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Monthly Archives: April 2014

When Godfrey Sullivan joined Splunk, the company was just five years old. As the President, CEO, and a member of the Board of Directors, Sullivan led the company into massive growth punctuated by very successful initial public offering, complemented by a second-quarter revenue of $57 million in 2012. He became Splunk’s Chairman in 2011. Before all this though, Sullivan was a part of the Hyperion Solutions Corporation, a performance management software corporation under the Oracle Corporation. In his last years in Hyperion, he was also the President and CEO, as well as a member of the Board of Directors.

Before it all began, Sullivan got his first taste of work building fences in Texas on a family farm. He did put his B.B.A. from the Baylor University to good use eventually, working for Apple from 1985 to 1992 as vice president for the Americas before moving on to Autodesk from 1996 to 2000 where he became the president of one digital media division. Now Sullivan lives in Saratoga with four horses.

His management philosophy is guided by a few things: 1) good management requires that you empower but verify; 2) the best way to retain your competitive edge is to keep your customers close and listen to them; and 3) coach trumps dictator. Sullivan also turns to Steve Jobs for inspiration, greatly awed by the late man’s instincts for what the market needed and how to improve upon anything. He also doesn’t tolerate office politics and is a big fan of the benefits of team work.

Though business has been very good, Sullivan and his team are not resting their laurels just yet because they still have a bigger target on the horizon: to get $1 billion in revenues. To get to this goal, Splunk will be expanding its product line.

Russell Wendell Simmons is an American business magnate. Most people know him as the co-founder of Def Jam, a hip-hop music label, and the man behind the clothing lines American Classics, Phat Farm, and Argylculture. Though Simmons signed unknowns to Def Jam, these unknowns went on to become famous, like LL Cool J, Slick Rick, and Public Enemy. Hip-hop reached the masses and this led to a fascination with black urban culture, where even white, suburban youth started to act black. That was all because Simmons made it cool.

In 2011, he was estimated to have a net worth of $340 million. His marriage with model Kimora Lee was also widely publicized, though it ended in divorce in 2006. Aside from his numerous businesses, Simmons is known for being vocal about veganism. To this effect, he supports Farm Sanctuary and his efforts were recognized by the PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

Vidal Sassoon was a British hairdresser, philanthropist, and businessman, most well-known for his work on the wedge bob, creating the Bauhaus-inspired hair style that would take the industry by storm. He planted his roots in the US in 1965, opening the first chain of international hairstyling salons that also offer hair treatment products. These hair treatment products would go on to become an international brand, the Vidal Sassoon line that is known today across the world. In the 1980s, Sassoon’s company used the tagline “If you don’t look good, we don’t look good” in its television commercials.

Sassoon credits Raymond Bessone for everything that he has achieved, noting that the man taught him how to cut hair while training in Bessone’s salon in Mayfair. Sassoon himself opened his first salon in London in 1954, where singer-actress Georgia Brown, friend and neighbor to the hairstylist was rumored to be his first customer. According to Sassoon, he was into creating new and more efficient hairstyles, eliminating the superfluous to highlight basic cuts and shapes. It was in 1963 when the famous wedge bob was made.

In 1982, the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism was established, founded for the purpose of furthering research efforts on anti-Semitism. Sassoon was also a staunch supporter of the Boys Clubs of America as well as the Performing Arts Council of the Music Center of Los Angeles through the Vidal Sassoon Foundation. At the time of his death, he was also supporting institutions in Canada, the US, and England, with plans of opening academies in China and Germany.

In 2009, Sassoon was diagnosed with leukemia. He died in 2012 surrounded by his family. As a hairdressing legend, Sassoon’s passing was mourned not only by those in the industry but his many customers as well.

 

Sim Daniel Abraham is an American businessman who made a name for himself by inventing the Slim-Fast diet products line in the late ’70s. With a net worth of $2 billion at the start of 2014, he is considered to be one of the wealthiest Americans, frequently getting included in the Forbes 400 list.

Like many of the affluent, Abraham had a philanthropic streak, providing aid for a number of causes which included improving healthcare and nutrition, broadening opportunities in education, and encouraging peace in the Middle East. He was also a WWII veteran and had close ties to top leaders in the US and Israel, as well as throughout the Middle East. He also worked tirelessly over the last 20 years to bring peace to the Arab/Israeli conflict, supporting the US Institute of Peace to further his goals of peace. Abraham also wrote a book on the topic called Peace is Possible.

Ron “Ronco” Popeil is an American inventor, a unique man who invented products that changed the way people eat, drink, and think about their food. Over the last 40 years, sales for Ronco’s products have reached over $2 billion and it doesn’t look like he’s stopping any time soon. He is best known for Ronco, his direct response marketing company, being the face of Showtime Rotisserie, and for using the catchy phrase, “But wait, there’s more!” on television.

Born in 1935, Popeil grew up in New York City and Florida. At 17, he started working for his father in Chicago, learning the trade that would build the foundation for his interest in inventions. His father was like him, inventing and selling the Veg-O-Matic and Chop-O-Matic to major department stores at the time. In fact, the Chop-O-Matic went on to sell more than two million units.

When a problem arose in selling the Chop-O-Matic (it was impractical for salesmen to drag around all sorts of vegetables to be able to demonstrate what the contraption could do), this marked Popeil’s venture into television. The Chop-O-Matic demonstration was taped and was broadcasted as a commercial. Popeil started Ronco in 1964 but before that worked as a distributor for his father’s products. The two even became competitors for the same retail store business in the 1970s,

In 1993, Popeil won the Ig Nobel Prize for Consumer Engineering. He was described by the awards committee as “the incessant inventor and perpetual pitchman of late night television” and was given the award in recognition of his work in redefining the industrial revolution through his inventions. He sold Ronco in 2005 but stayed on board as the spokesman and inventor for the company. Some of his inventions include: the Pocket Fisherman (a small fishing pole), the Six Star 20-Piece Cutlery Set, and the Ronco Popeil Automatic Pasta Maker.

Rachael Ray remembers her first vivid memory to be of watching her mom cook in a restaurant kitchen and trying to copy her but ending up grilling her right thumb when she was 3 or 4. With both sides of her family cooking, it would seem that being in the kitchen is simply a way of life she was born into. Born Rachael Domenica Ray, Rachael Ray is an American television personality, celebrity chef, businesswoman, and author who shot to fame with her Food Network show 30 Minute Meals. She eventually wrote cookbooks based on the concept of 30 Minute Meals, as well as launching a magazine called Every Day with Rachael Ray.

Though practically everyone in her family cooks, Rachael Ray thanks her Cajun ancestry and Emmanuel Scuderi, her Sicilian maternal grandfather, for being her strongest cooking influences. She’s also a big believer of approximations, commonly using measurements like “half a palmful” because she things measuring ingredients exactly takes away from the hands-on, creative process of cooking.

Marc Ecko is an American fashion designer, investor, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and artist, best known for starting the Mark Ecko Enterprises which is a billion-dollar global lifestyle and fashion company. He was also the youngest fashion designer to be ever appointed as a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Board of Directors at the time of his appointment. Born Marc Louis Milecofsky in 1972, he grew up in New Jersey in the suburbs of Lakewood where his parents where pharmacists and real estate brokers. When he was teenager, he turned their garage into a showroom and design studio, creating and then marketing his own designs on t-shirts while customizing hip-hop apparel, and airbrushing nails for girls.

“Ecko” was the tag he used when he became absorbed in drawing and graffiti during his time in the Rutgers University School of Pharmacy. He went on to pursue his dream when the school’s dean encouraged him to take a year off and see where his passions take him. He never went back to finish his schooling, instead starting ecko UNLTD in 1993 with help from his twin sister Marci and friend Seth Gerszberg. He later on went to learn more about the industry in Hong Kong, with clients like Chuck D and Spike Lee helping bring attention to his business. The company ecko UNLTD expanded to accommodate skater and hip-hop styles and has since then grown to become the billion-dollar giant it is today.

In keeping with the use of a rhinoceros as a logo for ecko UNLTD, Marc Ecko supports philanthropic activities that help preserve the numbers of the endangered animal. He also donated to aid critical funding for an Odessa orphanage, and founded Sweet Equity Education, a non-profit that provides opportunities in business interaction and real-world design to underprivileged students to help them become successful. Many social activism campaigns were also started by Ecko in behalf of US students.

In 2010, Forbes listed a German entrepreneur as the 31st richest person in the world. With an estimated net worth of $18.8 billion, Theo Albrecht passed away at the age of 88 on July 24, 2010. He was considered as one of the most powerful magnate in the retail industry.

His wealth came from his company, the Aldi Nord discount supermarket chain. His brother, Karl Albrecht is no less wealthy as he also owns the Aldi Sud company. In the United States, Theo’s business is the Trader Joe’s specialty grocery store chain. Both gentlemen lead a life that is away from the limelight. Despite their stature as one of the world’s richest personalities, they tend to stay away from cameras and lead a reclusive lifestyle. Other than the kidnapping of Theo in 1971, little is known about their personal lives.

What started as a single family enterprise has grown enormously through the hard work of Theo Albrecht. Their business now has more than 5,000 stores in the United States and nine other European countries.

The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, Inc., established three decades ago by Dr. Gregory Jantz, serves individuals and families in the Seattle area and beyond. Dr. Jantz, who also calls his organization “A Place of Hope,” believes that people are able to effect positive changes in their lives, given the right kind of support and ongoing education. In addition to his work with The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, the mental health professional is the author of more than two dozen books and the host of the radio program Overcoming, featured Mondays and Fridays on Seattle station KCIS.

At the Center, clients coping with a variety of traumatic life events and addictive and destructive behaviors learn to find their way to a better future. The individualized care provided at The Center for Counseling and Health Resources focuses on assisting patients in overcoming drug and alcohol dependency, addictions to gambling and sex, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety, abuse, and other life-inhibiting issues. Dr. Jantz and his team focus on treating the whole person, seeing each client as an individual on the path to full recovery.

The Center for Counseling and Health Resources additionally offers programs for healing unhealthy relationship patterns, including those between parents and children, spouses, siblings, and other family members. The organization’s one-week to one-month Relationship Restoration Programs can help in reintegrating families as well as in cases in which divorce is the best option. Each Relationship Restoration Program assessment includes full-scale psychological testing, as well as a physical health diagnosis.

Programs focusing on spiritual renewal and stress reduction also attempt to deal with some of the more difficult circumstances prevalent in today’s world. Rather than providing a traditional retreat-like framework, caring professional staff members offer a chance to pursue an intensive and productive focus on physical and emotional recharging and recommitment to personal spiritual values.

Dr. Gregory Jantz, widely featured as an expert interviewee in print and broadcast media, has appeared on CNN Headline News, The Dr. Phil Show, National Public Radio, and numerous other outlets.

With a net worth of more than $100 million, Rande Gerber is one of those entrepreneurs who have made their fortune in the nightlife of people. An occasional drink or two from one of his bars would mean profit to his business.

Best known as a hospitality entrepreneur, he is the founder of influential nightlife companies Midnight Oil and Gerber Group. For more than 20 years, the company he has founded has been the leading name in the bar and nightlife industry. His businesses are spread out in major cities like Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angele, Miami, Madrid, Mexico, New Orleans, New York, Santiago and Scottsdale. Much of his success is credited to the realization of his concept of the “hotel bar.” He is the mind behind well known places like Whiskey Park, Whiskey Blue, Midnight Rose, Stone Rose, SkyBar Los Angeles and The Penthouse.

Through his connections and with his entrepreneurial skills to create cool, classic and chic bars, restaurants and lounges he was able to penetrate the international market and added significant growth to his Gerber Group. His business has also been listed as the preferred partner of big names like Sol Melia Hotels, Sofitel Hotels, W Hotels, Strategic Hotels and Starwood Hotels. His hands on approach to business enable him to know the variety of customers they service and allowed him to work closely with the best mixologists and bartenders in the world.

His interest in the nightlife can be attributed to his previous stint as a model. Prior to him getting known in the industry, he was able to earn his bachelors of arts in marketing at the University of Arizona. The knowledge he earned also helped him put up his own venture.

Rande Gerber is also known as the husband of supermodel and businesswoman, Cindy Crawford. They have been married since 1998 and has two children.