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The Executive Aspect Podcast
35 minutes | Sep 15, 2020
Ep. 26 – Beto Altamirano: Irys – Why it is time to dive into the cold water of entrepreneurship.
Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Beto worked with the US Senate foreign relations committee in social media engagement where he developed an interest in understanding the role technology plays in enabling citizens to interact with their government officials. This interest grew as he went on to work in the White House as well as in his role as public involvement specialist with the Alamo Metropolitan Planning Organization. Eventually, he realized that the entrepreneurial path might allow him to better enable citizens to enact real change in their communities and in 2017 he cofounded CityFlag with two colleagues also transitioning from corporate roles. In this episode, we discuss diving into entrepreneurship head first, the value of humility, and the importance of the right team.
33 minutes | Aug 15, 2020
Ep. 25 – Martha Hernandez: MadeBOS – How your nine-to-five may reveal the problem you will solve as an entrepreneur.
0:21 - We begin by discussing Martha’s work before her entrepreneurial pursuits. Having worked for both for and not for profit companies in sales, corporate training, and talent management and acquisition, Martha believes that her diverse array of previous experiences prepared her significantly for the road ahead. This is also where she perfected her hustle. As a Latina and also usually the youngest on management teams, Martha had to work extra hard to have her ideas heard. 1:54 - We discuss Martha’s background in recruiting, how she got into it, and how it helps her today. After College, Martha applied to and was accepted in the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs. During these nine months, she ran the gamut with different organizations and learned from a number of fast paced experiences. After this program, Martha managed to land a job with Coro, where she managed to develop their national comprehensive strategic recruitment plan. It was at Coro that she began her sales journey, sometimes selling literally door to door. 6:48 - The decision to move from a stable full time job to the unsteady life of an entrepreneur looks different for everyone. We discuss what led Martha to that decision and what her eventual exit from corporate America looked like. In 2010, Martha realized there needed to be a solution to the problems she had seen over and over in HR. She believed recruiting needed to continue beyond just the initial hiring process and instead help employees move up in the company. After experiencing this same issue multiple times as she moved from company to company, Martha realized how big the problems truly were. She also began to believe that maybe she could do something about it. 10:00 - Here, we get down to business in talking about what MadeBOS is, what they do, and how they do it. Martha begins by explaining how MadeBOS has expanded from its original model as an AI driven career platform that offers employees a better view of upward mobility in their organization. They began with the app, and now they offer services that support that app. Employees take assessments through the app that helps the app guide them towards possible career maps fit with data and recommendations. 14:40 - While some things seemed to fall into place for Martha on her career path, she worked extremely hard to have those pieces fit. However, you can work tirelessly and things still might go wrong. As she moved from the 9-5 world to entrepreneurship, she began running into obstacles that were entirely out of her control. We discuss how Martha was able to turn setbacks into advantages while still maintaining her own personal relationships and integrity 18:39 - MadeBOS works with their customers to understand how their app and services can better help the businesses and employees they serve. We take some time to discuss the consulting work Martha has been doing with her customers. 20:40 - Martha’s biggest advice for you? Prepare. She expands on that here by recounting her own past experiences. Her naivety helped her push forward, but it also made it harder for her to pass hurdles that might have been easier for her to get over had she prepared for them. Martha encourages entrepreneurs to always consider “What is this going to cost you?” 23:00 - What is the difference between expectations vs. reality with entrepreneurship? The fear, the reality of it. Helping means potentially making mistakes and becoming someone’s enemy. Competition can be scary and dangerous. It’s not a game. 25:18 - Martha knows she was naive at the start of her journey, but she isn’t quite convinced she’d change that. However, if she could go back and give her younger self advice, it would be to recognize how the market was not yet ready for her idea. We spend time discussing what she means by this and why it would have helped to understand it sooner. 25:53 - We discuss how entrepreneurship is not ...
31 minutes | Jul 31, 2020
Ep. 24 – Izzy Jackson: Dwell City – Embracing the entrepreneurship marathon.
Izzy began her professional career working in health care, but through an odd twist of fate found herself becoming more and more involved in real estate. When she could no longer ignore the larger problems faced by the landlords and tenants she came in contact with, Izzy took a big leap and left her full time day job. With help from personal mentor and founder of Whose Your Landlord, Ofo Ezeugwu, Izzy gained the marketplace knowledge she needed to lay a strong foundation for her new business. In this episode, we discuss Izzy’s own history with housing insecurity, the power of personal stories, and the pros and cons of entrepreneurial autonomy.
31 minutes | Jul 16, 2020
Ep. 23 – Tom Burden: Grypmat – From garage founder to 8-Figure business owner.
As a lifelong innovator, coming up with ideas for products has always been second nature to him. However, Tom knew little about taking those inventions to market and actually selling them. Through the process of becoming an entrepreneur, Tom taught himself how to create a business from the ground up. After years of trial and error, Tom landed himself and his product a successful appearance on Shark Tank. From here, Grypmat, a product designed to help mechanics keep track of their tools while working, took off! In this episode, we discuss best practices for building a business as a “garage founder”, the difference between being an inventor and someone who simply has a good idea, and how to deal with rejection when selling your new product.
31 minutes | Jun 30, 2020
Ep. 22 – Alejandra & Mabel Aguirre: Cadena Collective – How to build a business around elevating other entrepreneurs.
Mabel and Alejandra Aguirre are sisters and the co-founders of Cadena Collective, an ecommerce platform that empowers women of color to sell their artisanal products ranging from jewelry to clothing and even food and beverage. After spending ten years in the US Air Force, Mabel was looking for a way to help improve the lives of others, especially people with backgrounds similar to her own. Alejandra, who had spent the last few years doing consulting and fundraising work in the DC metro area, had a skill set that matched her sister’s perfectly. During a trip back to their home country of Mexico, the sisters encountered a family-friend with an incredible line of hand-crafted artisanal products and saw an opportunity to help their friend make those products available to the world. Thus, Cadena Collective began. In this episode, we discuss the importance of understanding and utilizing your transferable skills when starting a business, fostering empathetic and transparent partnerships, and how to create ethical, mutually-beneficial client relationships.
33 minutes | Jun 14, 2020
Ep. 21 – Komal Ahmad: Copia – Why the unreasonable entrepreneur is most likely to succeed.
Originally, Komal wanted to be a Bollywood actress. But, she decided to go with a more realistic career option: solving world hunger. While a student at UC Berkeley, Komal got involved in food recovery and began to understand the real problems behind people going hungry. After graduating with honors, Komal set off on a career path that led her to a job at Google. However, this just was not the life she had planned for herself and after leaving Google, she began work on Copia, an organization that connects nonprofits in need of food donations with businesses that would otherwise throw away their excess food. In this interview, we discuss the beauty of failure for entrepreneurs, the effects of graduating from an accelerator like Y Combinator, and the importance of understanding how seemingly impossible problems can be solved by modern technology.
22 minutes | May 31, 2020
Ep. 20 – Executive Insight Series: Vol. 1 – Mark Poderis / Dr. Deborah Osgood / Reid Moncada / Heather Mohorn.
To date we have had a number of innovative and inspiring Millennial entrepreneurs on our show, so we thought it made sense to take a brief pause from our typical long-form interview to bring you some of the top highlights from previous guests. Today, we are going to hear from four entrepreneurs from different industries who weigh in on how to determine if entrepreneurship is right for you, coming up with your initial business idea, and introducing your new product or service to the marketplace.
34 minutes | May 17, 2020
Ep. 19 – Reyna Montoya: Aliento – Why embracing your personal story can help you build a successful mission-driven organization.
00:42 - Reyna starts our conversation by detailing her move from Tijuana, Mexico to the United States at just ten years old. She explains how she suddenly saw herself between two worlds that were so different but similar at the same time. While it seemed everything she knew and loved was gone and her voice had been taken away, she found a different sort of stability in her new home. 05:06 - In 2013, less than a year after graduating college, Reyna led a team in stopping an immigration bus from deporting multiple undocumented immigrants in the middle of an act of civil disobedience. Reyna narrates this experience, how it began, and how it reflects her lifelong devotion to activism. 09:50 - Reyna gets at the root of Aliento’s creation and mission. While she hadn’t originally intended to create an organization, she realized it was necessary to give the undocumented community she wanted to serve the opportunities that they deserved. We discuss how Aliento manages to provide skills, education, and healing that empowers people to self-advocate and be the strategists for their own lives. In these ways, Reyna believes that Aliento helps paint a more accurate depiction of immigrants as real people and allows them to accurately portray their own stories. 13:41 - Aliento’s approach differs from many organizations that have similar goals. One of these differences lies in their premise that everyone lives an intersectional life. Reyna explains how they take a more academic approach to trauma recovery while also respecting the fact that everyone has complex, multifaceted identities. 15:12 - While much of the stigma surrounding mental health has been chipped away over the past decade, there is still work to be done. Reyna understands that in addition to this necessary progress, articulating one’s feelings is still extremely difficult. Reyna shares how Aliento’s approach to healing through art began and how it has evolved over time. She discusses how art is an extremely useful tool for healing, but also helps individuals in the work of reclaiming both their own agency and personal stories. 18:05 - We discuss the leadership advice Reyna has for other entrepreneurs. She shares how leading through listening, rather than being the one with the bullhorn, has gone such a long way in her experience. Furthermore, she goes in depth on the importance of team building based on diversity of thought and committing to your craft. 20:04 - Many of the people on Aliento’s team, Reyna included, are either DACA recipients or undocumented. Consequently, they must live with the stress that comes with the potential of deportation. We discuss how that affects philanthropists or investors’ decisions to support Aliento. 22:43 - Reyna details how rejection affects her, what she learns from it, and how she moves forward in spite of it. In the past, Aliento decided to pass up opportunities to receive funding because it would have required them to compromise their own values and change their mission slightly. Through accurately perceiving rejections for what they are, Reyna manages to maintain her self worth while also acknowledging that many of the rejections are wrapped up in systemic injustices. 25:36 - Aliento has an interesting structure of being part LLC, part non-profit. Reyna shares the motivation for structuring it as such and how it works out in practice. While the LLC protects their intellectual property, the non-profit houses their programming. In this way, Reyna shows how Aliento manages to protect their interests while also remaining generous to organizations interested in using her curriculum. 29:06 - Throughout Reyna’s entrepreneurial journey, she has always been surprised most by the power of relationships. We discuss how working between so many different communities and individuals, Reyna realized how interconnected business owners are. 31:03 - Ex Factor: Reyna sums up her Ex: Factor in one word: resiliency.
33 minutes | Apr 30, 2020
Ep. 18 – Lorena Tule-Romain: ImmSchools – How lived experience can spark your entrepreneurial fire.
A former undocumented immigrant herself, Lorena immigrated to the United States from Mexico when she was nine years old and quickly discovered the barriers that existed within the American educational system for undocumented individuals. After graduating from the University of Texas, Lorena spent several years working alongside K-12 educators with Teach For America and now seeks to provide undocumented students the greatest possible access to a fair education through ImmSchools. In this interview we look at how Lorena’s personal experience in the American educational system fuels her work as a social entrepreneur, what challenges still impact the undocumented K-12 student population, and why first and second generation immigrants represent an outsized number of business leaders in America.
35 minutes | Mar 31, 2020
Ep. 17 – Daniel Steinberg: PPC Alpha – Viewing entrepreneurship as a path to financial freedom.
Even before graduating from the University of California in 2013, Daniel already knew he wanted to avoid a nine-to-five job if possible. After working briefly for Cisco he went on to start his own music production company which led him to producing a wide variety of music and garnering millions of listens. However, Daniel recognized that relying on music as his primary source of income was not viable so he pivoted to founding PPC Alpha which enables Amazon sellers to maximize their product exposure and accelerate sales velocity. In this interview we discuss the potential benefit of separating what you are passionate about from your income generator, reverse engineering your business by starting with the ideal end result, and why automation can greatly improve your business operations.
30 minutes | Mar 14, 2020
Ep. 16 – Tess Hart – Triple Bottom Brewing: Why adopting Fair Chance hiring practices can help you build an all-star team.
As the name states this brewery has its own triple bottom line: beer, people and the planet. The idea for the business came after Tess and her husband Bill who is also a Co Founder visited South America and discovered the importance of breweries as integral parts of their communities and hubs of connectivity for people from all walks of life. After she graduated from Yale’s MBA program in 2017, Tess and her husband teamed up with their Head Brewer, Kyle Carney to launch a brewery of their very own. In this interview we discuss how small businesses can still make an impact at scale, the importance of becoming involved with and understanding your marketplace before launching your new venture, and how to best position yourself to establish meaningful business partnerships.
35 minutes | Feb 29, 2020
Ep. 15 – Amanda Olsen: Givzie – Creating a more sustainable future one gift at a time.
Amanda comes from an entrepreneurial family and was exposed to the ups and downs of business ownership quite early on in her life. She has worked with her father’s home repair and remodeling company for the better part of the past decade and is now ready to take the leap to running her own business. Her ah-ha moment for Givzie came when she found herself frequently buying impersonal birthday gifts for the countless parties her kids were invited to and wondered what if everyone just contributed to a single gift that this kid is really going to love? In this interview we talk about how Givzie seeks to mitigate the negative impact of the American consumerist culture, why following your intuition is the best way to navigate your entrepreneurial path, and what it means to build the plane while you’re flying it when starting a new business.
30 minutes | Feb 16, 2020
Ep. 14 – Kent Yoshimura: Neuro – How to design a product that inspires a lifestyle.
Kent and his Co Founder, Ryan Chen, have developed a winning formula for a nootropic gum that improves energy, clarity and focus. They have since gone on to sell over 8 million of pieces of gum and have been featured in Time, The New Yorker and Fast Company as well as endorsed by a number of high-performing athletes, performers, and academics. In this interview Kent shares how his eclectic mix of freelance work prior to co founding Neuro mentally prepared him for the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, what it means to create a product that inspires a lifestyle, and why his journey with Neuro has ultimately led him to realize that success in life and business is largely defined not by achievement but instead by fulfillment.
32 minutes | Jan 28, 2020
Ep. 13 – Graham McConnell: Nth Round – How taking zero credit and all the blame may be your ticket to entrepreneurial success.
After spending several years in the technology and finance sectors, Graham felt the time had arrived to go into business for himself and started Nth Round in 2018 with his dad, Chris. In this interview Graham shares how his time in the nine-to-five ultimately made him realize the problem he would eventually seek to solve with Nth Round, why the emerging trend of peer-to-peer equity platforms is more relevant than ever for entrepreneurs, and the importance of always measuring your success as a business-owner by the individual successes of your team.
28 minutes | Dec 27, 2019
Ep. 12 – Tiffany Yau: Fulphil – Why social entrepreneurship enables maximum impact.
Around the time she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Tiffany noticed something that struck her as a real problem: all of her classmates, which had spent their time as undergrads in the city of Philadelphia, were leaving to take jobs elsewhere. Rather than just accept this fact, Tiffany decided to take action and founded Fulphil which seeks to provide a groundswell of opportunity for innovative and entrepreneurial young people in the greater Philadelphia area. In this interview we dive into how Tiffany and her team have designed an entrepreneurial course which has produced some remarkable new businesses, how you can overcome of the unique challenges that come with being a young business owner, and why your journey as an entrepreneur will always be imperfect and that’s okay!
32 minutes | Dec 8, 2019
Ep. 11 – Kevin Chemidlin: Cue9 / PhillyWho – Network more effectively by taking a help-first approach.
After deciding to take fate into his own hands, Kevin quit his day job and launched two new ventures one of which, the PhillyWho podcast, ultimately led to the founding of his own podcast production company. In this interview Kevin shares how he was able to develop an exit strategy to take the leap from his day job, why networking success always comes back to how you can help others, and advice on escaping the isolation of entrepreneurship.
29 minutes | Nov 24, 2019
Ep.10 – Amanda Calvin: A. Calvin Design – How to design a brand that enables you to sell with confidence!
After spending four years working in the nine-to-five setting at a third party logistics provider, Amanda recognized that her real passion was to help small business owners showcase their business in the best way possible through graphic design. In addition to managing her own graphic design firm, Amanda teaches graphic design as an adjunct professor at her alma mater, Kent State University. Join us as we discuss why as an entrepreneur you should understand the difference between your brand and visual identity, how creating effective marketing materials with little or no budget is absolutely possible, and ways to overcome the fear of turning your hobby into a viable business or side hustle.
34 minutes | Nov 10, 2019
Ep. 9 – Greg Yeutter: Bedtime Bulb – How answering your minimum viable question will lead to your MVP.
Greg and his team have given a whole new meaning to the term “nightlight” by designing a lightbulb that is helping to solve the epidemic of poor sleep quality currently affecting 35% of American adults. In this interview Greg enlightens us on why intrapreneurship may be a great middle ground between the nine-to-five and business ownership, how being problem-focused will help you better understand the direction of your business, and his concept of MVQ which just may be the answer to your product design questions.
33 minutes | Oct 27, 2019
Ep. 8 – Heather Mohorn: Momo’s Tree House – Ways to avoid having your business run you.
Heather graduated from Yale with a degrees in economics and math around the time of the 2008 housing crisis and entered into a very unpredictable corporate climate. However, even from the beginning Heather always saw her 9-to-5 as a means to an end in positioning herself to become an entrepreneur. After witnessing her contemporaries struggle to balance their careers in finance with parenthood and life outside of the office, Heather decided it was time for her next “act” and took the plunge into business ownership! In this interview we discuss how Heather was able to create the life she wanted through founding Momo’s Tree House, why the prospect of parenthood should not stand in the way of starting the business of your dreams, and how to avoid the trap of having your business run you.
31 minutes | Oct 12, 2019
Ep. 7 – Reid Moncada: Chute Laundry – Why college may be the best time to build your entrepreneurial foundation.
Reid started his laundry pick up and delivery service out of his dorm room at Penn State University and has since expanded beyond State College into the Greater Philadelphia Area. In this interview we discuss why college may actually be the best time to start a business or side hustle, how to build a rock solid team and get buy-in to the mission and vision of your new company, and the gap that currently exists in the fashion industry which Reid and his team are relentlessly seeking to address.
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