Pilgrim on the 405

Pilgrim on the 405 header image 1

Stacey Gordon, Rework Work

June 2nd, 2019

S_Gordon.jpgStacey A. Gordon is CEO at Rework Work , a Los Angeles, CA-based human capital
services and training consultancy focused on helping organizations address Diversity
& Inclusion needs through a proven, data driven methodology. Rework Work’s
nine-point system breaks D&I down into manageable target areas which include:
reputation management, interviewing processes, compensation, onboarding
methods, and skills building. Starting with awareness, Rework Work helps
organizations create commitment to a process, embedding the behavior elements of
diversity & inclusion into the framework of the organizational culture. Solutions are
brought to clients via surveying for unbiased data, interactive presentations,
facilitated dialogue, weighing the business case against the moral reasoning and
strategies for implementation.
With more than two decades of experience as an innovative human capital strategist,
Stacey’s mission is to work to reduce bias in global talent acquisition and
organizational culture. Stacey is a subject matter expert as a LinkedIn Learning
Diversity, Inclusion & Career Strategy course author. Her diversity, inclusion and
career related online courses have been viewed more than 1 million times. Stacey
and her team are also known for their recruiting expertise and coaching for
professionals. Stacey was recognized by Pepperdine University as a Top 40 Over 40
Leader, was a finalist for Los Angeles Business Journal’s Women Helping Women
Award and was recognized by Forbes as a Top 3 Business Leader Who Spoke Out
About Diversity & Inclusion. In her capacity as a highly-rated coach, she is a member
of Forbes Coaching Council and has coached D&I practitioners at The Forum on
Workplace Inclusion. She is also LinkedIn Diversity, Inclusion & Career Strategy
Course Author.
Together with her role at Rework Work, Stacey is also responsible for managing the
development, execution and strategic direction of the largest SHRM-affiliate in the
Prior to these roles, Stacey founded and led a third-party search firm focusing on
diversity. At MUFG Americas, as Diversity & Inclusion Project Manager, she
developed an internal marketing plan for the Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
encompassing more than 3,000 employees, and she also served as Interim
Executive Director at the National Association of Women MBAs (NAWMBA) after
starting the first professional chapter for the organization several years prior.
Stacey holds an MBA from Pepperdine University’s School of Business and a B.S.
from St. John’s University. She is an Advisory Board Member and Mentor at The
Coding Boot Camp at UCLA Extension and teaches Diversity in Organizations and
Cultural Intelligence as an Adjunct Faculty member at Phillips Graduate University in
Chatsworth, CA. She is a frequent speaker and lecturer at industry-related

Boris Piskun, GreenPACE Capital

May 24th, 2019


Established the company for the sole purpose of providing tax benefits to high income-earning individuals with tax liability by generating investment tax credits within the solar business. For over a decade the solar industry has largely benefited institutional investors with tax benefits but has not provided similar benefits to individual investors. Our business has changed that landscape, whereby high net worth individuals can receive those same tax benefits as the larger institutional investors. Our proprietary business process creates opportunities for individuals to offset tax liability on all types of income. We are able to generate tax assets by developing solar systems for customers who can lower their electricity cost immediately compared to their current electric utility provider. The company’s business model is to offer residential and commercial customers a long-term electricity contract in the form of a prepaid power purchase agreement, whereby customers can lower their electricity costs immediately.


Nicole Suydam, Goodwill

May 24th, 2019

Nicole.pngNicole Suydam, who served nearly
a decade as Goodwill of OC’s
vice president of development,
returned to Goodwill of Orange County
as president and CEO in 2018. She has
more than 20 years of management and
leadership experience working with
local and national nonprofits dedicated
to meeting human service needs. Prior
to returning to Goodwill, Suydam served
as CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank
of Orange County where she oversaw
the distribution of more than 25 million
meals to Orange County families and
guided a vast network of more than 200
community partners. Suydam graduated
from Vanguard University in Costa Mesa,
Calif., and today serves as president of
its Alumni Association Board and is a
proud member of its Board of Trustees.

Kevin Brown – CEO/Co-Founder LeadSmart Technologies

May 2nd, 2019


Kevin Brown is the CEO and Co-Founder of LeadSmart Technologies an Irvine based technology and SaaS software company.  LeadSmart is a unique suite of products that combine world class CRM with Marketing Automation tools and a Channel Management component. 

LeadSmart helps companies turn leads into revenue and paying customers and manages the ongoing customer relationship with unique processes, workflows and automations. LeadSmart was launched in early 2019 after over a year of real world testing with multiple clients with teams around the globe.   

Kevin has a background of over 25 years in sales, marketing and business development with both hardgoods and technology products.  Kevin has been a distributor and a manufacturer’s rep, and having invested in and run a manufacturing company he has unique insights into the challenges facing businesses.  For the last 10 years Kevin has also been advising manufacturing and technology companies on sales and marketing strategies, product development, M&A and go to market strategies.  Kevin has an intimate knowledge of the challenges that companies face managing sales leads and customers plus external channel partners like reps, brokers, re-sellers, distributors and dealers- hence the genesis of LeadSmart.

Along with Kevin the LeadSmart founding team consists of Tom Burton COO and Steve Snapp CTO. 

LeadSmart is located in the University Research Park at UCI and also has offices in Santa Barbara.




Gregg L. Witt | Chief Strategy Officer

April 28th, 2019


Gregg L. Witt is a partner and Chief Strategy Officer at Engage Youth Co., where he leads the strategy and consumer engagement programs for brands targeting youth audiences. Gregg has been immersed in the business of youth culture since the age of 16 when he started his first company, Goodtimes Skateboards. Despite adult naysayers, Witt took the company to global distribution in its first year; this early success ignited a passion and respect for the power of subcultures. Never content to just ‘know it when he sees it’, Witt has dedicated his career to a focused examination of the wisdom and authenticity inherent in today’s youth, while guiding others on how they might, respectfully, do the same. With over 16 years of experience in youth insights, brand strategy, and marketing activation, he is a renowned cultural marketing strategist and international public speaker. In 2016, he was named a Top Youth Marketer To Follow by Inc. Magazine, and in 2017 made the Forbes list of leading Generation Z experts. In 2018 he co-authored the Gen Z Frequency for Kogan Page, a comprehensive guide to engaging youth culture. He frequently appears in national media as a youth trends expert. A shortlist of past clients include Autodesk, AwesomenessTV, College Board, Cooper Tires, FunnyOrDie, Glaceau Vitamin Water, HBO, Hollister, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, Procter & Gamble, Qualcomm, and The Walt Disney Company.

Tom Atema, Heart for Lebanon

April 25th, 2019


Tom Atema

After working with his Father at Johanna Farms, milk wholesale processing business, for 14 years after school, Tom and his wife, Chris and their two sons, felt it was time to use his gifts and talents in the faith-based non-profit world.


Word of Life Fellowship:  In 1985, Tom became a volunteer missionary representative for Word of Life Fellowship. Tom’s volunteer service with Word of Life led to his becoming Director of Gift Planning Ministry and Development. That made him responsible for major donor giving for the entire ministry. And in 1990, Tom became director of Word of Life Fellowship Florida, where he directed the Fellowship’s conference center and youth camp.

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association:  In 1993, Tom was asked to help The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, near Asheville, North Carolina, to get costs under control without sacrificing the guest experience.  In 1999, Tom was asked to become executive director of Blue Ridge Broadcasting, BEGA’s radio ministry. The challenge was to jumpstart a long-stagnant part of the ministry. He did it by recasting the vision, refocusing programming, expanding the audience, and creating a healthier and more effective team. In six years, both audience size and budget more than tripled.

Vertical Horizons Group: Started in 2003, as Toms bucket to help ministries go further faster. Some ministries Tom helped were Global Leadership Summit, Bruce Wilkinson, and multiple churches’ mission programs. Tom and his wife still use this bucket to help ministries today.

EQUIP Leadership Inc.:  Starting in 2006, Tom served John Maxwell’s EQUIP ministry as vice president of International Ministries and Strategic Partnerships. EQUIP is a non-profit organization devoted to training international Christian leaders to fulfill the Great Commission.  Under Tom’s leadership, EQUIP grew from working in 42 countries in 2006 to having influence in 210 countries by 2012, turned a financial deficit into an operational surplus, built an international team of volunteer coordinators around the globe and built a roster of 150 incredible ministry partners. 

Heart for Lebanon:  Founded following the July 2006 war in Lebanon, H4L was born out of a desperate need to see lives changed and communities transformed by the power and grace of God. Tom in his role as co-founder helped an idea take wing and develop into a healthy, strategic and focused ministry, by building the systems, relationships and structures. He continues to serve US legal Representative, COO and the USA Board link to the General Assembly in Lebanon as well as coach to the team in Lebanon.

Tom and Chris live in Asheville, NC.  Both of their sons are married and own their own businesses.  They are the grandparents of 3 boys and 1 girl.

Tom has authored a book in 2009 entitled “Leadership in Blue Jeans.”

Anthony Constantino, Sticker Mule

April 4th, 2019

0.pngAnthony Constantino is co-founder & CEO of Sticker Mule, the Internet’s favorite printing company. With a factory in Amsterdam, NY and a globally-distributed team, Sticker Mule is one of the Capital Region's hidden gems. Anthony is a factory guy at heart, & oversees an operation that spans 16 countries on 4 continents with customers including Google, Facebook, Twitter & many of the world’s best brands. He’s determined to make Sticker Mule, already the Internet’s favorite printing company, the absolute best place to work and shop.

Brenda Williams

March 31st, 2019

brenda-grey-jacket.pngBrenda Williams is a well-respected, Board Certified Coach who has 
provided consulting, coaching and training to individuals and business’s 
for over 25 years. 
She is the founder of The Academy which was established to share 
methods of empowered communication to help people achieve superior 
performance in their professional and personal lives.
Brenda provides a Self-Mastery System that focuses on building:
A Mindset for Success
Developing Business Emotional Intelligence
And Exceptional Communication

Bridget Grimes, WealthChoice

March 31st, 2019


BRIDGET VENUS GRIMES is the founder and president of WealthChoice, a firm focused on helping women turn their professional success into financial success. She is also a cofounder of Equita Financial Network, Inc., a network of independent, women-led financial planning firms that share best practices and common goals. As an advisor to top-earning female executives, business owners, and attorneys, Grimes draws on more than a decade of experience to create customized financial solutions that help her clients achieve the life they long for. Based in San Diego, California, she enjoys cooking, entertaining, and spending time on the water in the company of her husband and children.


Greg Eisenman, Hotel General Management

February 17th, 2019



Greg is the General Manager of two hotels located in the city of Anaheim.


·         Tropicana Inn & Suites, 197 rooms

·         Camelot Inn & Suites, 121 rooms


Born and raised in Southern California, Greg attended Estancia High School in Costa Mesa. He graduated from Orange Coast College with an Associate’s Degree in Hotel Management and earned hotel certifications.


He then moved on to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, for his Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel Management. While attending UNLV he worked various positions with Harrah’s, Bally’s, and Luxor Hotels.


After a 10-year stint in Las Vegas, Greg returned to Orange County to be close to family and friends. He also wanted to further pursue his dream of becoming a hotel general manager. Within a year, he achieved his goal and was awarded the position of General Manger with La Quinta Inns. After a long relationship with La Quinta, he accepted the position of General Manager at Ayres Hotels. In 2013, he took on his current role as dual General Manager of the Tropicana Inn & Suites and Camelot Inn & Suites.


Greg has a passion for helping others and serving his community. While working full time in the hotel business, he served as a Reserve Deputy for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. In addition, he has mentored children through programs such as Run with A Cop. Greg also enjoys mentoring persons with disabilities and employs them at the hotels through a partnership with Goodwill.



Colton Bollinger, Jumper Media

February 6th, 2019


Jumper Media was born as a brainchild of Colton Bollinger in 2016 - to help small businesses tell amazing brand stories on social media – all day, every day. He brought on two other business-savvy leaders (also long-time friends) after seeing how most small businesses struggle by-the-second to attract, engage and convert their audiences effectively on social. Colton is not ‘all-business’ as he also loves to spend time on the golf course, which is where he first got the chance to unleash his gift professionally, helping golf pros establish a strong presence on social media. Today, using cutting-edge social tools and resources, Jumper Media helps over 3000 businesses (of all shapes and sizes) connect with their target customers predictably and consistently.

Christopher Miglino, SRAX

January 14th, 2019


Christopher Miglino is chairman and CEO of SRAX (www.srax.com), a digital marketing and consumer data management and distribution platform company. He is also Founding Member of the company’s blockchain identification graph technology platform, BIG (www.bigtoken.com), which is the first consumer-powered data marketplace where people own, verify and sell access to their data.


Christopher co-founded the company in April 2010 and has served as CEO since inception. Under his leadership, Christopher took the company public on the NASDAQ, trading under the symbol: SRAX. Previously, he founded Conscious Enlightenment, Inc. and also served as its CEO overseeing the strategy and operations of the company’s Lime Advertising Network, Lime.comYogamates.com, The Enlightenment Card and Conscious Enlightenment Publishing, which prints magazines in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, New York and Seattle.

Julie LaCroix

December 7th, 2018


Jeff Leitman, Killer Concepts

December 4th, 2018


Jeff Leitman

President, CEO, and co-founder of Killer Concepts, Inc.

Killer Concepts, founded in 2011, is a California based manufacturer of mobile phone accessories, wireless devices, and impulse driven consumer-packaged-goods.  Its products are sold throughout the US, Canada and in other countries

Paul Van Den Berg, Incubator Finance

November 11th, 2018


Paul is an information industry veteran who has focused his career on optimizing financial and operational processes for growing businesses.


He started his career in the Australian Army Engineers where he earned his Degree in Computer Science focused on automating and streamlining the production of digital maps and charts.


He has founded and worked in software startups, held executive roles at SMBs like Continuus, MapInfo & FileNet and survived his experiences at larger companies like Unisys and IBM.


Today, Paul’s work with his former CFO, and now partner, Jim has rekindled his passion for working with business owners and executive teams to transform their business for data driven growth.


In his spare time Paul is passionate about family, dog fostering, mountain biking, sailing and adventure travel to explore ancient civilizations.


Alec Marshall, MotoAmerica

October 21st, 2018

Alec_.jpgMotoAmerica is currently the fastest growing motorsport in the world. It wasn't before.

While the racing, athleticism, technology and boldness of MotoAmerica has been unparalleled since its launch almost four years ago, the stories that weren't being told, the fans who weren't being found, and the attention this dramatic sport deserved weren't a part of the picture. Creating the event profile, hiring and developing a content team, shaping the promotional strategy and supporting the growth of an emerging media strategy has led to unprecedented sports marketing growth while maintaining the engagement of a core devoted audience. MotoAmerica has seen over 200% audience growth, 100% viewership growth, and significant attendance growth under my leadership, all while maintaining engagement that averages more than 50X (yes, 5,000%) the average engagement of a sports team. 

While the series was developed to groom American champions for world championship racing, the series itself is approaching and even surpassing the global championship races it was hoping to feed.http://www.traction-guide.com/alec-marshall/

Brett Lawrence, Towne Brewery

October 5th, 2018


Brett Lawrence, born in Newport Beach, California, is a confident, effective visionary and entrepreneur. From being a sponsored junior pro surfer at age 14, to leading roles in movies and national commercials, to opening nightclubs and handling event promotions, there isn’t a challenge Lawrence doesn’t confront and conquer.

In 2004, Lawrence started his own business, The Taylor’d Company, LLC. His first investment was becoming the youngest partner in a Hollywood nightclub called Element that was proclaimed the ‘hottest club in the nation’ by People Magazine. Lawrence worked to ensure the success of the club while gaining experience in marketing, promotion and social networking. He later added partnership investments including La Cantina, a Mexican restaurant in Hollywood and a tequila bar called L Scorpion.

After a long 5 years and numerous successes in Hollywood, Lawrence decided to move back to Orange County and join forces with his good friends to create the Beau Monde Group which manages ECCO Restaurant located in Costa Mesa’s famous The Camp. Two years ago this successful partnership opened a second ECCO restaurant in Anaheim’s packing district.

This decision also gave Lawrence the opportunity to get back to his roots not only in the surf industry but a move closer to his family giving him the opportunity to help their businesses thrive. As CEO of Rancho Las Lomas he challenged the status quo and opened profitable new avenues for success increasing both the bottom lines and expanding valuable social media attention.

Brett Lawrence is a man who has big dreams, a passion for life and appreciates entrepreneurial challenges. He maintains a strong and powerful team that pushes him to be the best he can be. His new venture into the craft brew market will set the tone for his greatest accomplishment. With the love and support of his family and friends this visionary only becomes stronger and more determined.


Joseph J. Flynn, President and CEO, Vereco, Inc.

September 17th, 2018


Mr. Joseph J. Flynn, also known as Joe, is the President and CEO of Vereco Inc. a Southern California based Healthcare IT Services Company.  He has served in that position since November 1, 2017. Previously he served as Co-Founder and President and Chief Executive Officer of Auxilio, Inc. and Chief Executive Officer of  CynergisTek, Inc. from April of 2004 until October 2, 2017.  Auxilio and CynergisTek merged in September of 2017 and the Auxilio brand was retired and Mr. Flynn voluntarily resigned his Executive and Board positions from CynergisTek in October of 2017.  Mr. Flynn has over two decades of experience in driving growth and excellence in healthcare IT services.  Under Mr. Flynn’s leadership Auxilio now CynergisTek grew from no revenues to over $70 million, culminating in its merger with CynergisTek, the leading provider of Healthcare Cyber Security Services and up listed to the New York Stock Exchange, in March of 2017 under the symbol CTEK.  Prior to founding Auxilio, Mr. Flynn worked Advanstar Communications from 1998 to 2004 as Vice President of the Communications/IT Group where he managed a portfolio of communications and IT related business to business trade shows, conferences and magazines in the United States and Brazil.  From 1993 to 1998, Mr. Flynn served as VP for Latin America for EJ Krause and Associates, a Washington DC based technology trade show company.  In that position he lived, worked and traveled extensively in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia.  He is a1987 graduate of the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC where he holds a BA in International Relations.  Mr. Flynn is fluent in Spanish and has strong working knowledge of Portuguese and French.  Mr. Flynn celebrated his 25th anniversary this year with his wife Valerie and has two young adult.  Joe and his wife live in San Clemente.


David Meltzer, Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker and Humanitarian

September 9th, 2018

David Meltzer is the former CEO of the legendary Leigh Steinberg Sports & Entertainment and the co-founder and CEO of Sports 1 Marketing, arguably the most notable sports marketing firm in the world.

He started with nothing and yet became a millionaire just nine months out of law school and a multi-millionaire by the time he was 32. But then he went broke, but then, he made it all back again, and now he is a successful serial entrepreneur and philanthropist who, through hardship, was forced to codify the rules of success.

To that end, everything that he and his business partner, Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon, has a charitable component, and this rule has only accelerated their business growth.  Sports 1 Marketing is currently involved in projects surrounding many of the world’s biggest sporting events, including the Super Bowl, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, The Masters, and countless others.

Taylor Carvajal, True Family Enterprises

September 5th, 2018


Taylor Carvajal is the Chief Operating Officer at True Family Enterprises. In addition, Mr. Carvajal has management responsibility over TrueLane Homes and the True family real estate platform. In this role Mr. Carvajal serves as the senior executive responsible for managing day-to-day operations of the business. 

Mr. Carvajal also serves as a senior advisor to the True family focused on economics, finance, and capital markets activity. Prior to joining True Family Enterprises, Mr. Carvajal served as the Chief Financial Officer at Amherst Holdings SFR. Mr. Carvajal has also held senior finance positions The Blackstone Group, Ares Management, Goldman Sachs and PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he was a Director in the firm’s Global Capital Markets Group.

Mr. Carvajal received a B.S. cum laude from the University of Southern California and an M.S. from the University of Virginia. He served for 10 years as an officer in the United States Navy and Navy Reserve and is the recipient of the Bronze Star for outstanding duty performance during combat operations in Iraq. In 2010 he was selected as the Navy Reserve Junior Military Intelligence Officer of the Year, and is the recipient of the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation and Iraq Campaign Medals. Mr. Carvajal is involved in numerous charities including the Wounded Warrior Project and the March of Dimes.

Virginia Richardson, Allied Universal

September 3rd, 2018


Allied Universal Security Services is the industry’s premier provider of highly trained, responsive security personal. Allied Universal has been in existence for more than 50 years and leads the industry in award-winning programs. Virginia has been working with Goodwill and other organizations for the past 9 years. She works all over the county and has developed strong relationships with job developers. Virginia is great at working with job seekers who have gaps in their history or barriers to employment. Virginia is always willing to go the extra mile to help. Virginia says “I enjoy making that phone call, letting someone know they got the job. I like to see people succeed. I want to help people, when they are working at a job they love –they smile more.


Peyton Jeter, Orange County Market Place

August 27th, 2018


Studied Sport and Entertainment Management. Started out in sponsorship marketing for the City of Denver at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Moved to Orlando as the Marketing Manager for the CFE Arena, a 10,000 seat venue on the University of Central Florida. Most recently, came on board as the Director of Marketing and Special Events at the Orange County Market Place. http://www.traction-guide.com/peyton-jeter/

Mark Canlis, Canlis Restaurant

August 27th, 2018


Mark grew up in a restaurant family, spending his time living and learning the trade from the inside out. Before officially joining the company in 2003, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, served as a Captain in Air Force Special Operations, and worked in many restaurants across the country. He met his wife, Anne Marie, while living in Manhattan and working with famed restaurateur Danny Meyer. Mark and his brother now preside over the family restaurant in Seattle. Under his leadership, Canlis has repeatedly been named one of the top restaurants in America, become one of only 18 Relais & Chateau restaurants in the United States, and has been awarded 22 consecutive Wine Spectator Grand Awards. In 2017 Canlis also won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Program.

He and his wife reside in Seattle with their three children, three chickens, and a bird dog.


Jim French, Incubator Funding, INC. (IFI)

August 14th, 2018


Jim is a serial CFO and an experienced professional services leader with a unique insight to the operational and financial information design and flow of business.

He started his career as an auditor with Deloitte and transitioned into professional services for different companies and industries - specifically software and SaaS.

Jim spends his spare time with his young family – sports, hiking and camping.


Robert “Dusty” Staub, Staub Leadership International

July 19th, 2018

Dusty.jpgDusty has worked for over 30 years with executives, families, and communities
as well as with private and public companies. He has trained and coached
executives and teams in creating high performance outcomes. Dusty has been
a pioneer in the process of creating systemic accountability by aligning
leadership and group behaviors with strategy to produce bottom-line results.
He has worked and traveled extensively in Europe and the United States. He is
the author of The Heart of Leadership: Twelve Practices of Courageous Leaders,
released in an updated, revised edition in paperback and The 7 Acts of Courage:
Bold Leadership for a Wholehearted Life. He has written over two hundred
articles on topics such as leadership, team-based creativity, personal mastery,
team effectiveness, personal effectiveness and business strategy and writes a
bi-weekly column for the Triad Business Journal.
Dusty is a fellow in the School of Engineering at Virginia Tech, and received his
Masters in Clinical Social Work in Marital and Family Therapy and Systems
Management from UNC Chapel Hill. He currently lives in Kernersville, NC with his
wife Christine, a family physician. Dusty is the proud father of three young
adults. http://www.traction-guide.com/dusty-staub/

Chef Tony & Ann, Hope Cafe & Catering

July 17th, 2018


Tony-In November 2008, I was driven to Southern California by my brother, and dropped off with a change of clothes and a backpack. To start my life over again after a life long battle with Drug & Alcohol Addiction that was capped off of what I call 18 months of Hell.  I lost a business, multiple homes and ton of money in a business deal with my sister and others.  Eventually living on the streets and in the dessert for 8 months.  Of course, at the time I would tell you it was all “their” fault.  But, today I know I had a lot of responsibility in those relationships and outcomes.  I entered a Sober Living and began my life of Recovery.  Early on I wanted to get a job and realized that even with my 25 years of restaurant experience I was NOW Unemployable.  My record and current circumstances left me HOPELESS.  Then during my early recovery, I started seeking a relationship with a loving God, not the one I had as a child (damning) God put into my life a Christian woman that had multiple businesses that allowed me to work with her in several of them.  At the same time, she was reading the Bible and speaking into my life in a way that was foreign to me.  During one of those days at work we were doing a Wedding Shower for her now Daughter in Law and that is when I met Ann (my wife).  Shortly thereafter while I was riding a train up to Central California to do a Wedding for a family friend, I was praying to God that I just met, what do you want me to do with my life?  He said, start writing.  On that paper had our business name, “Hope Café & Catering” and our Mission: “To reach the outcast, outsourced and overlooked.  To teach them a trade, how to feed themselves, their family and the community.”  I looked down and said, clearly this is from God.  As I had no desire to get back into the restaurant business especially having employees.  I got baptized and in October 2009 asked Ann to marry me.  Much to my surprise she said yes! August 2012, we purchase 50% of an existing catering company as we were waiting on God to show us where and how this “Hope Café & Catering” was going to happen.  It was clear a short time later that God had a plan and it looked nothing like I imagined.  We took on our legal dba.  Hope Café & Catering and today operate out of our 6,000 sq. ft Commercial Kitchen centrally located in Pasadena serving all of Southern California.  Extending that HOPE I was looking for early on to those that feel HOPELESS. out of rehab, having just lost my business and all my money, I was without hope. I am intentional about using the business God has given us to employ people that many business owners may not choose such as the disenfranchised, recovering persons, veterans, people with mental and physical disabilities. HOPE Café has provided food for the Grammys, the Emmy’s, and the X-Games as well as Indy Car and NASCAR events.  Our corporate clients are in the hundred’s including:  Kaiser Permanente, The City of Pasadena, Southern California Edison, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Warner Brothers, and The Rose Bowl.  My family lives in the east San Gabriel Valley. 


Ann-I was raised in a conservative Christian home, married young and had two beautiful Children.  After 19+ years of marriage, my husband had an extramarital affair, And I found myself in the middle of a messy divorce. This was a painful and agonizing experience, as we were prominent members in Our church and community.  My world came crashing down. I didn’t have time to Wallow in self-pity. I knew that I had to find a way support myself and my two children, Because my ex was selfish and unpredictable. I enrolled in an expedited trade school course for Surgical Assistant and was hired within a year at a local hospital. It was a tough learning curve. At that point I didn’t have time to be focusing on my dating life, let alone want anything to do with men in general. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to trust a man again. Then I offered to help at a girlfriend’s bridal shower, and I met Tony.  He was charming and energetic and kept feeding me all kinds of tasty treats! I didn’t know about his past or his journey in recovery.  As we began to meet for coffee and spend time together, he began to share his past and his remarkable journey back to sobriety.  I was pretty discouraged however.  His baggage plus my baggage was just way too much baggage.  I was considering ending the relationship before it got any more involved. But my mom saw a great deal of potential in Tony and told me to give it a little more time.  He was very patient with me and knew my fear and uncertainty would be a challenge. But he was there for me and my kids, and we waded through life’s challenges together. I could see the incredible work that God was doing in his heart and mind.  I started to feel like this was truly God ordained. We got married in 2010 and have been running Hope Café together ever since. It has been an exciting and challenging journey. It can be really rewarding to help others get a second chance and rebuild their lives.  Like with having any employees it can get messy and costly. I am not a risk taker by nature, so this has been a big challenge for me to continue to extend grace and love to others along with all the demands of owning a business, especially in California.


Carey Ransom, Aspiration

June 14th, 2018


Carey is an experienced Internet and software entrepreneur and executive, having started, grown and led many technology companies during their startup and growth phases. He’s currently COO at Aspiration, the leading consumer financial firm with a conscience.  Previously, he was Chief Product & Innovation Officer of Experian Consumer Services, where he led the new portfolio of consumer credit, financial and identity products, as well as partnership across other Experian business units.  He was also Chief eXploration Officer (CXO) of Payoff, a venture-backed consumer-focused digital financial services company, where he led new initiatives and strategic partnerships; and he was previously the CEO at RealPractice, a venture-backed marketing software and services company, which he sold in 2012 to ReachLocal (RLOC).

Carey's 20-year career spans executive roles in product, marketing, business development, strategy and corporate development. Prior to RealPractice, he was VP of Business Development at Brand Affinity Technologies (BAT), an Internet advertising and celebrity endorsement business. Carey was VP, Marketing and Corporate Development at WebVisible, forging new partnerships with companies such as AT&T and Microsoft, creating new lines of business, and helping WebVisible triple its revenue during his tenure. While at MessageRite (acquired by Frontbridge Technologies), Carey was VP of Sales & Marketing, leading the online storage and security start-up’s business, which was eventually acquired by Microsoft in 2005.

Carey is active in the Orange County startup and business community and is a long-time board member of OCTANe. He has frequently spoken at software, financial technology, and online media conferences such as AltFI, Innovation Project, INBOX, The BIA/Kelsey Group, OMMA, and others. Carey’s expertise is identifying the key enterprise value drivers for a business and delivering outsized growth through new revenue opportunities, product and technology initiatives, and creating and leveraging market trends.

Carey is an MBA graduate of the UCLA Anderson School of Management. In addition, he holds a B.A. in Economics from Indiana University, where he was Phi Beta Kappa.


Michael Levin, Business Ghost

June 7th, 2018


Michael Levin is a New York Times bestselling author who founded and runs BusinessGhost.com, a national book ghostwriting firm. In 24 years of existence, BusinessGhost, has written, co-written, edited, or ghosted more than 700 books. 
Michael also serves as a regular columnist for Forbes.com, the New York Daily News, Thrive Global, and FoxNews.com, where his January, 2017 piece on the DNC hacking trended number one, and his October, 2017 piece on Daylight Saving Time attracted more than 1.5 million readers. 
Michael appeared on the first episode of Season Three of ABC’s ​Shark Tank, has made appearances on Fox News, and BBC worldwide TV and radio, as well as having been quoted in Inc. Magazine, in Bloomberg Businessweek, and in Tim Ferriss’ best seller, ​The Four Hour Body. He serves as a regular contributor to numerous major news organization - and takes great pride in having edited Zig Ziglar’s final book, ​Born To Win.
​ .  
Michael is most proud of being able to help so many people bring their stories, thoughts, and ideas to the printed page - and to the public’s attention. Michael recently launched his video podcast, The Manifesto, which can be seen on the new PikMobile App. 


Christopher Voss, The Black Swan Group

May 18th, 2018


Chris Voss is CEO of the Black Swan Group and author of the national best-seller "Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It," which was named one of the seven best books on negotiation. A 24-year veteran of the FBI, Chris retired as the lead international kidnapping negotiator. Drawing on his experience in high-stakes negotiations, his company specializes in solving business communication problems using hostage negotiation solutions. Their negotiation methodology focuses on discovering the “Black Swans,” small pieces of information that have a huge effect on an outcome. Chris and his team have helped companies secure and close better deals, save money, and solve internal communication problems. Chris has been featured in TIME, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, Inc., Fast Company, Fortune, The Washington Post, SUCCESS Magazine, Squawk Box, CNN, ABC News and more.

Tom Manzo, Timely

May 12th, 2018


Tom Manzo, President – Timely Prefinished Steel Door Frames, Mr. Manzo was born in Detroit Michigan and raised in the south end of Madison Heights which is a working class city just two miles north of Detroit. He attended Oakland Community College and obtained an Associates Degree and eventually received a Bachelor’s Degree from Walsh College in Business Administration. It took many years to finish college as he always worked full time while attending and paid most of his schooling on his own. Tom never gave up on his commitment or the dream of a four year degree and the will to achieve that goal. He is certified from Stanford in Project Management which there is only a few thousand nationwide. He is authorized to put SCPM on his business cards. Tom has additional training in Executive Education from the University Of Southern California Marshall School Of Business in Strategic Management and Executive Leadership Skills. 

Timely Prefinished Steel Door Frames in Pacoima has almost 200 employees. Tom has been with Timely for over 14 years. Back in Detroit is where he got into sales working with a supplier to the Big Three Automotive Companies offering repair services on components for all of their automation. Eventually, he opened his own company supplying repair services to most Tier one and Tier two suppliers related to the Plastic Injection Molding Industry. The company he started was sold and he consulted a company who made door frames where not only did he meet Timely, he met his wife and she was the reason he came to California. 

At Timely he worked his way up from Product Manager to President and unfortunately many of his promotions came at a time when the economy really took a hit. It took a lot of work to keep things going and turn sales around while going through very difficult times. As he grew with Timely one thing he learned in the position he is in, “It is not about me, it is about the 200 employees we have. My decisions could impact many families so I better make sure I am making some good ones. It is one big family there and I am responsible for all of them."

Co-founder and President of CABIA, a new non-profit organization dedicated to changing the burdensome and unfair labor laws in California. I decided to take action when the company I work for was hit with a private attorney general act (PAGA) lawsuit for ridiculous claims. That suit caused me to realize that the over 1,000 pages of California Labor Law are nothing more than a tool for plaintiffs’ attorneys to use against hardworking businesses. Before taking the leap to create a new organization for this effort, I reached out to other business organizations to see if they were interested in the fight. Unfortunately, many already had full plates, and others simply showed no interest. Some organizations say they represent businesses although, due to politics they support agendas that are actually harmful and others just don’t want to stir the pot. Trying to connect with politicians as an individual or even a company seemed impossible. At that moment I knew California businesses needed a voice.

The goal of CABIA is to support any type of business – manufacturer, restaurant, retailer, service provider, etc. – and be their voice to state legislators, politicians, government employees, and specialized or regional trade organizations. Our platform is simple: change or abolish PAGA laws to protect against frivolous suits and change workers compensation laws so that they make sense for both employees and employers. The reality is this battle will take many years, given the entrenched interests in Sacramento and the path our legislature is on. On average, California passes over 800 new laws a year. Instead of making it easier for businesses to expand and grow the economy, those 800 laws often make it harder. One bill being considered right now, AB 206, would allow day laborers to collect workers comp; can you imagine what a nightmare that would be, or who would pay for it?

In my “day job,” I am the President of Timely, a manufacturing company in Pacoima that has 193 employees. Although a successful and growing business, we are struggling with minimum wage increases and frivolous workers comp cases that ran our MOD rate up. We tried to implement a flexible work schedule that would make our employees happier and more productive. For that, we got hit with a PAGA lawsuit because some employees missed the five-hour lunch window. These experiences are what led me to form CABIA, and there will be powerful stories that we can share as we work to get out our message. That real-world perspective will help CABIA become the leader in reforming these awful laws. If we are successful, CABIA will have helped businesses up and down the coast.

Joel Lindenberg, AchieveNext

April 24th, 2018


Mr. Lindenberg is a dynamic executive with extensive corporate development experience. As a career investment banker he has facilitated over $500M in  M&A and capital markets transactions.
 In addition to core expertise in middle market transaction advisory, Mr. Lindenberg has been instrumental in founding, funding and exiting several early stage companies as an angel investor, operating officer and or board member. 

Mr Lindenberg is currently the Director of Corporate Development Services at AchieveNext where he recently chaired and published an M&A Readiness, Special Task Force Report and leads several industry specific CFO strategy groups. Mr. Lindenberg host quarterly thought leadership events for the CFO Alliance and regularly advise CFOs on corporate development strategy. He's operated and exited his own boutique investment firm, developed a corporate innovation program for the XPRIZE Foundation and leads the SaaS, Fintech, and Digital Media practice as a managing director at DelMorgan & Co.
Mr. Lindenberg is a graduate of Singularity University's, Executive Program in exponential technologies and holds a Master's in Business Economics from UCSB. He serves on the board of Education Plus Nicaragua and enjoys reading, tennis and snowboarding in his free time.

Greg Benson, EOS

March 13th, 2018

0_1_.jpg After 25+ years of searching for tools and systems to help business owners and to make a difference in their lives, I've found a comprehensive system with a time-tested set of simple tools. No this isn't magic. It takes discipline and commitment but it gets results ... like nothing else I've ever seen. I wish I had found this 25 years ago ... so much more that I could have done for my clients. More importantly, I love the difference that I make in the lives of business owners and their families today.

Mike Abercrombie, EOS

March 13th, 2018


Mike began his own journey as an entrepreneur when he co-founded a training company in 1993. As CEO, he grew the business with the help of his team to be an internationally recognized company.

  • Over $20M in revenue
  • 100+ instructors and staff
  • Operations in the US and UK  

Along his journey, Mike joined the Young President’s Organization (YPO) in 2000. While working closely with business leaders in YPO, Mike discovered a passion and talent for his own teaching and facilitation. As a result, Mike has been professionally delivering programs for YPO groups in the US and internationally since 2007 delivering highly regarded sessions.  

In 2015, Mike sold his training business to a global IT training organization and exited the business to focus on helping business leaders implement EOS®. As a certified EOS® implementer, Mike combines his business experience and love of teaching and group facilitation to fulfill his dream of helping other entrepreneurs after he was finished with his own business.  

Courtni English, No Limits Learning Center

March 12th, 2018


Courtni is the founder and CEO of No Limits Learning Center. What started long ago as a passion for being around and helping people with special needs has evolved into what No Limits is today! With her never-quit attitude and a heart full of love for people with developmental disabilities. Courtni relentlessly worked to make No Limits a reality.

​Hometown: Orange County, CA
High School: El Dorado
College: Cal State Fullerton 
Degrees/Certificates: BS-Child & Adolescent Development
Experience: 10+ yrs in working with adults & children with special needs. Helped establish a special education program in Nairobi, Kenya.
Interesting facts: Courtni currently sits on the board of directors of Helping Hands, an Anaheim based program for adults with severe developmental disabilities.


Ian Plumlee, Web Development

February 15th, 2018


Ian Plumlee is a web developer turned data-driven digital marketer. After honorably departing the Marine Corps in 2010, Ian pursued a degree in web development and interactive media while he started his first business: providing and managing digital growth solutions for businesses across Southern California. On top of his "nine to five" as the Senior Marketing Coordinator at a leading technology company, Ian focuses on giving back to the community by donating his services to a number of veteran-oriented 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. 

Aaron Biehl, Reliable IT

February 9th, 2018


Over the past 20 years Aaron’s passion has been helping entrepreneurs align Information Technology with their business goals. Aaron got his start in technology in 1999 as an Account Representative for a computer reseller in Irvine, CA.

In 2005 Aaron had an opportunity to acquire the computer reseller he was working for and transform it into a services based company offering IT outsourcing to small and medium businesses in Orange County, CA.  

 In 2013 Aaron sold the business to Reliable IT and stayed on as a Regional Sales Manager as the company acquired an additional five companies.  In 2015 Aaron was asked to be the General Manager of the Managed Service Division of Reliable IT which offers IT Outsourcing to small and medium businesses with a specialty in the vertical of banking.  

 Aaron credits great mentors like Will Crist and systems such as the Sandler Sales and the Entrepreneurial Operating Systems for both Reliable IT and his success.

Brooks Travis, Estate Planning

January 29th, 2018

1a95b7b.jpgOur firm is dedicated to providing you with quality estate planning resources, so you can become familiar with your existing options. When you visit or call our office, we want you to feel comfortable discussing such important issues concerning both you and your family. We want to arm you with the information you need to make an informed decision about your family's future.

If you have a well-drafted estate plan in place, you'll ensure that your estate passes to whom you want, when you want, and is carried out in the manner you've chosen. You can protect your children from others who want to take your hard earned inherited assets away from your child. You can rest assured that your family won't have to endure the public process and costly matter of probate. You can minimize the amount that the government will take via death taxes when you and your spouse pass. 

Because we are members of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys our training will give you access to some of the latest knowledge about the law and the latest changes in the law that can effect you positively or negatively. But knowledge is king and you need to be aware of the many options that exist in estate planning by choosing your attorney wisely. 

Our firm has been chosen to be a "Five Star" Estate Planning Attorney for four out of the last five years by Orange Coast Magazine so we are recognized as one of the best at what we do in the Orange County region. 

That is why The Law Offices of H. Brooks Travis, P.C. offers this wealth of free information and free initial estate plan creation consultations. Read our Estate Planning articles. We want you to feel confident about the choices you make—let us be your guide on the path toward preserving your family's future.

Bob Marsh - The File Depot

January 26th, 2018


Bob Marsh was born and raised in Seal Beach, CA.  After two years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he came home and earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Pepperdine University.  He spent eighteen years in the financial industry, the last twelve as a mortgage broker and President of Endeavor Mortgage Group in Huntington Beach.


In 2015 Bob decided to make a career change.  After looking at numerous franchises, he found The File Depot.  It provided the type of business model he was looking for – a needed service, a value-add to any type of company and a market that would appreciate honesty, integrity and the best customer service.


Bob opened the first franchise of The File Depot in Southern California – with a territory that spans from South Orange County to Los Angeles.  


Bob has been happily married to his wife Amy for over eleven years and they have a nine-year-old son Michael.  They live in Seal Beach – the place where Bob grew up and Amy always wanted to live.  When he’s not working, Bob enjoys spending time with his family, coaching his son’s flag football team, hiking with his dog and everything related to ice hockey.

Jim Jelinek, EOS

January 26th, 2018

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAywAAAAJGVhZDdmZDBiLTNhZTctNGQ3Ni1iZTQ0LWE1ZTA5MGUzMTliZg.jpg I am an accomplished former CEO with a passion for helping chief executives develop their leadership skills and advance their businesses to the next level. I facilitate groups of Business Owners, Presidents and Chief Executives who are members of Vistage, the world's leading Chief Executive Organization. As a Vistage Chair, I act as a mentor and coach to CEO's and business owners who out-perform their competition.

I previously served as the CEO and President of Flo-Tork, Inc. a manufacturer of critical service motion control product, and I was also the Chairman of the Valve Manufacturers Association of American. I am the co-author of the book “Quick Changeover Simplified.”

Brad Moon, Payroll Link

December 26th, 2017

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAxzAAAAJDQzZDMwZjgzLWRhMDUtNDlhYy1hMTAzLTQ5ZTUyZjE4ODdlMw.jpg Brad Moon runs Payroll Link which has digitized companies throughout the Inland Empire. These programs allow employees to keep track of all the essential parts of their employment status. It allows employers to keep track of paperwork and credentials, allowing them to stay up-to-date using modern technology. Payroll Link has revolutionized the way businesses are ran and helps to promote a healthy and more trusting work environment. Brad Moon prides himself on helping businesses thrive to the best of their ability and save money in the process. 

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App