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Monthly Archives: June 2012

The gown makes the photo-perfect celebrity. Whether it is a red carpet event like the Oscars, the Golden Globes or a high-profile wedding, it’s always the dress that is the centerpiece of the event. And this is something that Filipina fashion designer Monique Lhuillier knows well, having dressed some of the most important names in Tinseltown. A-listers Gwyneth Paltrow, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jennifer Lopez, Reese Witherspoon, Hilary Swank, singers Carrie Underwood, Mandy Moore, Taylor Swift and Lea Salonga have all donned her creations, a testament to this woman’s talent and business success.

Born in Cebu City, Philippines, Monique Lhuillier was educated at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles. Her career in the industry began when she herself was frustrated at the lack of fashionable wedding gowns for her own wedding, and thus decided to create her own. She launched her first bridal line in 1996, which was well-received and which led to her rise as a fashion designer. Now, she can be found at Monique Lhuillier, a couture fashion house named after her in Los Angeles, which continues to dress bridal and red carpet beauties alike.


Richard Chandler may have been born in New Zealand, but his fortunes were raised primarily in Singapore. This business magnate, a citizen of Singapore, currently enjoys a number 4 spot on the country’s list of “Singapore’s 40 Wealthiest,” according to Forbes, with a current net worth totaling some 4 billion US dollars.

Richard Chandler co-founded Sovereign Global with his brother Christopher in 1986. Sovereign Global was a top investment firm with an interest in multiple companies and governments in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Easter Europe, dealing in practically everything from telecommunications, oil, banking, steel and electric utilities. After the company split in 2007, Richard Chandler formed Orient Global, based in Singapore, which became the Richard Chandler Corporation in 2010.

Through a knack for business and investment methods termed “deep value investing,” Chandler’s focus is on emerging markets and on situations that require financial crisis aversion. Sino-Forest Corporation, a Chinese plantation, and Viva Healthcare, an endeavor in urban clinics, are two of his many business interests. According to the company website, Richard Chandler Corp.’s mission is to “Build Prosperity for Tomorrow’s World,” done through its two investment groups: Capital and Creative World Group. The latter takes care of financial investments globally, while the latter focuses on leadership, transformation and “social investment.” The company functions through a core group that looks for investment opportunities towards the corporation’s goal of “building great companies.”

In 2007, Richard Chandler turned his attention, and 100 million US dollars, to opening more opportunities for education in India. In 2008, Rumi Education, an initiative to address the needs for the education of middle-income children, was successfully launched. This was followed by Newton International in Bangladesh in 2011, which aims to “provide technical and vocational training” to workers in the country. Aside from these, Richard Chandler founded Freedom to Create and the Freedom to Create Prize, to recognize the arts and its power to move and to inspire social change.

John Magnier, with his piercing stare and ubiquitous fedora, certainly looks it, but his nickname, “The Boss,” has little to do with corporate settings. Once a Senator in the Irish Parliament, John Magnier is considered the country’s most prominent name in the equine business – a top-rated thoroughbred stud owner and horse breeder. In fact, the whole world considers him to be the most influential man in horseracing and breeding.

This Irish born-and-bred tycoon showed a talent for breeding horses from as early as 15 years old, when he had to take over the family farm following his father’s death. After that, it was a climb to the top as Magnier took over Coolmore Stud and turned it into what is now the biggest, most extensive and arguably best stallion breeding and thoroughbred nursing operations on the planet. His other investments include a 28.89 percent stake in the very lucrative football team, Manchester United. With an estimated wealth of at least 2 billion Euros, Magnier is considered one of Europe’s wealthiest men, proving that when it comes to business, he’s not just horsing around.

In 1975, Arkansas entrepreneur Hank Browne opened Hanks Fine Furniture with a determination to offer excellent furnishings, bedding, and accessories at value pricing while focusing on service, particularly after the sale. His efforts paid off exponentially as the business grew to become one of the top 100 independent retailers of furniture in the United States. Today, Hank’s Fine Furniture operates 16 stores in Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, Alabama, and Florida. Headquartered in Sherwood, Arkansas, the company’s facilities include major distribution centers. Voted consistently as “Best of the Best place to buy furniture in Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas,” the firm garnered every Arkansas people’s choice award in 2009.

Because the Hank’s merchandisers purchase millions of dollars in mattresses and furniture for living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms, they can negotiate the lowest possible prices, providing consumers with a wide selection at considerable savings. Continuing the founder’s entrepreneurial flair for change and growth, the buyers search a number of markets annually and purchase from more than 15 countries, always seeking the latest styles and color trends. The Hank’s & More Fine Furniture showrooms in West Little Rock and Jonesboro, Arkansas; and Springfield, Missouri; and the Home Place showroom in Pensacola, Florida, include prestigious galleries displaying such brands as Thomasville, Kincaid Home Furnishings, Lexington Home Brands, and Bernhardt Furniture Company, and all the stores can order from the manufacturers.

Like many entrepreneurs, Hank Browne has become sensitive to environmental issues in new construction. His Hank’s & More Fine Furniture in Rogers received the Green Development Award from the City of Rogers. The entrance fountain operates with recycled water, the carpet and its adhesive exceed environmental regulations, trees receive irrigation through bubblers, and even the parking lot meets green-area requirements. From its beginnings, the furniture business has succeeded through its owner’s vision and ability to adapt and grow the enterprise.

Her name has become synonymous throughout the world with cosmetics and perfume, and any working girl is acquainted with Florence Nightingale Graham, more popularly known as Elizabeth Arden.

Born in Ontario, Canada, Elizabeth Arden began her career as a beauty “culturist” or “treatment girl,” learning about skincare at the E.R. Squibb Pharmaceuticals Company. She set her sights on 5th Avenue, opening her first salon, and with a unique flair that would become her signature, painted the door of her salon red. It was a stroke of genius that brought curious customers in, and Elizabeth Arden went on to learn more about beauty and facial regimens, massages and techniques in Paris, forming the foundation for what would later be Elizabeth Arden, Inc. She revolutionized the world of cosmetics by introducing one innovation after another: everyday eye makeup and rouge in North America, “makeovers” in her salon, a “fluffy” kind of face cream and lotion with chemist A. Fabian Swanson, foundations that matched a person’s skin tone, color-coordinated lip, cheek and nail tints and launched the first commercial for cosmetics in movie theaters.

Elizabeth Arden never ran out of steam, even throughout World War II. She taught American women how to apply makeup for daily use, power dress professionally, even came up with Montezuma lipstick for the women in the army, to match the red color on their uniforms. The brand name soon became famous throughout the world, with heavyweight patrons such as Queens Mary and Elizabeth, Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Kennedy, Joan Crawford and Mamie Eisenhower. Blue Grass, what is considered the first all-American fragrance, hit the market in 1934 and remains a classic scent until today.

Currently, Elizabeth Arden, Inc. is run by a Board of Directors headed by E. Scott Beattie as Chairman, President and CEO, distributing quality beauty products to numerous locations all over the planet. While many competitors have emerged in recent years, Elizabeth Arden will always remain as the woman who, quite literally, changed the face of the beauty products industry.

Online shopping has become the thing to do nowadays, and Boston native Greg Selkoe, CEO and founder of popular e-commerce site, has certainly jumped on this bandwagon of commercial success., with its headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts and an office in New York City, is currently one of the world’s biggest online retailers of casual clothing or streetwear, including footwear, accessories and household items. The website has over a million visitors monthly and sells more than 500 brands in an estimated 40 countries. The site’s advertising stints have been in the form of blogs, social media and online video streaming, as well as on Karmaloop TV, the programming network under the same name.

Selkoe worked for the Boston local government for three years before establishing Karmaloop, then went on to finish a Masters in Public Policy at Harvard University’s The Kennedy School of Government in 2005. To date, he has earned himself not just millions from his efforts at entrepreneurship, but has become a figurehead for all young adults wanting to achieve success, too.

If there’s one businessman turned politician who has lived a long, full life, it’s Peter G. Peterson, born in 1926. Over the course of his 84 years, he has been an investment banker, a fiscal conservative, an author with several magazine articles and an autobiography to his name, a politician and the founder of a foundation championing financial problems in the country.

Peterson started out by graduating summa cum laude from Northwestern University in 1947 then launched his career in business by joining Market Facts, a research firm in Chicago. He completed his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, was the director of advertising giant McCann Erickson at the age of 27 and at 32 years old, moved up to become Executive Vice-President of Bell and Howell Corporation, a company making movie equipment. He soon took over the role of Chairman and CEO for the company and in 1969, was asked to lead a newly-formed Commission on Foundations and Private Philanthropy, later renamed the Peterson Commission, signaling his entry into American politics.

Peterson was appointed Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs by then-President Richard Nixon. In 1972, he was named Secretary of Commerce and assumed the positions of Chairperson of Nixon’s National Commission on Productivity and the US-Soviet Commercial Commission. In 1994, former President Bill Clinton assigned Peterson to the Bi-Partisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform and the Conference Board Commission on Public Trust and Private Enterprises. He was also David Rockefeller’s successor as Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations from 1985-2007, and now remains a trustee of the Rockefeller’s Japan Society and the Museum of Modern Art.

This hard-working man’s contributions to economics and national fiscal issues have been numerous – along with having founded the Peterson Institute for International Economics and the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, he has been the director for several corporations, has sat on multiple boards for financial institutions, committees and organizations. He aims to educate the world on fiscal sustainability issues through his foundation, and was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship in 2006. And to top it all, Peterson is one of 40 billionaires who have signed “The Giving Pledge,” offering half his vast fortune to charity, showing everyone that businessmen-politicians are still capable of selfless deeds.

With a core focus on “building stronger relationships between associations and their members,” Inalink provides liaison services through phone-based programs. Emphasizing real conversations rather than telemarketing approaches, the firm offers a boutique setting for building customer loyalty. This non-quota approach results in high quality, longterm member retention and the recovery of lapsed members.

Inalink maintains a core belief that associations derive their strength and purpose through building relationships among people with similar needs and backgrounds. Giving individual members a meaningful, collective voice is a central benefit associations provide. Unfortunately, a host of factors are currently presenting distinct organizational challenges. Companies are allocating fewer funds for association activities, while members are inundated with Internet information and resource choices. In addition, a competitive workplace environment gives professionals less and less time to pursue organizational activities.

In remaining relevant and meaningful, and retaining a higher percentage of members, associations must provide members with tangible benefits from participation. Instalink connects members to the unique advantages and resources that associations offer,  harnessing the power that led to the formation of the association in the first place.

The firm offers clients flexible and cost-effective solutions designed to bring more members into direct and participatory association relationships. This targeted approach typically results in higher retention rates and more robust organizational events such as conferences.

Websites, direct mail, publications and advertising are all integral to maintaining a well-defined public presence. At the same time, associations find informed and natural conversation to be the crux in creating positive member communication. Instalink’s personal, phone-based conversations are designed to provide a critical bridge, linking associations and their members.

With educational tools lagging behind as technology in general moves forward, a young man from Amherst, Massachusetts decided to do something about it and create his own redefined and re-imagined graphing calculator that doesn’t only make math easier for students to understand, it makes it more fun as well.

Eli Luberoff has been tutoring people for as long as he can remember. He started out by helping his brother with his math homework in exchange for a trip to a fast food restaurant. His love for teaching drew him into tutoring professionally while still in high school and has been teaching peers ever since.

Luberoff believes that learning is about discovery and exploration and not simply getting the answers right. He also truly believes that given the right tools and environment, math can be easy and fun for anyone. Luberoff’s strong beliefs led him to found Desmos. The company’s main goal is to create cross-platform, educational, fun math software for educators and students to use to increase their understanding of mathematics. Testing his software with renowned publishers, he was able to launch the Desmos Graphing Calculator in May 2011.

Luberoff’s success with Desmos earned him the 5th and final spot in Bloomberg Businessweek’s list of America’s Best Young Entrepreneurs of 2011 as chosen by the website’s readers.

Marco Bitran holds responsibilities as Chief Executive Officer of Boston-based AI Exchange, Inc. The hedge fund company provides innovative alternative investments access to clients in the broker-dealer, registered investment advisor, foundation, and endowment spheres. Established in early 2011, the firm has benefited from $1.5 in venture capital backing from established early-stage investors such as Common Angels, General Catalyst, LaunchCapital, and Founder Collective.

Mr. Bitran and his AI Exchange executive team have focused on development an Internet-based investment advisory technology and platform. This patent-pending technology effectively bridges investment advisor and alternative investment markets, enabling the provision of quality short- and long-term alternative investment strategies. A distinct benefit of the platform is the transparent and liquid formats it offers, with affordable investment minimums.

Marco Bitran’s initial entrepreneurial experience came shortly after earning a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1998, he helped establish Digital Entertainment Media, Inc. a San Francisco startup firm focused on providing mid-sized websites with premium Internet streaming services. Contributing to software architecture, he led a sales team in securing major clients such as DoubleClick.

Next taking a position as Equity Research Associate with Morgan Stanley’s Telecommunications Equipment Team in Menlo Park, California, Mr. Bitran interfaced with CFOs in developing stock recommendations. He also constructed earnings and valuation models, focusing on industry-leading firms such as Juniper Networks and Cisco Systems.

Completing an MBA at Harvard Business School, Mr. Bitran subsequently held responsibilities as Section-Fund Manager and Global Industry Analyst with Wellington Management Company. Over a three year period, he led a infrastructure and capital goods-focused fund representing $1 billion in assets. Prior to co-founding AI Exchange, Marco Bitran served Clearstream Investments, LLC, as founder and Portfolio Manager, guiding portfolio growth to $550 million.