Tag Archives: Entrepreneurs’ Organization Arizona


Entrepreneurs’ group honors innovators

Entrepreneurs’ Organization Arizona (EO) announced its selection for two highly coveted membership awards for the 2013-14-board year. Lauren Bailey, co-owner of the Upward Projects restaurants was dubbed the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ and Robert Clinkenbeard, founding principal of Integrated Landscape Management received the ‘Member of the Year’ award at the conclusion of the group’s global 24-Hour Learning Day event. Both recipients were peer nominated from amongst the membership, which is made up of 150 successful Arizona business owners.

Arizona entrepreneurs are invited to join EO based on business performance. Out of 131 global chapters spanning 40 countries, EO Arizona is a leader in ingenuity and creative thought. Their purpose is to propel entrepreneurs to learn and grow from each other, leading to greater business success and enriched personal lives.

“This is the first year for the prestigious awards and all nominees were, quite frankly, outstanding,” says David Loaney EO Arizona board president. “We have a highly driven membership that includes some of the most successful business leaders in Arizona. We felt it was important to recognize their accomplishments and significant contributions they have made to the organization as well as the greater community.”

The EO Arizona board set stringent guidelines for award recipients. After being nominated by fellow member, the award selection committee reviewed each submission, selected finalists, then held lengthy individual interviews for in-depth discovery of goal attainment. Winners were chosen based solely on accomplishments throughout the year. Entrepreneur of the Year was measured on the successes and growth of the member’s business while the Member of the Year was determined on the individual contributions to the chapter.

With Upward Projects in the past year, Bailey oversaw considerable growth of her company as they opened two new restaurants, one new concept and added 140 employees to the organization. Individually, Bailey was also nominated for various community honors. Clinkenbeard served as a role model for members and prospects with his active engagement and participation.

“My goal in EO is to impart some of the lessons I’ve learned throughout my career to other business owners, helping them navigate the sometimes difficult path to success,” says Clinkenbeard on his active chapter participation. “When our Arizona business owners are successful, the community wins with greater employment, a healthier workforce and increased attention to our local neighborhoods. Giving back of our time and talent is the best way I’ve found to achieve that.”


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.


Mentor your way to the top

We often hear about success stories that begin with some type of mentorship. Whether it be through a formal program or casual guidance from someone more experienced, thriving entrepreneurs usually can point to someone who coached and encouraged them along the way. Long story short, it ultimately contributed to their success.

For small business owners, a strong mentor relationship is an undeniable necessity. Choosing to venture into entrepreneurship is rewarding, but it comes with handfuls of challenges that only another entrepreneur can understand. For many, having the support system could be the difference between giving up too early and finding a way to flourish. Some of the most widely known benefits of enlisting a mentor include:

  • Gaining better understanding of your industry
  • Growing your professional network
  • Receiving candid and constructive advice

As entrepreneurs – especially those of us who have been doing it for years – it is important that we collaborate with others to share our successes and challenges, and one great way to do that is making yourself available as a mentor. In Arizona, where the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, the new generation of entrepreneurs is passionate and eager to grow. These individuals will benefit from hearing what worked for you, what didn’t, how you survived hard times, your advice and support.

Participating in a mentorship program should not be viewed as only a pay-it-forward move toward the younger generation. Many mentors are surprised that they take away several lessons from the relationship that can be applied to their company. For example, if a mentee is fresh out of college, he or she may be able to provide valuable insight into what they’ve learned in school, providing a casual way for the mentor to sharpen his or her skills.

Recognizing the career-boosting value that a mentorship can provide, EO Arizona recently launched a mentorship program that pairs its members – Valley entrepreneurs with businesses generating more than $1 million a year – with Arizona State University and Thunderbird School of Global Management. The first-of-its-kind program here in the Valley provides student entrepreneurs with networking, mentorship, experience sharing, thought leadership, internship, joint events and classroom presentations.

Most importantly, the mentor-mentee relationship ensures entrepreneurs have a trusted network, which I believe is essential to success. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely path, and it is important to find other similar entrepreneurs like the ones I have found through EO Arizona.


Paul Dembow is an entrepreneur and school mentorship chair for Entrepreneurs’ Organization Arizona, a dynamic group of 140 of Arizona’s most successful entrepreneurs. To learn more about EO Arizona and its mentorship program, visit www.eoaz.org.