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Monthly Archives: October 2013

If you take a walk around MGA Entertainment’s offices, you’ll see the words “Fortune favors the bold” all around the place. You would then be wondering why those words would be posted at the headquarters of one of the top toy manufacturers in the world. The answer is simple: Isaac Larian goes by those words.

Isaac Larian, CEO of MGA Entertainment, is one of the toughest leaders in the toy industry. He is the person who was willing to go toe-to-toe with Mattel in a battle for supremacy in the industry. If you’re not familiar with the story, MGA made Bratz and Mattel created Barbie. Mattel filed a lawsuit against MGA claiming that the idea for Bratz came from a Mattel employee.

MGA almost went bankrupt because of legal fees, but in the end emerged victorious and Bratz brought in billions of dollars in profit for the company, and Isaac Larian.

Isaac is considered as one of the most vicious businessmen in the industry. He never wants to lose. In fact, you’ll find a bunch of framed dollar bills hanging up in his office. The bills are bets that he won whenever anyone would wager against the success of one of his new toys.

Larian grew up in Iran and went to the US when he was 17. All alone and with just $750 in his pocket, Larian went through school on a waiter’s salary. His determination for success made him claim the American dream. This dream was realized in an industry that he never thought would be his goldmine.

Today, MGA claimed one success after another. Larian even succeeded in products that no one else thought would succeed. Bratz was the exact opposite of Barbie. When Barbie portrayed an image of a model or superstar, Bratz had quite the opposite image. However, we all know how Bratz was able to dethrone Barbie in terms of sales.

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Dr. John Martin, current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Gilead Sciences, has achieved different recognitions throughout his career, but most notable of all was the Gertrude B. Elion Award for Scientific Excellence from the International Society for Antiviral Research. He is also in Harvard Business Review’s list of 100 Best Performing CEO’s in the World.

His career at Gilead Sciences began in 1990 when he joined the company as Vice President. However, before joining Gilead Sciences, Dr. Martin was already accomplished in the field of antiviral studies. From 1984 to 1990, Dr. Martin was the Director of Antiviral Chemistry for Brystol-Myers Squibb. From 1978 to 1984, he was with Syntex Corporation where he co-invented the drug called Ganciclovir, which is used in the treatment of the cytomegalovirus infection.

Aside from performing his duties as CEO of Gilead Sciences, Dr. Martin also works for the Administrations Advisory Committee of the Centers for Disease Control/Health Resources and Services. He is also one of the Board of Directors of the California Healthcare Institute.

Chung Mong Koo, Chairman and CEO of one of the world’s top automobile manufacturers, Hyundai Motor Company, is largely responsible for directing the company towards the pursuit of excellence. Not so long ago, Hyundai was not yet seen as one of the top automobile brands in the world. Under the direction of Mr. Chung, the company earned some of the most respected rewards in the industry, including the North American Car of the Year Award in 2009.

His strategy in directing Hyundai to take on a policy of quality has certainly reaped benefits for the company and for himself. Not only did he make billions of dollars from the success of Hyundai, he earned great respect from his country. In 2008, Chung Mong Koo was given a full pardon from Korea’s Supreme Court after having been found guilty on embezzlement charges. The reason for the pardon was that the Supreme Court took into consideration Chung’s large contribution to the national economy of the country and that a prison sentence would not only damage Hyundai, but the country as well.

Born in 1938, Mr. Chung was one of seven sons of Chung Ju-Yung, the founder of the Hyundai Conglomerate. Throughout professional career, he became a CEO of several different companies: Hyundai Precision, Hyundai Pipe, Hyundai Motor Service, and Incheon Iron & Steel.

Mr. Chung has also won several awards from prominent organizations. In 2004, he was included in Business Week’s list of top managers. In 2012, Bloomberg Markets Magazine named him as one of the top 50 Most Influential people in the world. Forbes Magazine describes Mr. Chung as the 2nd richest man in Korea and he holds the 191st spot on the world’s richest billionaires. Aside from being the Chairman and CEO of Hyundai, Mr. Chung is also the current CEO of KIA Motor Corporation.

Jeremy Levitt is a known lawyer and entrepreneur of Australian heritage. He co-founded Service Seeking and PodProperty. He has become recognized for his contributions in the online marketing, business strategy, technology, and management industries. Over the course of his career, he has already been featured in different media several times.

Born in October 1979, he acquired a combined Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Sydney. He graduated in 2002 with first class honors. Before he indulged in the opportunities offered by business and entrepreneurship, he first practiced law with Allens Arthur Robinson.

In November 2009, Levitt said in an interview that he enjoys pitching business ideas to friends, proving the innate entrepreneur in him. As a matter of fact, the other co-founder ServiceSeeking.com.au is his friend from kindergarten. He believes that believing in yourself and your friends is a critical value that entrepreneurs should have.

J. Michael Arrington is one of today’s most successful Internet entrepreneurs. As one of the privileged ones who were able to take advantage of the vast opportunities offered by the World Wide Web, Arrington was named as one of the most influential people in the world by TIME Magazine in 2008. He is also recognized by Wired and Forbes as among the most powerful people on the Internet. His success and fame was brought about by his founding of TechCrunch, a website/blog that covers and features the technology start-up communities in Silicon Valley, as well as other notable technological companies and innovations worldwide.

Born on March 13, 1970 in Orange, California, Michael was reared in Huntington Beach, California and Surrey, England. He attended the University of California, Berkeley and graduated with a major in economics from Claremont McKenna College. He also went to Stanford Law School, finishing in 1995. Before becoming an Internet professional, he acquired legal experience by working at O’Melveney & Myers and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

He left the legal industry and joined Real Names, which unfortunately closed down after raising $100 million. He then co-founded Achex, an Internet payments company which was later bought by First Data Corp for $32 million. According to Arrington, the acquisition left him with enough money to buy a Porsche.

He also got involved with other entrepreneurial endeavors. He co-founded Zip.ca and Pool.com. He also acted as chief operating officer for Razorgator and founded Edgeio. Recently, he became one of the start-up Foldera’s board of directors. The company is into software as a service, designing an organizational tool.

Among all his involvements and endeavors, Arrington is most noted for his work in TechCrunch. The website was launched on June 11, 2005 and was co-created with Keith Teare. Early in September 2011, Arrington was reported to be no longer employed by TechCrunch as he was associated with AOL Ventures. In October 2012, however, he returned to write for the TechCrunch blog.

Nobody would ever think that a farm boy from Pierz, Minnesota would someday take the highest position at Wells Fargo & Company—but John G. Stumpf proved that this was possible.

John grew up at a poultry and dairy farm in Pierz. His family was limited financially and he didn’t do too well in school. In fact, he graduated high school as part of the bottom half of the class. He then took a job at a local bakery and also got accepted at St. Cloud University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance. His first career job was at First Bank, Minnesota as a repossession agent.

Knowing that his degree in finance would not get him high up the corporate ladder, John decided to go for an MBA, which he obtained from the University of Minnesota. In 1982, John was accepted at the Northwest Corporation to work in the loan administration department. His career started to bloom when he got promoted as a senior vice president for Northwest Bank.

When Northwest merged with Wells Fargo & Company, John was in the right position to take a higher senior leadership position. He steadily climbed the corporate ladder until in 2007, he became the CEO. In 2010, John Stumpf became the Chairman of the company.

Named as the World’s Most Creative CEO by Fast Company, Mark Parker, CEO of Nike continues to lead the company into an innovative and creative culture. This is leadership by example, not just words. Parker may be sitting at his desk creating plans to increase the growth of this global company, but every chance he gets, he’s either designing footwear, walking through the offices of the company looking for inspiration, or finding inspiration by talking to street artists.

Creativity and innovation are a part of Parker’s character. These are the traits that turned him into the CEO of the company. Parker joined Nike in 1979 as a footwear designer. His dedication to innovation and creativity led him to create designs like Nike Air that made billions of dollars for the company.  Climbing up the corporate ladder did nothing to lessen his creative nature. In fact, he still designs footwear in his spare time.

Parker’s passion for innovation is evident in the way he leads the company. In a way, it could be said that he has a passion for reinventing the wheel. He has a way of challenging everything that has worked for the company in the past. He challenged the company’s traditional methods and formulas for manufacturing footwear. As a result, the innovative FlyKnit technology was born.

Today, Parker uses creativity and innovation to create a sustainable eco-friendly company. He has done away with the excessive use of adhesives in the manufacturing process. Adhesives are harmful not only to the environment, but also to the health of the workers manufacturing their products. Nike shoes are now using a sort of inter-locking method instead of adhesives.

With his passion for creativity and innovation, Mark Parker has ensured that Nike is not only able to keep up with the rapid changes in the industry, but have the ability to initiate those changes.

How does it feel to be one of the richest women in the world? No one could ever describe it better than Wu Yajun, formerly the richest woman in China. She only lost the top spot because of her divorce. Estimated to be worth around $4.4 billion, she is even richer than the richest woman in the United States and Europe.

Wu Yajun is the co-founder of one of China’s largest real estate companies, Longhu Real Estate Development Co. Ltd. The success of the company turned her into the richest woman in China and earned her one of the top spots in the Forbes Magazine list of The World’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs for 2013.

Aside from being the 2nd richest woman in China, she is also the 5th richest person in the country and the 299th richest person in the world. She was a former journalist for the China Shirong News Agency before she invested 10 million Yuan to start a real estate company.

Many people believe that poverty is a hindrance to success, that it is like a dark pit with slippery sides, making it almost impossible to get out. However, we continue to read stories of men and women who have battled the odds and succeeded to pull themselves out of poverty. Zhang Xin, a Chinese businesswoman, is one of those who have such stories. Not only has she been able to release herself from the grip of poverty, but she also turned her life into a rags-to-riches story, a proof that dreams do come true.

Zhang Xin, co-founder of one of the largest real estate companies in China, is one of the best success stories of all time. Looking at her today, no one would ever believe that almost half a century ago, she was living in one of the poorest communities in Beijing, China. This community was deprived of technology—the only technology that seemed to exist there were bicycles.

At the age of 14, her mother decided to move to Hong Kong. There, Zhang Xin worked in factories, laboring the same way we see many factory workers today. Looking at her life then, anyone would think that she would never be able to live a good life. But, she had a dream and a plan to make things better for herself.

Carefully saving her wages, Zhang Xin dreamed of getting an education in Europe. After five years of saving, she was finally able to save enough for airfare and a bit to support her studies. She took up a secretarial course at the University of Sussex in London, England, and never looked back.

Today, Zhang Xin is one of the richest people in China, and even the whole world. She is worth more than some of the popular celebrities like Oprah and Donald Trump. From a life of struggling in the poorest communities of Beijing, Zhang Xin is now transforming the landscapes of this great city.