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Monthly Archives: September 2014

As rich as King Croesus himself. This is an adage that continues to hold our fascination in an age when multi-billionaires like Bill Gates, Carlos Slim Helu, and Warren Buffett rule the list of the world’s richest people.

King Croesus is not a mythical figure but his wealth has attained a mythical quality so much so that he is widely considered as the first tycoon – truly, a man rich beyond anybody’s imagination that his name alone evokes the image of overabundance of wealth. He was, in fact, the ruler of Lydia, a prominent kingdom in Asia Minor, in the sixth century B.C.

His most notable contribution to the world was the first minting of gold and silver coins in the history of mankind. King Croesus then single-handedly started the lifeblood of modern trade and commerce – cash and its resulting concepts of liquidity, stability, and cash flow. His riches came from trade, commerce and mining with reports that he derived his wealth from King Midas, the king with the golden touch.

As king, King Croesus was also known for his opulent lifestyle. His generous gifts have been recorded for posterity at Delphi and we can only imagine the gifts he has granted to many of his loyal subjects.

Who was King Croesus? Born about 595 B.C. King Croesus was a ruler over a great expanse of land filled with riches. He received tribute from other peoples including the Ionian Greeks, thus, adding to his already immense wealth.

But all good things must come to an end and the end for King Croesus came in the form of Cyrus the Great of Persia. His campaign against the invading Persian army proved fruitless and his kingdom was destroyed, just as the Delphic oracle has predicted.

While King Croesus may be no more on Earth, his legendary wealth continues to this day, a legend that even the likes of Bill Gates mat be unable to match.

Lydia Pinkham lived at a time when the female menstruation was a taboo topic in society. Yet, she is considered by modern-day feminists as a feminist in her own time, an early crusader for women’s rights particularly their healthcare rights.

Unlike many early feminists whose methods typically involved grand public gestures of protest, Pinkham used her knowledge and skills in herbal medicines in promoting women’s health issues. While she was motivated by economic reasons, her bravery in distributing information about an exclusively female domain was lauded as revolutionary for the women’s liberation movement.

Note: Pinkham’s herbal-alcohol tonic for the relief of menstrual and menopausal pains was commercially successful. She was then able to provide a comfortable life for her family.

But Pinkham is also highly regarded for another reason. She held strong anti-segregation and abolitionist principles, which was the result of her own family’s stance on the issues. In fact, she was a member of the Lynn Female Anti-slavery Society and she helped host abolitionist meetings in her home.

Olive Ann Beech (nee Mellor) was born at a time when gender roles were divided along distinct male-female lines. Born on 25 September 1903 in Waverly, Kansas, Beech showed the early signs of an uber-successful career woman with plenty of distinctions to her name. She handled her own bank account at the tender age of seven and it was not long before she was also keeping track of her family’s finances.

In 1924, Beech laid the foundation of her aviation career by becoming an employee, specifically bookkeeper and secretary of the newly-established Travel Air Manufacturing Company. She climbed the ranks while learning the business inside out, thus, her ascent from secretary to office manager to Walter Beech’s personal secretary; Walter Beech was a co-founder of the company who became her husband in 1930.

In 1932, the husband-and-wife team established Beech Aircraft. In 1940, Beech took control of the company when her husband fell ill.

And then World War II became a boon for Beech Aircraft, thanks to the upsurge of demand for military planes and their related products and services. The company grew by leaps and bounds with its workforce increasing from just a few hundred to nearly 14,000 during the period.

Indeed, in her nearly two decades of being company president, Beech steered the company to new heights of market leadership. The sales tripled in value while the client list kept getting longer with prominent names included in it, such as NASA for its space shuttle programs.

Beech has several distinctions to her name. Together with her husband, she was awarded with the Bendix Trophy and inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame. She was also awarded the National Aeronautic Association’s Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy, the first woman to be granted the honor.

No wonder than that Fortune magazine once called her one of the most distinguished women in the United States. We simply like to remember Olive Ann Beech as the woman who dared to break down gender barriers.

If you have never heard of Judy Faulkner, that’s not your fault. The very low-profile founder and chief executive officer of Epic Systems prefers it that way so as to let her high-profile customers shine and her work to speak for itself.

Faulkner’s customers belong to the upper echelons of the healthcare system in the United States, such as Johns Hopkins, Cleveland Clinic, Cedars-Sinai, and Kaiser Permanente. These corporations shell out millions for Epic System’s effective and efficient digital patient record system.

While many may think that it is nothing, keep in mind that the success of any healthcare system partly depends on its patient record system – and Faulkner has it covered. Her influence on the healthcare system is considerable with nearly 40% of Americans having their medical information stored on her digital record system.

Faulkner, a computer scientist, established Epic Systems in 1979 as Human Services Computing. She established the company without assistance of third-party investors and even resisted later attempts by the likes of Kaiser Permanente for an equity share. She wrote the code for the early databases and continues to oversee the system.

Shakira Isabel Mebarak shakes her hips, sings her heart and the world shakes and sings along with her. She is, indeed, one of the truest global superstars with her album sales, concert ticket sales, and music awards speaking in her behalf.

Since writing her first song at 8 and launching her global music career at 13, she has sold nearly 60 million albums worldwide, ruled the charts in over 55 countries, and won numerous Grammy Awards (2), Latin Grammy Awards (7), and Billboard Latin Music Awards (12) for her albums and singles. She is the hitmaker behind Hits Don’t Lie; Whenever, Wherever; and La La La Brazil (2014), the most successful advert in football history and the unofficial song for World Cup 2014.

Indeed, such is her popularity that Shakira is not just a highly successful performer – she sings and dances to her music – but also a global brand in herself. When she speaks her mind, sings her music, and shakes her hips, the world stands up and listens. She is considered one of the most electrifying performers on stage with her concert audiences spanning a wide range of ages, genders and musical preferences.

Shakira is also considered as the second most successful female performer after Gloria Estefan. But because she is more active in the music scene nowadays, the curly-haired singer with the flexible body – think She Wolf – may well overtake the Queen of Conga. Incidentally, Emilio Estefan of the Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine was her first manager in America

Unlike many superstars, Shakira is also putting her fame to good use. She was appointed to the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics by President Obama as well as a UNICEF ambassador. She also established Barefoot Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing for early education systems worldwide.

Shakira is in a relationship with Gerard Pique. They have a child and expecting another.

Berry Gordy is certainly no starving artist.  Gordy, an inductee of the Rock and Roll of Fame and an awardee of the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s Pioneer Award, is a music legend in his own right.  In fact, he nurtured several music legends including the Temptations, the Supremes, and Mary Wells under his Motown record label.

He is, indeed, one of the most famous record producers and songwriters in the music industry.  But his legendary music career took many different routes first because he tried his hand at boxing, assembly line work, and record store ownership, among others.

Like all legends, however, he soon found his true calling and, thus, was born the hit-making songwriter, the exception talent developer, and the outstanding music producer-cum-executive. Berry wrote or co-wrote classic songs including Lonely Teardrops, Reet Petite, and To Be Loved, among others.

He also built Motown Record Corporation from the ground up. As a music executive, Berry was at the helm of many musical hits including Money (That’s What I Want) and Shop Around.

Truly, his musical vision and legacy remains via the Sound of Young America.

There are gamblers and there are successful gamblers.  Sheldon Adelson, a well-known American business magnate, investor and philanthropist, belongs to the second category for good reasons but in a different way.

Adelson made his fortune as a savvy investor in the vibrant global gambling industry, thus, making him one of the most successful gamblers, so to speak. He is the chairman and chief executive officer as well as majority shareholder of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. The entity, the world’s largest casino corporation, is the parent company of several casinos, convention centers and resorts across the United States, Singapore and Macau, such as the Sands Expo and Convention Center and the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino.

With such ownership, Adelson is considered one of the richest men in the world (10th in rank according to Forbes) with an estimated net worth of US$37 billion (May 2014).  Now that’s what we call successfully gambling with your investments and reaping your rewards.

Adelson is not just a wealthy man either. He is also active in politics via his substantial donations to Republican Party candidates, thus, making him one of the political party’s major contributors. His involvement has resulted in his considerable influence in the party.

Note: He is set to donate almost $100 million to politically active non-profit organizations in connection with the 2014 midterms election cycle.  He apparently wants the Republicans elected to the Senate.

He is also active in philathropy with his donations coursed through the Adelson Family Foundation, the major contributor to Birthright Israel; Adelson is Jewish. He has also donated millions to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, the The Adelson Educational Campus, and the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Medical Research Foundation.

Hate him or love him, Adelson is one uber-successful casino magnate who knows where to put his money where his mouth is – and then make a killing of it while doing good for society.

So many tech-savvy individuals build apps for the sake of the money but not Seth Priebatsch. While he is best-known for his innovative apps, namely, Scvngr and LevelUp, he is not just into building apps but into building a company – and if he has any say in it, a highly successful company that will dominate his niche.

In his mid-20s, Priebatsch is the chief executive officer of Scvngr, an 80-employee, Boston-based app-design company established in 2008. Call him brash but Priebatsch wants to provide his target consumers a range of location-aware smartphone apps that will become the foundation for an intelligent game layer.

Again, Priebatsch is building a company, not just apps. He thus hires people who are entrepreneurs like himself and tells them that, together, they are building a successful company – and it looks like the plan is working.

In 2011, his company was valued at $100 million. How’s that for starters in conquering the apps world?

Rochelle Behrens was like so many other women – she used pins in preventing her conservative button-down shirts from gaping near the breast area, thus, preserving her modesty in her corporate attire. But then she discovered that her favorite shirt was poked by pins in so many places and this is where inspiration hit her.

Thus was born The Shirt, both the innovative button-down shirt and the company. Behren’s flash of inspiration resulted in a line of button-down shirts in a wide range of colors, fits and lengths with a simple yet revolutionary feature – a hidden placket and buttons designed to prevent the shirt from gaping in the breast area.

Women with breasts of all shapes and sizes who constantly had to struggle with pins to prevent their bosoms from peeking out at the most inopportune times rejoiced. Men, perhaps not so much.

In 2008, Behren invested $50,000 in filing a patent for her invention, having a prototype made, and then manufacturing a few hundred of her new button-down shirts. She started the buzz by sending e-mails to family and friends, throwing a trunk show at her apartment, and then maximizing the exposure generated by press stories; Politico, NPR and The Today Show featured her shirts.

In mid-2009, The Shirt was doing well enough that Behren quit her job as a Washington D.C. lobbyist and worked on her company on a full-time basis. She worked hard on developing a small but loyal following with Fred Segal carrying her line soon after.

It was The Shirt’s inclusion into the Oprah Winfrey Show’s 2011 must-haves that catapulted Behren and her button-down shirts into the mainstream market. (It’s known as the “O Effect”) Behren quickly increased her production with her own Spain-based manufacturing facility, outsourced her fulfillment and distribution, and hired a sales team for wholesale distribution.

Today, Behren and her The Shirt company continues to enjoy the success of such a simple yet innovative idea with over 30 stores – and counting – carrying her line of shirts.