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Speakers

EET facilitators consist of highly accomplished young entrepreneurs, as well as successful older entrepreneurs. Speakers are asked to share their stories - both triumphs and challenges that they have faced as an entrepreneur - in addition to advice on how to leverage the entrepreneurial mindset regardless of what career path you choose. Visit our call for speakers to learn more about being a speaker on the tour.

Speaker Roster

Sheena Lindahl and Michael Simmons, co-founders of Extreme Entrepreneurship Education and authors of The Student Success Manifesto and All or Nothing, Now or Never, have been keynote speakers on the topics of student success and youth entrepreneurship at events and conferences from Washington state to Washington D.C. As 2005 graduates of New York University, authors, teachers, speakers, and award-winning entrepreneurs, they are able to deliver a unique perspective that connects with audiences. Recently, Michael and Sheena were named by Business Week as one of the country's top 25 entrepreneurs under 25.

Using creative financing strategies, Sheena became financially independent of her parents at the age of 17 and has been able to completely pay her way through NYU’s $30,000+ yearly tuition, excel in school, work full-time at jobs she loves, co-found a business, and write a book.

Michael co-founded his first business, Princeton WebSolutions (PWS), when he was sixteen years old. PWS was later rated the #1 youth-run web development company in the nation by Youngbiz Magazine. In addition, Michael has been the winner of three entrepreneur of the year awards from the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Fleet, and the National Coalition for Empowering Youth Entrepreneurship.

Sheena

Biggest obstacle overcome...

Becoming financially independent from my parents at 17 years old, paying for NYU’s $35,000+ tuition on my own, and coming to NYU with only $30 to my name.

Biggest business mistake...

The biggest mistake I’ve made is not trusting my instincts because I really wanted something to happen. This has happened a number of times in the past, but the worst was with an individual who ended up wasting a lot of our money and time.

Biggest vice...

I know it’s corny, but working too hard is my biggest vice. With entrepreneurship there is ALWAYS something more you could be doing, and it is hard for me to let go.

Biggest advice for others...

You can have anything if you want it badly enough and you’re willing to work for it

What I do for fun...

Cafes and walking

Most embarrassing business moment...

I once had the opportunity to meet the prime minister of Canada. By accident I called him by his first name.

Michael

Biggest obstacle overcome...

There was a time when my partner and I had $25,000 in credit card debt and didn’t really see how we were going to get ourselves out of it. We overcame it, by staying on course and constantly going out of our comfort zone to make sales calls, which we hadn’t been doing previously.

Biggest business mistake...

The biggest mistake I’ve made is not being more disciplined earlier in my career to do what was most rather than what I enjoyed the most.

Biggest vice...

Sometimes when I’m giving a presentation or talking with someone I get very self-conscious and over-analyze what I’m saying rather than just being in the flow of my presentation.

Biggest advice for others...

There is NO excuse for not pursuing your dreams, a.k.a. - what's most important to you in life. We only live once afterall.

What I do for fun...

Spend time with friends. Read and watch movies that make me think.

Most embarrassing business moment...

Sheena and I got seriously lost on the way to a presentation, which had over 1,000 attendees. We were speeding, making illegal turns, and getting freaked out. Fortunately, we made it to the presentation on time and jumped right into our talk, still slightly out of breath!

Blake Ross began his career at 14 with an internship at Netscape. Three years later, he created Firefox to make the web easy to use for normal human beings. Over 75 million of them have downloaded Firefox to date, jumpstarting a monopolized and entrenched browser market that was once presumed dead. Blake was recently featured on the cover of Wired Magazine for his efforts, and was also nominated for Wired's top Rave Award, "Renegade of the Year", opposite the founders of Google. Blake is currently studying computer science at Stanford as a sophomore. He recently founded a new company with a former Firefox teammate, and won't rest until using the computer is an absolute pleasure.

Tom Szaky is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of TerraCycle, Inc., producer of the world's first product made from and packaged in waste. TerraCycle Plant Food was recently named the most eco-friendly product in Home Depot and has received a number of awards for its business model and environmental stewardship, both of which led to Tom being featured on the cover of Inc. magazine.

Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1982, Mr. Szaky emigrated from Hungary to Holland. In 1989 he and his family emigrated again from Holland to Canada. At 14 he started his first business, a web design company called Flyte Design, which employed three associates and earned its young proprietor a five-figure income. Flyte Design also earned a number of Canadian national design awards. Mr. Szaky then engaged in the start-up of three small 'dot.com' companies: Werehome.com (an online home improvement site), piority.com (an online fundraising school), and studentmarks.com (an online grade tracking software).

Biggest obstacle overcome...

Gaining distribution into the world's biggest retailers, such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Target has always been a goal of ours and a tremendous challenge. It took shear persistance - hundreds of phone calls, then a our passion for the product is what closed the deal.

Biggest business mistake...

There is no biggest mistake since we make mistakes all the time and so I've got a bunch of big ones. The key lesson for me was to learn from the mistake, take full responsibility and not to make it again.

Biggest vice...

Being impatient, especially with the people around me who care the most.

Biggest advice for others...

Be prepared to work hard, but be passionate since if you care about your idea you won't consider 20 hour days work.

What I do for fun...

Spend time at home with my fiance.

Darren Herman, a globally recognized entrepreneur in marketing, media and technology, has started and sold several companies and was generating millions of dollars in revenue for his company when he was still in high school. Herman has handled clients ranging from public to private companies, as well, as global Fortune brands including Viacom, Intel, eBay, Hewlett-Packard, FortuneCity, MyPhotoAlbum, Sony/BMG, MTV, Atlantic Records, Sprint Nextel, Ralston Purina, Subway, Haystack Media, and No-Cal Soda to name a few.

Darren is currently working at IGA Worldwide Inc., as a co-founder of the company and a senior new business manager. IGA Worldwide is a venture backed in-game advertising company with over $17 million in oversubscribed funding from Easton Capital, Morgenthaler Ventures, Intel Capital and DN Capital.

Veer Gidwaney was a co-founder of Control-F1 and grew the company into an industry leader in Support Automation. Control-F1 had over 85 world-class enterprise customers. Gidwaney started Control-F1 in the midst of completing his degree at The Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. In December of 2005, Control-F1 was sold to CA, the world's 6th largest software company with over $3.5B in sales.

Veer is working with a team of researchers and entrepreneurs to build Neurosilicon.

Neurosilicon develops novel Brain-Computer interfaces to expand the scientific understanding of the human brain and to revolutionize, streamline and improve the effectiveness of drug discovery and therapeutic practices for neurological disorders. Neurosilicon will commercialize products that have the ability to stimulate and sense the electrical activity of excitable cells (intact neuronal networks) grown on silicon chips.

Veer is presently launching an Internet fundraising platform that leverages micro-donation, social networking and ‘empowerment of the individual’ to inspire action. He has been named to McLean’s Top 25 Under 30 and was a finalist for the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Biggest obstacle overcome...

My brother and I left school to start Control-F1. Shortly after we launched the company, our father passed-away. He had always been a guiding source of inspiration and wisdom for me and Vinay. To overcome that challenge while continuing to build the company successfully was experience that made the both of us much stronger, in the mind and in the soul. It also made us appreciate how precious life is and that to live every moment means to set big goals and do whatever it takes to achieve them.

Biggest business mistake...

I’ve made many, that’s for sure! But the most fatal ones have been with respect to hiring. The most important part of any business is its people. In the early days of Control-F1, my ability to assess candidates was not as strong as it needed to be and I hadn’t formulated a philosophy on hiring. Through practice and experience, I have become much better. I believe that the key to building a great team is to find people who already believe in your vision and are as passionate as you are to achieve it.

Biggest vice...

I’m very diligent (okay, obsessive) at being organized… Sometimes I just need to ‘take it easy’…

Biggest advice for others...

“Never get emotionally attached a sunk cost”. This is the single most important thing I learnt at business school - in accounting class! Bad investments in time and money shouldn’t be followed by more bad investments in time and money. No when to let go and move on!

What I do for fun...

I spend as much time as possible with my wonderful wife, Nina! She’s my best friend and soul mate. We love to explore NYC, watch movies and check-out new restaurants. We and some friends are working on an Internet fundraising platform that leverages micro-donation, social networking and ‘empowerment of the individual’ to inspire action. My brother and I love to toss around new ideas and challenge each other’s creativity.

Most embarrassing business moment...

The first time I pitched Control-F1 at an investor conference, I decided to demonstrate our software in the form of a skit. I realized afterwards that the ‘screenplay’ wasn’t that descriptive and I wasn’t a very good actor!

Joanna Alberti, named by Business Week as one of the top five entrepreneurs under 25 in 2005, is the creator and illustrator of philoSophie’s® - a lifestyle brand featuring stylish illustrations of a fun-loving character named Sophie who confidently imparts humorous and motivating thoughts on life, friendship, love and the power of positive thinking.

Before creating philoSophie’s® Joanna received her Bachelor of Business Administration from Boston University’s School of Management in January 2003. Upon graduation Joanna worked in media planning for one of Boston’s leading advertising agencies.

Today, stores across the country carry Alberti’s philoSophie’s® products. philoSophie’s® have been incorporated in campaigns and events for InterContinental Boston Hotel, American Heart Association, YSL Fragrances, and Macy’s East. philoSophie’s® have been noted in BusinessWeek, CNN, Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine, Redbook magazine, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Justine magazine, Her magazine, and WomenEntrepreneur.com to name a few.

Biggest obstacle overcome...

I am not ashamed to admit, and actually a bit grateful that I was naïve leaving everything to start philoSophie’s with the business plan and market research I had at the time. I’ve been building it and changing my plan everyday since my last paycheck written by someone else. I think the instability and lack of knowledge of what I was getting myself into has helped to create my success. You can take a lot of concepts and knowledge from other business people and text books but it’s my own efforts that I have learned the most. I’ve made mistakes, a lot of mistakes – but from everything whether it was a good or bad business decision – I’ve learned. I am young and independent and with only my financial responsibilities. It’s been the time of my life to see what I’ve been capable of doing and I sometimes forget to step back and see where I’ve come since drawing each card by hand!

Biggest business mistake...

I’ve made mistakes, a lot of mistakes – but from everything whether it was a good or bad business decision – I’ve learned. I am young and independent and with only my financial responsibilities. It’s been the time of my life to see what I’ve been capable of doing and I sometimes forget to step back and see where I’ve come since drawing each card by hand!

Biggest vice...

Being impatient with my goals. I am my worst critic and when I am working on philoSophie’s I often forget to step back and realize that everyday is a gift and that everything will come together.

Biggest advice for others...

Never doubt yourself. Only you know what is best for you. If your gut is telling you ‘it’s good’ , well then ‘it’s good!’. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it!!

What I do for fun...

I love to just hang out with my friends and family. Relax, paint, and take photographs….. When you’re an entrepreneur business never really closes, but that’s the fun of it. You’re constantly coming up with your next idea.

Most embarrassing business moment...

Hmm, I am a very humorous person, so I’m not sure I can think of a most embarrassing moment because I usually just try to roll with awkward situations.

Adam Witty decided at the age of 19 that it was high time to bring his passions for entrepreneurial spirit and the American dream those dreams to life and started a business out of his dorm room. That company, Advantage, is today the parent corporation to Advantage Media Group, Advantage Networks, and TicketAdvantage. Advantage Media Group is an author owned publishing house. Advantage Networks is a full-service sports marketing firm. TicketAdvantage is a provider of integrated ticketing systems and technology for teams, universities, leagues, and venues.

Adam brought another dream to life in the summer of 2003 with the TicketAdvantage.com Baseball USA tour. Featured in USA Today, Adam and a team of 12 colleagues traveled 21,538 miles across America in a 42 foot “rock star bus” tailgating at 45+ major and minor league baseball games. Benefiting local chapters of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Adam and company created an interactive fan experience at each ball game to market his company to fans and families. Additionally, Adam successfully partnered with Chevrolet, Hewlett-Packard, Louisville Slugger, and Cal Ripken Baseball among others as sponsors of the tour.


Biggest obstacle overcome...

The opportunity to give up and quit many times. In my book, the trait most linearly correlated with success is persistence.

Biggest business mistake...

Not shutting up. To date in my business career, I have done more talking than listening. Big mistake. I work on this everyday.

Biggest vice...

Working too much. I love what I do so much, I would rather work than do many other things. Am I the sucker, or is every American in the "rat race" the real sucker?

Biggest advice for others...

Consistent persistence. Entrepreneurship and starting a business isn't all that hard. It is the action, implementation, and perseverance that is difficult.

What I do for fun...

I have never looked at "work" as "work" and "play" as "play". To me, it's all just living. To answer your question though, sailing, running, reading, watching my Tigers play.

Most embarrassing business moment...

Not sure. I probably make a fool of myself everyday and am too goofy to realize it! Seriously though, you develop thick skin, and you don't really care too much.

Rahim Fazal’s life planning program, “Gettin’ It”, provides alternately hilarious and sobering education to youths on how to truly get what they want out of life. A young “dot-com millionaire” who sold his first business in high school and later became one of the youngest directors of an American public company, Rahim has always urged young people to use business principles to map out a fulfilling life path. This mission culminated, after several business adventures, in Rahim’s recruitment by Canada’s top MBA program at the Richard Ivey School of Business to act as a student leader in their new entrepreneurial stream. An engaging and popular speaker at youth business conferences and advisor to entrepreneurial groups in Canada and the US -- and still only 25 years old -- Rahim continually urges youth to apply the business planning process to relieve the anxieties they suffer when facing uncertain futures. Rahim lives in Silicon Valley, California and recently started a new online business that helps students drive grassroots movements in social networks like Facebook.

Biggest obstacle overcome...

Suits and various other authorities constantly telling me I’m too young or inexperienced to do what I want to do...even after I graduated with my MBA and started 2 companies! The haters are always going to be there, so I’ve learned to just ignore them.

Biggest business mistake...

Getting a big head when I made a little money.

Biggest vice...

I think I’m addicted to Facebook.

Biggest advice for others...

Start today.

What I do for fun...

Party like a rock star.

Most embarrassing business moment...

I can’t stand long meetings. I think I’ve fallen asleep once. No...that’s not right, actually, twice. I’ve fallen asleep twice.

Cameron Johnson, author of You Call the Shots, started his first business at the tender age of nine. He had started, run and sold 12 successful companies by the time he was 21. His business successes have been featured in Time, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, USA Today and many more, as well as on the Today Show and Good Morning America. When he was fifteen he became an advisory board member of a Tokyo-based company, and his autobiography, 15-Year-Old CEO, published in Japanese, became an instant best-seller.

He has consulted to Fortune 500 companies and is regularly a Keynote speaker at various conferences across the country. Every one of his businesses has been a success, even in the worst days of the Internet bust.

As a freshman in college, he started CertificateSwap.com, an online marketplace for gift cards, which was a runaway success and for which he was offered $10 million in venture capital. He and his partner sold the company instead. Today he runs several web-based businesses, in addition to consulting and sharing his expertise through various speaking engagements.

Nicolas Thomley is the President and CEO of Pinnacle Services, Inc. and Summit Fiscal Agency, Inc. Both organizations he founded to provide services to people with developmental disabilities. As the companies have grown they have broadened their scope of serving people with disabilities to include people with Serious and Persistent Mental Illness, Traumatic Brain Injuries and older adults. Today, these companies combined employee nearly three hundred people in the State of Minnesota and are recognized as leaders in their industry. In June of 2004 Pinnacle Services was named by Entrepreneur Magazine and Dunn and Bradstreet as number ninety-three of the one hundred fastest growing new businesses in America. Nicolas is also the CFO of Prospect Services, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit organization that provides support services to parents of children with mental health diagnoses. He has helped support these parents in their grass roots effort to increase parent leadership and advocacy for children with mental health concerns, something that is the first of its kind in the nation.

When Nicolas was founding the companies he served as a Military Policeman in the United States Marine Corps. He served briefly during Operation Enduring Freedom in Kuwait and is a veteran. In 2006 Nicolas was recognized by the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Business Journal as one of the top forty business people under forty years of age. Additionally, in 2006 Nicolas was recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the thirty coolest entrepreneurs in the country under thirty years of age.

Tara U. Dawood has always been an entrepreneur. When she was 14 years old, she was selected to be Canada’s National Youth Reporter and representative to the Youth News Service (YNS), the youth wing of the Associated Press. With this position, she created network links with record labels, movie studios, cosmetic labels and various manufacturers across Canada, the United States and England and regularly reviewed their products. She’s had over 100,000 articles published and continues to freelance write today.

Her current day job, however, is as CEO of Dawood Capital Management Ltd. (DCM), a leading asset management company based in Pakistan and sponsored by Asian Development Bank. After having studied at Cornell University, Oxford University and Harvard Law School -- where she won numerous distinguished awards, scholarships and fellowships -- and becoming a member of the New York Bar, Tara moved to Pakistan to revamp the venture capital company Pakistan Venture Capital Ltd. (PVCL). Due to a high-risk financial environment at that time, she led a team to convert PVCL into DCM and launched DMMF, a 5 star income fund that is consistently the market leader. Committed to helping those less fortunate, especially Pakistani woman and children, DCM waives all commission for women, children, charities, disadvantaged and disabled persons.

Ryan Blair, a "serial entrepreneur", has founded 4 companies in the technology services, real-estate, telecommunications, and social media industries. A corporate advisor, public speaker and author, with nearly 200 engagements annually, Ryan works with top executives at. T-Mobile, Re/Max, Microsoft, Pfizer, All State, Sweat and Crawford, FOX Entertainment, Prudential, and many others. Recently Ryan Blair has been featured in Forbes Magazine and on the Larry Elder TV Show.

Having risen from poverty and abuse to become a respected member of society and achieve great economic success, Ryan’s story of success has generated a host of media activity over the past 10 years. Ryan has dedicated his life to understanding human behavior and sharing his inspirational story with others, teaching people how to achieve tremendous personal and professional growth from the lessons he learned during his 10 year journey.


Ryan P. Allis is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of iContact, the leading provider of email marketing tools for small businesses. Ryan has built Durham-based iContact from its start in July 2003 to its current size with over 80 employees, 18,000 customers, and $10 million in annual sales. In 2005, Ryan was named by BusinessWeek as one of the "Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25." He is the author of the book Zero to One Million: How I Built a Company To $1 Million in Sales and How You Can Too, published by McGraw-Hill.

Vic Sarjoo has 11 years of Wall Street experience, including 9 years spent as CEO of his own fund. He has 7 years as a leader in local and global educational and non-profit causes, including 4 years spent turning around a failing inner-city Boys & Girls Club as its president and 7 years running his own foundation which, through both New York University and his hometown secondary school, teaches business communication skills to inner city youth before introducing that same youth to blue-chip corporate leaders. Vic has 6 years as a board director and principal in Statlinx, a medical it. & telecom company that has engineered the last-mile solution between e-health infrastructures and physician/patient communications and Vic has 3 years as a principal & CFO of IRIS, a sector-leading digital music company.

Joshua Bryce Newman has been called “a veritable Doogie Howser” by Forbes, and similarly praised by Time, Entrepreneur and the Wall Street Journal. He serves as CEO of Cyan Pictures, an independent film production and distribution company. Previously, Joshua built and sold two tech companies - SharkByte and Powerdime.com - and served as Managing Partner of the Silicon Ivy Venture Fund. Joshua holds a dual BS from Yale in neuroscience and computer science, and recently turned 28.


Biggest obstacle overcome...

My outstanding abilities of procrastination. When I was in school, I skipped classes, turned in homework late (or not at all) and never finished my assigned reading, a set of terrible, terrible habits I brought with me into the world of business. I still haven't learned to finish my work, but I have at least figured out how to get the most important done while continuing to blindly blow off the rest.

Biggest business mistake...

Hidden elephants. When things go wrong - and, at any given time, *something* will be - the temptation is to hide it from everyone. Turns out, people are very, very forgiving - even your landlord will get over you not having the cash to pay rent for a month or three; but what people hate, what they *can't* stand, is feeling lied to, feeling kept in the dark. It's a lesson I forget and re-learn time and time again.

Biggest vice...

"It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues." - Abraham Lincoln

My attorney has kindly suggested I plead the fifth here.

Biggest advice for others...

Successfully building a company is a two step process: 1. Start. 2. Keep going. That's it. And the harder one is step one.

What I do for fun...

My attorney has kindly suggested I plead the fifth here, too.

Most embarrassing business moment...

What is this, Seventeen Magazine?

A rather tame one: I vividly recall, at age 20, standing in a bar with a partner in a venture fund that had just closed an investment in a company I was running, trying to figure out if it was worse to have to admit my age and get kicked out of the bar, or risk getting busted by passing my Australian fake ID.

Ephren W. Taylor II, Amoro Corporation’s founder, has an extensive background in startup firms from tech to real estate and leading companies to profitability. He has helped start and fund seven companies, raising millions in investment capital. Mr. Taylor is a dynamic public speaker, author, and business consultant who has worked closely with corporations such as CitiGroup, Sprint, Target, Wal-Mart, Air National Guard, and city municipalities. In 2002 his unique investment concepts earned him the distinguished Kansas Entrepreneur of the Year. He has brought the company to where it is today and has been the key negotiator for all of the company’s acquisitions and economic development projects, as well as for taking AmoroCorp public in April 2006.

And, at 23 years old, Ephren Taylor is also recognized as one of America’s top young entrepreneurs. He grasped the concept of entrepreneurship at a very young age, starting his first successful company at the age of 12, developing 3D video games. In 1999 he and a classmate started their own dotcom with $500 of savings, a job search engine for teenagers called the 4Teens Network. Then, in 2000, 16-year old Ephren won Microsoft’s Teen TechFest Challenge.

Doug Fath has sold two businesses, developed a highly profitable multi-million dollar real estate portfolio and helped hundreds of students generate thousands of dollars in passive income, all by the age of 25.

Today, Doug is a full time real estate investor and financial freedom activist who is committed to helping people create wealth, while pursuing their true passion in life. Using the principles that worked for him and other successful entrepreneurs, Doug inspires and empowers individuals on their journey to financial freedom through coaching, seminars and keynotes.

Doug’s entrepreneurial endeavors have received national acclaim. He is a winner of the 2004 Bank of America Entrepreneurship Award and has been featured and interviewed by The NYU Report, the Philadelphia Daily News, and Bloomberg TV. Finally, Doug is a Keynote Speaker on ‘The Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour’, which brings America’s top young entrepreneurs to colleges across the nation, and a featured speaker for the American Management Association at conferences and schools across the country.


Biggest obstacle overcome...

Negative people and negative energy. Especially when I first started out and wanted to be an entrepreneur, the people closest to me said things like, "You have no experience!", "You can’t do that!", and just generally discouraged me.

Biggest business mistake...

Not speaking up when I disagree with stuff that's going on, because other people may not like what I have to say.

Biggest vice...

Being a perfectionist.

Biggest advice for others...

Don't listen to people who say you can't. Surround yourself with like-mined positive people that help you achieve your goals.

What I do for fun...

Playing and watching sports. Vacation. Reading a good book. Playing PS2.

Most embarrassing business moment...

When I know our product (an apartment) is supposed to be done a certain way, and it's not, and tenants are complaining to me, and I know that they're absolutely right.

Bryan Sims is the 22-year-old CEO and founder of brass|MEDIA Inc., publisher of brass, a lifestyle money magazine circulated to over 120,000 young adults across the country. Sims created brass at the age of 19 so that young adults would have a resource that talks TO them rather than AT them about the money side of life. brass cover stories have featured young adults that are entrepreneurs, musicians, athletes, filmmakers, and philanthropists. In February 2004, the first issue of brass was released to nearly 30,000 young adults and in the past two years circulation has more than quadrupled since the release of the first issue.

Ray Dalton is credited with successfully starting and managing seven health care companies. Ray was instrumental in creating the first for-profit, full service, independent company in a marketplace that has grown to a size of twelve billion dollars over fifteen years. Ray is recognized as a leader and innovator in health care and business consulting, and remains in the forefront by creating new enterprises with practical innovations. He is a featured speaker and consultant to many regional and national organizations in the medical service marketplace. Furthermore, he is the author of Proceed with Confidence: lessons learned from a serial entrepreneur.


Scott Hill is the owner and CEO CIK Enterprises, a holding company which is comprised of Tri-Auto and Trace Communicatins, and handles a staff of nearly 80 employees in two locations: Indianapolis, IN and Phoenix, AZ.

In 2005, Tri-Auto was honored as Inc. Magazine’s 58th fastest growing company in the nation. Meanwhile, Trace is outpacing even Tri-Auto’s successful growth and is expected to place even higher on that list in 2007 with expected revenues of $7M in its second full year.

CIK employs a Game Management methodology to manage its business based on a unique open-book culture that Scott co-created. This has resulted in an excellent culture that has contributed to extremely low turnover, an empowered staff, and a company that was recently selected as the Best Place to Work in Indiana by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Scott loves the game of business and sets goals that always ask: “what’s next?”

By the age of 24, Arel Moodie is an award-winning entrepreneur, published writer, and professional speaker. Arel's first company, placefinder.com which is a business that helps college students find off-campus housing, roommates and sublets was started while he was in college.

He teaches as a guest lecturer of entrepreneurship at his alma mater Binghamton University where he received his degree in Politics, Philosophy & Law. As an always entertaining and captivating speaker, Arel's motivational speaking company, AMI, has already spoken to over 30,000 students at 180 schools in 18 states and two countries. He is widely known as "America's Top Young Speaker".

Arel is also featured in two nationally published books, Student Entrepreneurs: Graduating with a Profit, and Millennial Leaders where he is named one of the top Gen Y leaders in the country. He has also been featured in USA Today, Fox News, ABC News, and NBC affiliates.

Always the entertainer, in his spare time Arel likes to dance and has performed as an opening act for the R&B group 112.


Biggest obstacle overcome...

When developing the idea for the placefinder.com, neither myself nor my business partner knew anything about web site development, which became a huge problem. To make a long story short it took us 2 ½ years to build a functional website. We went through numerous sub-par programmers and designers who did not produce a product that was sufficient.

Biggest business mistake...

One of the biggest mistakes I've made in business was launching our business before the site was ready. I heard how important it was to just "jump right in" and figure it out as you go, but this strategy resulted in a lot of angry customers, and my business was a major focal point of a lot of stress in my life because of it.

Biggest vice...

Sugar. I love sweets and I have to work on cutting down on them.

Biggest advice for others...

Remember that every overnight success took at least 5-7 years. What people from the outside don't see, is all the sacrifice it takes to succeed and make a business work.

What I do for fun...

Dance, watch movies/youtube clips, work out, play basketball or random sports like miniature golf

Most embarrassing business moment...

This one time, I'm ashamed to admit, I was showing an apartment at a place that wasn't in the best area. And as I was showing it with the handyman present, a neighbor ran up to the handyman to let him know that last night someone broke into his apartment and stole all of his stuff. As the neighbor said this I looked at the prospective tenants and felt so embarrassed. It's safe to say that those tenants did not move in and I felt like poop.

Jason Duff is an acclaimed speaker, real estate developer and award winning Entrepreneur. Jason graduated Ohio Northern University in 2005 and is the Founder & CEO of Community Storage & Properties, Ltd. and COMSTOR Outdoor, Ltd. and serves in executive capacities to several other businesses and not-for-profit organizations.

Jason has been recognized for his contributions as a real estate developer and his role in spearheading revitalization efforts contributing to millions of dollars in new growth, appreciation, and community investment. In 2005, he was awarded the prestigious Global Student Entrepreneurship Social Impact Award and was featured in numerous magazines, television and radio programs.

Jason resides in Columbus, Ohio where he is currently working on his first book and pursuing plans to establish a foundation which benefits global causes and initiatives.

Biggest obstacles overcome...

Me! I’ve found that my biggest obstacle is often my own fears and judgments. I realized that the sooner I could overcome and conquer my fears, the easier it was for me to welcome new opportunities and successes.

Biggest business mistake...

Mistakes are just a part of life, so go out there and make them. Mistakes accelerate learning opportunities and with that said…I have sure learned a lot! Let me give you an example, if you say you are customer driven, publish it on your website, marketing materials, etc…be consistent and perform.

Biggest vice...

Microsoft Outlook. I’m addicted to organizing my calendar and outlook files, locating birthday’s for all of my contacts, and maliciously maintaining updated information. I made fun of about this and may need intervention.

Best advice for others...

Make people a priority in your life. Systems are great and important too, but people drive change, evolution and humanity. Make relationships a priority – personally and professionally.

What I do for fun...

Work and play are interchangeable, especially when you what you do. Outside of my career, I enjoy cooking, traveling, skiing, boating, and spending time with friends.

Most embarrassing business moment...

I have struggled for years working to improve my skills with remembering names. A few years back, I was meeting with an important client and in the middle of our meeting; my new client asked me why I kept referring to him as “sir” and asked me to use his first name. (Panic struck!) and I had to apologize and explain to my client that I had forgotten his name.

Raj Lahoti began his journey as an entrepreneur at the age of 9 and established his first website at the young age of 14. His passion for the Net and ability to recognize the needs of the driving public fueled Raj’s creativity and helped to launch DMV.ORG: The Unofficial Guide to the DMV. DMV.ORG draws in over 65 million visitors annually. DMV.ORG is operated by OnlineGURU, a web publishing business he co-founded with his brother in 2003, which now operates with an in-house staff of 20. Raj, in collaboration with a team of stellar professionals, has built partnerships with a group of elite players in the automotive industry including GEICO, Progressive, Experian, Intelius, and AIG.

Most recently, Inc.com named Raj No. 9 in its 30 Under 30: America’s Coolest, Young Entrepreneurs. Raj also earned honors in San Diego, Calif. as a finalist for the Ernst and Young prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and as the winner of the Association for Corporate Growth San Diego (ACGSD) 2007 Deal Makers Awards in the High Growth category.

Raj is also a member of Young Presidents’ Organization, Entrepreneurs’ Organization and Association for Corporate Growth.

At age 21, Alan Blake founded a dot com that ultimately raised $4 million and employed 50 people. Although the company closed its doors during the bursting of Internet bubble in 2001, Alan’s entrepreneurial spirit was undaunted. By late 2001, he co-founded a company whose mission was to market the first commercially available biotech animal in the world: a glow-in-the-dark pet fish. GloFish” hit the market in a tidal wave of international publicity in 2003 generating over 500,000,000 media impressions. They are now available across the US, including in Wal-Mart and PETCO, and Alan continues to manage the company’s daily operations as its CEO.

Author of "Celebrity Branding You", Nick Nanton, Esq., also known as "The Celebrity Lawyer", has been named “Best of the Bar” and has been referred to as “One of Orlando’s Top 10 Young and Powerful”. Prior to becoming an attorney, Nick spent more than a decade immersing himself in the entertainment industry as an award winning songwriter and producer, and surrounding himself with celebrities. He has worked on projects and negotiated deals, from large scale events to reality television shows, involving celebrities like Bill Cosby and President George H.W. Bush.

Nick is the CEO of the Dicks & Nanton Companies and serves as the Managing Director at the law firm of Dicks & Nanton P.A.: The Business Growth Lawyers. Currently, Nick spends most of his time consulting and teaching entrepreneurs and businesspeople how to become celebrities in their business niche to lock out the competition and increase profitability.

Nick is a voting member on the annual GRAMMY awards and a member of the Florida Bar. He holds a JD from the University of Florida Levin College of Law as well as a BSBA in Finance from the University of Florida’s prestigious Warrington College of Business.

Prior to founding Dicks & Nanton P.A., Nick served as CEO of Cinemark Music Group LLC. Cinemark Music Group is a subsidiary of Cinemark USA, Inc., one of the largest motion picture exhibitors in North America with 3,288 screens in 33 states and internationally. He has also served as CEO of Loud Entertainment LLC and Director of Business Development and Assistant Corporate Counsel for PremiereTrade LLC.

Elizabeth Torres is a 20 year old poet, painter and motivational speaker. Currently Kean University's Poet in Residence, Elizabeth is a frequent speaker and panelist at cultural conventions and community lecture series in the US and abroad.

Born in Bogotá, Colombia, her latest book is "Because the Flame is Alive". She was selected by CNN's Young People Who Rock in 2007 and by American Eagle Outfitter's "Live your Life" campaign as a role model.

Her list of clients includes Verizon, Daimler Chrysler, Johnson and Johnson, universities and schools in several countries, such as Georgetown, Franklyn and Marshall, La Guardia Community College, and Rutgers.She has given more than 1,000 interviews around the world to newspapers, TV and radio shows.

Biggest obstacle overcome...

Learning a new language when moving to the US to be able to share my message and give my speeches with a completely new audience... The reward was learning to playfully communicate my thoughts and poetry to write it in English.

Biggest business mistake...

Procrastination...and... Not keeping in touch with people who are interested in your work after they meet you. Networking can be truly fun and benefit your business, but you have to make a little extra time to stay in touch with others, learn from their experiences and share their success, to get the most out of every meeting.

Biggest vice...

I'm a night owl. It still is a bit difficult to remember that we can't work 24/7...Sometimes I need reminders to know I need to sleep and breath :).

Biggest advice for others...

Celebrate your victories, no matter how small they are... Patience, patience, patience. Keep the vision of your goal alive in your mind every day, wherever you go.

What I do for fun...

Visit New York City as often as possible for poetry readings, art shows, concerts, and to interact with different artists. I absolutely love going to the movies, traveling, and am a big fan of myspace and poetry blogs.

After only a month in college, Josh Kowitt founded ResFridge etc, a student-owned appliance rental business. With just one hand-truck he built the business one customer at a time. From mini-refrigerators, he moved to shipping and storage with Collegeboxes. Under Josh’s leadership, Collegeboxes grew to 60 campuses. In 2006, the Wall Street Journal recognized Collegeboxes as the nation’s largest collegiate shipping and storage company. In 2008, Collegeboxes was acquired by Store-to-Door.

Josh has been recognized by Inc. Magazine as a “Top 30 Entrepreneur Under 30” and by the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards. Today, Josh operates a boutique consulting firm—Josh Kowitt Consulting—to help small businesses “deliver on the promise” to their customers, employees, and stakeholders.

Josh resides in Boston and enjoys playing piano, cooking, boating, and traveling.

Biggest obstacle overcome...

My biggest obstacle is myself. I'm scared, I'm timid, I'm anxious, and I'm not confident enough in my own abilities to succeed. Humans, at least this human, is naturally risk adverse Overcoming these fears and pursuing something entrepreneurial is a hurdle I battle every day.

Biggest business mistake...

There was a point in 2006 when our business forgot about the basic notion of "deliver on the promise." We were promising our customers one thing, but put other priorities (e.g. marketing, sales) ahead of this ideal. Our customers killed us when our service was sub-par. Now we listen to them attentively. This ensures we deliver on our promise to customers each and every time.

Biggest vice...

Wow. I can't speak freely about all my vices. I love to eat. I would eat until I grew to 400 lbs., but then I wouldn't be able to move freely and I wouldn't have any money left--that would be bad.

Biggest advice for others...

Three suggestions for success: (1) Deliver on the promise (do what you say you're going to do; don't say things you can't do), (2) Don't quit (in a competitive situation, most opponents can easily be beat by sticking with it), and (3) Live each day as if it's a vacation (I bought a moped last year so I could ride around the Italian neighborhood in Boston and pretend I'm in Italy).

What I do for fun...

I love to eat (did I mention that before)? I'm in a band and play piano. I love

Ari Meisel (25) started his first business when he was 12 years old and hasn't stopped since then. Through his real esate company, Arise Development, he has created a $6 million portfolio of properties. Recently he started his fifth company, LEED Pro to provide green building and sustainable design consulting to projects of all shapes and sizes from homes to schools to offices. Furthermore, he has been featured in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and recently sign a publishing deal for a green building book. Biggest obstacle overcome...

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease 3 years ago. I was in constant pain and it affected my work. I was in complete denial for a while but then I took the bull by the horns, took a position on the board of the Crohn’s and colitis foundation of America and now I help others. It’s a young person’s disease and something many people have to deal with , but it can be overcome.

Biggest business mistake...

Partnering with my best friend in my third company, the company did fine, the friendship did not.

Biggest vice...

Sour candy of any kind

Biggest advice for others...

Know your business from the bottom up, try to experience every job related to your work even if it’s sweeping the floors. You need to understand all aspects of what you do. When I do a construction project, I do everything from lay brick to dig ditches, it’s all part of the learning process.

What I do for fun...

Golf, rock climbing, and travel

Anderson Schoenrock is the CEO and Co-Founder of ScanDigital. and a 2008 recipient of the Inc. 30 under 30 award.

Prior to co-founding ScanDigital. Anderson was the Vice President and Co-Founder of Zietsman Realty Partners (“ZRP”). During the firm’s 2.5 year history, Anderson directly oversaw more than $600 million in commercial real estate transactions and worked with some of the most respected investment firms in the world. After building a successful platform, ZRP was acquired by Jones Lang La Salle in early 2007.

You might find him several thousand feet above LA enjoying the private pilot license he earned in 2006.

Alex K. Tchekmeian (21) is the president and founder of AKT Enterprises, comprised of sixteen unique companies, ranging from merchandising and web development utilities, to the development of live music venues and bars.

At the age of fourteen, Alex began his career as a musician in one of South Florida's most popular indie-rock acts. Soon after, he discovered his passion for entrepreneurial endeavors and focused primarily on his great interest in the entertainment business. Following the band's break-up, Alex continued to move forward with the knowledge from his hands-on experience and created a database of musical talent, and promotional interests, combined with his desire to raise the standard of the music industry.

Alex's drive and ambition in the entertainment field led to the development of AKT Enterprises. With a rapidly increasing client base of over 2,500, AKT Enterprises has been named one of the fastest growing, most innovative companies to develop in today's entertainment industry. With sales in excess of $1.2 million in 2007, Alex is confident that he can double, if not triple, sales within the next year. As the company continues to expand, Alex is focused on breaking into new areas of business such as real estate and urban apparel development.

Biggest obstacle overcome...

As a young entrepreneur I think that managing the growth of such a rapidly evolving enterprise has been the largest obstacle to really overcome. On a daily basis I make decisions that will impact all of the companies on a long term basis. It has looked easy from an outside perspective but with little experience in previous business it has been a struggle that I've overcome in time.

Biggest business mistakes...

When I was first getting into business I allowed outside investors to provide financial support for a significant amount of the overall ownership. While at the time it sounded like a great idea, when your ideas turn into large amounts of money you are stuck with somebody who is not contributing to the overall success of the company. At the end of the day we spent a lot of money to remove these silent investors while in the beginning we should have started at a much smaller scale to avoid this situation all together.

Biggest advice for others...

Believe in yourself and not what others tell you. While developing AKT Enterprises I was very young. I was questioned about my age and determination for many years until becoming successful. It is important to always stay focused and determined to achieving whatever goals were set forth by you. While listening to others input is essential, sticking to your goals and working hard is what will make you become successful.

What I do for fun...

I enjoy traveling, reading, music, networking and work.

As the Vice President of AKT Enterprises with Alex Tchekmeian, Jared Mendelewicz (23) is leading the company along the cutting edge of the entertainment industry.

At the age of sixteen, Jared's technical background in web development, combined with his passion for music, led him to create PBGPunk.com, a web-based profile listing service for local musicians. Over two years, PBGPunk.com expanded beyond the internet to host live events showcasing many of its own artists.

During his remaining high school years, Jared founded an independent web design company called IWDT, which was absorbed into AKT Digital in mid-2005. This merger marked the formation of Studio AKT, one of AKT Enterprises most successful and lucrative companies.

Eric Corl (23) joined a startup as a third person and helped grow it from a $0 to a $6MM valuation in a year and a half as a college freshman.

Eric started IdeaBuyer.com in September of 2007. IdeaBuyer.com is an online marketplace for intellectual property. The goal of the company is to aggregate all of the stagnant intellectual property in the United States among Universities, Corporations, and indpendent inventors, and make it available to entrepreneurs, investors, and retailers through licensing or purchase agreements.

The site immediately took off as a resource for inventors looking for partners in getting their products to market as well. Idea Buyer now holds equity stakes in several intellectual property based businesses. The company has so far been credited with over 30 licensing and purchase agreements and is projecting over 1000 by 2009.

Joktan Elbert (30) is the President & CEO of SnowBus. Founded in 2004 and with a seasonal staff of 18, SnowBus offers affordable and fun transportation during the ski season between Whistler and Metro Vancouver, Canada – Home of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

An enthusiastic resourceful young entrepreneur, Joktan has over 10 years experience in the hospitality and customer service industry and has travelled and lived in Europe, plus Central and North America. Joktan speaks English, French and Spanish fluently.

Elbert is the past Chairman of Vancouver’s Young Entrepreneur’s Association (YEA) and is proud to have supported the 2010 Vancouver Olympic bid. He spends his free time supporting and coaching new and young entrepreneurs.

Patrick Cuartero (27) is the co-founder and CEO of YoYoNation.com, the world’s number one specialty online retail store, online yo-yo community, and vehicle for all things yo-yo related. The “seriously fun” enthusiast website has won awards and has been featured in many media outlets such as National Public Radio (NPR), NBC’s The Today Show, Entrepreneur Magazine, PC Magazine, and The New York Post. He’s won top spots in multiple state, regional, national, and world competitions and has toured across the country demonstrating the art of the yo-yo.

Before pursuing YoYoNation.com full-time, Patrick was an Assistant Vice President at Merrill Lynch’s Global Service Quality Group and an e-marketing specialist at Dun & Bradstreet Corporation.

Rebecca Kousky became the founder and Executive Director of Nest, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the lives of women in developing countries, when she was 24.

Expanding upon the proven tool of microfinance lending, Nest gives small loans to women to build or maintain art or craft-based businesses. But unlike traditional banks, Nest allows loan recipients to repay their loans in crafts they make, which are then incorporated into Nest’s own line of merchandise, created exclusively for them by some of the country’s top designers and artisans. Additionally, Nest partners with other domestic designers who dedicate a percentage of their sales to Nest’s microlending program and many advise loan recipients on building their businesses.

Nest and Rebecca have received global attention, including appearances on CNN and Fox News and in publications as diverse as the Turkish Daily News, Cosmopolitan, Country Living and Martha Stewart’s Body & Soul. Rebecca herself has received numerous awards, including being named one of St. Louis’ “30 under 30,” a prestigious recognition of successful young people.

Biggest obstacle overcome...

I’m a trained social worker, but Nest is a unique combination of social work, business enterprise and retail shop. It takes a combination of skills, including business acumen, familiarity with accounting and sales expertise. So I’ve either had to learn fast or hire people who are strong where I’m weak.

Biggest mistake you've made in business...

Being too strict with myself. As any entrepreneur can attest, starting a business is an emotional roller coaster. I try to learn from my mistakes, but I also try to keep things in perspective, and above all, to see and appreciate each new learning experience. I am dedicated to my work to the point of obsession, but I also try to enjoy the journey.

Biggest vice...

I’m decisive to the point of impulsiveness. Once I decide on a course of action, I want to proceed right away. Sometimes it’s best to spend some time thinking first.

Biggest advice for others...

Don't spend too much time looking at the distant mountains; you have to look directly in front of you as well. I tend to get caught up in the big picture; for example, where I want to be in ten years, but what is most important is the first step you take toward getting there. Details and baby steps—that’s my advice.

What do you do for fun when you aren't working?

Practice yoga. I am a certified yoga instructor. In college, I taught yoga at an inner city after-school program for teenage girls to help them gain self-confidence and improved body image. I also used yoga as a rehabilitation tool for disabled children when I worked in India and I taught yoga to elderly men and women, to help them retain both mobility and mindfulness. I still maintain a personal yoga practice; it helps me to stay calm, centered and focused.

Most embarrassing business moment...

We had a fundraiser in Washington, D.C. and I was to speak before the group. I had a terrible head cold and (regretfully) still thought it wise to enjoy a glass of wine before taking the stage. The combination proved dangerous, despite my confidence. I stood there facing the crowd and was silent—no words would come! Finally, after a full minute or two of silence, I managed to mumble 30 seconds about Nest and sat back down. It was awful …and embarrassing!

Elizabeth Grace Saunders (25) became a full-time entrepreneur one year out of college. With Grace Communications Inc., she writes entrepreneurship columns, magazine articles, marketing materials, and ghostwrites books for clients from Miami to Seattle. Over 45 different publications feature her work.

After two years of developing a writing company, Elizabeth started Real Life E™ to encourage others to Dream! Dare! Discover!™ who they were created to be. She specializes in professional and personal development advice for college students and women in business, and motivates individuals across the country through her fresh, honest take on pursuing your dreams TODAY!

Prior to falling into entrepreneurship, Elizabeth worked full-time at Meredith Corporation, the publisher of magazines like Better Homes & Gardens and Ladies Home Journal. She also had the opportunity to serve at VNU Business Media, Studio Pink, Abbott Laboratories, and The Center for Magazine Studies.

Anthony Russo is the founder and CEO of Pridetagz, Inc., whose main product is personalized collegiate, post marathon, and special event dog tags, which symbolize who we are and what we are a part of.

After finishing college, Anthony excelled at a plethora of jobs working for others including traveling promotional management and emcee work for Coca-Cola. He has been emceeing for the last three years on stages ranging from 10 people to 15,000.

His senior thesis for college was a documentary focusing on his father’s Multiple Sclerosis where he formulated his take and his philosophy on living in the moment and taking hold of every moment of life. Since this point he has completed five full and three half marathons. Every day he takes his passion for life into everyone one of his actions.

Jake Sasseville (22) is the voice of the late-night talk show, The Edge with Jake Sasseville, which debuted on nearly 40 ABC affiliate stations across the country on February 14th, 2008. The show currently reaches over 30 million households, ranging from college towns across America to New York City via WWOR My9. He counts the Ford Motor Company, Overstock.com, Bed Head and Red Bull among his advertisers and sponsors who give him hundreds of thousands of dollars to align their products with his quirky brand and the buying muscle of his loyal fans.

Jake plans to graduate Marymount Manhattan College in New York in 2009.

Morgan First is the creative guru and co-founder behind 1st Publications and MAP BOSTON. With the MAP Boston Planner, which can be found at Borders and Barnes & Noble, you can keep track of your schedule right next to cool ideas of places to visit in Boston each week. All of the locations have been picked because they are local hangouts or off the beaten path.

Morgan along with her 15-person staff have been featured in the Boston Herald, RedefiningBoston.com, Skirt Magazine, WBZ News Radio, Back Bay Sun, among other publication.

Miles Munz (28) is the co-founder of 11-person company InterviewStream. Having frustrating experiences trying to get jobs after college led him to co-create software for students to practice their interviewing skills via webcam recored interviews. The software is now widely utilized at Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and others.

In 2007, Miles was recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the top 30 entrepreneurs under 30.

Lauren Berger created Intern Queen Inc. while finishing college at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Lauren had been dubbed "The Intern Queen" by local and national press after participating in fifteen internships during her four years of college. FOX, NBC, MTV, BWR Public Relations are some of the companies that stand out on her resume. As "The Intern Queen", Berger developed an internship consulting service and an intern-themed clothing line, Internal EthiKs. She picked up the award for "Best Young Entrepreneur of the Year" at the 2007-2008 Stevie Awards in Vegas last year. Lauren is a featured blogger on WomenEntrepreneur.com, has been published in MTV/Frommer's EUROPE book and has also been published in US WEEKLY, SEVENTEEN, NICKELODEON, NY FAMILY, AXIS, TALENT IN MOTION, NYCOOL.COM, JUSTINE, and more.

Nick Freidman is President and Co-Founder of College Hunks Hauling Junk, an innovative and award winning junk removal company. In its first three years, the company grew to over 2MM in sales with franchises in fourteen different locations, including Tampa, Denver, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

College Hunks Hauling Junk has received 6 marketing awards from the American Marketing Association and the Property Management Association for their unique brand, corporate website, and low-cost marketing strategies. College Hunks has also been highlighted on CBS, NBC, FOX News, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fortune Small Business, and Oprah.com.

Both Nick and his business partner were recently named one of INC Magazine’s Top 30 Entrepreneurs in America Under 30.


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