Top Lessons From Top Leaders in 2018
Today's companies are showing revenue and measuring ROI more than ever before. We researched and found some of the most notable leaders to watch. Based on their successes, these CEOs and founders are changing the way business is done. Venture capital monies are on the rise and companies are growing. That's why this list of business champions is so important.
Our economy is thriving and today's business icons are pushing the envelope for us all. From startups to blockchain to government to education and beyond, their successes -- and their lessons are ones that everyone in business can learn from in 2018.
1. Sergio Rizzuto
Sergio Rizzuto is a Villanova School of Business graduate who received the Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) award for his entrepreneurial endeavors while attending the university in 2014. He started his online marketing business, Fit Society, his sophomore year of college, which quickly began earning him six figures within the first year.
Aside from online marketing, Sergio sells clothing through his social media sites ranging in themes from fitness to astrophysics. He is invested in various businesses and owns Local Café, a cafe in Brick, NJ.
Sergio is also an actor and producer who has had roles in movies with stars such as Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone, and also owns the production company, Potato Eater Productions, which has produced movies with the same stars listed above, along with many others.
2. Joe Harris, 54 — COO & National Executive Director, Friendship Education Foundation
Joe Harris has successfully started eight businesses over the past three decades. While some have failed, others have succeeded far beyond his wildest dreams. Presently, Harris is both following his passion and living his dreams. He serves as the COO and National Executive Director of the Friendship Education Foundation, a charter school management organization based in Washington, D.C., with K-12 schools in several states. His role is truly life-changing for his team, and for the students they support. Harris is also the owner of Bella View, LLC, a residential build, renovation, and design company whose mission is to create stylish and affordable housing East of the Anacostia River in Southeast D.C.
“To achieve business success in 2018, remember what our mothers told us: dream big. Treat all of your successes, as well as your failures the same. But toast to your success; and have two drinks for your failures. Learn from them both and grow from each.”
3. Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes, 38 — Interim Director, Washington, D.C. Department of Employment Services
Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes is an accomplished executive with a record of leading successful initiatives at multiple Washington DC government agencies. She has spearheaded multiple turnaround efforts for at-risk and struggling programs, resulting in their swift restoration to normal status and effective functioning. She is credited with the successful turnaround of the Department of Employment Services’ federally-funded workforce programs. Her perspective of workforce development is focused at the intersection of education and economics. Dr. Morris-Hughes earned her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, an MBA from Trinity University, and a BA in English from Johnson C. Smith University.
“Essentially, the public sector creates economic opportunity for all, including entrepreneurs and their current and future employees. There are several programs in your own area that promote entrepreneurship. Find out and take advantage of them,” advises Morris-Hughes.
4. Adam Rogas, 41 — CEO of NS8
Adam Rogas is the CEO and Co-Founder of NS8, a cybersecurity company which protects online businesses from fraud and abuse, thus enabling them to provide optimal user experiences for their customers. Hailing from Las Vegas, Nevada, Rogas has founded a number of successful SaaS (software as a service) companies, which has earned him a spot on our list. He is highly skilled in complex messaging systems and big data analytics, as well as the daily operations and management of SaaS companies. Most recently, Adam Co-Founded Catch5, which developed IP in the Ad Fraud Prevention Space. His energy and experience are unparalleled in the space.
“The best advice I can offer anyone, so they will be highly successful in business this year, is to remain committed to why your customers originally engaged with your business. Don’t forget that your business data is your most precious asset; and should be treated that way. It is also important to never forget that you have a duty to your customers to protect that data…data that they entrust you with.”
5. Hemen Vimadalal, 36 — Chief Executive Officer, Simeio Solutions
Hemen Vimadalal directs and drives the overall vision and strategy for Simeio Solutions with a passion for building high performance teams, driving innovation, and focusing on delivering value to customers. Prior to founding Simeio, Hemen worked with Vaau from its inception, where he established the company as the leader in the Identity and Access Management industry. Vimadalal has led many assessments, and end-to-end implementations, of role-based access control, user provisioning, identity auditing, identity certification, web services, and directory & password management products. A finalist for EY’s 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year, Hemen holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Southern California.
“The best tips for business success come from experience. I cannot recommend strongly enough that CEO’s build and maintain a great team…one that is smarter than you are -- and believes in the same mission and vision, as well as the problems you are trying to solve. Secondly, always treat your customers as members of your team.”
6. Tim Vasko, 57 — Founder and CEO, Blockcerts.com, Finaeos.com
Tim is an inventor, professor, author, and a visionary who has created multiple successful companies. He was an early “Cloud” pioneer, in creating Open Structure Organizations (“OSO”) on the internet. As a front runner in the Fintech and Blockchain spaces, Tim is pushing SaaS transformation, while challenging the model of enterprise technology silos, in order to create distributed, inclusive technology OSO platforms as global bridges between entrepreneurial and enterprise systems. He began designing his platform over a decade ago, with over 1.5 million-man hours of development in the creation. His technology has been refined through a capstone team MIT Fintech, and recently certified research through Oxford University. With sponsorship from Microsoft Azure Cloud, and Oracle, Tim has positioned the entire platform of his patented virtual space technology on a unique, new blockchain which called blockcerts.
Tim strongly suggests that you must “clearly understand the effect of all the connections and processes that flow to actually drive your business. Business is a quantum field of effects; and not every cause has an equal effect. Use the idea of the ‘observer effect’ from quantum physics, to understand how knowing your community is so much more important than ‘knowing your customer’. You will then have the steps on how blockchain can be used to positively impact your business.”
7. Stacey Cartagenova MS-SLP, 46 — President, Therapy Source Staffing Solutions
A Speech-Language Pathologist for many years, Stacey recognized an overwhelming need for an organization that offered a staffing element, while simultaneously providing industry expertise and guidance. In response, she founded Therapy Source in 2001. Fast forward, and Stacey (along with co-founder husband, Joshua) has turned her vision into a thriving and growing education-based therapy staffing company.
As President, Stacey is directly involved in all departments within the company, and ensures that Therapy Source consistently operates according to its mantra of personalized commitment. When asked about the key to her (and Therapy Source’s) success, Stacey emphasized teamwork and measurement as critical components. “An organization is only as strong as its people! Building a solid team is essential toward achieving both short and long-term goals. Also – it’s incredibly important to set measurable objectives that directly align with plans and strategies…and then, to monitor those objectives in order to re-align business direction quickly when and if it’s needed.”
8. Abha Saraswat, 34 — Founder and CEO, Sano Naturals
Saraswat is the Founder and CEO of Sano Naturals. Sano Naturals is a skincare company based out of Dallas, Texas. Abha has a background in science from Johns Hopkins University and an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business. She spent six years in Corporate Finance before starting Sano after embarking on her own journey to heal her personal skin issues with adult acne. Knowing that she had finally found a solution to her problems drove Abha to help others solve their issues naturally. Her company is founded on the premise that busy, cost-conscious consumers desire high quality, natural, accessible skin care products that work. Since its inception, Sano has successfully transformed the skin – and the lives – of literally thousands of women and is a best-selling brand on Amazon today.
According to Abha, “success begins by writing down quantifiable and measurable business goals for the year. It’s hard to know what to do if you aren’t sure where you want to go. I liken it to getting into a cab and not being able to tell the driver what your destination is! Once you have tangible and attainable goals that you work towards, you can figure out the steps to help you get there. Remember that adding value for your customers is always at the core of what you do. Creating value and solving the needs of your target audience should be part of the guiding principles of your business.”
9. Jordan B. Gorfinkel, 50 — Founder and CEO, Avalanche Comics Entertainment
Growing up as a child who was fascinated with comics, and could quote Batman chapter and verse had a significant impact on Jordan B. “Gorf” Gorfinkel’s future. By the time he attended Boston University, Gorf knew he would embark on a journey of the superhero kind, never believing he himself would become one. As an editor at DC Comics for nearly a decade, where he managed the Batman franchise, Gorf’s insight into the superhero world brought us the critical and commercial smashes, "Birds of Prey" and "Batman: No Man’s Land." After parting amicably from DC Comics to start his own company, Avalanche Comics Entertainment, Gorf merged the superhero and corporate worlds, bringing his storytelling expertise to corporations worldwide, beginning with Microsoft’s award winning “Heroes Happen Here.”
He also produced entertainment content for production companies, such as Paramount and Hasbro; and non profits including the Munich Jewish Museum. As a cartoonist, Gorf created JewishCartoon.com, featured weekly in newspapers and online. His latest project, the Passover Haggadah Graphic Novel, is the culmination of his work to date, adapting the beloved scholarly and historical text into an action packed graphic novel. Gorfinkel is living his dreams and changing the world one superhero at a time. For that, he has earned a spot on our list.
When asked about his own success and advice for others to succeed, Gorf’s recommendation is simple. “Follow my ‘boil an egg rule’ of presentation,” he says. "Don’t speak longer than it takes to boil an egg without telling your audience a story and you’ve hooked them. And be memorable! Brand your message with a fun title, such as ‘Gorf’s Boil An Egg Rule’ of public speaking.”
10. Thomas Addaquay, 43 — Founder and CEO, Green X Prize
Thomas Addaquay’s business experience spans software, real estate, and the publishing of a highly regarded and ranked book, Go Green, Get Rich. In the book, Addaquay proffers that financial freedom doesn’t have to come at the expense of the greater good. As an advisory board member to two startups with significant revenue, Addaquay found that when we examine not only our intentions, but also our goals and how we aim to achieve them, we can do so much more efficiently. With the acclaimed success of his book, Addaquay launched Green X Prize – taking his nonprofit from a simple idea and turning it into a life-changing, functional organization.
For those that wish to follow in his footsteps, Addaquay encourages people “to shy away from traditional, orthodox thinking. Don’t be pressured to conform, or just resort to conventional thinking, because the reality of the world is that yesterday’s wisdom becomes tomorrow’s folly. If you grab any belief system, I urge you to let go of it. To be more specific, the strategy that has worked for me has been having no strategy. Everyone has their core beliefs, but we always need to be willing to listen, and remain open-minded about the concerns of those we are trying to serve. When someone challenges our core beliefs for the better, we need to be willing to let go of them, and take hold of and grow these new ideas.”
11. Aarti Manwani — Founder & Head of Product, Good Luck Ventures
Aarti earned a spot on the list because of her leadership role with Good Luck Ventures, leading and building products with Fortune 500 companies such as E*TRADE Financial and Box, Inc as well as young technology startups such as Landit, Inc. As the Head of Product, Aarti works on many innovative and ground-breaking high tech projects and is a mentor to entrepreneurs through Blue Print Health, Parallel 18, Civic Accelerator etc.
One of the startups Aarti worked on is Pager,Inc founded by former co-founder of Uber, where she built an AI-driven complex B to B to C healthcare marketplace that provides care navigation, triage service, care coordination, and post-care follow-up service. It is one of the first healthcare marketplace in northeast region with an end to end care service.
“ Developing a keen understanding about the industry and technology at its core is very important. If you are focused on AI, learn about Machine learning, Neural Networks, automation et all. At Good Luck Ventures, we are spending substantial amount of time helping companies utilize AI and blockchain to develop predictive and prescriptive products. Ignoring new technology advances is like ignoring internet. Our advise, embrace technology, become a subject matter expert and grow with it."
12. Graham Goddard, 36 — Founder and CEO, AllPublicArt.com
In 2015, Graham Goddard founded AllPublicArt.com, and since then, has been empowering artists, art galleries, and art collectors, with the introduction of Blockchain technology. Goddard’s vision for All Public Art has resulted in a robust platform designed to provide solutions for all artists to connect, trade, and thrive within the art market.
To succeed in 2018, Goddard is “seeing Blockchain technology impact many industries. Therefore, we must learn more about it and its potential. You may find that it can contribute to your endeavors by helping to solve problems, or by making things more efficient. Cryptocurrency has been one of the most exciting additions to the way people transact globally. There are many ways in which crypto is being used in 2018, and it is important to look into and learn about them.”
13. Amir Mansouri, 32 — Co-Founder and CEO, SprintRay
Amir Mansouri earned his Master’s in Manufacturing Engineering and his Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering and his graduate certificate in Technology Commercialization from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. Amir Co-Founded SprintRay together, with Jing Zhang while doing his Ph.D. at USC, with the vision of making high-resolution 3D printing more accessible for everyone. After a successful Kickstarter campaign which raised $422,000, and delivered hundreds of products to SprintRay’s backers, the company was able to create a market niche in the dental industry, challenging the way dentistry has been done traditionally. Today, SprintRay products empower dentists to offer the fastest, as well as the most reliable treatment options for their patients.
To Mansouri, it all comes down to learning the power of focus. He advises “picking a market vertical and getting absolutely focused on it. Once you do this, get the right people ‘on the bus’ so to speak, and pick a direction.”
14. Dan Vas, 22 — 7-Figure Internet Entrepreneur, YouTuber, and Amazon FBA Seller
Dan Vas is a success story of epic proportions: from being completely broke with $40,000 in college debt and cleaning windows to have some money to start his first Amazon FBA business to a millionaire in just one year. Today, Dan is generating over $2.5 million per year through the combination of his YouTube following and working with his Amazon FBA course, teaching people how to make money online, and helping wake them up to their true potential. He is changing lives globally.
To understand how Dan operates, you need to understand his mindset for success. “Do NOT innovate,” he says, “there’s a reason some things already work. Copy what works and put your own spin on it, and watch success come. Take risks and be fearless. 98% of the world is fearful and afraid of taking risks in anything in life. This is exactly why they stay mediocre and live boring lives, never rising to their true potential.”
15. Piper Moretti CIPS, 46 — Founder and CEO, The Crypto Realty Group
The Crypto Realty Group is a Los Angeles-based firm founded by Piper Moretti. It specializes in conducting real estate transactions with cryptocurrency and Piper is the only REALTORâ in California that has completed 5 bitcoin transactions to date. She is also a proud adviser to the Los Angeles Blockchain Lab, CROP.io, and is a member of the Los Angeles Chapter of the International Blockchain Real Estate Association. She was recently ranked #1 in Entrepreneur Magazine’s 8 Influential Women Making Headlines in Blockchain.
Success is something Piper Moretti works at every day. She advises that to be successful, we must “do our market research and know what others in your space are up to, as well as what you bring to the table that sets you apart.” When you know this she says, “you can make a difference and have a competitive advantage.”
16. Lachlan McDonald — CEO, MOVA Project
Although MOVA CEO Lachlan McDonald was born and raised in a tiny village in Australia and was the first person in his family to graduate from college, he has developed into a personal logistics powerhouse. McDonald has led transformations of supply chains with consulting giants like BHP Billiton, Boston Consulting, McKinsey, and others, effecting efficiencies that have saved billions of dollars in mining, equipment, oil, and gas endeavors in Australia and the Asia-Pacific Region. From a small town to a global advisor, McDonald is leader we can learn quite a bit from.
“You can be as technical as you like, and have a great vision, and even have amazing technology, but at the end of the day, success really boils down to people,” says McDonald. “Does your product help the guy in the warehouse at 3:00 AM? Do you lead by example? Our approach to the MOVA – and the market,” he asserts, “is to lead and not follow.” That is how you achieve success at the highest levels.
17. Erin Dimond, 30 — Owner, Erin Dimond Fitness
Dimond makes the list as one of the industry leaders as an Online Fitness Coach. She’s grown her personal brand and built her community organically on Instagram erindimondfitness by being a transparent light in the fitness industry. “In an industry so full of quick fix gimmicks and extreme weight loss promises I teach people how to use the most important tool that they have in order to get fit, their mind.”
Dimond has recently started to make a name for herself as a business coach and mentor to other Online Fitness Coaches. “Today through effective social media marketing and a little bit of sales knowledge, attracting and converting online clients as a personal trainer is simple. Just by following several easy steps anyone can grow a 6 figure business within a few months. My mentorship program not only teaches those steps but it teaches fitness and nutrition principles not covered in many certification programs to ensure that more excellent coaches and being put out into the world.”
Starting out as a young entrepreneur, with his first door to door lawn care business at the young age of 12, Siegel has always been motivated by the hustle and knows the effort it takes to turn what starts out as a small idea.. into a large successful business. His two latest ventures include CEO of both AlphaAccessories.co & Benjie.co.
With social media platforms quickly changing and evolving, Siegel made it a priority to stay ahead of the curve in using marketing strategies that continue to work. Utilizing all social media platforms, he has mastered the techniques of turning website traffic into paying customers which has allowed him to nearly cross the eight figure milestone.
When asked what his secret is to his online success, he explained, "It is absolutely necessary to build a following, and stay true and consistent to your followers. Once you do that and you have a loyal audience... they will reward you with buying your products and services."
19. Michael Robison, 38 — CEO, D5 Group
Robison earned a spot on the list because of his passion and results for building healthy leaders and teams. As CEO of Strategic Business Consultancy based out of Nashville, Tennessee, Robison works with clients ranging from startup to Fortune 100 helping them find healthier, more focused strategies for growth.
The D5 Strategy Workshop and Resources have helped to transform some of the world’s most renown brands, leaders and influencers. D5 helps to create clarity in the vision and purpose of its clients. By helping improving companies' internal and external communications, empowering better decisions, creating alignment within teams and fortifying corporate culture results in healthier leadership, revenue growth and execution for scaling products new and old. In addition, Robison focuses intently in helping leaders overcome the fear, guilt or shame of failures in their leadership journey.
"Building a healthy and successful businesses, startups and teams requires alignment and clarity in communication. If you, your team or those you influence do not speak the same language, you will never experience the growth and fulfillment of your dreams."
20. Austin Verschoore, 23 — CEO, Verschoice, LLC
Verschoore has claimed a spot in Entrepreneur due to his success with the dropshipping and ecommerce business model. At 23 years old Verschoore is a college drop out who knew the typical 9 to 5 lifestyle wasn’t for him. The success wasn’t always there, but through perseverance and grit Verschoore has been able to acquire partners Kijana Bell and Nathan Storey and now reel in anywhere from 50-200k/mo in revenue. This is due to the power of social media platforms, but Facebook being the key factor in allowing Verschoore to put the most probable candidates of purchasing his product on his site.
For now Verschoore only operates a few websites, but plans to release a course this upcoming summer with his partners. The whole objective behind this is to show others how to take advantage of this digital gold rush we are currently experiencing. There is just so much online buying going on that anybody can make it happen with the proper teachings and methods, so if you’d like to learn from Verschoore you can follow him @theofficialav7. Aside from ecommerce Verschoore studies and invests in cryptocurrencies.
21. Andy Dane Carter earned a spot on the list because of his passion for help millennials change their mindset on how to Live for Free through real estate investing. As CEO of Andy Dane Carter Realty Inc. a real estate investing and holding company. As well as his full service Digital agency Andy Dane media out of Long Beach, CA
Andy is very passionate about his message to millennials about how to Live for Free through real estate. He suggests not buying a home as a first property but a duplex, triplex or fourplex. To support his mission Andy wrote a book that was mentioned on Forbes, Huffington Post and Inc. named 100 Doors, which he gives away for free on his site andydanecarter.com as a resource to learn the blueprint of how, where, and why? What makes Andy Dane Carter an expert and a great mentor for millennials is his track record of success in just 6 years of him taking his company from zero to 6 million and them form 6 million to 46 million and growing. His show UNLOCKNOW with Andy Dane Carter of Youtube was picked up by a streaming company to be shown on Apple Tv,AmazonFire Stick, and Roku etc.
"First and foremost, I am passionate about people and real estate. I am committed to helping people thrive in their businesses and investment power so they can be in alignment with their SUCCESS mindset. My UNLOCK NOW program is a platform to support your MINDSET with knowledge that gains leverage in your true potential for investing in your legacy.
22. Martha Hamilton — LNKBOX
“2018 is proving to be a great year for business leadership. Telsa is in the midst of times that need leadership, so is Amazon, Facebook is experiencing trying times.
I am also excited to see female leaders continue to stand and take charge. As a female co-founder myself, I am very cognizant of this. I am the co-founder of an experiential marketing platform LNKBOX, we service large venues and events with our product (it’s a turnkey platform that provides branded pedicabs to venues and events for high touch marketing/advertising), and our industry is moving at light speed!
The zeitgeist in business today is diversity, speed, innovation, and collaboration. No matter what you are working on, now is the best time because most potential partners have embraced the same business climate. With our business we are presenting a totally new concept to venue managers and event producers, and an important part of our model is to provide a totally new line of revenue for our partners. I believe it will be these forward leaning products and business models that drive a new wave of commerce. Exciting stuff.”
23. Denis Globa — CEO & Co-Founder, TradingView
"Our goal at TradingView is to make people's lives simpler. Things have to just work, and the user shouldn't have to think about any technical apsects. We use the latest tech and internal processes to constantly improve and provide the best possible user experience. Innovation is a key part of our culture and it's a process that never stops."