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Entrepreneurs and Business Owners Point Out the Giants They Look Up To

In the world of business there is always someone to look up to. As Issac Newton wrote in his letter to Robert Hooke, “If I have seen further it is by standing on ye sholders of Giants.” If you’re not the manager of your company, it may be your boss. It might be the co-worker who discovers a new way of doing a task in your business. They might symbolize what you hope to achieve or be a source of inspiration for you. The person you look up to doesn’t even need to be in the world of business to be the sort of ‘giant’ you can admire. What field the person in fails to matter if you look up to them for the kind of person they are. Hearpreneur has asked entrepreneurs and business leaders who they lift their eyes to admire the most.

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Photo Credit: Matthew Jones

Photo Credit: Matthew Jones

My Giant is Jeff Angelini

It’s one thing to be a mentor. It’s another thing to mentor someone who you know is going to be your direct competitor! The person I look up to is Jeff Angelini. He owns another local DJ business here in Ohio. He’s been my friend and mentor for several years now. I wouldn’t have achieved a fraction of the success I have without him. What makes Jeff special is that even though our businesses are in the exact same market, he’s always been 100% open with me and really encouraged me to succeed. I owe Jeff a great deal and truly look up to him in every way.

Thanks to Matthew Jones, ShizDiz DJ

 

Photo Credit: Chris Westfall

Photo Credit: Chris Westfall

My Giant is Daniel Newman

Dan accomplished what few ever do, by becoming the leader of a 70-year-old Chicago company. What’s impressive is: he got there before his 30th birthday. Graduating college, Dan was staring at the future and wondering what was next. His girlfriend had just told him the news – he was about to be a father – and he had some life-changing decisions to make. His choices led him on a very interesting journey, including earning his MBA, starting one of the fastest-growing blogs on the internet (12most.com) and becoming a college professor (as well as a business leader). And he did it in the same economy that’s been a source of confusion and frustration for many in his generation. So, for his accomplishments, and for his story, I admire Daniel Newman.

Thanks to Chris Westfall, National Elevator Pitch Champion

Related Post: Inspiration Quotes from Entrepreneurs and Business Owners

 

Photo Credit: Jennifer Lane

Photo Credit: Jennifer Lane

My Giant is Marc J. Lane

My father, Marc J. Lane (Marc J. Lane Wealth Group), has always been someone I have looked up to not only personally but professionally. He has been a significant mentor to me. He built his business from the ground up and developed a very successful firm and prominent firm. I always admired his hard work, dedication, and successes. He works not like it’s his job, but like it’s his passion. and I have that same mentality. It puts such a smile on my face to get my clients placed in publications they have dreamed of being in, but never thought was reality. Most recently I placed one of my clients in Fast Company three times over the course of two months! As you can imagine my client was beyond happy; and I give my father all the credit. for showing me the impossible is always possible. Thank you, Dad.

Thanks to Jennifer Lane, Jennifer Lane Publicity LLC

 

Photo Credit: Nathan Kaiser

Photo Credit: Nathan Kaiser

My Giant is Manny Chou

As a small business owner, I look up to Manny Chou of Georgetown Brewing. He and his partner, Roger have created the quintessential Seattle based beer. Manny is known for going door-to-door to sell his Georgetown Beer and developing amazing relationships with everyone he has met. They are now doing 80,000 kegs of beer per year. I am trying my best to follow in his footsteps with the launch of 2bar Spirits, a Seattle based distillery.

Thanks to Nathan Kaiser, 2bar Spirits

 

Photo Credit: Fred Pieplow

Photo Credit: Fred Pieplow

My Giant is Jim Eherenberg

An early mentor to me was Jim Eherenberg, an Accounting Professor at Valparaiso University. He took an interest in me after my father passed away. He contacted my other teachers and somehow knew if I was behind in any class. He helped me get financial aid and a job when money was getting tight. He also referred me to a CPA firm in his home town when I told him I was looking for a new position, and we have lived here for over 30 years. Most of all, he taught me that helping people while you accomplish your business goals is true success.

Thanks to Fred Pieplow, Manna Management, LLC

 

Photo Credit: Kim Schaefer

Photo Credit: Kim Schaefer

My Giants are Jack and Mary Stivers

My parents have always been a role model to me. They worked extremely hard to support our family and never complained about hours or the second jobs that they took to do so. My dad always taught me to work hard and never burn any bridges because you never want all your past efforts to be wasted. My parents were always happy with life. They were high school sweethearts and have been married for 48 years. They enjoy a simple life and never have wanted for more than the happiness that they have. My dad finally retired at the age of 65 and when I asked him why he finally decided to retire he said it was because he wasn’t having fun anymore. He told me, “I appreciate that you spend a lot of time working so giving it your all is one thing but you want to do something you enjoy to get the full satisfaction in your life.” I think about that everyday. I talk to my parents every week and my dad always asks me how work is going, what challenges I have and still offers his personal simple but effective advice. He is the first person I call to share good news or when I need to bounce an idea off of someone. He never tells me what I want to hear but always tells me what he thinks I need to hear. He also knows that I will do with that as I want – but I so appreciate it. I’m very lucky to have my parents – both as role models as parents for my own children, and also, for my approach to my work.

Thanks to Kim Schaefer, Great Wolf Resorts

 

Photo Credit: Steve Mehr

Photo Credit: Steve Mehr

My Giant is Darth Vadar

As a CEO and leader of a dynamic and complex company, I keep the lessons of Darth Vader in mind. Yes, once you get past the scary image of this popular movie character, you can see he has many wonderful business qualities that are easy to admire. While we’d all love to be master of something- the dark side or the galaxy, I’ll settle for mastering my industry. But the lessons that Darth Vader teaches are a strength that all CEO’s can use to conduct their business. Darth Vader had a brute physical and mental power that once “aligned” he stuck with it. This kind of tenacity is often critical to your business’ success. As a CEO, you’re often also required to make difficult business decisions. Darth wore a mask that shielded his humanity and made him into a machine. As a CEO, you often have to mask your emotions in order to make business decisions. You can’t show fear or be afraid to make the tough decisions on behalf of your business and your employees. One of Darth Vader’s most stand out qualities was his menacing appearance to his competition. We may not all be facing down rebels, but we would like to strike fear and respect in our competitors, especially when negotiating a deal. If you adopt this quality and make it hard for your competition to size you up, you’ve gained the upper hand in business. It may sound a bit corny, but I admire Darth Vader for his leadership abilities and his strength. How else can you get a multi trillion dollar death star built up to code in under a year and still keep a rebellious galaxy under control?

Thanks to Steve Mehr, WebShark360

Related Post: 5 Things Great Leaders Do and Failing Leaders Don’t

 

Photo Credit: Victoria Collette

Photo Credit: Victoria Collette

My Giant is Karen L. Garvey

Back in 2007, I attended a seminar called The Answers in Manhattan. This seminar could not have come at a better time. I was living and working in Manhattan as a Human Research Manager for Remy Cointreau. Some would look at my life and think I had it all – young and in my late 20’s, great apt on the Upper East Side, fantastic job for a luxury company and a great salary. On paper my life looked wonderful but inside I felt something was missing. That is the time when Karen Garvey came into my life. Karen conducted the seminar The Answers. I remember that day so clearly because that was the day that started me on my journey. Just from that one seminar Karen opened my eyes. Instead of going through life asleep, I was now awakened to the possibilities of life. Through Karen’s own personal stories, her seminars, books and one-on-one coaching, I am now able to see and believe all that I can do. I don’t have to continue to follow the mold of others. I can be creative and anything is possible. Since 2007, with Karen’s constant presence, I have left corporate life and am finally pursuing my dreams. For the past three years, I have been working towards starting my own company. I am launching a luxurious natural perfume line called Victoria Collette – Inner Essence Perfumes. This was a dream I had but never thought it was achievable. I didn’t have the background, the money, didn’t know where to begin and the list goes on and on to stop me from moving forward. Karen was instrumental in seeing me through this. She guided me every step of the way, showed me tools to implement and gave me the confidence to continue to move forward and most important, she helped me unlock the power inside me. No matter what stage in my career or life, Karen will continue to be an important part in it. She is someone I will always admire and someone I will always look up to.

Thanks to Victoria Collette

 

Photo Credit: Keisha DePaz

Photo Credit: Keisha DePaz

My Giants are Marie and Hector DePaz

My ultimate heroes are my parents. They have given me so much support. One recent example: I was able to leave my six figure paying job as an attorney and sell my apartment to launch Punch Street starting from the basement of my family’s home. It is because of them that my dreams have even been possible. Thank you mom & dad.

Thanks to Keisha DePaz, Punch Street

Related Post: Starting a Business for Under $100

 

Photo Credit: Richard P. Console, Jr

Photo Credit: Richard P. Console, Jr

My Giant is Steve Jobs

One business owner that I truly look up to is Steve Jobs. Having recently read his biography by Walter Isaacson, it was amazing to see how his marketing ingenuity and design prowess allowed him to take what, at times, was a company on the brink of bankruptcy to the most valuable company in the world. I think I am comfortable saying I look up to him because there are so many different elements of what he was able to accomplish that I just can’t understand how he did that. His ability to intuitively determine what consumers would want before they did was amazing. His ability to manage people, though at times abusive, generated amazing results. His marketing prowess and ability to once again intuit how a particular marketing endeavor would play out in the minds of potential consumers was phenomenal, and I find myself wondering how he was able to accomplish all these things.

Thanks to Richard P. Console, Jr., Console & Hollawell Personal Injury Lawyer

 

Photo Credit: Sam Caucci

Photo Credit: Sam Caucci

My Giant is Carol Brooks

My mother. I once heard the pointer that if you want to be great at something then you need to seek out the person that is great in a certain area and copy them. I didn’t have to look very far. I grew up in an environment in which I learned how to work and appreciate other people by watching the way my mother would interact with clients everyday. Experiences that at the time I could never understand the value of the lessons being observed.

Thanks to Sam Caucci, Principal Sales Huddle Group, Inc

 

Photo Credit: Leslie Ann Akin

Photo Credit: Leslie Ann Akin

My Giant is Jewels Muller

I look up to Jewels Muller, founder of Chicks Connect, (November 2011) a women’s mastermind support network dedicated to building success in life and business. Chicks Connect inspires women to grow personally and professionally through weekly accountability, goal setting and action. Once it caught on, she hit the road with her husband, twin sons, and dog in an RV to spread the word about Chicks Connect. The Muller’s are traveling across the country in their effort to inform more women about the movement. The changes I have seen women make in their lives is remarkable. One woman with immense talent, yet no drive or focus, was encouraged to make a decision as to what she wanted to do, even if it was wrong. She was held accountable, and rose to the occasion, starting her own apparel design studio. That was 14 months ago. Today she is a confident and warmhearted business woman who inspires other women. Sometimes women are tentative about showing up at a networking group, especially when they’re shy. Some of those women have shown up at our chicks chapter. Afterwards I ask them how it felt, and more often than not, women respond, “It feels like home, like I’ve always been here.” That’s just one thing that sets Chicks Connect apart from so many other networking groups. Jewels Muller lives every day in grace and gratitude and I am deeply grateful that she founded Chicks Connect. Is it any wonder that I look up to Jewels Muller?

Thanks to Leslie Ann Akin, Lake Oswego Graphics

Related Post: Celebrating Women Business Owners

 

 

About Gresham Harkless Jr.

Gresham Harkless is the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.