Amy Smalarz had been in a consulting position she enjoyed for years. One day the staff was called together and told their division president had been fired. It was the nudge she needed to step out on her own. She quickly discovered she had a lot to learn. Four years later, she is a women's empowerment coach and author of “Living Intentionally: How to Bring Balance to You and Your Family.” She hosts the podcast, Living Intentionally, and is a speaker, teacher and contributor to the Huffington Post. Her core values: helping people learn to live intentionally and empowering them in their personal lives and business.
Steve Lawton, after careening headlong into a tree at 45 miles per hour and suffering a major brain injury, believes every interaction with another person is a bonus that might never have happened. He credits his positive attitude with literally saving his life. He is the author of “Head First! A Crash Course in Positivity,” and is his role at Dell, he helps co-workers learn to harness their own power of intention and positive thinking to change the direction of their lives.
Phil Potts found himself at a marriage retreat a decade ago, ranking his marriage on a 1-10 scale. When he compared his number with his wife’s, they were miles apart. He decided to set aside his career as an optometrist, fight for his marriage and help other men do likewise. Today he is a nationally certified marriage coach, the director of Renegade Gentlemen Men’s Ministry, and the author of Habits of Heroic Husbands.
Megan Peterson long had a vision for a better, more client-friendly way of matching chemically dependent people with appropriate caregivers but had resisted taking it to the marketplace. Finally her husband gave her the nudge she needed to put her concept—and herself—to the test. After working in the addiction field for more than 15 years as a counselor and pharmaceutical representative, she took action and started 2nd Chance Counseling Service. Her passion is to help patients who need that second, third and tenth chance.
Moustafa Hamwi knew his fast-lane, materially successful life was leaving him empty. He went to India, searching for his passion and purpose in life. When a swami asked him what he was thirsty for, he realized he did not have a clue. “If you do not know what you are thirsty for, you cannot quench your thirst,” the swami said. An award-winning author and speaker today, he is one of the world’s leading experts on the topic of passion and is often called, “The Passion Guy.”
VICTORIA PYNCHON, After laboring for 25 years in the field of high-stakes business litigation, took a mediation course that changed her business and her life. Nearly a decade after receiving her degree in conflict resolution, Victoria has built a prosperous business called She Negotiates. She provides consulting and training and, importantly, is helping women close their own personal gender wage gap. “If you haven’t negotiated an increase that’s more than 2% or 3%, then you’re being underpaid. “If you are a high-performing employee and you are being undercompensated, then do something about it.”
Maryam Webster was coming into her own. At 28, with grad school behind her, a promising career in psychology and marketing lay ahead. Then, a drunk driver on a London street turned her into a paraplegic. Doctors told her she would never walk again. She regained her mobility in nine years and turned a 30-year career into a joyous new business. “Every Woman Changes” empowers mission-driven women entrepreneurs with a healing and helping focus to "Be the Change" they want to see in the world by permanently transforming inner limitations, and creating profitable movements for social good.
Jay Block’s credentials include not knowing what he wanted to be when he grew up and being fired by his best friend at age 39. Soon after this humiliating event, he began working harder on himself than anything else. And it was this single transformation that would forever change his life and his career. Today, Jay is recognized as America’s #1 motivational career and rapid employment expert. He is a best-selling McGraw-Hill author of 12 titles, including 5 Steps to Rapid Employment, and has helped tens of thousands of people achieve workplace success and fulfillment over the past 26 years.
Lin Eleoff is an internet business lawyer who shows women how to turn a coaching practice into a business that not only makes them money but makes them happy. And it starts when they finally “woman up.” Lin calls starting your own business an AFGO, another freaking growth opportunity, “because it throws everything at us. The question is, are we up for that challenge? I tell my coaching clients: this isn't just a plaything. If you are serious about this, you are going to have to ‘woman up.’ That means becoming a businesswoman as well as being a coach.”
Carolin Soldo knew she had hit a tipping point. “I looked in the mirror and did not recognize myself! I didn’t feel like a woman anymore and I just wanted to have myself back again. As with everything else in my life, I knew I had to do this all or nothing.” She is the founder of Brand Your Passions®, From Passion to Profits®, and The Powerhouse Coach®. She specializes in helping passion-driven women bring their skills to the world and launch thriving online coaching businesses with international reach, make an impact, and create free and abundant lives.
Mark Podolsky ventured out of his native Midwest and took a chance on a new landscape he loved: Scottsdale, Arizona. His new investment banking job paid him well, but he hated everything else about it. In fact, Mark says, “It was hurting my soul.” So, now that he knew what he didn’t want, what would he do next? Now he is known as the Land Geek, and is widely considered the foremost authority on buying and selling raw, undeveloped land within the United States. Actively investing in real estate and raw land since 2001, he has completed over 5,000 unique transactions.
Steve Lawton says you don’t have to ski into a tree at 45 mph to learn how to grow through a crisis. After his near-death experience, he views each day of life as a bonus. Key to his recovery is his unrelentingly positive attitude, and 8 proven practices. He shares insights into neuroplasticity and our ability to shape the patterns of our brains through our consistently practiced attitudes. He’s the author of "Head First: A Crash Course in Positivity," a story about his attitude that literally saved his life
Anna Cragin was halfway to her Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience, with visions of pursuing two great loves—teaching and figuring things out. Then, reality set in. Far too many graduate students were chasing far too few jobs. Anna faced the pivot point of her life. Now, as the Productivity Advisor at Freeficiency, she is teaching online entrepreneurs how to improve mindset, reduce anxiety, and design their ideal life through effective time management. She applies her research to design ways to work with and around our brains to reach our goals in business and in life.
Jake Ballentine was on academic suspension at the end of his first semester at college. He was tempted to say, “I didn’t really care about college anyway!” Self-consciousness about his dyslexia, he believed he was only good at sports and music. Then, on a mission to the Pacific Northwest, his outlook brightened, and he said to himself, “Hey, I can really DO this!” His life was about to be transformed. Today he is an award-winning motivational speaker, especially with high school students, a musician, the author of "Your Number One Goal," and a contributing author in Jack Canfield's "Living the Success Principles."
Dr. David Almeida’s best-selling book, “Decision Procrastinations: Seven Antidotes to Decision Procrastination,” blends the spheres of medicine, science, business and leadership to present new concepts and strategies for successful decision making. “It's a hybridization of medical, surgical and business techniques in a framework you can apply to both professional and personal decision making.” Today, he shares his PACT plan with listeners.
Alma Abreu knew a rigid classroom learning style didn’t suit her. Her attention-deficit disorder was no help. Following her creativity and love of language and communication, she found a way to make her A.D.D. an asset. Founder of 360 Content Pro, a content marketing service specializing in Spanish language advertising, blogging and social media, she helps businesses reach new customers in Latin America and around the world. Her experience also includes project management consulting and she uses those skills to manage her team of writers for her own business.
Gary Kinder knows only a tiny percentage of writers and artists succeed. Some say it’s as low as 1%. But he’s up at 5 a.m. every day writing his screenplay, before plunging into the editing software he’s upgrading. Asked why he does it, he replies, “I’m doing what I love!” Gary writes narrative nonfiction, and is the author of three books. He has taught over 1,000 writing programs to law firms, corporations, universities, and writers conferences. He is also creator and founder of WordRake, editing software, which is used widely in law firms, government agencies, corporations and universities.
Terry Brock believes you can overcome overwhelm by using basic principles that really help overcome the sense of overwhelm. “To begin, define what’s important to you, to determine where you should focus your attention. Recognize you can’t grasp it all.” Terry works with organizations to connect with customers and build relationships using practical technology, and increase profitability. He's a member of the professional speaker Hall of Fame and is an expert on making technology practical for business.
Julian Mather was not interested in school, but that did not mean he was not willing to learn. When he got out of school, without prodding from anyone, he took himself to the library where he began a lifelong commitment to self-education and learning how to turn his obsessions into his professions. From high school failure to Army sniper to globe-trotting TV cameraman to kids’ entertainer to online entrepreneur, he really has not felt he has worked a day in his life. At age 55 he says he is just beginning to hit his straps.
Katherine Denton had reached her career goal at 25, working as an account executive at an Atlanta advertising agency. She was a respected team member with all the perks of success: an office with windows, bonuses, free parking and health insurance to name a few. But she was so miserable that she quit. Katherine turned to a temp agency and was given a one-day assignment that opened the door to her future career. Twenty-two years later, she owns My Friend, a service devoted to helping people meet their personal, professional, financial and relationship goals.
Lee Caraher is the author of “Millennials & Management” a book based on her experience of failing, then succeeding, at retaining millennials. She describes a big change in terms of the employer brand to a focus on becoming a place where great people work. Lee is the CEO of Double Forte PR & Digital Marketing and is known for her practical solutions to big problems.
Nathan Hirsch and his business partner, Connor, took a long overdue vacation, leaving their business in good hands. On Day 1, they learned they had lost a major vendor. The same day, his CPA called to tell him his identity had been stolen and a false tax return had been filed in his name. But putting his life and business back together was not going to stand in his way. He is a serial entrepreneur and expert in remote hiring and e-commerce. Now the founder and CEO of FreeeUp.com and co-founder and COO of Portlight, he started his online career on Amazon’s Marketplace.
Claudia Pennington and her husband were reflecting on their past 10 years together and realized they had been living the daily grind without goals, a budget or a plan, and a vague desire to help people. They decided to tackle some massive changes in their lives, starting with eliminating their debt. Claudia is a digital marketing consultant training side hustlers, freelancers and small business owners in the fundamentals of digital marketing and SEO.
Aaron Walker is unquestionably a veteran entrepreneur. Starting his first business at 18 and selling it to a Fortune 500 company, he started, bought and sold 12 others over the past 37 years. Committed to personal development, he has been in a weekly mastermind group for nearly two decades, with Dave Ramsey, Dan Miller, Ken Abraham and 7 other notable Nashvillians. Today, as president and founder of A View from the Top, a premier life and business coaching resource, he spends the majority of his time helping men grow in success and significance.
From an early age, Marc was good at math and chess. It was no wonder everyone told him he should be an engineer. After getting a degree in computer science, what he learned about himself on the job was he is a “geek who can speak”–an unusual combination that for 22 years let him change jobs every few year, all within the walls of his first employer. Marc’s latest endeavor “Career Pivot” uses his extensive training experience to help others—especially Baby Boomers—find careers they can grow into for the decades that lie ahead.