Category Archives: Business

Cristina Vigilante – The Road to Mastery



Cristina Vigilante is an impressive young leader who is responsible for the global sales operations for Marsh. Cristina has just accepted a new role as the Head of Sales for Asia and is relocating to Singapore in that capacity. Within her role, Cristina sets strategy and vision in terms of the planning and execution for growth. She implements client engagement strategies and enables the sales force with the tools that allow her colleagues to access the strategies and utilize them. She also sees where outpaced opportunities are for growth and how the company can go after them using analytics and insights about the business. Even with all of these responsibilities, Cristina drives to improve herself and improve the jobs and lives of those around her. Cristina uses trust to build relationships with her clients and colleagues. Trust is key to let those you work with know that you are reliable and that you will deliver good results. Cristina has found that all over the world, trust is a foundational principal based on positive predictability that is attached to your character and personal brand. Through building trust, Cristina has also found opportunities.

Another contributing factor to Cristina’s success are two principles she learned at a very young age as a musician.  For the majority of her life, while Cristina studied music she was taught discipline and rigor. She defines rigor as the willingness to take something that is difficult and complex in some way and break it down to its most functional, simplest elements. After learning and understanding those broken down elements, you need to build them back up slowly and eventually reconstruct them. This process must be done over and over again in order to create mastery. The discipline and rigor it takes to learn something new will lead to the mastery of a new skill or concept. Cristina also believes that one of the most important characteristics in a person is persistence. She notes that while you are on the road to mastery there will be speed bumps and challenges that need to be overcome. If you are of the mindset that you want to lean into the challenges and view them as opportunities to grow, you will become stronger and build confidence in yourself and your subject matter.

Driven by her need to be connected to a bigger and stronger purpose, Cristina aspires to be remembered as a great leader. She wants to be known as someone who, through her own actions and examples, influenced others around her to be the best versions of themselves. At the end of the day to fulfill Cristina personally and professionally, her goal is to inspire others to take ownership of themselves, take control of themselves and to develop them into their best selves.

Listen for more throughout the podcast on why this great leader does not acknowledge fear, how Cristina’s mentors have influenced her to think, and how she feels about having to let go of people who have been barriers to her success.

 


Michelle Sartain – Raising the Profile of Others



This podcast guest has so much wisdom to share that during the course of the discussion, Anthony even finds himself changing perspective. Michelle Sartain knows how to succeed and she uses her skills and knowledge to help others succeed as well. Throughout the podcast, Michelle gives valuable insight on a platform for a true leader.

As the US Sales Leader for Marsh, Michelle is responsible for growth, retention, innovation, client service, and guiding sales strategy across the United States. Although there are a lot of responsibilities that come with being a national sales leader, Michelle feels as though she grew into her roll and that each opportunity she had previously helped her to develop the skills for her current position. Throughout her 21 year career in the insurance industry, she faced numerous challenges. Michelle recalls one specific example of when she was taken out of a role that she thought she was doing well at. The company had decided to hire from outside the company to fill the role and only after she did some soul searching and stepped away from the challenge, that she was able to realize that her ego was really at the root of what caused her to be so shaken by the decision. Now, she looks back at that moment and is thankful because had she let that “defeat” get the best of her, she would not be where she is today.

If you ask Michelle’s children, her work day consists of a lot of meetings. However, to Michelle her work day is filled with opportunities to connect to colleagues and clients. She believes that the key function of her job is to help others do their job more effectively and loves to spend her time finding opportunities to do so. As a working mom with a demanding job, Anthony asks how she is able to balance her personal life with her work life. For Michelle, work fulfills her and she believes that she is a better mom by being a working mom. She has an amazing support system at home and realizes that tradeoffs need to be made on both professional and personal sides to find a balance. Michelle also acknowledges that there are many things that have to be prioritized and that you have to make choices in order to find the balance.

Michelle is a talented and insightful leader and often has large decisions to make. During the decision making process, she gathers information and perspective from others. She then finds a quiet space to do creative thinking and uses her knowledge and experience to come to the core of the decision she is making. Once she has come to the decision, she explains that it is important to be confident in that decision. Michelle clarifies that she is not a perfectionist and encourages others to be confident in the work that they do by doing the best work that they can and by continuously striving to learn more to become better. According to Michelle, the true definition of a leader is to find opportunity to help to raise the profile of others by giving them the opportunity to bring out the best in themselves.

Listen for more with Michelle including her thoughts on inspiration, how to be open and ready for new opportunities, and her idea of personal strategic plans that has Anthony taking coaching from Michelle.

Check out more from Anthony and Michelle in the blog they co-authored: https://marshmclennanagency.wordpress.com/2019/02/08/return-on-investment

 


Eileen Torres – Doing More with Less



As the Executive Director of BronxWorks, Eileen Torres knows how to make the most out of her resources. BronxWorks is a non-for-profit agency whose mission is to help individuals and families improve their economic and social wellbeing. The south Bronx based organization touches the lives of over 45,000 individuals and families a year. Throughout its 38 locations with the hard work and dedication of their 900 employees, the agency feeds, shelters, teaches and supports their neighbors to build a stronger community.

Executive Director is a title that Eileen earned after working for 20 years at BronxWorks. Eileen’s goal for her career was always to “do good”. After going to high school in the Bronx, she became the first person in her immediate family to go to college, and went on to law school. She announced to her family that she wanted to work in public interest, and her father tried to persuade her to become an attorney at a firm and just donate money and volunteer her time. Although she did not listen to her father’s advice, she has made him very proud through her career at BronxWorks. Starting off in an Administrative Services role, she helped the organization grow and found her work to always be changing and challenging. Her advice for young professionals is that promotions, for those who want to lead, take time and to be patient. She also advises all to work hard for what you want because the harder you work the more respect you earn.

Although her days are often long and sometimes difficult, she relies on her support system, just as her organization tries to be a support system and build support systems for those utilizing the BronxWorks services. One of Eileen and the organization’s biggest challenges comes from misunderstandings about non-for-profits. Eileen explains that the future for BronxWorks, and organizations like hers, is anxiety ridden and dependent upon government support.  In order to support the programs and services that BronxWorks provides to the community, the organization needs the capital to have the infrastructure that all other organizations also have. The funding for the organizations technology, human resources, and finances professionals is often overlooked. They partner with other organizations that can complement their services and always try to stay as true to their mission as possible. Eileen and BronxWorks have to do more with less, but walking through the BronxWorks sites inspires Eileen to keep going and gives her a sense of pride.

Eileen explains that her role is essentially to be the team leader to the organizations staff. Her team is very dedicated to the organizations mission and many being from or living in the Bronx, have a huge connection to the borough. The success of the organization also comes in part from having volunteers give their time to those who are in need. Eileen explains that throughout her career, every person who has volunteered has left saying how rewarding the volunteer experience was. Whether it was reading to kids in an afterschool program or playing pool at a senior center, volunteers leave BronxWorks programs with a sense of fulfilment and Anthony explains how helping others can really energize us. Eileen’s staff keeps her informed of events, so that she can stop in and be reminded of the good that she is working for.

Learn more about BronxWorks and how you can give back or volunteer: http://www.bronxworks.org/


Ed Danberry A Man with a Gentle Tenacity to Do Good



Ed Danberry is a former Army veteran whose never give up attitude and philanthropic outlook on business and life has positioned him into the successful leader that he is today. After a business opportunity introduced Anthony and Ed, Anthony knew that he had to have Ed on the show to discuss Ed’s path to leadership and his ability to connect with others and give back. Ed is the CEO of Group One Investments, LLC. He is also a jack of all trades when it comes to business and has experience in multiple facets including banking, finance, sales, marketing, operations and distribution management.

Throughout his life, he has come across many obstacles, some personal and some professional. At about 40 years old, Ed had to rebuild his career after he was terminated. Shortly after his firing, he found out he had cancer. After going through surgery and treatments, he had to rebuild his life. When Anthony asks how he stayed mentally tough and focused throughout that time and how he continues to do so, Ed explains that “You need to realize that you are the only person in charge of what you do. People can’t hold you back; you can hold yourself back if you put roadblocks in place, but only you can take those roadblocks down and go forward.”

Ed makes it a personal and business mission to help others and to give back. He believes he can make change and takes creative time to think about solutions and create opportunities for others. His company makes an extra effort to try to hire as many veterans as possible. The business also partakes in many philanthropic ventures and has partnerships with not-for-profit organizations. Because so many gave to him, Ed feels as though he should give back to others. He is grateful to have had so many mentors and teachers in his life that helped him become the person he is. One of his role models is Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone whose heroism inspired Ed.

Never shying away from a challenge, Ed is currently writing a new book titled ‘Profit-centered Accounting’. He advises that companies should spend less time focusing on expenses and more time focusing on revenue and where it is coming from. With each new project and endeavor Ed takes on, he uses his business strengths and skills to succeed while doing everything with kindness to help others have the opportunity to succeed as well.

 


Leaders Have Huge Shadows – Paul Marden



Two industry leaders go one on one to discuss leadership, company culture and the changes in healthcare. Anthony and Paul Marden, the CEO of UnitedHealthcare, New Jersey, give insight for young leaders and entrepreneurs that are imperative for success.

In his first question to Paul, Anthony inquiries about Paul’s earliest leadership memories. Paul recalls his early years in sports and how it took the group to come together to lock in on one goal. He remembers how being named captain meant that his teammates were always watching him and he knew he had to work hard and to do the right thing by being in the right place in the right time. In sports, he found that practice was paramount and understood what it meant to be relied upon as a leader.

From his first experiences of leadership, to now being a leader in a large corporation, Paul uses the same principles to guide his colleagues. Through one of the worst work life experiences, he was relied upon to help turn his organization around. Because he had been working hard and doing the right thing, management knew they could put their faith in him to be a part of the team to rebuild the fallen company.

Now that he spearheads the company’s efforts, he also takes a very active approach on helping to shape the culture. UnitedHealthcare’s tagline is “helping people live healthier lives” and that is what Paul strives to do every day in his work. It is engrained in the company’s culture and his goal is to continue to help improve healthcare by making it more affordable and less complicated. During “unfreezing sessions” managers are called upon to immerse themselves in the company’s culture, which includes learning and living by their values of integrity, compassion, relationships, innovations, and performance. Anthony asks Paul how values shape a team and he explains that whether they realize it or not, leaders have huge shadows. A leader will dictate how the rest of the work force will perform by both direct and indirect cultural development.

Paul encourages young leaders to ask for opinions. He explains that soliciting input from a diverse group of people empowers managers to make a better decision. He also advises to never forget the consumer. Paul emphasizes why it is so important to remember why they buy your product. A good leader is one that has integrity and can be trusted upon to deliver on what they say they will do.

Paul’s leadership is not just for his colleagues. Check out his blog, where he continues to help simplify the understanding of the healthcare system for all: http://paulmarden.blogspot.com/


A Man with a Fearless Love of Risks



Legacy. That is what Diversant CEO and founder Gene Waddy has on his mind every day. Gene has lead Diversant into becoming the largest African-American owned IT staffing and solutions firm in the US. From the inspiration of his father, to the motivation of his wife and children, Gene Waddy knows and continues to strive for excellence.

Throughout the podcast with Anthony, Gene continuously references his family and community, the two areas in which his legacy are of the upmost importance to him. Success to Gene is not measured by the typical material goods associated with wealth, but instead Gene measures success by his impact on all of those around him.

Gene’s powerful story about a moment that would seem like a setback to most, was truly the jumping off point for him to create his own destiny and in continuing the creation of his destiny, listen to his significant dreams and plans for the future


David Dean – Lifelong Servant Leader



Did we help someone today? Is what we do ever enough? Imagine running a corporate culture where answers to these questions determine success. Normally, success is measured on sales revenue, net profit margin, cost of customer acquisition and more. Of course, these metrics matter to the leadership team at Easterseals New Jersey. But for David Dean, he strives to make a difference.

While Dean’s Easterseals journey began 11 years ago, his desire to help others started much earlier. When he walked 10 blocks every day to graduate school in New York City, passing homeless people, he wondered how to put into theological training into practice.

Dean’s story does not end with today’s episode. Discover the full Easterseals story at http://www.easterseals.com/nj/


The Youngest Female Franchisor Knows No End with Hakika Dubose-Wise



We are joined with HaKika Dubose-Wise, the nation’s youngest female franchisor, HaKika, aka Kika, is the founder and CEO of Kika Stretch Studio’s. Her business began with a $500 tax return and a never before seen stretching routine creating flexibility while simultaneously reducing tension and increasing circulation. Today, Kika Stretch Studio’s has expanded to 4 locations between New Jersey and New York. She has been recognized in NJBIZ, The New York Times, US News, and more!

 Conditions were not easy and sacrifices were made, but Kika, a former professional dancer and actress, learned from her mother, a serial entrepreneur, the value of a strong work ethic. The lessons she learned and shared are proof that fear has now met its match.

Kika will be the first podcast guest returning for a follow-up spotlight with Anthony. If you have questions or comments for either Kika or Anthony, please send them in the comments box.

 Until then, check out and connect with Kika and her stretch studios:

http://• http://kikastretchstudios.com/

http://• https://www.instagram.com/kikaiam/


Innovative Disrupter – Barry Beck



Serial entrepreneur, Barry Beck, sits down with Anthony to discuss his successes and strategies as a leader and innovator. Barry, the Co-Founder and COO of Bluemercury Inc., started his first business at a young age shoveling snow in his Philadelphia neighborhood. He has an innate entrepreneurial spirit that was cultivated when his father told him that “he could be anything as long as he owns it”.

Before starting Bluemercury with his wife Marla, he had three successful previous business ventures. Bluemercury started in an online only platform and pivoted to a combination of a “clicks and bricks” business model when they felt the company was in survival mode. Bluemercury is credited with putting a dent in the cosmetic universe and disrupting mainstream retail. Macy’s has since acquired the company, and lends its resources to the innovative retailer.

Barry credits his personal board of directors – comprised of people with wisdom in different backgrounds who love him and understand him best – for challenging him to strive for more. He explains that he always had a drive to succeed and thinks his leadership and entrepreneurial qualities are a mix of both nature and nurture. During this episode of the Roots of Leadership, Barry discusses the most important characteristics of a leader, when the best business decisions are made, and also shares some advice he received from Bill Gates before starting Bluemercury.


The Power of Persistence



When he was first starting out in his career, Chris Sugden was given a piece of advice that has stuck with him. He was told to “go find work, don’t wait for work to come to you”. This advice complimented with his dad’s instructions from his youth football days to “hit or be hit” has led Chris to live and work with the consciousness that opportunities do not just show up. Now a partner and the Chair of the Investment Committee of Edison Partners, Chris seeks out opportunities to grow new ventures. The east coast-based private equity firm not only pursues partnerships with entrepreneurs, Edison Partners also thrives on developing and coaching their colleagues.

In this podcast, Chris sits down with Anthony to discuss how important mentorship and coaching is in business. Anthony poses the question that if actors, musicians, and athletes all have coaches to continuously learn and improve upon their skills, why wouldn’t there be coaches in the business world too?