"Leadership is For Everyone" with author, Vinay Nadig

Vinay Nadig developed the principles and systems around Leadership IS for Everyone – a set of daily leadership behaviors during his 20+ years as a consultant, entrepreneur and a business unit head.  Vinay started in the manufacturing sector.  As a process and sales engineer he built a solid foundation of systems thinking. Adding an MBA from Texas A&M to his qualifications, Vinay has since concentrated on the systems and processes that “get things done.”  Along the way, he has consulted with several large Fortune 500 organizations in the healthcare, retail, technology and airline sectors and delivered multi-million dollar initiatives.  He has also worked for mid-size global consulting organizations, helping them launch strategic business units.<

In all of his experience, Vinay has focused on the set of behaviors within oneself – that can actually result in enabling others to succeed – a system that he lays out in great detail in this book.

Vinay emigrated from India to the USA, on Jan 1st 1990.  He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Mysore, India and an MBA from Texas A & M University, Texas, USA.  Vinay lives with his wife and two children in the Dallas, TX area.

Siamak Farah, CEO of InfoStreet, makers of SkyDesktop, a free Cloud-based desktop

Siamak Farah is the CEO of InfoStreet.  InfoStreet is a Cloud app provider that offers SkyDesktop, a free patent-pending Cloud Desktop; SkyAppMarket, an app marketplace where a business can choose from the best Cloud apps in the market; and SkySingleSignOn, a federated login solution and network management tool. Together they provide all the files and applications a company needs to run their business in the Cloud. Try SkyDesktop and SkyAppMarket by visiting https://www.skydesktop.com or by calling 1-866-956-5051 for more information.

It’s about Crowdsourcing… it will change your life.

We live in very exciting times. Wave after wave of technological innovations are changing our lives on a daily basis. Often, we don’t notice the change until we are swept up by it. For instance, who amongst us would have said that they would use a tablet even as recent as 10 years ago? Yet today, there are many students that consider a tablet more of a necessary education tool than notebooks. Or, go back a few more years and ask who would have thought they would send money or letters via a computer vs. U.S. Mail. There are many more examples, much too many for the scope of this article; suffice to say that how we live, what we do, and how we do it, has changed more in the past two decades than it had in the previous two millennia.

When it comes to technology, some ideas take years to develop, and some sprout up seemingly overnight. The truth of the matter is that there is a method to the madness. New ideas are almost never instant overnight mass sensations. Rather, they often get introduced to the market, taken up by early adopters, and get written off as a fad by status quo protectors. If they survive, they gain momentum and get perfected, manifest themselves as new morphs that appeal to the masses, and finally become a paradigm shift – and then the world is changed forever.

The key is the “paradigm shift” status. That’s when your life will change.

Paradigm shifts are like earth’s tectonic plates. Once they shift, the landscape is changed forever, or at least till the next paradigm shift.

A little trip down memory lane reveals a few pivotal moves in technology that makes a few years ago look oh so pre-historic:

·       In the early 1980’s, computing power, which was previously a lock of the mainframes and only available to large corporations, became a tool for the masses. The era of “Personal Computing” was born. In a few years, every business, every school, every house, and every person had a computer that they could call his or her own. The world would never be the same, as our computing paradigm had shifted.

·       While born decades ago, it wasn’t till the early 90’s that the Internet became a paradigm shift. By connecting computers to the network and to one another, the Internet democratized the flow information. It changed how we find information and share it with others. Mail and fax have steadily declined in usage, as lightning-fast delivery became available to everyone.  Instant availability of information has also changed what we learn. The same way that the advent of the personal portable calculator obsoleted the need for engineers to spend hours manually calculating square-roots, tangents, etc., the availability of information has shifted our focus from pursuing deep knowledge of a subject to understanding how to interpret and use the results.

·       While the Internet connected us together, changed the delivery mechanism and our information flow, it would take another paradigm shift to change how we work. Enter the cloud. The cloud enables people to work from anywhere, at any time, and using any device. It has shifted both the efficiency and the economics paradigms. Similar to what leasing did for car sales, enabling people with smaller budgets to afford more expensive cars, the cloud brings solutions that were once reserved for large companies to small businesses. There are no upfront costs, companies pay as they go, and can scale up or downsize as needed. On the efficiency side, people can work from anywhere and on their own devices, something that was impossible only a few years ago. Professionals had to live where their jobs were and only use company-sanctioned equipment.  Since cloud apps run in a browser, the device operating system became irrelevant, and more and more companies have adopted Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and telecommuting, and thereby realizing improvements in employee satisfaction and productivity.

So what is the next paradigm shift?

·       PCs changed what we work on.

·       Internet changed where we get our information.

·       The cloud changed how we work.

·       And crowdsourcing will change whom we work with.

Crowdsourcing is the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.

One would think that working with total strangers could never have become mainstream. However, similar to the other paradigm shifts, crowdsourcing is nothing new, and has been gaining momentum. Although the term was coined in 2005, we have seen forms of crowdsourcing for years.  Many familiar names, from the Oxford English Dictionay to Madonna have been beneficiaries of crowdsourcing.

Some tasks are simply too large for one person or one company. In February 2007, when Jim Gray, renowned computer scientist, was lost at sea, thousands of satellite images were collected. It was impossible to review them all looking for a tiny capsized boat. The images were then posted to the Amazon Mechanical Turk, where an army of volunteers each looked at a few pictures in an attempt to find Jim’s boat. While the exercise was fruitless, it was a clear demonstration of the awesome power of the masses.

Whether it is a crowdsourcing competition like Madonna’s music video or a crowdfunding effort, funding a project by a large number of people each providing a small amount of funds, the major benefit is an inherent “vote” and support.  Prior to these series of paradigm shifts, if one had an idea, they would have to present to a number of people to find the right investor who would believe in their vision.  Not a small feat, as often visionaries are not great at presenting business cases, and investors are not great at seeing the vision, at least not without the vision being dwarfed by all the pitfalls.

With crowdfunding, you not only receive the funding, but also the vote of confidence and a built-in market.  When Dan Shapiro[6] wanted to build a board game for his four-year old twins, he turned to Kickstarter.com. With the goal of $25,000, he wanted to build a board game called Robot Turtles for 3-8 year old children, which in the process of playing would teach them the fundamentals of programming. Well, 13,765 people agreed with him that his idea is worth building and he has a whopping $631,230 in pledges.

As a small business owner, can you afford that giant marketing effort to see if an idea of yours is viable? Why pursue an expensive focus group, settling for a few people to validate your vision with the market? With crowdsourcing, you can get an army of volunteers willing to give you their wisdom, dollars, support, vote, or any combination thereof.

With a number of crowdsourcing variations, such as crowdvoting, crowdsearching and crowdfunding, we are just at the tip of the iceberg. Our lives are about to change – and do so for the better. History says so.

 

Robert Bielski, Founder and Chairman of Manhattan Commercial Realty

Robert Bielsky holds a national reputation as a leader in the commercial real estate industry. His market expertise, creative deal making skills, and keen knowledge of the art of negotiation have maintained his position at the forefront of the industry.

As the founder and Chairman of Manhattan Commercial Realty he leads one of the most powerful negotiating teams in NYC. With his leadership mCr has maintained a strict dedication to tenant representation, and successfully negotiated over $1 billion in real estate transactions since its inception in 1982.

Further, Mr. Bielsky has been a keynote speaker on a multitude of real estate panels and has recently retired as an NCAA Football Referee after a long and distinguished career.

He also is the son of the legendary partisan leader Tuvia Bielski, who led the largest armed rescue of Jews by Jews in WW2. His actions were depicted in the movie Defiance (2009), starring Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber and Jaime Bell.

Johnny Laurent, Vice President and General Manager for Sage North America

Johnny Laurent is a vice president and general manager for Sage North America, part of Sage Group PLC, the world’s leading vendor of business application software for small and midsized enterprises. Mr. Laurent is responsible for the strategic direction of the Sage Employer Solutions business unit, which includes the market-leading Sage Abra HRMS (human resources management system) brand.

Mr. Laurent has more than 20 years of experience in the software and hardware industry, and joined Sage in 2005. He has been responsible for customer support, learning services, and professional services, previously acting as vice president of customer support and services for employer solutions. Prior to joining Sage, Mr. Laurent owned and operated an independent customer support consultancy and served in various management and consulting roles for Service Management International, Software AG and USRobotics. He holds a bachelor of science in computer science from Louisiana State University.

"How To Be Like Walt", with Co-Author Pat Williams

“Think beyond your lifetime, if you want to do something truly great.  Make a fifty-year master plan. A fifty-year master plan will change how you look at the opportunities in the present.” – Walt Disney

“Fantasy, if it’s really convincing, can’t become dated, for the simple reason that it represents a flight into a dimension that lies beyond the reaches of time.” – Walt Disney

Pat Williams is a basketball Hall-of-Famer, currently serving as co-founder and senior vice president of the NBA’s Orlando Magic.

As one of America’s top motivational speakers, he has addressed thousands of executives in organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies and national associations to universities and nonprofits.  Clients include AllState, American Express, Cisco, Coca-Cola, Disney, Honeywell, IBM, ING, Lockheed Martin, Nike, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Tyson Foods to name a few. 

Pat is also the author of over 80 books, his most recent title being-

THE DIFFERENCE YOU MAKE:

CHANGING YOUR WORLD THROUGH THE IMPACT OF YOUR INFLUENCE.

Since 1968, Pat has been in the NBA as general manager for teams in Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia—including the 1983 World Champion 76ers—and now the Orlando Magic, which he co-founded in 1987 and helped lead to the NBA finals in 1995 and 2009. In 1996, Pat was named as one of the 50 most influential people in NBA history by Beckett’s, a national publication. In 2012, Pat received the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Pat has been an integral part of NBA history, including bringing the NBA to Orlando.  He has traded Pete Maravich as well as traded for Julius Erving, Moses Malone, and Penny Hardaway. He has won four NBA draft lotteries, including back-to-back winners in 1992 and 1993. He also drafted Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney and Darryl Dawkins.  He signed Billy Cunningham, Chuck Daly, and Matt Guokas to their first professional coaching contracts. Nineteen of his former players have become NBA head coaches, nine have become college head coaches while seven have become assistant NBA coaches.

Additionally, Pat served for seven years in the United States Army, spent seven years in the Philadelphia Phillies organization—two as a minor league catcher and five in the front office—and has also spent three years in the Minnesota Twins organization.

Pat and his wife, Ruth, are the parents of 19 children, including 14 adopted from four nations, ranging in age from 26 to 40. For one year, 16 of his children were all teenagers at the same time. Currently, Pat has 12 grandchildren and counting…with twins due in July. Pat and his family have been featured in Sports Illustrated, Readers Digest, Good Housekeeping, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Focus on the Family as well as all of the major network and cable television news channels.

Pat was diagnosed in February of 2011 with Multiple Myeloma.  After several rounds of chemo treatments, Pat received a bone marrow transplant where the doctors injected him with almost 5 million of his own stem cells.  Pat’s recovery from the stem cell transplant has been remarkable and the doctors are extremely pleased.  While Multiple Myeloma is incurable the goal is to get the cancer into remission (Pat’s personal slogan has been “The Mission is Remission”); Pat’s doctors have told him that they are unable to detect any myeloma in his body.  Pat has accepted positions on several boards for different cancer groups, including an appointment on the Board of Directors for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Pat spends many hours each week responding to emails and phone calls of others affected by cancer, offering hope and words of encouragement.

Pat teaches an adult Sunday school class at First Baptist Church of Orlando and hosts three weekly radio shows. In the last 15 years, he has completed 58 marathons—most recently, the 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon—and also climbed Mt. Rainier. He is a weightlifter, Civil War buff and serious baseball fan. Every winter he plays in Major League Fantasy Camps and has caught Hall of Famers Bob Feller, Bob Gibson, Fergie Jenkins, Rollie Fingers, Gaylord Perry, Phil Niekro, Tom Seaver and Goose Gossage.

Pat was raised in Wilmington, Delaware, earned his bachelor’s degree at Wake Forest University, and his master’s degree at Indiana University. He is a member of the Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame after catching for the Deacon baseball team, including the 1962 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship team. He is also a member of six other hall of fames around the country.

Bob Sullivan – Senior Vice President, Arpin Group Corporate Division

Bob has over 20 years’ experience in the moving industry, including multiple domestic and overseas assignments.

Bob’s primary responsibility focuses on the business development and overall strategies of the Arpin Group.

He represents Arpin at most foreign and domestic transportation-related organizations such as FIDI, LACMA, IAM, IATA, ERC, etc.

Bob received his B.S. in Business Administration from Providence College and his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the F.W. Olin School of Management at Babson College.

Jane Sunley, CEO of Purple Cubed, Author of "It’s Never OK to Kiss the Interviewer"

Jane Sunley is CEO of Purple Cubed, experts in improving people engagement, company performance and profit. Jane is also the current president of HR in Hospitality, panel member of the Economist Intelligence Unit, a fellow of the Institute of Hospitality, a member of The Talent Foundation and a visiting fellow at both Oxford Brookes and Sheffield Hallam Universities.

Jane Sunley empowers individuals by changing attitudes and behaviour towards work; while they are travelling along the very demanding ’career superhighway’.  Jane Sunley is a no-nonsense people and talent specialist,author of ‘Purple your People: the secrets to inspired, happy, more productive people’’, Founder and CEO of Purple Cubed, experts in helping organisations improve people engagement, company performance and profitability; ensuring the business becomes a great place to work. Below are just some of the fantastic reviews that ’It’s never OK to Kiss the Interviewer’ is receiving in advance of its launch:

“If you are at a career crossroads, just starting out, or simply want to set yourself a new professional challenge, this is the book for you.  An insightful look at what it means to be fulfilled by work, how to achieve your dreams – and a kick up the backside for anyone who needs one. Easy to read, jargon-free and packed with interesting tales, it’s a great way to get motivated when you’re in a rut.”

Randip Singh of US Global Mail: The Expat Mail-Forwarding Solution

After leaving his corporate job as a CFO,Randip Singh learned firsthand that the process of buying an existing small business can often be as gut-wrenching as starting a new one from scratch. He also learned the events that follow when new leadership takes over can be a critical lesson in self-control.

Motivated by the success his wife experienced with the purchase of a cloth baby diaper manufacturing business, Singh decided a few years ago that he was ready to leave the corporate world and give entrepreneurism a try. For nearly a year, he searched for available businesses using the Internet and small business brokers. During one of his Internet searches, he stumbled across a retail global mail business that had started dabbling in mail-forwarding services for expats living abroad. Singh was dazzled by the possibilities for growth.

But after purchasing U.S. Global Mail — which has a retail location, Memorial Postal Center, that had served as the primary business since opening in 1998 — Singh did something that not many new entrepreneurs have the discipline to do: He sat and watched, and waited.

“I was able to rein myself in right away,” he said. “For the first month, I moved my desk onto the work floor and just sat there watching the packaging and shipping. I wanted to first understand exactly how everything works.”

Singh, who has a degree in civil engineering and also holds an MBA, said holding back on making changes was the most difficult part of the entire process, especially since he came to the table with several ideas already floating in his head. Singh even negotiated a deal for the former owner to stay on board for the first 30 days to help him learn the operations.

“When you come in with an MBA and a corporate background, you want to implement changes and do some big things right away,” Singh said. “But it is a bad idea to make any changes at all during the first six to eight months, and I knew that.”

Although he did implement some major adjustments, he did so gradually, eventually transitioning the single-location postal center into a multifaceted company that caters to expats living abroad by offering personalized mail and package forwarding, virtual mailboxes, international shopping and shipping, customized mail management solutions for corporations and relocation companies, and small business warehousing and mailing solutions.

And Singh’s discipline paid off.

Although he has added a few employees since that time, all of the employees with U.S. Global Mail at the time of Singh’s purchase in 2009 are still with the company today, each of them sticking through the transition to an emphasis on mail-forwarding and services for expats, with the neighborhood postal center serving as a supplemental business.

“That mail-forwarding part of the business had been built a little bit, the foundation had been set, but I saw the potential for it to be so much more,” he said. “We just had to do it the right way.”

The employees also were game for the difficult transition from a manual process to a fully automated process for mail intake and forwarding.

When Singh purchased the company, employees were taking in packages for clients — which pay a flat fee for monthly mail intake services, plus additional fees if they want their packages forwarded to them overseas — and manually logging the piece and entering a description of the package and the dimensions to help clients decide if they wanted the parcel forwarded.

Singh eventually moved to an automated process that enables machines, which the company designed and built, to take and upload photos of the packages as well as to log its dimensions and label details.

This shift allowed U.S. Global Mail, which handles thousands of pieces of mail each month, to dive headfirst into growth opportunities without adding a significant number of employees.

“All of the sudden, I wasn’t worried about how we would handle the growth that might come our way,” Singh said. “We now had the technology to handle five times the volume we had been handling.”

This advancement allowed Singh to go out and start marketing the company’s mail-forwarding service to companies and individuals on a larger scale.

In 2010, he opened a warehouse to serve as the centerpiece of the operation, then got to work on marketing. In 2011, Singh’s wife, Tashi Nibber, sold her diaper business and joined U.S. Global Mail to help with marketing and business development.

Singh admits that marketing was a skill he had to learn as he went along, but he jumped in with both feet.

“Coming from the corporate world on the side of finance and operations, I had kind of thought of marketing as fluff, but now I know how central it is to the success of a company,” he said.

U.S. Global Mail has started marketing on expat websites, working with bloggers in that space and taking steps to lock in search engine optimization. The results are already showing — Singh said the company added more clients in the last four months than during all of last year. And the company’s client base has increased by 47 percent since he took over four years ago.

Revenue has followed the same upward trajectory, on track to bring in $2.6 million this year.

The company also acquired more warehouse space this quarter, almost doubling its space in preparation for future growth.

“We are in a position now where we have the capability to process 100,000 parcels per month,” Singh said. “We are ready for the next stage.”

W. Cecyl Hobbs: Senior Vice President, Marketing and Business Development, Activate Networks

W. Cecyl Hobbs, a senior executive at Activate Networks, has a track record of success in companies within industries undergoing technology-triggered transformation. At Activate, he is responsible for establishing the company’s position as a market leader in social network analytics by forming strategic partnerships and guiding the company’s marketing efforts. As interim CFO, he was also instrumental in Activate’s successful fundraising efforts during 2012. Cecyl has led and managed teams at Deloitte Consulting, IBM Life Sciences, and an early-stage consumer venture, among other roles. He holds a BS from Florida A&M University and an MBA from Harvard University. On a more personal note, Cecyl is an avid CrossFitter and percussionist.