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Monthly Archives: January 2015

Many successful business owners are not the founders of the companies they run. This holds true for Eugenie Pepper and her husband.

Before becoming a mother, Pepper was an interior designer with her own design business as well as an art curator and gallery manager. Having children broadened her interests to include kids fashion and so, when she and her husband were given the opportunity to take over and run the Australian kids’ wear brand Plum in 2011, they did not hesitate.

As the new owners of Plum, Eugenie and her husband breathed new life into the brand despite the problematic economic climate at that time. They overhauled many of the products and designs in the clothing line and embarked on a massive campaign to market and advertise the brand.

Since then, sales have risen tremendously and Plum clothing is now available not only in Australia, but also in the USA, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

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ARJ Group Holdings owner Naomi Milgrom was a stranger to retail when she took over the reins of their family business – Australian women’s clothing line Sussan. Despite having no experience in this field, she faced the challenge head on and succeeded.

Sussan was founded by Milgrom’s grandmother, Faye Gandel some time before the 2nd World War. The business was later on managed by Milgrom’s father, Marc Besen alongside his brother in law, John Gandel. The business did well under their leadership and Milgrom was allowed to follow her own passions even if it meant she wouldn’t be involved in the family business. She took that opportunity to do what she wanted to do. This included being a teacher for students with special needs dabbling in both advertising and publishing. The latter of her work experiences taught how valuable branding is. In 1990, Milgrom’s father approached her to help revitalize Sussan which was falling behind its competitors at the time. She accepted the job and did it with the same amount of love and passion that she gave her previous endeavors.

The secret to Milgrom’s success is her concern for her employees. The Sussan headquarters has a homey vibe to it with Milgrom spending more time going around the office, talking to her staff and mingling with the employees. She also advocates flexibility in the workplace, making sure that employees have time to live their lives and spend time with their families, making them eager to come to work every day and become productive members of the team.

Milgrom is also unfazed by the influx of foreign brands to Australia. As of 2014, All three of ARJ Group Holdings brands (Sussan, Suzanne Grae, and Sportsgirl), have raked in over $400 million in revenue. Milgrom also believes that competition helps her company stay sharp and on point.

Richard Chua believes that becoming a successful individual requires starting young and making your mark as early as possible, a mantra that many entrepreneurs also follow. He started with Talent 100, a company dedicated to providing the best UMAT tutoring program in Australia, which he established in 2008 when he was just 23 years old. Today, he oversees three centers located at Chatswood, Hurstville, and Epping wherein he employs 50 teachers to educate over 800 students.

His goal: Ensure that students in Australia have access to world-class education. He set up the company using his own savings and while he was still employed as an associate consultant at Bain & Company.

His success: Talent 100 has assisted 30% of its students in scoring ATARs of 99+ during its first three years of operation.

But Chua also wants to learn more about business and entrepreneurship. He then applied his considerable skills in Silicon Valley particularly in the Google offices.

Thomas Robert “Tom” Waterhouse was born into the horse racing industry with his family members being bookmakers, trainers, and businessmen. He is, in fact, a fourth-generation bookmaker whose ancestors, particularly his paternal and maternal grandfathers, included many of the successful bookmakers in Australian history.

His success as Australia’s foremost bookmaker then comes as no surprise. His career started in 2001 when his father asked him to assist at the Rosehill racecourse, a stint that he enjoyed so much. He obtained his bookmaking license in 2003 and by 2008 he was the biggest on-track bookmaker in Australia with bets totalling $20 million over the 4-day Melbourne Cup carnival.

Waterhouse is also the brains behind the successful online gambling site, tomwaterhouse.com, although it must be emphasized that he is part-owner along with his father and sister. The company has offices in Melbourne, Sydney, and Darwin while its client list includes high net worth individuals, thus, making it one of the leading corporate bookmakers Down Under.

But Waterhouse’s success has been met with its fair share of controversies. The Australian public has expressed its displeasure at the gambling industry in general and Waterhouse in particular due to the increasing presence of the website’s promotions and scathing editorial commentary.

Waterhouse has also been directed to ensure clear separation between his bookmaking business and his mother’s training business. This was made in order to avoid conflicts of interest, both in fact and in perception.

Fortunately, Waterhouse’s fame has its share of privileges, too. He is a regular contributor to several sports-related radio and television programs as well as publications. He co-hosts Sportsline on Sky Business and Two Cups and a Plate, appears on Nine Network’s Wide World of Sports, and discusses racing on 2GB with Alan Jones, among others. He is also regularly featured in other television shows, such as Ascot on TVN.

For his work, Waterhouse was cited in the 2012 Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Australia and the 2012 SmartCompany’s Hot 30 Under 30.

In the pharmaceutical industry, the name Alejandro Zaffaroni always rings a bell even after his death. Zaffaroni, after all, was a successful serial entrepreneur responsible for the establishment of several biotechnology companies.

His potential as an entrepreneur was manifested early on albeit as an employee (biochemist) of Syntex, which was then a small Mexico-based company but later became major international pharmaceutical company; he later became the president for its U.S. subsidiary.

In 1968, he established Alza to develop medical treatments that can be administered via effective pharmacological systems (i.e., controlled drug delivery). His delivery systems were based on the way that glands deliver tiny amounts of hormones with significant efficacy, which were soon used in the treatment for glaucoma. His technology was then used for many more medical applications including treatments for diabetes, severe chronic pain, and motion sickness.

Like many other successful entrepreneurs, Zaffaroni was happy establishing other businesses. He is the founder or co-founder of many other companies including DNAX, Affymax, Affymetix, Symyx Technologies, Maxygen, and Alexza Pharmaceuticals.

When you have started a revolution, then you are worthy to be called its father – and that’s exactly what Ralph Henry Baer is to video games, thus, his moniker as The Father of Video Games. He was widely respected for his several significant contributions to the video games industry in his capacity as game developer, inventor and engineer.

His first innovation was the idea of being able to play games on television screens. He then invented and patented several hardware prototypes including the first-ever video game console (i.e., the Magnavox Odyssey) – and the rest is history that all die-hard video game players should be thankful for. His first successful prototype was the Brown Box and such was its entertainment value that everybody wanted to play its game just 15 minutes after its introduction.

Baer is also the co-developer in several popular electronic games, such as Simon (1978, with Howard J. Morrison) and Super Simon (1979, for Milton Bradley), both of which were very popular in the late 1990s. He also developed Maniac albeit it was not as popular.

He donated his hardware prototypes and documents in 20016 to the Smithsonian Institution, thus, cementing his legacy. He even continued tinkering in electronics so much so that he has more than 150 patents in his name including patents for tracking systems for submarines and electronic greeting cards. Indeed, he was a prolific inventor whose creative minds and hands will continue to influence the modern world.

Aside from his distinction as The Father of Video Games, he has also been recognized by various award-giving bodies for his contributions. His accolades include the IEEE Masaru Ibuka Consumer Electronics Award, IEEE Edison Medal, the G-Phoria Legend Award, and the Game Developers Conference Developers Choice Pioneer Award, as well as the National Medal of Technology for his pioneering success in the creation, development and commercialization of video games.

Baer was also inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Ophelia DeVore-Mitchell was a pioneer and a champion in the fashion industry during her heyday. She was also a businesswoman with her own modelling agency, a chief executive officer and publisher of a popular newspaper (The Columbus Times), and a non-white model who conquered the fashion world. Now, that’s what we in the 21st century call as an empowered woman able to hold her own.

Born on 12 August 1922 in Edgefield, South Carolina, DeVore-Mitchell was of mixed race descent, thus, her fair-skinned appearance; her father was African-American and German-American while her mother was a Black Indian. She was mentored by her father in good communications while her mother mentored her in proper education, etiquette and appearance. She attended New York University with major in math and minor in languages.

At the age of 16, DeVore-Mitchell started modelling especially in European countries where she can pass for a Norwegian. In 1946, she then established the The Grace Del Marco Agency, which would later be known as the Ophelia DeVore Organization, in response to the dearth of jobs for non-white models in the United States; racism was rampant.

Hyrum W. Smith – the name may not immediately sound a bell even among self-help enthusiasts but his work has influenced and continues to influence people via the spoken word. Smith established Franklin Covey, a company that provides education, information and training about time and life management to over 60,000 people – and growing – every month.

He is also the leader of the company’s 4,000-strong strainers as well as the developer of the Franklin Day Planner, a system designed to assist people set goals and manage time. The system is in use by an estimated 5 million people via a wide range of devices from laptops to smartphones.

Smith is also the motivational author behind uber-successful audio books, such as “The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management”, “The Modern Gladiator” and “What Matters Most”. These audio books reinforce his reputation as one of the most vibrant international speakers on time and life management.

He was not born into a family of entrepreneurs – both of his parents were teachers – but his entrepreneurial spirit was born out of his strong desire to teach. His inspiration came from reading Ben Franklin’s autobiography, which inspired him to start being an entrepreneur and stop being a salaried sales executive. His first company, the Franklin Company, was named after Ben Franklin.

Indeed, both involved smart use of the spoken word but Smith soon found his niche as an entrepreneur with his own training company – and it is a $600 million company today.

Smith is as curious as ever about the effective ways that people can achieve their goals especially in a world where physical and mental overload happens. For example, he was thinking about the training, tools and techniques that modern gladiators require for success, a line of thought inspired by his curiosity about Julius Caesar’s confidence in conquering the world for Rome. Thus, the audio book “The Modern Gladiator” was born.

Matt Pauker has a bright future ahead in his chosen career path with the success of Voltage Security as proof of it. Like many ultra-successful entrepreneurs, he started his career as a college student particularly from his dorm room at the Stanford University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree.

While in college, he was involved in several computer science research projects that earned him awards. These included the Stanford BASES Entrepreneur’s Challenge and the Stanford Global Entrepreneur’s Challenge, both in 2002 when he graduated and when he co-founded Voltage Security; the company provides data-centric security software applications and solutions for data protection in several environments.

Pauker has been involved in various capacities in Voltage Security. At present, he is the driving force behind its technical vision, organization and architecture.

He is also a holder of over 2 dozen patents as well as a contributor to several technical security standards. He has been cited as one of the top young entrepreneurs by Forbes, Time Magazine, and Information Week.