By Brian Hansell, an EO Toronto member and president of Hansell Consulting Group Inc.
I’ve met two kinds of people in the 18 years I’ve been an EO member. Those making a mark and leaving a legacy, and those who seem to think they have to be Bill or Melinda Gates to make a lasting impact. This is not true. In my experience, establishing a foundation is a great way to give back!
Like Peter Thomas, EO’s Chairman Emeritus, I suffered a personal tragedy in the death of my son, Paul. Peter shared with me his own personal journey and the establishment of the Todd Thomas Foundation, an educational foundation to raise awareness about the magnitude of mental illness. And this inspired me to establish the Paul Hansell Foundation, to promote programs supporting the mental and emotional wellbeing of youths.
By Judy Gatena, an EO Los Angeles member and president and COO of REP Interactive
I was the first person in my family to drop out of high school and start a company, one that I owned and operated for nearly 30 years. So when it comes to watching a business go from birth to brick-and-mortar, I have plenty of experience in that space. When it’s your own son that’s doing all of the business building, however … well, that’s a little different. That’s when a mother’s patience is really put to the test. Read more
By Steve Gatena, an EO Los Angeles member and founder and CEO of REP Interactive
When most people think of a “family business,” they likely think of a company that’s been handed down the family chain from generation to generation. I took a different approach. When I was 22, I launched REP Interactive, a global video and broadcast media production company. Bucking the trend, I chose to hire friends and family to help me realize my vision, knowing full well that running and maintaining a business was going to be a challenge. Read more
By Heather Baker, an EO UK-London member, and founder and CEO of TopLine Communications, a digital communications consultancy
An article I read recently got me thinking: How many of the entrepreneurs I know have earned a university degree? Two thirds? Half? A better question is: How many of the graduates among them, if they could go back, would enroll all over again for those years of cloistered (or not so cloistered) study?
If my experience is anything to go by, I think the vote would be split. I did go to university, and looking back it was in parts very useful, in parts not at all. And I know several entrepreneurs who boast great business talent having never seen the inside of a lecture theatre. Which isn’t to say that higher education will not equip you for a career as an entrepreneur; I believe it can. However, I would stop short of calling it a necessary condition of business success. Read more
By Ishwar Chugani, an EO U.A.E. member and managing director of Giordano
When I was in university, I wanted to be different. So, I did something unexpected. Right after graduation, in 1979, I left my home in the Philippines and moved to Dubai. Back then, it created quite a stir, as my family has its own business and I was expected to take the helm. But that was not what I wanted to do.
So, I set off on a journey to an unchartered territory. I joined a Dubai-based group of companies, where I was tasked to open and operate the first family entertainment center in Dubai. Failure was not an option, as I could not turn back and go home empty-handed. I had to succeed. But how? Read more