Business Leaders Blog

Oct 18 2014

Kathie Shields: Furthering Technology and Knowledge in Rhode Island

Kathie Shields is the executive director of Tech Collective, the technology industry association in Rhode Island. Tech Collective’s mission is to inspire, engage, educate, and employ a growing technological and knowledge economy in the state.

Shields has more than two decades of business experience and has worked in client services, business development, leadership and facilitation, operational management, and as an entrepreneur. She utilizes her industry experience and proven management, business development, communication, and relationship skills to oversee the operations and initiatives of Tech Collective. Shields is also responsible for the organization’s membership, industry, government, and community involvement.

A recent graduate of the Institute for Organization Management, Shields serves as a board member of The STEM Center at Rhode Island College and as the treasurer and board director of the New England Biotech Association. She also holds membership in the Career Pathways Taskforce, the Governor’s Biennial Planning Committee, the American Society of Association Executives, and more.

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Oct 16 2014

James Goodlatte Spreads the Message of Holistic Fertility and Childbirth

James Goodlatte is a pre- and post-natal holistic health coach and the founder and CEO of Fit For Birth, a health education and training company for new and expecting parents and professionals. Goodlatte is passionate about healing families by encouraging the use of natural methods and building a global team of fitness and health professionals so that infertility can be reduced, mechanized childbirth can be avoided, and chronic disease in infants can be decreased. Fit For Birth exists to share “the other side of the spectrum” that enhances the well-being of moms and their babies.

After earning a degree in kinesiology from the University of Maryland in 1999, Goodlatte began his professional career the following year when he was hired on the spot in a small personal training studio in Washington, DC. Originally going in for an interview, he ended up substituting for a trainer who didn’t show up.

Goodlatte subsequently got a job at the five-star Sports Club/LA-DC in The Ritz and met a roommate who had the entire collection of the C.H.E.K. Institute’s corrective exercise programs. It wasn’t long before he was using these corrective exercise techniques to fix people’s aches and pains, and in 2001 he was named a “Trainer of the Year.” In 2002, Goodlatte was asked to teach classes to new trainers. He created an extremely in-depth course, and it was so good that he went on to teach other courses.

Goodlatte founded Fit For Birth in 2007 with his wife after they learned that they were expecting. Unable to find a holistic prenatal specialist, he did his own research and became inspired to share what he had learned so that parents everyone could make informed decisions about their fertility, childbirth options, and holistic health choices. When fitness instructors and health professionals started asking about certification, he launched the Pre & Post Natal Corrective Exercise Specialist Course.

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Oct 09 2014

Bill Seibel Simplifies Mobile for Enterprises

Bill Seibel is the founder and chief executive officer of Mobiquity, a mobile engagement provider that makes going mobile easy for hundreds of companies around the world. Headquartered in Wellesley, Massachusetts with a dozen offices in four countries, Mobiquity eliminates the complexity of mobile and creates custom solutions and apps for enterprises, whether they want to increase traffic to their stores, improve the productivity of their sales force, or extend existing business processes to mobile devices.

A 2012 Best in Biz Award Silver winner in the Technology Executive of the Year category, Seibel is no stranger to building and leading successful companies. He previously served as the CEO of Gumball, a consulting firm that helps executives grow their companies quickly and effectively. Earlier, he served as the chairman and CEO of Demantra, a leading provider of supply chain and marketing collaboration and analytics that was acquired by Oracle in 2006.

Prior to Demantra, Seibel was the chairman and CEO of eBusiness services company ZEFER. Under his leadership, ZEFER grew to more than $130 million in revenue during its first 18 months. Seibel was also a founding partner and the executive vice president of Cambridge Technology Partners, where he oversaw the majority of its business units and launched its international operations.

In addition to heading Mobiquity, Seibel is the executive chairman of computer software company LogMatrix. He sits on the boards of numerous technology startups and charities as well, including the College of Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State University, Penn State’s College of Engineering, the College of Business at Northeastern University, the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon, and the Boston Public Library.

Seibel holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Penn State University and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. He also completed the MISR program at Harvard University.

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Oct 06 2014

Idan Tendler Helps Companies Amp Up Their Cyber Security

Idan Tendler is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Fortscale, a cyber security firm with offices in Tel Aviv and San Francisco. Fortscale’s mission is to help companies defend themselves against new types of cyber threats, from targeted attacks to malicious insiders, by offering a proactive, intelligence-driven solution based on big data analytics.

A serial entrepreneur and recognized expert in the field of cyber security and intelligence, Tendler previously founded and led the Cyber Security Business Group of Elbit Systems, the top defense integrator in Israel. The group became Elbit’s leading growth engine and went on to manage major cyber security and warfare technological projects in the country and abroad.

Earlier in his career, Tendler was a business analysis manager at Elron, the technological investment arm of IDB Holdings, one of Israel’s leading holding companies. After receiving his degree in industrial and management engineering from Tel Aviv University, Tendler served as an officer and department head in the Israel Defense Forces’ elite Intelligence & Cyber Unit.

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Oct 04 2014

Andy Posner Is on a Mission to Put Poverty Out of Business in America

Andy Posner is the founder and chief executive officer of Capital Good Fund, a social change organization using financial services to address the poverty issue in America. Posner founded Capital Good Fund while he was obtaining his Master of Arts in Environmental Studies and studying financing mechanisms for clean energy at Brown University. He had read Banker to the Poor by Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the “Father of Microfinance” and founder of Grameen Bank, and realized that equitable financial services could create pathways out of poverty just as they could unlock the potential of clean energy technologies. Posner started Capital Good Fund as the 2008 financial crisis began to unfold, committed to tackling endemic poverty through financial services first in Rhode Island and then throughout the United States.

Capital Good Fund envisions a poverty-free America. The non-profit, certified Community Development Financial Institution takes a holistic approach to fighting poverty, providing high-quality, transformational financial services such as financial coaching, small loans, and educational workshops to underserved families. Initially a student-led initiative, Capital Good Fund is now one of the fastest-growing microfinance institutions in the US, with locations in Providence, Hartford, and Woonsocket.

Posner is dedicated to “putting poverty out of business” and his work has been featured in the Providence Journal, Providence Business News, the Providence Phoenix, the Rhode Island Small Business Journal, CNN, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s quarterly publication, and several other media outlets. He has contributed to the Huffington Post, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and Treehugger.com as well.

Named a 2013 American Express Emerging Innovator, Posner is also a co-founder of Lend for America and a member of its advisory committee. When he is not overseeing Capital Good Fund, he enjoys blogging, writing poetry, and riding his bicycle. In 2005, he cycled 3,800 miles across the US.

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Oct 02 2014

Thomas A. Lawson, President of FM Global

Thomas A. Lawson is the president of FM Global, a mutual insurance company headquartered in Johnston, Rhode Island. With operations in more than 130 countries worldwide, FM Global provides commercial and industrial property insurance, engineering-based underwriting and risk management solutions, property loss prevention research, and claims handling.

As president, Lawson leads FM Global’s strategic and operational direction. Prior to his current role, he served as the executive vice president of the company, overseeing its international operations.

A recognized expert in industrial manufacturing risk with over three decades of experience, Lawson joined FM Global in 1979. He has fulfilled key posts in the forest products industry and the furniture and textile segment of the company’s business, including senior vice president, engineering and research; vice president, operations manager – forest products; and field vice president and operations underwriting manager.

Lawson serves on the board of the National Fire Protection Association and holds membership in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He received his bachelor’s degree in occupational safety from Illinois State University.

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Sep 27 2014

Matthew Corrin Makes Fresh, Healthy Food Convenient and Affordable

Matthew Corrin is the founder of Freshii, a global restaurant chain that’s making healthy food affordable and convenient. Corrin was in his early 20s and working in New York City when he noticed the many fresh food mom and pop delis in the area. Determined to create a restaurant brand that helped people live healthier and longer, he opened the first Freshii store in Toronto in 2005. It was a huge success, and Freshii has been providing fresh and nutritious meals to people on-the-go since then. The company’s menu includes green wraps, quinoa bowls, salads, and fresh pressed juices. Named 2013’s “Top Franchise of the Year in Canada,” Freshii now has locations in over 50 cities and 10 countries around the world.

In 2011, Corrin received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. He has appeared on Bloomberg, CNN, and Undercover Boss as the youngest CEO in the show’s history.

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Sep 26 2014

Jason Ross: The Discount Shopper Who Founded Men’s Online Shopping Club JackThreads

Jason Ross is the founder of JackThreads, a members-only, flash sale site for men. Members get up to 80 percent off on the hottest street, skate, surf, and contemporary men’s fashion brands. JackThreads’ goal is to empower men to “feel like a million bucks without spending a million bucks.” The company scours the globe to find the freshest looks and the biggest discounts available and delivers them to its members’ inboxes daily. Every day at noon, members are treated to three to four sales featuring both well-known brands and promising newcomers. Sales, most of which last for about three days, are never repeated.

Ross was raised a discount shopper and always had an eye for exclusive fashion. After graduating from Ohio State University in 2003, he co-founded a sports marketing company but later realized he wasn’t passionate about the business. Ross promised himself that his next venture would involve something he was passionate about.

In 2006, he began writing the business plan for JackThreads and researching the market, something he never did for his previous business. He forced himself to write the business plan, and his efforts paid off. “The more research I did, the more it was so apparent there was a huge opportunity,” he says.

At the time, there weren’t any flash sale sites targeting men. Ross spent two and a half years working out of his house to get the company off the ground. JackThreads, which is named after Ross’ grandfather, launched in mid-2008 with six brands. In 2010, JackThreads partnered with Thrillist, a men’s digital lifestyle publication with more than 2 million subscribers. Today, the company ships to 15 countries worldwide.

JackThreads has been featured in Entrepreneur, WWD, and was named to Internet Retailer’s “Hot 100” list in 2013. Ross was named to Inc.’s “30 Under 30” list in 2011.

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Sep 19 2014

Young Living’s D. Gary Young Turns Tragedy Into Success

D. Gary Young is the founder and CEO of Young Living, the world leader in essential oils. He first discovered the power of essential oils to transform physical and mental health more than 20 years ago. When a tree hit him in 1973, Young sustained 3 open skull fractures, 16 crushed vertebrae, 19 broken bones, 11 ruptured discs, and 2 herniations in his spinal cord. He even contracted meningitis lying in the hospital. Following the devastating accident, Young was on morphine for three straight years and then different forms of oxycodone and codeine for seven years. He also took antidepressants for many years due to the terrible depression he was experiencing.

After witnessing the incredible healing power of essential oils in his own life, Young decided to share it with the world and transform other people’s lives. He traveled to study essential oil distillation techniques around the world and learned about the wide discrepancies in the quality of essential oils on the market. He discovered that chemically altered or adulterated oils were often ineffective and even harmful. Rigorous analysis of finished oils was vital to ensuring their purity and potency.

Young started his first organic herb farming and distillation operation in 1993. The company subsequently developed more farmland in Idaho and Utah and built the largest, most technologically advanced essential oil distillery in North America. At the same time, Young established the Young Living Therapeutic Grade standard, which preserves the integrity of natural essential oils. Through its proprietary Seed to Seal production process, Young Living produces the most authentic essential oils in the world today.

In addition to serving as Young Living’s CEO, Young oversees operations on the company’s many farms, directing the growth, harvest, and distillation of the plants. A recognized authority on plant-based therapies, he regularly writes and speaks about the life-changing benefits of essential oils.

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Sep 18 2014

David Craig Utts Helps Execs Supercharge Their Businesses

David Craig Utts is the founder and CEO of BeaconPoint Leadership, a management consulting firm that has helped C-suite executives take their businesses to the next level since 1999. Utts and his company have assisted top corporate, small business, and non-profit leaders recalibrate and turn their vision into reality, boost team performance, and energize the growth of their organization. Clients include AT&T, Cisco Systems, Sallie Mae, Discovery Channel, Ernst & Young, and more.

For more than three decades, Utts has studied, researched, and developed practices that enable leaders to achieve their most important goals faster. He has studied leadership principles, organizational development methodologies, Eastern and Western philosophy, and recent neuroscience findings. Utts has taken what he has learned and created an “operating manual” that supports leaders to grow their businesses at lightning speed.

With over 15 years of experience as a business advisor and executive coach to some of the world’s most prestigious companies, Utts is a regular speaker at the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship Speaker Series and the creator and facilitator of The Leadership Breakthrough Experience event.

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