breakfast.

Registration is online at http://tinyurl.com/7a45mqs and more information is available by calling 480.940.1474 or email lcapcara@globalconnectpr.com.

Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs: Three Key Things To Consider Before Starting Your Business

Three key things for entrepreneurs to consider before starting their own business


The benefit of a challenging economy has been the inspiration for new business. As individuals find themselves out of a job they may have held for decades, they are no longer taking their talents elsewhere. Instead they are choosing to create their own jobs; and in the process, jobs for others.

On a recent visit to the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, I had the honor of meeting a group of enthusiastic future entrepreneurs. Growing up during a time of uncertainty has inspired these students to explore the possibilities of starting their own businesses.

Whether you are a college student with a great idea or a professional seeking to take control of your fate, there are three key things for entrepreneurs to consider before starting your own business and venturing into the world of entrepreneurship.

Do something you’re passionate about

Being in control does not mean more free time. Starting your own business will consume the majority of your time and energy. But if you are passionate about what you do, it won’t feel like work. And when you love what you do, you are more likely to be successful. Think about what you know, what you like and where you may be able to fill a need or provide a benefit to others. This line of thinking most often leads to great ideas that can ultimately become great companies.

The right person for the job

Entrepreneurs wear many hats, especially during the start-up phase. In the beginning, you may be the receptionist, janitor, most valuable employee and CEO — often simultaneously. At a certain point, though, you will be ready to hire full-time employees or need to contract expert help. Running a small operation makes it essential to surround yourself with strong people that fill your weaknesses. While you may be a very knowledgeable about your industry, it does not mean you understand how to execute marketing, public relations or finance.

When hiring, take the time to find people with the right experiences and qualifications to fit your needs. Also, consider personalities, work environments and schedules. As you begin building your team, you want to do your best to find people that you can work well with and will help grow the organization. Finally, consider the qualifications of the team as you reach out to secure potential investors.

Understand the numbers

Entrepreneurs tend to be great idea people or visionaries, but successful entrepreneurs know and understand the financial side of things. If you are still in school and think you may want to launch your own business someday, consider majoring in accounting. If you graduated already, consider taking a few accounting courses. If the thought of accounting repels you, partner with someone or hire someone who understands accounting to serve as a trusted financial adviser. Knowing the numbers and how they are calculated can help to eliminate the risk of fraud. It will also boost your credibility when talking to potential investors because they will realize you know the ins and outs of your company.

Starting a new business is a risk, but the rewards can be great. Taking charge of your own destiny and being your own boss can be empowering and challenging. In the end, having passion for what you do, the determination to make it happen and the dedication to see it through will be what sets you apart from others.

For more information about becoming an entrepreneur, visit fswfunding.com.

Staying Innovative as a One Man Operation

Staying Innovative When You’re A One Man Operation

How to Stay Innovative When You’re A One Man Operation

With the economy down and unemployment numbers high, many have chosen to take the opportunity to start their own business as a one man operation.

This is an exciting step, but it comes with some challenges. How do you motivate yourself daily to work from home? And who do you turn to when you need to brainstorm your next business move?

Here are 5 tips to help the one man operation stay innovative and leading edge:

1.  Get out and network

It can be tempting to stay at home doing what you know how to do best, but it’s easy to fall into a rut. Break away from the comfort zone of your desk and computer, and get out in the world to meet new people. It will give you fresh inspiration and a new mindset when you go to work the next morning.

2. Take advantage of your existing network

People like to express their opinions. Don’t be shy about approaching your network of family and friends to bounce ideas around or ask their opinion about what you should do next. Many times, they will welcome the idea and be flattered you were interested in what they had to offer.

3. Use online forums

Online forums are a great way to see what people in your industry are saying and keep atop of the latest innovations. By being active in these forums, you also get an opportunity to promote your business and make new connections.

4. Talk to past co-workers

You used to work with your colleagues on a professional basis, so most of them will be ready to continue discussing with you professionally. It is a good time to develop on that trust they have in you as a professional and promote your new business. Just because you are no longer with that company does not mean you cannot extend an olive branch and work with past co-workers in other ways.

5. Break outside the box

Don’t limit yourself to only talking about business with people inside your industry. By learning about other industries you may find ideas you had never thought possible and bring some fresh insight into your industry with new approaches and communications.

Make it easy for people to share and even easier for you to store these ideas with online collaboration tools. By storing information in the cloud, your new connections, existing network or past colleagues can give you their two cents whenever it is convenient for them, making you more likely to receive feedback. Likewise, their ideas are automatically stored for you online so you can access them anytime and anywhere.

Networking Online, One Man Operation

Girlfriend University - AZ Business Magazine Jan/Feb 2011

Girlfriend University Isn’t Just For The Ladies

Don’t let the rhinestones, quotes by Madonna, crystal chandeliers and fuchsia touches fool you; Girlfriend University is serious business.

Founders Renee Dee, former publisher of Arizona Foothills Magazine, and Jodi Low, a former sales and marketing professional, combined their corporate and entrepreneurial backgrounds to create Girlfriend University as a way for women to grow personally and professionally.Girlfriend University Shirts, Lipstick

It’s a place for women to “catapult themselves into a great season of change,” Dee says.

Located in the upscale Scottsdale Quarter, Girlfriend University is equally chic. Clean lines and modern decor set the scene for business and personal growth.

The campus, as the women call it, features a lobby, complete with stick figure renderings of Dee and Low; a conference room; a 50- to 70-seat classroom; and an intimate mastermind room in which teachers and students can brainstorm.

March will mark the first anniversary of Girlfriend University, but it has already grown.

The staff has burgeoned from two, founders Dee and Low, to five, in part because of the success of Girlfriend University’s two and a half day leadership development intensive programs, Dee says. This program doesn’t center on creating a business plan, as most of the university’s other programs do. Instead, it focuses on encouraging women to invest in themselves and their businesses for a good return, Dee says.

The students of the intensive program walk out of the program in a “clear, focused, confident, passionate way,” Low says.

Girlfriend University is committed to doing this “powerful” program monthly, Dee says. To continue this intensive program, Girlfriend University hosts “class reunions” for the students, Dee says.Girlfriend University

Although, as the name suggests, Girlfriend University markets primarily to women, men make up half of the university’s student body.

“The ‘guy’ friends, you could say, are not afraid to stop by,” Dee says.

One of those men is Christian O’Connell, global ambassador for TheScene.com.

“Their two-day course, in my opinion, was more valuable than every other personal development course I’ve ever done,” O’Connell says. “I’ve heard Donald Trump speak on business leadership principles, if you will. The element of personal growth and business knowledge growth that happens at that (Girlfriend University seminar) just surpassed anything that I’ve done.”

O’Connell found this course so useful he encouraged other employees at TheScene.com to take the class.

In addition to the intensive programs, Girlfriend University also hosts a variety of other classes.

It’s a one-stop shop for those looking to grow their current business or create a new one, Low says.

Girlfriend UniversityThree and a half hour marketing sessions, during which the student and teachers “go bananas” in a brainstorming session, is another popular class, Dee says. The session ends with the creation of a business model and a list of people to call and connections to make.

Monthly Business 101 classes focus on a variety of topic, including optimizing social media and maximum time efficiency.

In 2011, Girlfriend University will focus on more “intensive, life-changing programming for leaders and entrepreneurs,” Dee says. The next decade might hold a location change to a freestanding facility as the university grows, Low says.

Wherever Girlfriend University is, Dee is confident that it is unique.

“We feel very one-of-a-kind here,” Dee says. “You can’t go to every city and look at everything they’ve got, so it’s hard to confirm, but we’ve not bumped into anything like this any place else in the country. We’re excited about that.”

Upcoming GU Events:

GU hosts a variety of workshops and one-on-one business intensives, but what sets them apart and makes GU unique is their two-and-a-half day Leader 101 trainings. This intensive course is designed to amplify the passion, enthusiasm, commitment and connectedness in your life.

The monthly classes have received amazing testimonials, and CEO’s in the Valley are even putting their employees in the program. Once completed, the attendees can go onto Leader 202, Communication 101 and 202. The Mastery Curriculum is designed to build strong leaders and passionate employees.

Arizona Business Magazine Jan/Feb 2011

Entrepreneurs Can Reach High Levels Of Success - AZ Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

The Entrepreneurs Of Today Can Reach High Levels Of Success — And Impact The World

In today’s fluctuating economy, the notions of entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial leadership and entrepreneurial decision-making are receiving increased attention by citizens, academics, managers and politicians on a global basis. The current global financial crisis has put added pressure on creating new ideas and bringing these to the market, resulting in financial fruition, economic development and employment.

Being an entrepreneur and creating value by establishing a new organization in both the profit and nonprofit sectors in business, as well as the arts, impacts economic and social conditions. This creation process takes more time and effort than one can imagine and is by no means easy, with a high failure rate reaching more than 70 percent in certain countries.

Since entrepreneurs are found in all professions — education, medicine, research, law, architecture, arts, engineering, social work and distribution — the definition of entrepreneurship in my book, “Entrepreneurship,” is relevant: “Entrepreneurship is the process of creating something new with value by devoting the necessary time and effort, assuming the accompanying financial, psychic, and social risks, and receiving the resulting rewards of monetary and personal satisfaction and independence.”

Global entrepreneurial leaders create visionary scenarios that assemble and mobilize participants, who become committed by the vision to discovery and creation of sustainable value. They have a wide variety of attributes, including being a visionary, having a passion for their idea, being a risk-taker, having perseverance, building a team, recognizing opportunities and needs, solving problems, and giving back. Let us look at a few examples:

Leonardo Da Vinci — In addition to his many other titles, Leonardo Da Vinci should be labeled as one of the great global entrepreneurial leaders of all time. It is, in fact, the breadth and depth of his work, his wide-ranging skills and his lasting impact on both the arts and society that reflect the strength of his entrepreneurial vision. He created many new and different pieces of art, devices and ways of thinking that were ahead of their time.

Edward Teach (Blackbeard the Pirate) — From 1716-1718, Blackbeard the Pirate ruled the seas and also was an entrepreneurial leader who flourished in his trade. The pirates who joined Blackbeard’s command often came from the lowest classes of society, or were former members of the British Navy, who found the conditions and treatment they received better than life on farms or plantations. All booty taken by the pirates would be divided evenly among the crew, one part each, save the captain’s two.

Peter the Great — Peter I ruled Russia from 1682 until his death in 1725, bringing about major modernization to his country. His global entrepreneurial vision and leadership gave Russia a new position of power as the country was transformed into a Western empire. Educators, military personnel and businessmen were invited to Russia; the army was modernized; a strong navy was developed; and arts and education flourished.

John D. Rockefeller — John D. Rockefeller was an extraordinary American entrepreneur and philanthropist. Through hard work, determination and a strong competitive nature, he became the world’s first billionaire. Rockefeller chose to change his entrepreneurial pursuits away from making money toward giving it away. From his equity position in Standard Oil, a company he co-founded, he felt the need to disperse his wealth to those less fortunate and formed the Rockefeller Foundation; this started the rise of American social philanthropy.

Madam C.J. Walker — Entrepreneurs often find opportunities and success in spite of great odds and obstacles. Madam C.J. Walker was one such person who identified a gap in the market — hair care products for black women. Walker became the first self-made, female black millionaire in the United States. At one point, she employed more than 3,000 women, and had a wide range of hair and skin care products.

Muhammad Yunus — Muhammad Yunus is an example of a selfless global entrepreneurial leader. After seeing the impact of his first micro-loan and the way in which he was repaid, Yunus began to envision a model that could work anywhere. He found that the poor would often quickly repay their loans with few problems. By the early 1980s, Yunus had expanded to other developing countries, and in 1983 formed the Grameen Bank, the institutional home of his micro-lending practices, both of which were honored with a Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.

Bill Gates — Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ entrepreneurial skills are varied. His company revolutionized the computer industry, helped to usher in the Internet age, and had a deep and profound impact on the daily lives of people around the world. Because of this persistence and risk taking, he shaped the evolution of the information age, making him the world’s richest man in 1995. In 2000, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was founded with the goal of alleviating many of the problems that are afflicting the world’s poorest people. It has grown into one of the premier philanthropic organizations in the world.

The role of global entrepreneurial leaders throughout history indicates the diversity in backgrounds, mindsets and goals that spawn entrepreneurial actions, decisions and leadership. From public sector to private, for-profit to nonprofit, in science, arts, religion, medicine, politics and business, and across industries, the variety of forms that entrepreneurial leadership takes is clear.

For the contemporary entrepreneur who actually starts his or her own business, the experience is filled with enthusiasm, frustration, anxiety and hard work. There is a high failure rate due to poor sales, intense competition, lack of capital, or lack of managerial ability. The financial, social and emotional risks are high, as are the rewards. As history has shown, the individual’s reward can easily set the stage for an accelerated impact on the larger community, region, country or even the world.

Arizona Business Magazine Jan/Feb 2011

Successful Business Women Add Philanthropic Endeavors - AZ Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

Three Successful Business Women Add Philanthropic Endeavors To Their Already Busy Work-Life Balance

Giving back to the community is an important component of being a true success in the business world. As the greatest minds in history have declared, responsibility is the companion of power and privilege.

Regardless of workloads or fluctuations in the economy, true business leaders — whether they are corporate executives or entrepreneurs — have acted as stewards of their communities. In recent decades, family life has been added to the mix, making the work-life- philanthropic balance even more challenging, especially for women. But it can and is done every day.

Jordan Rose is the founder and president of Rose Law Group pc, the largest law firm in Arizona ever owned by a woman. She is also a mother of two young boys, and for the past 11 years has been an integral member of the American Heart Association’s Arizona Heart Ball Committee.

Rose’s inspiration to pursue law came from her father, also an attorney, who loved going to work every day.

“I never think of it as work,” she says. “I love what I do, it’s the perfect fit for me.”

The perfect fit means having a team that shares her enthusiasm, work ethic and high standards, so Rose can have time for family and charitable pursuits.

“I wake up every day quite grateful that I have others around to help me do all the things I find tremendously rewarding,” Rose says.

What Rose finds rewarding is giving her time and expertise to not-for-profit organizations such as the Arizona American Heart Association, a group that for more than 50 years has been dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke — and subsequently poured millions of dollars into this community to support life-saving programs.

“My husband’s family has a history of heart disease, and I have a passion for making any small attempt I can at helping support the medical professionals who are currently researching a cure,” she says.

Rose’s legal and business expertise give her the ability to further support this cause by reviewing and restructuring contracts, so the Phoenix Heart Ball can maintain its low cost-to-fundraising ratio, while at the same time limiting any risk or exposure to members and donors. It’s a charity she loves and a business model she admires.

“I think for-profit businesses could learn a lot about motivating people and managing by shadowing the Heart Ball board,” Rose says.

And she has this advice for working moms who also want to serve the community: “Pick a charity that you have a passion for and you will be grateful, as it will make you happy to wake up and be able to give something back.”

Like Rose, Denise Resnik runs her own business. Denise Resnik & Associates is a strategic marketing and public relations firm she started 25 years ago. Also, like Rose, Resnik has a deep, personal connection to a nonprofit, in this case the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC). In 1993, Resnik’s son was diagnosed with autism.

“We were told to love him, accept him and plan to institutionalize him,” Resnik recalls.

Wanting a better life for her son and other children with autism, Resnik used her knowledge and experience as a business owner to find a better outcome.

“I allowed my heart and entrepreneurial spirit be my guide,” she says.

Years later, what started as a mother’s support group is now the 18,000-square-foot Campus for Exceptional Children and a 10,000-square-foot Vocational and Life Skills Academy. Both are focused on advancing research and providing support for thousands of individuals with autism and their families throughout their lifetimes.

“SARRC is another full-time job for me and a major pro bono client for our firm,” Resnik says.

As for finding the work-life balance, Resnik says, “I layer many of my priorities and interests, like creating big ideas and plans, while hiking with friends and colleagues through the Phoenix Mountain Preserve with our son and daughter.”

Her business acumen helped her build SARRC, and in turn SARRC has taught her some valuable business lessons.

“Our board and staff at SARRC lead by example and demonstrate for us all what it takes to make our community a better place, and what businesses and individuals can do to forever impact our community and change lives,” Resnik says, adding that if you’re thinking about volunteering, even if your plate is overflowing, you’ll find a way to make it work.

“The return on your investment will likely exceed your expectations,” she says. “It certainly exceeded mine.”

Michelle Kerrick, managing partner of Deloitte, stands tall alongside Rose and Resnik in terms of the tremendous impact she’s making on the community. She too juggles motherhood, a demanding career and her passion for volunteering.

“My position at Deloitte has a strong market focus, so it can be a win-win-win for me, the firm and the not-for-profit,” she says. “I get the opportunity to meet other key leaders in our community, while also giving back.”

The organization Kerrick “gives so much back to” is Fresh Start Women’s Foundation (FSWF).

“I was inspired by the cause,” Kerrick says. “FSWF is all about women helping women and developing confidence and self-esteem.”

Kerrick knows that financial stewardship is key to success, so it’s no wonder her business, financial and risk management skills benefit a charity like Fresh Start.

“I started my board work with FSWF as the treasurer of the board, held a number of other positions and have also chaired the annual gala fundraiser,” she says. “I believe my background has been particularly helpful in these challenging economic times.”

In turn, her involvement with FSWF has had a tremendous impact on her life.

“When I meet women striving to improve their lives, it makes me more focused to lead a better life and be a better example to my daughter,” Kerrick says.

So although it’s not always easy being the perpetual plate spinner, Kerrick says it’s worthwhile.

“I want to make sure organizations like FSWF are available for the next generation of women.”


Jordan Rose - Rose Law Group pcJordan Rose
Rose Law Group pc

Charitable Organization: Phoenix Heart Ball
Favorite Quote: “Bring all your capacities to a situation and stick with it — apply all you’ve got to make fate unfold.” — Jim Balsillie, R.I.M.


Denise Resnik - Denise Resnik & AssociatesDenise Resnik
Denise Resnik & Associates

Charitable Organization: SARRC/Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center
Favorite Quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

Michelle Kerrick - DeloitteMichelle Kerrick
Deloitte

Charitable Organization: Fresh Start Women’s Foundation
Favorite Quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” — Mahatma Ghandi

Arizona Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

Arizona Commerce Authority

Cardon Named CEO, President Of State’s New Commerce Authority

Don Cardon today was officially named CEO and President of the newly formed Arizona Commerce Authority by Gov. Jan Brewer at the ACA board meeting at the Arizona Capitol.

Brewer named Cardon Director of the Arizona Department of Commerce in May 2009. On June 29, 2010, Brewer issued an Executive Order establishing the ACA and transitioning out the Department of Commerce. Cardon was on the committee to select the new head of the ACA. The committee looked no further than its backyard.

The 35-member, private sector ACA will work to align diverse assets and opportunities within the state to compete economically in both domestic and international markets to create high-quality jobs for the Arizona residents.

Cardon’s experience as an economic developer is vast. He worked in a rural Washington state community attracting international companies engaged in high-tech manufacturing, electronics and energy; he is a former entrepreneur, serving as President and CEO of Cardon Development Group, creating low-income housing tax credit projects throughout Arizona.

Cardon also helped initiate the formation of Phoenix Future, assembling business, political and financial leaders to create CityScape, a mixed-use development in downtown Phoenix. Cardon is experienced in financial planning, zoning activities, marketing and partnership development.

The idea of starting your own business can be frightening with the recession - AZ Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

6 Tips To Launching Your Own Business In A Down Economy

The idea of starting your own business can be frightening, particularly with the recession stubbornly choking the Arizona economy. However, by following a few tips for getting started, launching your own company doesn’t need to be scary.

In fact, there are a few advantages to launching a business during an economic downturn. Commercial space is available at extraordinarily good prices. Talented professionals are looking for work. Goods and services can be found at discounted prices. And, depending on your industry, competition may be scarce.

1. Practice Due Diligence
It’s critical to objectively evaluate your proposed venture. Asking yourself some hard questions may discourage you from pursuing your first venture, but that is not a negative or pessimistic approach. It’s a useful tool for evaluating your business. Start with these questions: Is there a genuine need for the product or service you are offering? Is that need already being met by established companies? If so, what improvement or unique feature are you bringing to the table? Do you have the necessary skills and resources to start your business? If not, are you prepared to bring in the people with the skills and capital that are needed, and possibly give up some ownership?

2. Prepare a Business Plan
Too often, entrepreneurs articulate a great idea and foresee success, but gloss over the hard work. That hard part is thinking through the idea for your business and writing it into a plan, including the steps you’ll need to take to implement your idea. Start with an outline and consult a book or online guide about writing business plans. It’s important that your end result is a completed plan that includes a budget for your business.

3. Determine Capital Requirements
Most small businesses are funded with the business owner’s own money and funds from family and friends. A venture capitalist or angel investor may provide the necessary capital in exchange for part ownership of your business. It’s critical to focus on the amount of money you will need to start and operate your business, including at each stage of the company’s development.

4. Create a Board of Advisers
Creating a network of advisers can be a tremendous asset to a start-up business. It’s helpful if that board consists of advisers with a diverse array of professional backgrounds. That diversity will ensure you receive insights from a wide range of perspectives. Good choices for advisers may include your attorney, accountant, suppliers, customers, bankers and realtors.

5. Tap Into Available Resources
There are myriad advisers, consultants and nonprofit agencies that will assist you in developing your business — marketing it, creating websites and raising capital — who work for free or a nominal fee. The Small Business Administration (SBA), for instance, is a valuable and cost-effective resource. Moreover, SCORE: Counselors to America’s Small Business, provides free advice and mentoring for small business owners. If you pay for a similar service, be sure to get recommendations from a trusted adviser. Then, check that company’s references.

6. Listen
The more you listen — the more you truly hear an adviser’s ideas — the more advice you will be able to translate into actionable plans for your company.

Still, while these recessionary times may present a good opportunity for entrepreneurs, there are several considerations to keep in mind.

Select an industry that is doing well, despite the recession. The health care industry, senior care and information technologies are financially better off than many other industries.

Choose a business sector with a bright future — Businesses that tap into growing consumer demand for green or sustainable products may be an avenue worth pursuing. There was a 41 percent increase in consumer purchases of green products and services from 2004 to 2009, according to the research firm Mintel. Moreover, there may be federal or state subsidies or tax credits available for green companies.

Select a company with low capital requirements. Home-based businesses with low start-up costs may be good choices, notably because the ongoing credit crunch will likely make it tough to get a loan to cover these expenses.

If you are considering starting your own business, you will be in good company. More than half the companies listed on the Fortune 500 in 2009 were launched during a recession, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Moreover, in 2009, an average of 558,000 new businesses were launched each month in the United States.

The trick to joining these ranks is to get started. There’s no better time than now, recession or not.

“The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something,” Nolan Bushnell, founder of both Atari and Chuck E. Cheese, once said. “It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”

Arizona Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

Christine French - Creates a Nonprofit & successful entrepreneurial venture. - AZ Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

Christine French Of The Nonprofit Diversity Leadership Alliance & Global Diversity Consulting

Christine French Took Her Expertise In Diversity To Create A Nonprofit And A Successful Entrepreneurial Venture.

Even as a young child growing up in Vietnam, Christine French always knew her main purpose in life was to help people from different backgrounds and experiences come together and form a whole.

“When I was eight, the first lesson in social studies was talking about ambassadors. Right then and there I stood up and announced to my teacher and my class, to their surprise and mine, ‘I am going to be one of those,’” French says. “The ambassador, as I learned that day in the lesson, is the person who helps people understand each other so they no longer have a need to fight, to have war. That has followed me since I was eight.”

In 2002, in the wake of Sept. 11, French hosted a roundtable in Phoenix that brought together business leaders and various associations to discuss the importance of diversity to business success.

Since the Diversity Leadership Alliance was officially formed in 2003, it has grown rapidly, and now hosts a wide range of events, including monthly workshops with average attendance rates of more than 100 people, quarterly executive and legal forums, an annual diversity conference, and a youth council.

French says she started the nonprofit Diversity Leadership Alliance and her business, Global Diversity Consulting, to dispel the many myths surrounding diversity efforts.

Diversity’s progress has been slowed, French says, because the creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and affirmative action programs have led many employers to view diversity as a numbers game.

This misconception created resistance to embracing diversity, as many people and companies thought hiring minorities meant not hiring the most qualified candidate, she says.

But French, who is founder and co-chair of the Diversity Leadership Alliance, argues that diversity is really about embracing the gifts and talents of every individual, and putting those strengths to work for a company.

“EEOC and affirmative action are counting people; diversity and inclusion (are) making people count,” French says.

The only way to combat misunderstandings about diversity, French says, is to create dialogue, which is the goal of the Diversity Leadership Alliance and the forums it hosts. French says she wants this dialogue to lead to major changes in the way people think about diversity.

While promoting the benefits of diversity, French says she is often asked, “Why do I have to change? I’ve been successful so far.”

Her response?

“We all need to change, myself included,” she says. “We all need to change because what brought us here today, all the skill and talent and good work we’ve done yesterday to bring us here today, will not be enough to take us where we need to be tomorrow.”

French’s commitment to diversity extends to her own livelihood. In 2007, she left her job as senior global diversity leader at American Express to spend more time with her four grandsons. However, she continues to champion diversity through Global Diversity Consulting.

French has written and self-published two books, “The Lotus Path” and “How to Get Along With Other People Without Hiring a Hit Man.”

“The Lotus Path,” which will be available in March, details French’s life, her success and how she learned transformational leadership during her world travels.

French co-wrote “How to Get Along With Other People Without Hiring a Hit Man” with Rico Burton. The book, which was published in October, features 10 stories about workplace challenges, and includes activities to help readers find solutions to each situation.

With her books, her life and her work, French is trying to clear away the fallacies about diversity, and one day hopes, to quote Martin Luther King Jr., that her “grandsons (will) be judged by the content of their character, and not by the color of their skin.”

Until then, French will continue pushing for more and more dialogue about diversity.

“Diversity … is about people. It’s about you. It’s about me,” French says. “Let’s clear it once and for all, because as long as we have a misconception, a misunderstanding, the work will never be done.”

Arizona Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

Fifth Annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference

Fifth Annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference

Arizona Entrepreneurs Hold Fifth Annual Meeting Of The Minds

Join in for an exciting opportunity to connect, share ideas and be inspired at the fifth annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference.

This year’s conference, which will take place Wednesday Nov. 17, 2010 at the Desert Willow Conference Center, will feature tips and ideas from expert CEOs while also providing allotted time for networking with fellow entrepreneurs.

Over the course of the day several topics will be discussed including everything from effectively using social media and creating an eco-edge to conquering the chaos of entrepreneurship and engaging in top-notch customer service.

Attendees will not only get the chance to learn from local leaders on what it takes to get funded in Arizona, but will also see a showcase exhibit of Arizona companies and organizations that provide services that support entrepreneurs.

Additionally, this year AZEC will be addressing five of the most important needs to consider when reaching out to Arizona communities: collaboration, civics, education and training, arts and culture, and investment capital.

A variety of keynote speakers will accentuate the conference by providing their knowledge and expertise of the entrepreneurship field.

Debra Johnson, founder and CEO of EcoEdge will share how her passion for reducing environmental impact and being frugal created her award-winning company.

Jeremiah Owyang, a web strategist for Altimeter Group will discuss useful approaches to entering the digital world.

Dr. Paul Bendheim, founder and CEO of BrainSavers, a company that provides assistance in reducing the risk of memory disorders by incorporating healthy lifestyle habits, will speak about his entrepreneurial experience.

For those who are just starting out or who have been lifelong entrepreneurs, this year’s conference will provide abundant opportunities to foster new ideas and learn how the experts first got started.

To register and for more information, visit azentrepreneurship.com.

Photo: TED / James Duncan Davidson.

TEDxPhoenix Brings Together Local Minds

TEDxPhoenix is bringing together Arizona’s thinkers and doers on Nov. 6 in the hopes of finding solutions to our local and global community’s problems.

The TEDx program aims to provide communities with an experience similar to the international TED conference.

TED began as a “Technology, Entertainment and Design” conference but has since become a forum for people to discover new ideas and possibilities and receive inspiration. The TED conference has been bringing together scientists, educators, adventurers, entrepreneurs, social activists and business leaders since 1984.  TED has drawn such big-name speakers as Bill Gates, Al Gore, Sir Richard Branson and Jane Goodall.

A staff of local volunteers, speakers and sponsors organized the nonprofit TEDxPhoenix event. Like the international TED conference, the second annual TEDxPhoenix lineup of speakers includes educators, innovators and community activists.

The list of speakers includes Lawrence M. Krauss, director and founder of Arizona State University’s Origins Initiative; Jany Deng, program manager of the Arizona Lost Boys Center; Kimber Lanning, community activist and Local First AZ founder; and Dry River Yacht Club, an acoustic symphony indie rock band; among others.

If You Go:
Tickets: $50
Date: Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010
Time: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Venue: Eight KAET Arizona PBS Studio A, 555 N. Central Ave.
Website: www.tedxphoenix.com

AA035979

The University of Arizona Brings Online Education To Entrepreneurs

As the state pulls itself out of the recessionary hole, small business owners and entrepreneurs have to re-think how they get things done. Getting advice from experts is critical, but who has the time?

The University of Arizona’s McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship at the Eller College of Management is making it easy for entrepreneurs and small business owners to expand their knowledge.

On Aug. 15, the McGuire Center launched three unique online certificate courses that offer entrepreneurs a “practical university education,” said Randy Accetta, mentor-in-residence and communications mentor at the center, a top-tier university-based center for entrepreneurship.

The three areas of study are commercializing an innovation, starting a small business and growing an existing venture. The courses go along with the UA’s land grant mission, and are funded in part by a United States Department of Labor Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) grant. The courses are offered through the non-credit arm of the UA’s Outreach College.

The UA is still marketing the courses, and online classes haven’t started yet, Accetta said.  Credit-bearing versions of the courses will most likely be offered during the spring 2011 semester at the UA.

What makes these online courses different is the amount of hands-on, one-on-one work students will do with Eller College of Management mentors and faculty members, Accetta said. Currently, the classes are structured as mentor-based and comprised of small cohorts.

Since the courses haven’t started yet, their structure can be modified and could range from small cohorts, as originally planned, to an independent study, according to what the market needs.

However the structure of the courses turns out, Accetta, the UA and the McGuire Center are committed to a high-quality educational experience that is focused on interaction between student and professor.

The UA and the McGuire Center wanted to provide entrepreneurs in the Southwest region with a university-type education in which students can end the course with a comprehensive understanding of the theories and concepts behind growing a business, Accetta said.

He added that the UA has been slow to offer distance learning and online courses, and these programs are part of the university’s effort to enter the world of online-based education. Distance learning is important, because the UA is pushing to “extend the intellectual quality of the university throughout the region,” Accetta said.

“Our long-range vision is to grow a more educated, more motivated entrepreneur community,” he said.

In these difficult times, courses like these can have an impact beyond the classroom, or computer screen in this case, Accetta said, adding that building a business community that can identify and act on opportunities to stimulate entrepreneurial growth will result in a stronger economy for Southern Arizona.