Jon Werner of KOYA Innovations: “They Told Me It Was Impossible And I Did It Anyway”

Don’t take what naysayers think personally — Be humble in what you are creating as it is hard for people to dislike what you are doing if they feel a connection to who is doing the creating. Trying to outdo a naysayer plays into their game and takes your advantage away from being the most knowledgeable person in the conversation around what you believe.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jon Werner, KOYA Innovations.

Jon recently served as a Senior Director and Innovation Explorer at adidas focused on bringing digital experiences to life for the brand. Before adidas, Jon founded Bones in Motion, a mobile software start-up in 2003 that pioneered using GPS in mobile phones to deliver real-time fitness experiences that was acquired by adidas in 2009 and became the foundation for adidas’ miCoach mobile. He has also worked at several start-ups in consumer electronics, enterprise hardware and software and military software development. His work as a software architect for IBM brought his family to Austin, TX where he still resides. He holds over 50 patents covering user interface design, speech recognition, networking, mobile fitness related software and hardware and other fun stuff. Currently, Jon handles the CEO and CPO duties at KOYA Innovations leveraging over 17 years of building mobile apps based on location awareness.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to ‘get to know you’ a bit better. Can you tell us your ‘backstory’?

Sure. I’ve had a passion for DIY ever since my dad gave me his 10 year old 1966 Mustang. My dad was wise and knew this would keep me focused after school and on the weekends. Making the car my own not only kept me out of trouble, but also opened up a new world.

When I wasn’t rebuilding cars in the garage, I began dabbling with theBASIC programming language on a Radio Shack TRS-80 my junior year in high school. This solidified my decision to pursue a computer science degree in college which jump-started my 35 year career in software development.

My first job out of college was working inside the Pentagon on projects for the Air Force. While fun, the excitement quickly wore off after spending long hours in a windowless office. Working on trailing edge technology wasn’t fulfilling.

I then found a position at a 2-person startup doing advanced software development for the Navy and enjoyed the scrappiness of working lean. In fact, I liked it so much that, outside of a 4 year stint at IBM and 10 years at Adidas, I have found myself working at 6 startups throughout my life.

While I enjoyed programming during the early years, the opportunity to architect projects and work with folks in marketing and business development really helped round out my skillset. These experiences also gave me the push to start my first company in 2002.

Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I’ve co-founded my second startup, KOYA Innovations, with my wife and two eldest daughters. Our goal was to make it fun and easy for people to stay meaningfully connected at the right place and time. We found that maintaining meaningful connections is integral in combating the loneliness epidemic. In the US alone, more than 70% of Gen-Z and Millennials have reported they are lonely. Social networks have been watering down meaningful points of connection over the last decade and KOYA aims to change the narrative. Our vision is to end loneliness by facilitating moments of meaningful connection between friends and family.

In your opinion, what do you think makes your company or organization stand out from the crowd?

Being highly connected to each other and to our friends and family has given us a competitive advantage in that we are creating for others what we have already been doing for the last two decades as a family. We have surrounded ourselves with other highly successful entrepreneurs as key advisors in the areas we need to grow. It also helps that our team places purpose and profitability on the same priority level.

I’m an innovator at heart with over 50 patents and see the intersection of trends in the future that a few times I’ve tried to adopt too early. I believe the timing is spot on for what we are bringing to the market as it solves a problem many people are experiencing right now.

Ok, thank you for that. I’d like to jump to the main focus of this interview. Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us? What was your idea? What was the reaction of the naysayers? And how did you overcome that?

The first startup I did was called Bones in Motion. The problem we were trying to solve was giving runners and cyclists an easy way to keep track of their speed, distance and calories burned. We wanted to automatically track their workouts or race events using a device they already owned — their mobile phone.

An early obstacle we faced was that in 2003 there were no GPS capabilities in mobile phones. Despite this initial challenge, federal E911 mandates began requiring the ability to track the phone’s location when dialing 911. Given our location based services expertise, all of the wireless carriers wanted to partner with us as a way to fulfill the E911 requirements and monetize their investments.

Being on the bleeding edge of technology, we had access to all the new mobile phones that had GPS capabilities and were able to develop a solution that worked perfectly by the middle of 2004. We showed this to Nike in the fall of 2004 and they quickly validated our value proposition and wanted to license the technology once it was available. However, another obstacle we ran into was that the wireless carriers were dragging their feet on turning location based services on and their fall 2004 dates slipped to the spring/summer of 2006!

We had raised enough capital to get us through 2005 and started speaking with VCs for an institutional round of funding to get us to product availability. Armed with accolades from wireless carriers and being awarded the Global Location Based Services award in 2005, we were confident about our ability to close our round. We had a proven demo they could go outside to experience and check for accuracy. We also had filed patents covering the use of mobile app software using GPS to calculate speed, distance, space and calories burned. What could possibly go wrong?

Remember, this took place in 2005, two years before the iPhone with iTunes launched. While iTunes was still a few years out, there were several trends pointing to why consumers would run and bike with their mobile phones. These being the availability of downloadable music on mobile phones and Bluetooth support for wireless listening. However, even with all of this evidence, VCs just couldn’t get their heads around the idea of carrying a mobile phone on a run. We never did close an institutional round, but were able to raise additional friends and family capital to fill the gap.

In the end, how were all the naysayers proven wrong? 🙂

Once we went live on Sprint in the spring of 2006, then on Verizon in the fall, we found market-fit for the service and began waiting for more mainstream GPS enabled mobile devices to hit the market. Verizon highlighted us in commercials and we branched out to Canada, Mexico and Europe with their country specific wireless carriers. Our patents were granted in 2007 and, in the end, Adidas acquired us in February 2009.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I grew up in a home that was super encouraging and believed in my ability to do whatever I put my hands and mind to. That being said, I felt stuck during my college years and it took my wife, then college sweet-heart, to give me a greater purpose to finish strong and achieve my degree in Computer Science (five year plan). I also married into an incredible relationship that trusted in my abilities and allowed me to pursue my dreams, even when times were challenging. We sold our home and emptied our retirement accounts to keep Bones in Motion going. I would not be where I am today without the support of my incredible wife.

It must not have been easy to ignore all the naysayers. Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share the story with us?

I am fortunate to see the world as overflowing, not just half full. I would have to point this perspective back to how supportive my parents were in letting me think for myself and pursue different endeavors. I experienced early that failure was a good thing if it happened fast and you could take your learnings to the next level. For me, failure is simply an opportunity to iterate and makes things better than before.

Back in high school, our junior class sold holly wreaths one fall as a fundraiser. We were not doing that well and school was about to break for the holidays. So a friend and I decided to buy up the remaining inventory at cost and try to make a profit selling the wreaths out of the trunk of our cars in shopping center parking lots. Let’s just say we ended up with a lot of holly decorations at our homes that year. My big takeaway from this experience, as my friend and I were the only ones who believed we could actually succeed, was that we tried together. I believe that resilience is built by having the confidence to succeed and not caring what people might think if you fail.

Based on your experience, can you share 5 strategies that people can use to harness the sense of tenacity and do what naysayers think is impossible? (Please share a story or an example for each)

  1. Be authentic with who you are and what you believe. When the going gets tough and you are pressing through to the finish line, you need all the gas you can muster. If you realize that you no longer believe in the mission at any point, pull the ripcord and preserve your integrity versus trying to prove the naysayers wrong. Because, sometimes they are right.
  2. Surround yourself with those who have diverse ideas, avoiding echo chambers. The world is a diverse place. If you want to avoid being blindsided by naysayers, solidify what you believe through the testing of others in your circle before exposing it to the world. Remember, you need to know more about what you believe than the naysayers and use this to your advantage as you pass them by.
  3. Be available to mentor others through their challenges. Don’t waste your failed experiences, share them with others so the failures have a positive return. Being vulnerable helps those you are mentoring know you are not perfect. We make mistakes but we learn from those mistakes and move on versus dwelling on what could or should have happened.
  4. Always be looking for how to make things around you better. Don’t assume anything is complete. Even the most mundane things, like emptying the cat litter, can be done better.
  5. Don’t take what naysayers think personally — Be humble in what you are creating as it is hard for people to dislike what you are doing if they feel a connection to who is doing the creating. Trying to outdo a naysayer plays into their game and takes your advantage away from being the most knowledgeable person in the conversation around what you believe.

What is your favorite quote or personal philosophy that relates to the concept of resilience?

Never quit something you strongly believe in. I’m also a man of faith and believe in a higher calling and not just swimming with the flow.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I believe firmly that what we are building at KOYA will change the way we relate to one another. It is my desire to see the KOYA platform deepen relationships and help end the loneliness epidemic.

Can our readers follow you on social media?

I occasionally tweet (@jonw) and post on LinkedIn (https://linkedin.com/in/jonwerner). I am happy to connect with you and find creative ways to make the world a fun place to share together.

Thank you for these great stories. We wish you only continued success!


Jon Werner of KOYA Innovations: “They Told Me It Was Impossible And I Did It Anyway” was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Dr. Cortney Baker: 5 Things We Need To Do To Close The Gender Wage Gap

As women, we need to have confidence, self-belief and faith in our significance. When we embrace the fact that we have a unique purpose and importance that goes beyond any accomplishment or title, I believe confidence follows naturally.

As part of my series about “the five things we need to do to close the gender wage gap” I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Cortney Baker.

Dr. Cortney Baker went from teenage mom to becoming the founder and CEO of an eight-figure healthcare business, KidsCare Home Health, servicing over 5,000 special needs children. Leveraging her experiences, she coaches female entrepreneurs on how to start and scale their own service-based businesses. As a leadership expert, business coach, and mother, Cortney is passionate about empowering women to close the gender gap through the power of entrepreneurship. This area was also her area of research when pursuing her Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University. A TEDx speaker, podcast host, and author of the best-selling book, ‘The Ten Do’s and Don’ts for Business Leadership: Lessons to Lead Effectively’ and, ‘Unlimited: Conquering the Myth of the Glass Ceiling,’ Dr. Cortney shares these messages internationally for organizations, associations, and entrepreneurs. Dr. Cortney was named the 2016/2017 Texas Business Woman of the Year, and the Top 100 in Healthcare in America.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the “backstory” that brought you to this career path?

My introduction to the working world was a little different to the rest of my high school classmates! Six months after graduating, I gave birth to my son and became a single teen mom. Surviving on double waitressing shifts and food stamps, I was eventually able to work my way through college and earn my master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology.

I jumped straight into entrepreneurship after college and founded KidsCare Home Health, a pediatric home healthcare agency in Dallas. We’ve grown from just ten patients in the beginning, to an eight-figure national healthcare enterprise spanning 11 cities and three states.

After a decade in business, I decided to go back to school and get my doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership — something I’d dreamed about since those single-teen-mom days. As I began classes at Pepperdine University, I had something of an epiphany. We had an orientation task that involved writing our own 80th birthday toast. I put myself in the shoes of my 80-year-old self, reflected back, and realized I wasn’t living my purpose at all. I didn’t know exactly what that purpose was at the time, but I knew I wasn’t fulfilling it.

A month later, at the age of 37, I suffered a massive stroke in two places and underwent a seven-hour brain surgery. Needless to say, the experience was brutal, but I did a lot of soul-searching during my recovery.

When I returned to my studies, I knew exactly where I wanted to focus my attention: women’s leadership. I wanted to know why there were so few women leaders in healthcare. Despite women making up 80 percent of the healthcare workforce, we only occupied 11 percent of the CEO positions. What was stopping us climbing the corporate ladder?

Through my doctoral research, I found that women face four key challenges in advancing their careers:

1. Family obligations

2. Limited opportunities for growth

3. Gender-based discrimination

4. Lack of confidence

These issues are not unique to the healthcare industry; they’re specific to being female. We’re supposedly more than 100 years away from gender equality at the highest levels of leadership, and that’s not good enough for me or for future generations of women. So with the life and business experience I’ve gained from the past 20 years, I’ve made it my mission to help female entrepreneurs overcome these obstacles and scale their own businesses.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this career?

In May 2018, I was a keynote speaker at a conference in Dallas. A young woman approached me looking, frankly, star-struck! Valerie wanted to know more about my research findings, so I shared my book Unlimited: Conquering the Myth of the Glass Ceiling.

After she implemented the strategies in the book, Valerie emailed me to tell me she’d negotiated a $10,000 raise from her employer, and to ask if I’d consider mentoring her. We met over dinner and she told me she wanted to start her own business when she was “older”. I told her that if she was serious, then I could help her right now.

Four months later, on the sixth anniversary of my stroke, Valerie launched a digital marketing agency called Lumos Creative. Within the year, she was leading a global team of ten.

Can you share a story about the funniest or most interesting mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I first started sharing my research, I’d publish short videos about my findings and strategies on YouTube. I’d get so many hateful comments and messages, usually from men.

One comment was particularly spiteful and offensive, and I found it really difficult not to take it to heart. However, after a little digging, I found that the commenter also published videos with titles like “hot turtle sex”. Suddenly, his critique didn’t feel quite so scathing!

The lesson? As Dr Brene Brown says, consider your source. I learned that only those in the arena with me should be allowed to speak into my life.

Ok let’s jump to the main focus of our interview. Even in 2019, women still earn about 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. Can you explain three of the main factors that are causing the wage gap?

When we compare average salaries by gender, without taking into account variables like job role or qualifications, men are paid around 20 percent more than women. When we look at women of American Indian, Black and Hispanic descent specifically, men are paid 25 percent more.

But let’s take into account those variables. When we do, we see that a woman actually earns $.98 for every $1 an equally qualified man in a comparable role earns. That pay divide increases for women in executive level positions.

Now two cents per dollar may not sound like much of a difference initially, and it’s considerably less than the 20 cents we’re used to hearing about. But when you consider that money compounds and grows over time, those lost earnings are still significant across the course of a woman’s lifetime.

So what’s the cause of the disparity? There are several, but let’s look at the big three.

Occupational segregation

One of the biggest contributing factors to pay inequality is that women are generally employed in lower-paid occupations. Think childcare, hospitality, care work, etc. On the other hand, men are more likely to be employed in high-paying fields like sales, aviation, engineering, medicine, etc.

This is known as occupational segregation, and it usually happens because we’ve been raised according to certain societal expectations and gender norms. In other words, we raise our girls to play with dolls and kitchens, and our boys to play with cars and microscopes. How can we be surprised when they end up in the roles we’ve primed them for their whole lives?

Work policies vs family obligations

To ever achieve gender equality in the workplace, we have to achieve gender equality at home. Studies have shown that for every hour of house or childcare work done by a man, a woman does 1.7 hours. To meet these extra demands, women are more likely to accept lower-paid jobs that offer more flexibility, and they’re more likely to have to juggle work demands during home time. Whether it’s the boardroom or the classroom, they’re always left with the sense that they’re failing somewhere.

At work, mothers experience what’s known as “the motherhood penalty”. They’re perceived as less competent than men and childless women, and this is reflected in their compensation, benefits, and career opportunities.

When women do leave the workforce for their families, it’s not always because they want to stay home. In fact, women who satisfy their personal desire to work are proven to be better psychologically equipped for parenting. They’ve often tried exhaustively to negotiate flexibility at work or extra support at home, but with neither boss nor partner offering any leeway, they’ve felt they had no other option.

What about the child-free woman? Whether she’s planning to have kids or not, many employers assume (not always consciously) that it’s only a matter of time before a woman takes off to start a family. She’s considered more of a risky hire/promotion than her male peers, who they assume will continue their career uninterrupted by family life.

Gender-based discrimination

Women are making great strides in attaining mid-level management positions, but men are still promoted around 30 percent more often early in their careers. It’s not just a simple case of male vs female, though. The reasons are more nuanced.

First, we have the good ol’ boys club. Men have historically held the upper ranks of leadership and the power that comes with it. They get the clout, they hold the purse strings, and they control the resources — and some of them (not all) don’t want to share it with their female peers.

Second, women can be their own worst enemy. When women are underrepresented in a workplace, it creates a sense that there’s only room for a chosen few. Some women react to this by viciously protecting their place at the table from other women. Rather than supporting their progression, their manipulative or underhanded behavior simply perpetuates the stereotypes used to oppress them in the first place.

Finally, women are often led to believe that in order to compete in a male-dominated environment, they have to act like men — and are then penalized for doing so. They adopt stereotypically masculine behaviors like assertiveness, only to be labelled bitches or ballbusters. They’re damned if they do, damned if they don’t, and this “double bind” only gets stronger as they get higher up the ladder. These stereotypes directly and indirectly contribute to the pay gap and have a significant — but vastly underestimated — influence on women’s career progression.

Can you share with our readers what your work is doing to help close the gender wage gap?

We’re currently not on track to achieve gender equality at the C-level for another 100 years. I will not accept that for myself nor for my teenage daughters. I’m committed to changing it, but the only way we can make the change we want to see is to BE the change we’re looking for.

For the last two years, I’ve been helping female entrepreneurs start and scale their own service-based businesses through my two signature programs, From Side Hustle to CEO and Scaling Society. Let’s stop asking for a seat at the table and build our own damn tables!

Can you recommend 5 things that need to be done on a broader societal level to close the gender wage gap? Please share a story or example for each.

Reframe the glass ceiling

I do not believe in the glass ceiling. When a woman accepts she’s going to held back by this invisible force, she surrenders her power. So reject the myth of the glass ceiling and stop perpetuating your own powerlessness! Reframe your perspective and the language you use to describe your journey, and you will better arm yourself to achieve success.

Gender equity starts in the home

Balancing family and career continues to be a source of struggle for women, with little support being offered on either side. When couples split the childcare and financial labor evenly, children are happier, moms experience less guilt, and men are more connected to their families. Everybody wins in an equal home, and there’s a weight of evidence to back this up.

Get comfortable with hard conversations

Conflicts are inevitable on any career path. To be successful, we need to lean into this and master the art of the hard conversation. To communicate our point assertively, but also be respectful of everyone involved. To let go of passive aggression and express ourselves with honesty, compassion and conviction. To give feedback constructively, and accept feedback gracefully.

Women tend to receive more generic, less constructive feedback than men. Rather than actionable points, they’re given fluff and filler. How are we supposed to course-correct or grow from that? If we don’t speak up, then we can’t.

It can be uncomfortable, but all leaders, male and female, should practice giving clear, direct and actionable feedback to women. And women should practice requesting this feedback should it not be offered.

Socialization, media, and playing on the same team

Female workplace harassment is on the rise, and four in five women claim that other women have sabotaged their careers. When women engage in this behavior, they’re only supporting the very stereotypes that are being used to oppress them.

Female aggression is the result of young girls being socialized to internalize their anger. Instead of healthy outward expression, they’re taught to be more indirect and underhand in expressing negative feelings. And of course, they’re not supposed to be competitive, at least not overtly. This is strongly reinforced by the media, with caricatures of bitchy, catty, spiteful women far outnumbering representations of positive female teams or leaders.

If we’re to buck this trend, we need to raise our girls with a strong sense of self, a healthy outlet for their emotions, and an appreciation for competition. Women with solid self-esteem and high emotional intelligence are much less likely to engage in aggressive behaviors, and those who experience competition in a team environment are better equipped to work collaboratively with others.

The definition of confidence

One of the biggest challenges women face in the quest for the corner office is a lack of self-confidence. Regardless of the success we’ve earned, our own insecurities and fears can shape our internal and external narratives. We feel this in every area of our lives — work, finances, parenting, you name it — and it manifests in our relationships too.

My theory is that confidence is found in resilience, which is developed through perseverance. When you face adversity head-on without crumbling. When you have the courage to grow after failure, stagnation, or loss. When you know your purpose and you stand by your integrity.

As women, we need to have confidence, self-belief and faith in our significance. When we embrace the fact that we have a unique purpose and importance that goes beyond any accomplishment or title, I believe confidence follows naturally.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’d start the #screw100years movement, because we’re not waiting 100 years for pay equality! When women gain their confidence, realize their power in a healthy way, and begin to collaborate with each other, I believe we can make tremendous strides in gaining gender equality much sooner.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“In a world full of rhinestones, be a diamond.”

We’re all put in positions where we can decide how we want to show up and who we want to be. We don’t have to accept anything we’re given, whether it be a circumstance or a label. When I was a single teen mom on Medicaid and food stamps, I decided I wanted more. I knew my worth, I showed up, and I built a better life for myself and my child.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this, especially if we tag them.

Dr Brene Brown is doing some incredibly transformational work around workplace culture and leadership change right now. I’m a big proponent of her message and I’d love to see how her work can be used to help decrease the gender gap sooner than the projected 100 years. And as a bonus, she’s a fellow Texan! 🙂

This was really meaningful! Thank you so much for your time.


Dr. Cortney Baker: 5 Things We Need To Do To Close The Gender Wage Gap was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

The Future Of Beauty: The Future of Beauty is Personalization, with Dr Brandon Kirsch of ClearifiRx

The Future Of Beauty: The Future of Beauty is Personalization, with Dr. Brandon Kirsch of ClearifiRx.com

The first thing that excites me is the opportunity to make a meaningful difference with minimally invasive office and home-based treatments. I like to think of meaningful difference as the “man on the street” test. If you were to ask 10 people the age of someone, what would they say? Over the past 10–20 years we have developed dozens of extraordinary tools to make people look younger and more beautiful.

As a part of our series about how technology will be changing the beauty industry over the next five years, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Brandon Kirsch.

Dr. Brandon Kirsch’s work spans the worlds of dermatology, technology, business and law. He is a board-certified dermatologist who started his career as a lawyer and holds law degrees from the University of Western Ontario (LL.B.) and Georgetown University (LL.M. Securities and Financial Regulation). He completed medical school at Brown University, an internship at the Mayo Clinic and dermatology residency at the University of North Carolina.
Dr. Kirsch is the President and Chief Executive Officer at ClearifiRx.com, a dermatologist-led online platform providing personalized prescriptions to treat skin conditions. Dr. Kirsch also serves as Chief of Dermatology for the Naples Community Hospital and is the founder of Kirsch Dermatology in Naples, Florida. He was previously an Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the University of Colorado and Medical Director and Vice President of Clinical Development at Brickell Biotech, Inc. At Brickell, Dr. Kirsch provided leadership and strategic direction for the clinical science team. In his role, he had primary responsibility for overseeing development programs from late preclinical to registration Phase 3 randomized studies.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Great question! I was working as a corporate lawyer in the London office of the law firm Shearman & Sterling. Someone won a record-breaking Powerball lottery back home in the US and it was all over the news. It got me thinking about what I would do with that kind of money. After dreaming of a two-week vacation to Tahiti, it occurred to me what I really wanted was to become a doctor. And then I realized: I don’t need all the money in the world to do that — so I resigned and went back to school.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

While I was in training at the Mayo Clinic, a senior attending physician of mine sat me down and told me that I was the worst resident he had seen. He asked me if I had ever been tested for a learning disability. That was humbling. It wasn’t deserved but it wasn’t unwarranted either. It certainly motivated me to work harder. In retrospect, given the outstanding talent of Mayo Clinic residents, he could have given a worse criticism. I like that story because it is easy to forget the amount of failure that is needed to succeed.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?

There were a lot of times during pre-med and medical school when I thought to myself that learning this stuff might be impossible. I was twenty-seven and I hadn’t taken math or science since the eleventh grade. I would open up a book on calculus or organic chemistry or anatomy and it might as well have been in Sanskrit. I read those books until the pages fell out. I did calculus in my dreams. The tipping point for me was simply realizing that you can succeed just by never giving up.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Dr. Lionel Bercovitch, a pediatric dermatologist at Brown University. I first met Dr. Bercovitch while I was a medical student. It was Dr. Bercovitch who introduced me to dermatology. I remember watching him provide the most brilliant and compassionate care and thinking, I want to be like Dr. Bercovitch! He recognized dermatology as my calling before I did and he has supported me through my career, including advising me to “lose the tan” prior to my residency interviews. There is no way I would have become a dermatologist without him (or met my wife… but that’s an entirely different story).

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The beauty industry today has access to technology that was inconceivable only a short time ago. Can you tell us about the “cutting edge” (pardon the pun) technologies that you are working with or introducing? How do you think that will help people?

The future of beauty is personalization. At ClearifiRx.com, which I co-founded with three other dermatologists, we are relying on several new technologies to tailor dermatologic treatments to each patient, as well as to adapt treatment plans based on individual response.
Analyzing treatment response at the individual level represents a relatively recent paradigm shift in the practice of medicine. ClearifiRx is building a foundation to apply the principles of precision medicine to beauty through the use of virtual visits, biological databases and the application of computational tools for analyzing large sets of data. This has the potential to democratize accessibility to world-class, expert-level care and substantially improve treatment outcomes.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

Clearly, the practice of truly effective precision medicine requires the collection of a lot of detailed personal information from many people. There are ample opportunities for the misuse of that data, which has a tremendous amount of commercial value.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the “beauty-tech” industry?

The first thing that excites me is the opportunity to make a meaningful difference with minimally invasive office and home-based treatments. I like to think of meaningful difference as the “man on the street” test. If you were to ask 10 people the age of someone, what would they say? Over the past 10–20 years we have developed dozens of extraordinary tools to make people look younger and more beautiful. Cosmetic Botox, a relative dinosaur now, is less than 20 years old. The second thing is the focus on individualized care. It has taken us a long time to recognize that a one-size-fits all approach to beauty doesn’t make sense. In this regard, the expectations of the public are shifting, and this will lead to better therapeutic results. The third thing is the scale of effort. We are seeing phenomenal industry growth, which has led to corresponding investments in research and development. Those efforts are definitely starting to yield dividends. For example, at ClearifiRx we are working to leverage emerging third-party artificial intelligence technologies, as well as visual recognition software, with the expertise of leading dermatologists to optimize treatment regimens.

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?

First, there is an enormous amount of “snake oil” in the beauty industry. We are surrounded by endless marketing appeals based on the most superficial of scientific claims. Second, there is an ingrained perception that more expensive is better. Ironically, the opposite is often the case. The large companies with the most scale tend to do the best research and the best job formulating their products. In other words, the $10 moisturizer and sunscreen at your local pharmacy is probably at least as good, if not better, than the $200 version. Third, the beauty industry seems to intentionally promote unrealistic aesthetic benchmarks. What we see in the majority of advertisements are the most naturally beautiful people in the world under special lighting, with professional makeup, after photo retouching. Somehow this has become the standard for beauty and as a result very few people can feel good about themselves. Reforming the beauty industry really comes down to demanding more honesty, transparency and authenticity.

You are an expert about beauty. Can you share 5 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)

1.Do good. I think it is fairly obvious that a lot of beauty radiates from the inside out. The fastest way to feel beautiful from the inside is to help someone else. There is nothing more beautiful than a genuine smile.
2. Exercise. Staying in shape is critical to feeling beautiful. Sweat itself is good for your skin. It is also well known that exercise reduces stress and decreases inflammation throughout your body. This all leads to a brighter and clearer complexion.
3. Diet. Many delicious and wholesome foods contribute to a skin-healthy diet. Nutrient-rich foods help support healthy skin and combat various skin problems, along with boosting your overall health, wellness and energy levels. Along with nutritious foods, drinking lots of water promotes the appearance of a youthful and radiant skin.
4. Rest. Everyone needs their beauty sleep! Frequently, we look tired because we are, in fact, tired. You are also are more likely to make poor diet choices and put off exercising when you are not adequately rested.
5. Words of affirmation. You won’t feel beautiful unless you believe you are beautiful. Based on my experience with thousands of patients, I can tell you with near 100% certainty that you are your own worst critic. That pimple you can’t stop staring at… nobody else even notices. Look in the mirror at least once daily and tell yourself that you are beautiful. Telling yourself you are beautiful is the first step to believing it.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Sadly, we have a real shortage of honesty and authenticity in the beauty industry. I’d like to see a commitment to limiting claims to those based on good scientific evidence. It would also be nice to see more authentic images that do not promote unrealistic expectations.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Muhammad Ali
It has been a sort of a guiding principle to me that if you work hard enough, anything is possible. There have been so many amazing accomplishments that were once thought to be impossible. I think it is best to dream big and then to worry later about how to make those dreams a reality.

How can our readers follow you online?

www.clearifirx.com and @clearifirx on Facebook

Instagramwww.kirschderm.com

@kirschderm on Facebook and Instagram

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brandon-kirsch-md-llb-llm-3b5417111/

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.


The Future Of Beauty: The Future of Beauty is Personalization, with Dr Brandon Kirsch of ClearifiRx was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

The Future of Beauty: Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality in the Retail Environment, with Sonia…

The Future of Beauty: Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality in the Retail Environment, with Sonia Khemiri and Sylvie Giret of Beautyque NYC

Online enhanced experience technology such as what we’re doing with our advanced 3D platform: the ability to provide real time and personalized advice through voice or video assistants, customized skincare and makeup with intelligent mirrors, and various try-on apps are a trend we look at closely, and include in our platform, shoppable live stream.

As a part of our series about how technology will be changing the beauty industry over the next five years,I had the pleasure of interviewing Beautyque NYC Co-Founders Sonia Khemiri and Sylvie Giret.

As beauty brand founders, both Sonia and Sylvie, who are French born and US-based business women, understand the complexities of taking a product to market. It was when discussing their own needs as indie brand founders that Sonia & Sylvie came up with the idea of Beautyque NYC: creating a space that would mix the benefits of a tradeshow, of a showroom and of a retail store, where they could safely engage with customers and take the time to explain their products and brand concepts. They created Beautyque NYC as a disrupter for the beauty and wellness retail industry to elevate the digital platform for independent and emerging brands.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Sonia: Beauty came a bit by accident but being an entrepreneur was already in my head since I was six years old as the teacher asked the students about our dads work and I wrote “Entreupreuneur”. A misspelled word but I loved the word. I was good in math and it was natural to be directed to finance and management. While doing my Master’s Degree in finance I thought I would become a market financial analyst or a portfolio manager and create my own company by 35. It didn’t work out this way exactly. I had extensive and various experiences in the corporate world from being an assistant to a major real estate developer, corporate financial analyst to open restaurants in some parts of the world. At 35, I was a single mom, left my work at Ubisoft Entertainment and decided to start my journey of building a business from nothing. Having psoriasis, I thought of opening an alternative medical center for people with psoriasis. There was no help for this part of the industry in Canada. While looking for another way to do business, I discovered not far from my hometown in Tunisia a new invention to try on my skin, the prickly pear seed oil. It took time to start the business itself, but the luxurious oil helped my skin condition. This in turn led to creating my brand Sunia K. Cosmetics using prickly pear seed oil. I was dedicated to learning everything about the beauty industry. I understood pretty quickly that the market was very challenging and learned what was missing for brands like mine.

Sylvie: After a career in tech startups in Europe, I moved to the US with my family in 2007. I was working for a bank at that time, and it was in 2011 that I started to specialize in beauty, when I created my own advisory firm. I was advising and operating niche beauty, fragrance and fashion brands that wanted to develop in the US. It took me until 2018 to decide to create my own brand, Skinergies, in a category that is largely underserved when it comes to beauty and innovation: sun care. I met Sonia as I was working on launching and developing Skinergies, and Beautyque NYC was created from our own experience as brand founders facing the same challenges, opportunities and frustrations. Either when I was working for other brands, for mine or through Beautyque, I have always been fascinated by the consumer behavior and decision cycle: how do you get the consumer to know your brand, understand it and buy it, when there is so much competition, dispersion and noise out there?

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Sonia: Looking backwards, the most interesting thing that happened is that I never knew where I was going but I always kept the same vision in my mind no matter what happened. I just wanted to be an entrepreneur — my passion was business. Where I come from, a woman is taught to be educated and married and I did not follow that path. There was always an invisible drive that let me move from Tunisia to Montreal to NYC. NYC was not a planned destination. I had an offer as a financial analyst in NYC while I was living in Montreal. I moved with my daughter, met my actual partner, built two beauty businesses and I have a great business partner. Life is full of surprises if we keep moving toward our goals.

Sylvie: There are many since there have been so many different chapters in different industries, different countries and different environments. The one I want to mention is when I left the bank I was working for in NYC from 2008 until 2011. I was left high and dry with no work authorization (I only had a resident visa through my husband), I had just turned 40 and I had to decide what to do. This is when I decided to pursue my career on my own and create my own company, which would be an advisory firm for French companies willing to develop in the US. I hired an immigration lawyer, applied for my own work visa, created my business plan, got my first clients and off I went. I did not have a clear idea of what I was doing but I was moving forward and creating something (making decisions — good and bad, and getting things done as my two early mentors taught me to). Two years later I had specialized in beauty, and I had a team of 10 people working with me.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?

Sonia: Yes there is. There are probably a few with bumps in between. The most recent one is creating what we have now. It’s innovative, exciting and serves an important purpose. Every time there is a tipping point or some sort of accomplishment there is almost a similar pattern behind: believe in what we want to accomplish, be aware of our weaknesses and strengths, work hard and smart and adjust to the circumstances.

Sylvie: Most of my career has been about experimenting and trying new things so I had many tipping points. From tech to beauty, startups to government organization, large banks and my own firm, from Paris to London and New York, I had to reinvent my career and adjust constantly. I have been rather successful through every chapter, but my satisfaction comes from being an entrepreneur. It is however extremely difficult and challenging, and creating Beautyque is certainly the tipping point of my short but intense entrepreneur career: what Sonia and I are creating checks many boxes, both on our own personal levels and the business side.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Sonia: I won’t be able to name only one. The first people who helped me indirectly is my mom and dad. My mom is a very detailed oriented person and my dad a hard-working entrepreneur. Even if I had that in my DNA, life didn’t go without bumps and sometimes big ones. When times are tough or there is doubt these two people are there for me, my daughter who gives me the continuous drive with her contagious energy and my partner’s trust, his belief in me and the fact that he never judges me. I didn’t like to have bosses, but one boss had a large influence on me and he was always saying to me, method, discipline, precision. Did not forget that.

Sylvie: Two of my bosses in my early career helped me a lot. They had one principle in common that they kept repeating, and I still remember it fondly and I use it every day: make decisions every day and get things done. You’re going to make bad decisions and good decisions, but at least there will be good decisions in it.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The beauty industry today has access to technology that was inconceivable only a short time ago. Can you tell us about the “cutting edge” (pardon the pun) technologies that you are working with or introducing? How do you think that will help people?

When COVID-19 hit, we were somehow forced to transpose our physical concept into the digital space. Creating a 3D space that was “mimicking” the real store was a start. Combining the 3D with an e-commerce platform is new and has never been done before: giving it too much thought, we created the first 3D store in the beauty and wellness industry. A 3D alone is not enough to recreate the sensations of a real store. In a real store people enjoy the environment, try the products, can talk to a sales associate for more info, they can browse, smell, touch, attend events… these are all the features we are adding one by one, and we have a lot more in the works. While smelling and touching may not be an immediately available option, if the technology allows it, we will include it. This new way of shopping is a convenience for shoppers because they can enjoy the space, they can meet the brand’s founder and learn about the story behind each brand, attend product demonstrations, attend live events, talk to a Beautyque specialist and shop, all that in the comfort of their home. They don’t wait in lines, risk their safety and they have the experience while shopping online.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

We don’t really see a drawback but a reality check: humans are social by nature, they need to go out and about, meet people in person, touch, smell, feel and this is all part of our mini daily experiences, what makes us whole.

While some of it may be possible with VR in the near future, nothing will ever replace the feeling of the real. So hopefully this digital model can soon be mixed with a physical one, that we had to put on hold because of COVID.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the “beauty-tech” industry?

The top 3 trends that we are closely looking at include:

Online enhanced experience technology such as what we’re doing with our advanced 3D platform: the ability to provide real time and personalized advice through voice or video assistants, Customized skincare and makeup with intelligent mirrors, and various try-on apps are a trend we look at closely, and include in our platform, shoppable live stream.

The use of data (the “big data” trend) to optimize consumers’ experience and brand’s performance, whether in a development or pre-launch mode, is fascinating and at the core of what we do.

The acceleration of Augmented reality, Virtual reality and mixed reality in the retail environment is something that we are looking at very closely. Like the ability to see the whole product in 3D, the ability to move it, touch it.

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?

We are certainly not here to give anyone any lessons or pretend to be better but again, Beautyque was born out of a need that we identified as brand founders. Our two brands are of high quality and fill a need but could never reach the shelves of traditional retailers because they were missing something: our experience made us identify a white space, and even if we all agree on the fact that not all beauty brands are meant to succeed, it is somehow to the consumer to decide what they want.

Our #1 thing is that the retail market is organized around the offer rather than the demand or the customer needs: retailers need products that sell. It is first of all about trends, for many of them the result of fears: the all natural / clean beauty trend is not based on any skincare rationale, it is the response to years of abuse and of brands — large brands first — putting all sorts of junk in their products. There was absolutely a need for improvement, but it is going so far that it is almost killing skincare innovation. All the science that is out there, whether for anti-aging, skin conditions treatment or else, is being seen as suspicious. Retailers — and other market players such as the media — managed to make consumers believe that the only way to be safe was to use all natural/clean products, also making them believe that this was the answer to all their skincare needs.

Another aspect of it is money: only brands that can spend 1M$+ in their first year can imagine succeeding. Money buys visibility and traction, and this is what retailers are after: they need products that sell well and easily. Although it is somehow understandable, this is cutting out many valuable brands that don’t meet these criteria.

Our #2 thing is that beauty is still very limited to skincare and makeup. But for us, beauty starts in the head, it’s mental and emotional balance, and it is everything that makes a woman — or a man — feel confident and beautiful: intimate care, sexual wellness, skin care, make up, nutrition, fitness etc… and it’s not only through buying products and always more products: it’s about learning, testing, and thinking.

Last but not least: inclusivity and diversity. Just by watching YouTube randomly, you can tell that beauty is still very coded and conservative. We believe that beauty has nothing to do with age, looks, skin color, figure, religion or else. Each individual has the right to feel and be beautiful. The same way as brands have the right to play, even if they don’t meet the absolute standards that are dictated by retailers and other market players. Our motto is: let the consumer decide what they want.

You are an expert about beauty. Can you share 5 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)

Well-being beautiful starts in the mind and we’re not always thinking about it as we may be on automatic pilot.

– Take the time to appreciate who we are: look to yourself in the mirror and appreciate what you see. Sometimes just saying it out loud may change your perception and make your day brighter.

– Awakening your senses: Being involved with life and all the chores we have to do we tend to forget about our femininity and sex appeal. We do not have to look to someone else to appreciate us, we have to look inside ourselves to do it first. The rest is necessary to connect to our senses and at times we need some tools to reconnect to our feelings. Music can help, smells, and touch that can remind us of moments of the past where we were feeling attractive is a way to shortcut that.

– Take the time to take care of ourselves: take the time to do your nails, to do our skincare routine, make up, dress up accordingly, change style… all of this not done for anyone else, just to ourselves in order to feel good about ourselves

– Acknowledge and appreciate our strengths. Understand and accept our weaknesses: and if we want to improve it, have the courage to do so.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

#Beautyquefest a festival celebrating beauty in all colors, age, sex, religion… a party where everyone will put themselves at their best. We help them do that and party together. A semi-annual event where thousands of people come to celebrate and enjoy their life and celebrate their beauty.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Sonia: If someone can do it, then I can do it! That comes from my dad. It was relevant for me as I learned to study what people do to get where they are and I do the same if that’s what I want, but different in my way. It just gives me the confidence to do it.

Sylvie: Do not let anyone decide for yourself. We are all surrounded by people who want to give us advice and “help” us. Listening to the right people is important making sure we don’t listen only to what we want to hear is too, but at the end of the day, we are the ones who decide what we believe in and we want to do. Especially in business.

How can our readers follow you online?

On Instagram https://www.instagram.com/beautyquenyc/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/beautyquenyc

Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/company/beautyque-nyc

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.


The Future of Beauty: Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality in the Retail Environment, with Sonia… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Tatsuya “Tats” Nakagawa of Castagra: How to Use LinkedIn To Dramatically Improve Your Business

Reach out to people that share your interests and values. LinkedIn gives you the option of following people instead of just asking for a connection request. This gives you an opportunity to build a relationship without pushing them for connection requests. Once you develop some dialogue with them, you can send a connection request. It seems simple, but I don’t see this method being used very often.

As part of my series of interviews about “How to Use LinkedIn To Dramatically Improve Your Business”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tatsuya “Tats” Nakagawa.

Tatsuya “Tats” Nakagawa is the Co-Founder and COO of Castagra, a sustainable roof coating manufacturing company. Castagra’s Ecodur roof coating is used by world-class companies such as General Mills, Tyson Foods, Sysco, NFL, MLB, and McDonalds. Ecodur was also voted top “Greenvention” by the reality show Dragons’ Den.

He has launched hundreds of products and services, co-authored the book “Overcoming Inventoritis: The Silent Killer of Innovation” (forward by Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple), and spoken to a variety of industry groups including: Chartered Accounts of Canada, Canadian Bar Association, The American Chamber of Commerce, and The International Internet Marketing Association.

He’s also written articles for Fast Company, Construction Today, and Industry Week, and has been quoted on CBS News, Global TV, CBC, The Globe and Mail, and BC Business.

He is the host of the popular C-Suite Network podcast, Specified Growth Podcast (check out his podcasts at www.tatstalks.com). The podcast features interviews with leaders who have overcome adversity, built massive organizations (zero to $100 million+), and made a positive change in the building materials and coatings industry.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

It’s a pleasure doing this interview with you!

Growing up, I had a lot of business ideas that were fun but didn’t go anywhere. Deep inside, I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur — but I needed more help to get there. When I was in college, I was seeking out a mentor. A friend of mine then introduced me to Peter Roosen, a gifted inventor.

Sometime around 2009, one of Peter’s non-competes ran out (for those who want to know more about what a non-compete is, you can read more from this link). He worked on a building materials product that he built out and sold to a Fortune 500 company. In the process, he accidentally created a great coating technology. There were field trials in many different coating applications such as roofing, flooring, ferry decks and so on. It showed great promise, but nothing was done to commercialize it further. We decided that there was an opportunity to form a company and develop new intellectual property to redeploy this technology. Hence, we started putting up a company. We then came up with our company called Castagra, a combination of two words: Castor, which is from castor oil, our main ingredient, and Agra, which we picked up from the word “agriculture”.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

This is my favorite story to tell.

While we were getting ready to organize in launching Castagra, we came across a reality game show competition through Dragon’s Den.

For those that don’t know, Dragons’ Den is a TV show in Canada like Shark Tank in the US that features five to six top business leaders (at the time, leaders like Robert Herjavec and Kevin O’Leary were on the show) who evaluate and potentially invest in businesses and new products, which the hopeful entrepreneurs pitch on the show.

At the show, there was a competition called “Greenvention”, which was not part of the regular reality show. However, they have put that in place to search for the top innovative green solution in the country. This was way better than the show’s original format since contestants could win the top cash prize worth $100,000 without giving up any equity.

Contestants from all over Canada then poured in, and about more than 4,000 businesses were ready to take their chances to win the jackpot. Stakes were indeed high.

We thought it would be great if we chose our plant-based coating and building material technology called Ecodur. Our only challenge was, “How do we make coatings look great for TV? It’s not like paint, but it’s just as boring watching its cure.”

We struggled with it for a while and suddenly, it occurred to us — we can present it similar to a cooking show, like Martha Stewart!

We would mix the ingredients in front of the Dragons and pour the substance into a frying pan. Due to its fast curing abilities, the coating would cure and stick to the Teflon frying pan right before their eyes. It worked, and we won! The show aired a total of twelve times and reached millions of viewers around the nation. Essentially, we received $100,000 plus millions of dollars of free exposure. Thousands of emails and calls poured from all over North America. The response was overwhelming.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When we were first starting out my business, I took a business trip which took me along the coast of California towards San Diego. We saw a beautiful sandy beach, so we decided to stop by and enjoy the beach and its ambience — but also get some work done. You know those ads you see where people are young and retired, sitting with a laptop by the beach, checking their investments or working comfortably? Well, that’s the image I had in my mind when we stopped by the beach.

Back to the scenario: so we stopped by the beach and there is a beautiful harrier jet flying slowly towards the aircraft carrier parked nearby. It was like a scene from a movie. I opened up my laptop, and suddenly, a gust of wind blew a whole bunch of sand on our laptops! We then spent the next two to three hours getting the sand out of the cracks of our keyboard.

Don’t trust advertising! I still get a laugh when I think how naive I was when I first started. I guess we all have to learn.

Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?

This is a good question which I usually start by giving out a little trivia. Let me share a “once upon a time” moment with you.

In Baku, Azerbaijan, a certain Garry Kasparov with the original name Garri Weinstein or Harry Weinstein, was born on April 13, 1963. He was a Soviet-born chess master who became the world chess champion in 1985.

You’d probably ask: how did he pave his way to being the world chess champion in 1985?

Kasparov found himself fascinated with the world of chess at a very early age, 6 years old. He then studied under former world chess champion Mikhail Botvinnik from 1973 to 1978. At 13 years old, he became the Soviet youth champion. When he became 16, he won his first international tournament in 1979. In 1980, he became an international grandmaster.

While being a prodigy in the field of chess at his time, the young Kasparov also encountered a setback. Though he was the first world chess champion to be defeated by a supercomputer in a competitive match, he was hailed as the youngest world chess champion at the age of 22 years old.

So, what does this tell us?

Even for the chess genius Kasparov, it took him 11 years to become a true expert (as a grandmaster).

In my opinion, there are two ways to become a recognized industry expert. You can either:

  1. Spend 20 or more years honing your craft and credibility through conferences, TV shows, content marketing, and others; or
  2. Carve out a niche in an area where there are currently few or no experts.

Say you choose the latter, now you ask yourself: What type of niche should I go for?

Technology, for one, is a good area.

For example, there is a new technology platform that’s released and you jump on board then quickly become extremely knowledgeable in it. Since it’s new, you’re not competing with people with a lot of experience.

When LinkedIn was first released, I was one of the early adopters of the tool. I moved in quickly and became an expert. I was so excited about the potential that I assembled a team of people that went around and promoted it.

What was the upside of that activity? I was invited to speak at countless business associations. I even went to a women-only business association only because they couldn’t find a women expert to speak.

Would I have received those same invites as a marketing speaker? No.

But at the time, I was the only LinkedIn marketing expert so I always got the call.

So with that being said, it pays being first in the industry to fast-track your expert status.

Let’s talk about LinkedIn specifically, now. Can you share 5 ways to leverage LinkedIn to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.

1. Cultivate a network of like-minded people.

LinkedIn is filled with millions and millions of people — it can actually be overwhelming. I know some people that mindlessly send out connection request after connection request, hoping for a good result.

I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t work. How would you feel if you got random request after request?

Instead of doing that, reach out to people that share your interests and values. LinkedIn gives you the option of following people instead of just asking for a connection request. This gives you an opportunity to build a relationship without pushing them for connection requests. Once you develop some dialogue with them, you can send a connection request. It seems simple, but I don’t see this method being used very often.

2. Use value-added DMs (direct messages) or post comments to build relationships.

The number one goal of any social platform is to eventually get to a one-on-one conversation. That conversation could be via phone, video chat, or in person. The important thing is to take time and cultivate the relationship before reaching out. I get tons of direct messages that are in person which are sales pitches outright.

Stand out from the crowd by being thoughtful and respectful of people’s time.

Ultimately, the approach you should take would be similar to what you would do if you were at a face-to-face event. Going around shoving your business card in people’s faces will not get results. Sending vague requests for meetings or messages asking to pick someone’s mind will be ignored. But a thoughtful well-researched value-added message will have an extremely good chance of getting a response. Quality is a lot better than quantity.

3. Share valuable content with your network.

When you open your LinkedIn from desktop or on your mobile app, what do you see? You see post after post of information and it can be overwhelming. Many of the posts will either be ignored completely or flipped past without taking a closer look.

However, if you’re like most people that have certain contacts and certain people with the same interests within their network, you will take the time to stop, listen or read, and understand their message. Those people deliver value with the content they provide. If you’re not delivering value yet, check your contacts that you look forward to seeing on what their next update will be — I’ll give you a hint of what type of content adds value to you and others on the platform.

Engagement and conversations generated from your content will lead you to better relationships that will ultimately allow you to have better conversations and other opportunities that will come to you in the future.

4. Respond to all thoughtful requests.

It’s easy to get jaded by the number of messages that you get on LinkedIn, but always remember: there is a real person on the other end. Assuming they’ve taken the time to write you a well thought-out message that you find sincere or thoughtful, always take the time to respond to their message. If there are certain questions that you get asked over and over, you can create a valuable response to their question. You don’t need to type it from scratch every time. You can use a tool like a text expander to write your detailed and valuable response to their question which will be helpful to the people that reach out.

5. Send invites out to people you meet.

Make it a habit to send out LinkedIn requests to everyone that you meet. This includes vendors, partners, friends, anyone. Making this a habit, and it will grow your network quickly and allow you to have bigger reach into the network.

Depending on the type of network you are in, you can also include your LinkedIn profile links on your email signature bars, business cards, and article bios. You may also consider opening up your DMs so people who are not yet connected to you via LinkedIn can send you messages as well. This is a personal preference — some people want a bit more privacy than others, but for people that want to meet as many people as possible, this is applicable.

Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I want to help people think bigger and live up to their true potential. I believe that all of us have the ability to positively impact at least 2 million people in their lifetime.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I would love to interview Bill Gates, Warren Buffet or Elon Musk on my podcast Specified (www.tatstalks.com). I mean, who wouldn’t? They’re one of the most successful and sought-after business tycoons and philanthropists of all time. I could pick up a lot from them and I would definitely be the luckiest man alive if I get to sit on a breakfast or lunch with them.

Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!


Tatsuya “Tats” Nakagawa of Castagra: How to Use LinkedIn To Dramatically Improve Your Business was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Podcaster Scott Aaron: How to Use LinkedIn To Dramatically Improve Your Business

The best content practice that you should initiate in your business, is providing one piece of content a day. It does not matter if it’s a post, article or a video. Just make sure that you do not sell or pitch in any of the content that you put out on the platform. Your network is looking to engage with you and learn from you at the very same time. This is something that I learned very early on when using LinkedIn. The more that I give to my audience, the more they give back to me. Ask questions in your content. See what their take-a-ways were. Find out their pain points and the problems they are having so you can be the authoritative leader to provide a solution.

As part of my series of interviews about “How to Use LinkedIn To Dramatically Improve Your Business”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Scott Aaron. Internationally acclaimed and award-winning online marketer, 2x best-selling author, top podcaster and speaker, Scott Aaron, is the go-to specialist when it comes to converting traffic, establishing connections, creating income, building brands and businesses using LinkedIn. Fully immersing himself in learning LinkedIn and social media strategies, Scott quickly gained traction as a leader in generating big results for other entrepreneurs, online business owners and business coaches. Scott is passionate about helping fellow business owners achieve success while building their own network organically without complicated and costly marketing tactics. His program has helped thousands experience explosive growth following his simple, strategic and effective system. People-focused and result-driven, Scotts strategic approach to teaching others how to create wealth online and organic traffic, is the game changer when it comes to competing in a saturated digital world.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Over a 23-year professional career as a personal trainer, business owner and coach, I realized I had a gift. I had a gift of building trust, rapport, relationship and connection with other people. As social media started to take over, I found myself feeling very disconnected on Facebook and Instagram. A lot of “posting and praying” and “scrolling and trolling” was a big part of my day. Then one day I stumbled upon LinkedIn. I had a profile, but I had no concept of how to use it. But as I had done so many times before, I figured it out. I realized that in today’s overcrowded social “selling” media world, LinkedIn is the ideal place for anyone who has a business that relies on human connection to build their business, brand and bank account. My strategy is simple. Use LinkedIn for what it is best used for: Creating human connection, rapport, trust and relationship with those that could benefit from you, your service or your product. It is also the most organic way to grow a huge network of those that actually want to hear how you can help and assist one another.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

Starting at a young age, I learned the importance of being resilient. When I was 18 years young, my father made a poor business decision that landed him in federal prison for 24–36 months. Prior to leaving for prison, my father (with the help of my 2 grandfathers) purchased a failing health club in downtown Philadelphia. Little did I know that this gym would one day become mine. As we drove my father to prison, I had a lot of thoughts running through my mind, none of which were business related. That was all about to change. When we pulled up, the guards were waiting to escort my father into the prison. But prior to exiting the car, my father left me with a message that I will never forget….”Now you are the man of the house!” Those words have never left me. I was an 18-year-old kid now responsible for running a health club with no prior experience in business, wellness or being an adult. I always stress to people that you are always dealt certain hands in life. Some you want to fold and some you want to hold. I can honestly say that I have not folded a hand yet that I have been dealt. Being resilient is my superpower and it is one that we can all access if we truly want to.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

One of the funniest mistakes I made when I was first starting out with my business utilizing LinkedIn, I was messaging people the wrong way. Namely, doing too much copying and pasting and forgetting to change the person’s name when sending the message. As much as we want to automate certain aspects of our life and our business, sometimes you need to slow down in order to speed up.

The big lesson that I learned from that mistake, was to really do my best to be as genuine, authentic and real as possible no matter what I was doing on the platform. If it means me taking a few extra minutes to make a message ultra-personal in order to establish that connection, then I was going to take that extra step.

Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?

In the beginning of my business journey in building it online, Facebook was most effective to increase my business revenue. That all drastically changed in 2015 due to the changes in the algorithm of the platform. That is what really drew me to LinkedIn. What I realized is in order to create more business revenue, as a business owner, you must have more conversations than anyone else. Most people are waiting for those to reach out to them on Facebook and Instagram, we’re on LinkedIn, you do the genuine reach out to start conversations. It’s all a numbers game.

One of the best stories that I can share is when I was going through this process of beginning to use LinkedIn, I happen to be reading a book called “Go For No”. The title of the book says it all. “Yes, is the Destination, but NO is how you will get there “. This rang so true for what someone needs to do on LinkedIn. The more NO’s that I collected; the more Yes’s started to show up. The more Yes’s that started to show up, the more my business’s revenue started to increase. This is a simple formula that can be applied to any business.

Let’s talk about LinkedIn specifically, now. Can you share 5 ways to leverage LinkedIn to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.

There are five simple but yet effective things you can do on LinkedIn to drastically improve your business.

The first thing is to make sure that your profile is optimized. What I love about LinkedIn, is when Microsoft bought them out a number of years ago, they embedded SEO on all of our profiles, so they are more searchable, visible and able to be connected with. There are specific keywords that you must have on your profile to appear in the searches for those individuals that you seek to connect with. This is something that I understood for the onset of me using LinkedIn. If I wanted more speaking engagements, client acquisitions and podcast interviews, I had to have those keywords fluttered throughout my profile.

The second thing that you should do is defining your client or business avatar. In other words, the person that you are most likely to want to engage with, the person that you are most likely to network with or the person that is most likely to purchase your services. This became crystal clear to me when I started to close more business on the platform. When you are super specific with the network that you were building, it raises your chances and ability to close more sales to grow your business using LinkedIn.

The third thing that you should focus on is the proper way to message a contact. For those that are reading this, I am sure you can relate to me when I say that I have been victimized by a lot of people sending me unwarranted messages on LinkedIn that are 18 paragraph long drunk-a-logs trying to sell me. That is not going to get me on a phone call or a zoom meeting with you. What I found is that there is a strategic and best way to message someone on LinkedIn. This took me years of crafting and perfecting messages that are getting back the responses I required in order to build my business. When sending a message make sure that you craft your message by stating the person’s name first. The next thing that you want to do is bridge the gap between the other person and yourself, stating the connecting point of why you should connect without trying to sell them. The final thing that you should do is to end your message with a call to action. Always remember, questions lead to answers and statements lead to nowhere.

The fourth thing that you should focus on within LinkedIn is using the automated notification messages that you were provided each and every day to reengage with all the connections that you have not spoken to in a while within your network. The great thing about LinkedIn is just that. The platform truly wants you to continue building meaningful and genuine business relationships with people on the platform. Use these automated messages that are given to you every single day in the notification section of the platform to your advantage. You don’t have to get fancy. What I found was, the more of these messages that I sent out every day, the more reengaged conversations I would create. This truly creates more leads than you have time. Which my friends, is always a good problem to have.

The final thing that you must do to grow your business using LinkedIn, is providing relevant, educational and informative content. The best content practice that you should initiate in your business, is providing one piece of content a day. It does not matter if it’s a post, article or a video. Just make sure that you do not sell or pitch in any of the content that you put out on the platform. Your network is looking to engage with you and learn from you at the very same time. This is something that I learned very early on when using LinkedIn. The more that I give to my audience, the more they give back to me. Ask questions in your content. See what their take-a-ways were. Find out their pain points and the problems they are having so you can be the authoritative leader to provide a solution.

Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

The big movement that I am seeking to inspire others to latch onto, is the movement of understanding that we are all perfectly imperfect just the way that we are. Our flaws and our imperfections are what make us so special and so unique. It is my dream and mission to see people acknowledging and harnessing the power of who they are. Watching them step into that power each and every day being their true, genuine and authentic selves unapologetically. When we all realize that this is a superpower that we all possess, I truly believe the world will be a better place, because everyone is showing up the way they should, not the way they feel they have to.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

There are so many people that I would love to have a private breakfast with, but who I would love to sit down with right now is Gary Vaynerchuk. What I admire so much about Gary is his willingness to fail in order to succeed. His willingness to try new things to see how far he can stretch himself and his businesses. Him and I have a very similar work ethic where we could do business all day, every day. But everybody needs to shut it down at some point so they can recharge their battery, in order to show up the proper way each day for those that look up to them. But the thing that I admire most about Gary is his unique way of being able to create genuine and authentic human connection no matter if it’s 1 to 1, or one to many.

Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!


Podcaster Scott Aaron: How to Use LinkedIn To Dramatically Improve Your Business was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Ari Katz of Sperling Dermatology: Why You Should Not Aim to Look Like an Instagram Celebrity

Don’t try an be an Instagram celebrity — so many of the photos we see on social media are completely filtered and doctored so that people appear to have perfect bodies, skin, hair, etc. Don’t try and hold yourself to this level of beauty as it’s not realistic, nor authentic.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Ari Katz. Ari is the Owner and Managing Partner of Sperling Dermatology, a multi-location NJ-based Dermatology practice. Sperling Dermatology was recently recognized as the #1 CoolSculpting Provider in the USA, as well as the #1 EMSCULPT provider in New Jersey, and is proud of their over 1,000 FIVE STAR patient reviews. Ari oversees all sales, marketing, and operations at the 3 office locations, and manages its 30+ staff members.

Thank you so much for joining us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

That’s easy; I married a Dermatologist! In all seriousness though, I never would have imagined I’d be running one of the fastest growing and highest grossing spas in the USA — we were recently recognized as the #1 CoolSculpting provider in the country out of more than 4,000 providers! As a natural born salesman, I spent the first 10 years of my career focused on selling enterprise marketing and technology solutions into small businesses across the country. This really gave me the knowledge and experience to help my wife grow her Dermatology practice using the same digital marketing and sales strategies I had been utilizing for other small businesses for many years.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Honestly, it might seem a bit cliché to say (because it’s so recent and current), but trying to manage and transform a business amidst a pandemic has probably been the most interesting experience of my career. From the early months of trying to limit all expenses and conserve cash, to the very difficult experience of having to temporarily furlough almost 30 employees, to the current challenges of trying to restart a business in a totally new environment, I have learned and experienced more in the last 3 months than I could have ever imagined.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?

Truthfully, the tipping point for me was when I learned that listening was way more important than talking. The more I listened, the more I learned about what my customers wanted, and the more able I was to custom tailor a solution to their problems.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have been extremely fortunate to have had incredible leaders, role models, and mentors throughout my career. One of the greatest was John Berkowitz (current CEO of Ojo Labs in Austin, Texas). John is one of the best business leaders (and people) I know, and what I always admired about him was even when he made decisions that not all of us agreed with, we never questioned his integrity or fairness, and in the end, almost all of his decisions turned out to be the right ones. It’s incredibly important to have a leader whom you trust, and someone who can see the big picture even when you can’t.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The beauty industry today has access to technology that was inconceivable only a short time ago. Can you tell us about the “cutting edge” (pardon the pun) technologies that you are working with or introducing? How do you think that will help people?

That’s a great question. Honestly, I always kind of laugh when people refer to me or my company as “marketing geniuses” because truthfully, we really aren’t doing anything that special. It only looks special when you compare it to the rest of the beauty industry. We use a combination of traditional digital marketing, like advertising on Google, Facebook, and Instagram, in order to drive leads for our business. Once someone submits their info to us (name/phone/email), we have a team of WFH women who are passionate about our brand, business, and services, who follow up with the leads, and help them book an in-person (or virtual, in COVID times) consultation. We also leverage a combination of email and text message marketing in order to help nurture our customers along their journey with us. And finally, the last piece of the puzzle for us is our Ecommerce strategy. We were one of the first companies in our space to offer patients the ability to purchase their cosmetic treatments online and last Black Friday we did almost $300K in sales.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

I think in general, ensuring privacy on all pieces of customer data is the biggest concern as marketing technologies continues to evolve. Making sure to always abide by HIPPA laws, and taking all necessary measures to protect personal data has to be a top priority for any business. It’s pretty crazy how much some of the biggest companies out there like Google, Amazon, and Facebook know about us.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the “beauty-tech” industry?

1) I love how many NON-INVASIVE bodysculpting treatments are coming to market recently. Treatments like CoolSculpting, CoolTone, EMSCULPT, EMTONE and EVOKE are some great examples. Not having to deal with needles, surgery or downtime and still getting incredible results is an absolute game changer for our industry!

2) I love how much our KOL’s (Key Opinion Leaders) are willing to share with the rest of the industry about their learnings and experiences. The more we share with each other, the better our industry will be as a whole.

3) I am excited about the ability for patients to give true and authentic testimonials of their experiences with various cosmetic treatments and providers. Websites like RealSelf and HealthGrades allow patients to share their own before and after pictures, and share their entire cosmetic journey — the good, bad and ugly — with others. The more info like this we can share, the more informed our patients will be, and hopefully it will lead to having more realistic treatment expectations, and better patient outcomes.

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?

1) Providers who set bad expectations for patients is probably one of the biggest threats to our industry. Telling someone they will go from a size 6 to a chiseled 6-pack after one round of CoolSculpting is the best way to guarantee the next “CoolSculpting doesn’t work” post. We need to set better expectations for our patients and it starts with authentic, un-doctored before and after pictures.

2) Providers who violate various treatment MAP (minimum advertised pricing) policies are also a threat to the industry as (a) they cheapen the overall perceived value of the treatment and (b) they force the rest of their local competitors to follow suit in order to stay competitive. Providers need to respect the MAP policies of their treatment partners as they are put in place for good reason!

3) In general, bad patient outcomes are always a concern. Providers need to follow best practices, and always abide by FDA guidelines on all treatments.

You are an expert about beauty. Can you share 5 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)

1) Beauty is in the eye of the beholder — don’t worry about what you think “beautiful” is supposed to look like, worry about you yourself feeling beautiful both inside and out. Your perception is your reality!

2) Get a good night’s sleep every night and drink lots of water. When you feel your best, you will look your best, and sleep and hydration are a big part of that.

3) Don’t try an be an Instagram celebrity — so many of the photos we see on social media are completely filtered and doctored so that people appear to have perfect bodies, skin, hair, etc. Don’t try and hold yourself to this level of beauty as it’s not realistic, nor authentic.

4) Be yourself, and be proud of who you are. Confidence is key, and no matter what you look like, you are beautiful in your own way. Never forget that.

5) Write down 5 things that you consider to be beautiful traits that have nothing to do with looks — things like being a good, honest, loving and caring person — and then ask yourself if those are ways people would describe you. If you don’t say yes to all of them, then work on those things. The more you work on being beautiful in a non-physical, non-visual way, the more beautiful you will become all around.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would love for the whole idea of money to disappear. As a father of 3 small children, it is very depressing sometimes thinking about how much time I am missing with my children in order to work because I need to make money to provide for them. If I didn’t have to worry about work or money, I would literally spend all day every day exploring the National Parks, riding horses, boating in lakes, and traveling the world with my family. Then again, with no money, I’m not sure how I’d be able to afford to do all that… oh, well.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My father always tells me: In the end, it will all be good… and if it’s not all good, then it’s not the end. I just love that quote!

How can our readers follow you online?

www.SperlingDermatology.com
www.Instagram.com/SperlingDermatology

Thank you so much for all of these great insights!


Ari Katz of Sperling Dermatology: Why You Should Not Aim to Look Like an Instagram Celebrity was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Chandra Gore: How To Thrive Despite Experiencing Impostor Syndrome

I was able to shake the feeling of being an imposter by having a very hard conversation with myself. I sat down and made a list of why’s. When I noticed that the common words of the list were Fear, Scared and I don’t — that was when I had to check myself. I had to become fearless and stop being afraid of being what I knew I could do. I had no choice but to be fearless if I wanted to be successful.

As a part of our series about how very accomplished leaders were able to succeed despite experiencing Imposter Syndrome, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chandra Gore.

Chandra has built successful and profitable businesses through her boutique consulting and public relations firm, Chandra Gore Consulting, working with entrepreneurs to help them create foundations to ensure longevity and growth. Quietly making strides with placements for small businesses, entertainment, authors, therapists and motivational speaking clients on local and national news outlets she has also been leaving her mark as a publicist in the industry. She is also an author, speaker, podcast host, festival founder and producer.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

My entrepreneurial spirit started at an early age. Working alongside my father within his many businesses as well as his colleagues; I was a sponge soaking up the ins and outs of how businesses are started, ran and sometimes fail or succeed. I used this knowledge at the age of 18 when started my own baking company which blossomed into a full-service catering and event planning company. I used this same drive while working in the private sector in various careers that allowed me to learn more and grow.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

The most interesting story at the moment in my career was when I was able to secure a placement on a major podcast and work with some amazing producers to help with the placement. I mean it took months to get the placement on this national podcast for Wrongfully Convicted persons. I was unsure if I would be able to land it but that was the moment I knew I had to stop letting fear dictate my thoughts. My former client also got to attend an event with some of the most amazing people.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I feel my company, Chandra Gore Consulting stands out because we are more than just business development consulting, we are also a public relations firm. I have the ability to assist businesses and individuals in creating successful businesses and then securing media placements to showcase their great work.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

The persons who I am most grateful towards are my grandfather (Father) and Great Grandmother. Without the love and guidance from them I would not have been able to stay focused or to even learn from some the mistakes I have made. My grandfather who I will forever call my Father raised me. He used to push me to always follow my dreams. I remember when I was 18 and was unsure on if I should launch my baking business. He said words that have remained with me to this day, “If you don’t believe in you then no one else will”. This has been my mantra from that day forward.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the experience of Impostor Syndrome. How would you define Impostor Syndrome? What do people with Imposter Syndrome feel?

My definition of Imposter Syndrome is the fear of knowing you are worthy and knowledgeable of your craft and yourself. People with Imposter Syndrome will have extreme self-doubt, appear to be envious of others and have a negative mindset.

What are the downsides of Impostor Syndrome? How can it limit people?

The downsides of Imposter Syndrome are not being able to complete projects (quitting), constant negative demeanor and no forward progression. It can severely limit growth and elevation from a starting point.

How can the experience of Impostor Syndrome impact how one treats others?

Imposter Syndrome can cause one to treat others with mistrust and skepticism. It can cause someone to push those who believe in you away and when people try to show they care they will be met with rejection and aggression.

We would love to hear your story about your experience with Impostor Syndrome. Would you be able to share that with us?

My experience with Imposter Syndrome has caused me to miss out on so many opportunities. I would pass projects that were created for me to others or not give 100% or quit. I felt that my voice would not be heard or that I did not have the experience needed to make an impact. I would intentionally miss deadlines because I did not have faith in myself. It became draining and made me want to quit.

Did you ever shake the feeling off? If yes, what have you done to mitigate it or eliminate it?

I was able to shake the feeling of being an imposter by having a very hard conversation with myself. I sat down and made a list of why’s. When I noticed that the common words of the list were Fear, Scared and I don’t — that was when I had to check myself. I had to become fearless and stop being afraid of being what I knew I could do. I had no choice but to be fearless if I wanted to be successful.

In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone who is experiencing Impostor Syndrome can take to move forward despite feeling like an “Impostor”? Please share a story or an example for each.

If someone is experiencing Imposter Syndrome the 5 steps I suggest they take are to:

  1. Remember why you started your journey — I have had to take my ideas and businesses back to platform to rebuild and remember why I even embarked on the journey to bringing my idea to life.
  2. Self-Care is important — To avoid burnout and the feeling of wanting to give up. Take time to care for yourself — Mentally, Physically and Emotionally. There were times when I did not sleep and thought if I took a break I would not be successful. This will help you to work with a clear mind and see your worth.
  3. Avoid comparing yourself to others — I used to always pay attention to other consultants and publicists and wonder why my brand did not look as polished as theirs. You have to put your blinders on and understand that you deserve to be where you are. You have the knowledge and skillset and you determine the metric of your success.
  4. Be realistic in your goals and plans — I would write down these lofty goals and plans that I knew in the back of my mind were unattainable. The moment I began to be real with myself that is when my feelings of being an “Imposter” began to dissipate.
  5. BE FEARLESS — Fear is the largest contributor to the mindset of Imposter Syndrome. At the beginning of my journey to overcome Imposter Syndrome, I found that fear was the root of my feelings of being an imposter. I would self-sabotage by not giving my full efforts or even backing out of projects giving into my fear of not being worthy. I found that when I conquered my fears about success and became comfortable with knowing and owning my greatness I broke the hold and became unstoppable.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

The movement I would want to inspire is community outreach and activism. Being connected to your community is key to growing as a person. Where you make your home should be very important. You have the ability to have your voice and help others have their voices heard by participating in your local community. Be it a town council, farmers market or grocery co-op, you can create a bond with your community.

We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂

I would love to sit and have a meal with Karen Civil. She has been my mentor in my head since I saw what she did with Lil Wayne in keeping him connected to his fans while he was in jail. Karen is the ultimate branding and marketing strategist. She has written books that have helped others and myself and is a brand of her own. Just to be able to sit and discuss with her what I have planned for my entrepreneurship journey and how I am able to create strategic plans for others would be amazing.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

facebook.com/chandragoreconsulting

facebook.com/chandragore01

instagram.com/cgoreconsults

instagram.com/conversationswithchan

twitter.com/cgoreconsults

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


Chandra Gore: How To Thrive Despite Experiencing Impostor Syndrome was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Author Kelly Roach: How One Can Thrive Despite Experiencing Impostor Syndrome

…The more action I took the more skills I developed, and the more confidence I had in my ability to do what needed to be done. I had to develop mastery and the only way to do that was to commit to being the absolute best, and then doing the work to make that happen.

As a part of our series about how very accomplished leaders were able to succeed despite experiencing Imposter Syndrome, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kelly Roach.

Business strategist Kelly Roach transforms overworked entrepreneurs into seven-figure CEOs, by teaching them how to leverage timeless business principles, employed by billion-dollar corporations, with the speed and agility of the most powerful online marketing strategies of today. Prior to starting her own company, Kelly spent years in corporate America, rising through the ranks of a Fortune 500 to become the youngest VP in the company. Kelly is not only a best-selling author but is also an ongoing television business expert.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

Growing up just above the poverty line, in a family of 5, I decided early on that things would be different for me and my children. I worked hard growing up, scrubbing toilets to pay for dance lessons, and working multiple jobs in college. After graduation, I got an entry level job in sales, for a Fortune 500 company. In eight years, I was promoted seven times to become the youngest VP in the company. I led my team through the recession of 08’-10’, without letting a single person go. In fact, we had record breaking sales that year. As I was climbing the corporate ladder, I realized that I was making millions of dollars, working 60+ hours a week, for OTHER people. When I thought about what I wanted in terms of lifestyle, that was not it. So, I started my business on the side, while continuing to work my corporate job, and built that company for two years before quitting. I relied on lots of hard work, my sales skills, and an unstoppable mindset to help me build what is now a multimillion-dollar business coaching company with over 500 clients, across the globe.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

So, this technically happened just before I started my career, but was a defining moment for me. At the time, I was a Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleader, and the year I joined, instead of doing their traditional swimsuit calendar, they decided to do a lingerie shoot instead. I knew that I wanted to build a career in business and that this shoot could do long-term damage to my career, so opted-out. The consequence? Missing out on an incredible trip to a tropical location, and all kinds of media and opportunities that came from the shoot (for the other girls). While I did not know exactly what my future career would look like, I knew that this was not a smart long-term play for me. That decision shaped how I made decisions for the rest of my career. I was able to handle the consequences and am now so thankful I made that choice, way back when!

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I think the thing that makes my company stand out is that we are obsessed with getting out clients’ results. A lot of coaches in the online space are more concerned with making things easier for themselves. Our company is willing to go above and beyond to make sure our clients have what they need for absolute success. We are not willing to let go of human interaction for the sake of ease and automation. We are there for our clients and constantly improving the program so they will never need to go anywhere else.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

My first mentor in the Fortune 500 world challenged me beyond belief. He was the toughest coach and hardest “boss” you could ever imagine. He saw the potential in me before I saw it in myself and pushed me to be my absolute best. He was the first person to encourage me to think big and begin to chart my own path to greatness. Many others who had the same opportunity to coach with him mistook the high bar he set for them as “unreasonable” and “too tough”, For me, he was a catalyst for achieving my highest potential and for that I will forever be grateful.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the experience of Impostor Syndrome. How would you define Impostor Syndrome? What do people with Imposter Syndrome feel?

Imposter syndrome is that feeling like you do not belong. It is feeling like people are going to find out you are a “fake” despite having experience and are accomplished in an area. Imposter syndrome can leave you with a pit in your stomach and a sense of anxiety around being “found out!”

What are the downsides of Impostor Syndrome? How can it limit people?

Imposter syndrome keeps people from acting, which ultimately keeps people from developing skills and confidence. It keeps people playing small, and never allows them to develop the mastery that comes from doing.

How can the experience of Impostor Syndrome impact how one treats others?

Imposter syndrome leads to either a sense of resentment towards others who are achieving the things we want to achieve, or a constant feeling of unworthiness around those who have accomplished big goals. It hinders your ability to connect with people in an authentic way.

We would love to hear your story about your experience with Impostor Syndrome. Would you be able to share that with us?

When I was still working full time and building my business on the side, I was getting my clients superior results, but always had this pit in my stomach, like I wasn’t really an entrepreneur because I wasn’t doing my business full-time. I would ask myself if I was really qualified to lead people this way. At that point I had been in a coaching program for about two years. When I looked around, I realized my business and brand was growing faster than those working full-time in their business even though I was only spending a couple of hours per day on mine. That’s when the switch flipped for me and I realized that it’s not about how much time you have but about how you spend the time you have and the results you get your clients. That realization is what made me absolutely obsessed with getting my clients the best possible results and it helped me deal with the imposter syndrome I had been experiencing. Having to work full-time and really focus on efficiency turned out to be one of the best experiences ever because it forced me to focus on only what grew the business. I didn’t have the luxury of working 40–50 hours a week, so I had to make it work in the little bit of time I did have. That truly played a huge role in catapulting my company to success.

Did you ever shake the feeling off? If yes, what have you done to mitigate it or eliminate it?

Yes! The more action I took the more skills I developed, and the more confidence I had in my ability to do what needed to be done. I had to develop mastery and the only way to do that was to commit to being the absolute best, and then doing the work to make that happen.

In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone who is experiencing Impostor Syndrome can take to move forward despite feeling like an “Impostor”? Please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Set a clear goal for yourself. Who do you want to be and what big things do you want to accomplish?
  2. Determine what skills and experience you are lacking.
  3. Do the work to learn those skills and take action to gain that experience.
  4. Do not allow small failures to derail you. They are normal. Pick yourself up and dust yourself off, then get back to work.
  5. Celebrate the incremental improvements and the milestones you accomplish on the way to your big goal.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would love to see more entrepreneurs leveraging their earnings to give back. Last year I moved my coaching company to a 1:1 giving model. For every new client we add to one of our coaching programs, we donate to the foundation I started, that has three core focuses for philanthropy. I believe that if people are equipped to find financial freedom for themselves, that they can leverage that freedom to make a huge impact on the world. So, as I coach entrepreneurs, my hope is that more of them will adopt this model and leave a legacy that goes far beyond making lots of money.

We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂

Oprah Winfrey is the most fascinating businessperson that is ever lived. There’s been almost no unpacking of how she became what she is. This is something that should be studied for generations because clearly, she has an understanding of business building and brand, and authenticity, and reinvention, and overcoming obstacles, and determination that the average person can’t begin to comprehend. I would love the opportunity to explore, and uncover and understand her perspective on business specifically, and learn from her and her success.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You can connect with me inside my free Facebook group: The Tribe of Unstoppables where my team and I go live with highly valuable weekly trainings on everything from social selling to messaging, to packaging and pricing you online offers. You can also check out my podcast, The Unstoppable Entrepreneur Show, wherever you listen to podcasts! I have got 5 years of weekly episodes available for binging!

You can also follow me on:

Instagram — @kellyroachofficial

TikTok — @kellyroachofficial

Twitter — @kellyroachlive

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


Author Kelly Roach: How One Can Thrive Despite Experiencing Impostor Syndrome was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Interior Designer Perla Lichi: 5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Living Space Spark More Joy

Sometimes a mistake makes you creative and It eventually becomes a better design by turning on your creativity.

As part of my series on the “5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Living Space Spark More Joy”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Perla Lichi.

For over 38 years, Perla Lichi Design is a full-service Florida State-licensed professional interior designer, and a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). Perla Lichi Design is known to create spaces based on individual style. Perla Lichi works individually and personally with clients in order to design the ideal space. Their versatile portfolio includes a wide range of contemporary/modern, classic, traditional and transitional design. Perla​ Lichi has received more than 650 national and international awards for residential and commercial interior design projects. Perla Lichi has published six coffee table books showcasing her extensive design work and offering design inspiration to people around the world. For more information visit the company website at www.PerlaLichi.com or view Perla’s work directly on Instagram @PerlaLichi .

Thank you so much for joining us in this series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I originally planned to be a fashion designer, but along the way developed an interest and a critical eye for interior design. I won a full tuition paid scholarship for interior design. It was my destiny. It chose me. Therefore, for 38 years, I’ve stuck to my passion for design — interior design

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

When I started my business in South Florida, I had an increased demand for my work in Dubai and other Middle Eastern countries, so it led me to doing many “Palaces” which kept me very busy working for the royal families. I manifested the process… started out very “modern”, but then the market turned into preference of a Mediterranean style to a point where Royalty made me (Perla Lichi) the IT designer of the region. Now it’s come full circle back to a modern style — today.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Sometimes a mistake makes you creative and It eventually becomes a better design by turning on your creativity.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I’ve evolved into working on interior design projects with places of worship such as Synagogues, home renovation is in demand due to COVID-19, realizing how important home is today.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Never say never,” which sums up my passion to get things going and done properly with sweet success.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Inspiration has been my family and children who helped me stay focused on my work and love for my trade.

Thank you for that. Here is the main question of our discussion. What are your “5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Living Space Spark More Joy” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Color is key
  2. Open up the room space
  3. Get rid of clutter
  4. Proper usage of mirrors reflect the right elements
  5. Use lots of Pillows

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

“Love thy neighbor regardless of color, race, age, weight and more….”

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this, especially if we tag them 🙂

Elton John. I love his style, grace and forward thinking way…. Plus his wardrobe!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

@PerlaLichi

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!


Interior Designer Perla Lichi: 5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Living Space Spark More Joy was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.