18 Business Champions for Entrepreneurs

We all have special people who have crossed our paths this year. Some touched our lives, our businesses in small ways, and others left an indelible mark, pushing us to new heights. For this post, I wanted to shine the spotlight on each of our heroes to say “Thank you!” for being pivotal in our businesses, and asked –

Who is the one person who has been instrumental to your business success this year, and how did they leave an impact?

My thanks to those of you who responded last week to share the names and stories of those who’ve had the most impact on your business this year. I hope that as you read the comments from our contributors you will reflect on those who have been instrumental to your growth in 2011. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to say thank you to your heroes, now’s the time. I can guarantee it will be the best Christmas gift you could give.

My clients have brought the biggest value to my life and business this year. You know who you are, and I wish to thank you for allowing me the honor of working with you and watching you soar! It has brought me great joy. Thank you!

1. Gary Keller, Thank You For Limitless Thought.

Gary Keller, owner of Keller Williams Realty, has taught me the true value of searching for that one thing in life that draws a limitless passion from inside of you and infects everything else in my life. It’s called the ‘Big Why’. In doing so, the limits I had always placed on myself have disappeared. Now, instead of hearing a voice that says “Randy, you can’t do that”, the voice I hear is “Okay Randy, let’s find a way to getting it done”. It has produced a sense of freedom that cannot be explained.

If I could have one wish in the world right now it would be to give this gift to all of you reading this little blog. Thank you Gary for planting these seeds in me. I can never thank you enough.

Thanks to Randy Morrow of Keller Williams Realty–Divorce Specialist

2. My Social Media Guru!

Hands down, my business champion of 2011 is my social media guru, Kevin Gonsalves http://www.kevingonsalves.com He took me from being a naysayer on Twitter and Facebook to understanding the ins & outs in 2011! He didn’t laugh at my dumb questions (and I’m sure there were a lot of them) He simply showed patience and empathy as I began to build a social media presence for my business. I give him full marks for learning about my business and helping me a build a winning social media strategy of building layer upon layer of awareness using a nice combination of blogs, Facebook, tweets and email marketing.

Thanks to Christy Cook of Teach My

3. There’s Something About The Name “Kimberly”

The person who has been most instrumental in my success this year has been Kimberly Castleberry of AskKim.com. She is a blogger who I connected with a while ago, slowly learning my way around the WordPress platform. I’ve bookmarked her blog, using it as a reference source for my work online. She’s presented many opportunities for her followers, including The Challenge and a webinar about Facebook. Every time I think I’ve learned it all, Kimberly shares information and opportunities that teach me something new and valuable that has an immediate impact on my blogging business.

Thanks to Kimberly Gauthier of A Novice With Moxie

4. My Business Champion Is…

Derek Halpern! I can’t quite remember how I came across Derek, but I started following his blog http://www.socialtriggers.com a few months ago and have learned so much from him. One thing I love about Derek is that he doesn’t try to sell endlessly to his followers- rather he focuses on producing great content that’s backed up with great research and gives it away for FREE! I’ve implemented several of his suggestions on improving business/blog websites and have seen a big improvement in the number of people who subscribe to my newsletter. Derek is definitely one of my business inspirations and I’d definitely recommend other entrepreneurs follow his blog.

Thanks to Victoria Olubi of My Curls

5. Steve Gladis Is An IMADduian

Dr. Steve Gladis is an iMADduain. His impact goes beyond being one of our best supporters, he is frank, direct, and provides multiple perspectives on situations that we bring to him to review. Dr. Gladis is a guiding light to us when we need to make a strategic decision and first in line to white-wall brainstorm with us. Whether leading the group Young Business Leaders in Fairfax, VA or providing time-saving, valuable reviews on lots of interesting books through his blog (http://survivalleadership.blogspot.com), Dr. Gladis is always pushing us to learn, teach, grow, and give back. He has encouraged us to follow this quote by Maya Angelou, “When you learn, teach; when you get, give.” The focus on others keeps our eyes on making a difference.

Thanks to Mona Anita Olsen of iMADdu (I make a difference, do you?)

6. My Business Rock Star

I would really like to thank Bill Sumner with The Inevitable You for making a tremendous impact on my business this year. The work you have done with me individually and with my team, will grow and strengthen us for years to come. I appreciate your expertise, impact, and attention to our needs as a business and as humans. We are mighty firewalkers!

Thanks to Matt Shoup of Become an Award Winning Company

7. Eileen – A True Business Coach

For more than three years I tried to set up my own online business without getting anywhere. And then I had my first private coaching session with Eileen Gordon from http://www.onlinebizboss.com on September 14, 2011 and since then have not only written a book about back pain and created a full online course on how to heal back pain for good, but also have my website up and running. In only three months she took me from nowhere to having a business with a brand name. Her step-by-step tutorials, her personal approach to my specific needs, and her advice were invaluable in this process. However, her greatest asset is that she is a visionary – she can see beyond what you think is possible for you and gently, but persistently, guides you there. Thank you, Eileen. You are my 2011 business champion.

Thanks to Connie Merk of Heal Your Back Pain

8. My Mom For The Win!

My number one inspiration; my number one business advisor; my number one mentor is my mom. She is a brilliant business woman and I have learned, and continue to learn so much from her. I don’t always take her advice, but I always want to know her opinion. She is a constant inspiration and I hope to be as good a business woman and mentor as she.

Thanks to Lauren MacEwen of SM Cubed Consulting

9. Thanks For The Juice

The first person that I would thank this year is Greg Hoffman of Greg Hoffman Consulting. Hoffman is an outsourced affiliate manager (OPM) and he also hosts a radio show called Affiliate Juice. Our affiliate program was blossomed this year, and Hoffman allowed us to have a spot on his show one week. During the show, he promoted our program multiple times and we eventually garnered a bunch of new affiliates because of it. Also, Hoffman had a giveaway for one free gold pass to Affiliate Summit East and we actually won. There, we networked and spoke with dozens of interesting people in the affiliate sphere. Since we are doing so well, we gave away three of our own gold passes to the 2012 Affiliate Summit West.

Thanks to Michael Pesochinsky of GovernmentAuctions.org

10. My HeRole

WOW! This was truly a hard question to answer. There are so many people who touched my life in 2011, taught me so many things. If I have to pick one person I would say Hanif Russell, Chairman and CEO of Black Business Works Inc. He taught me confidences in networking. I learned the power of building business relationships and the power of follow-up.

Fundamentally I knew these things, Mr. Russell took those fundamentals to a whole new level when he started BBW, to help business owners and entrepreneurs learn how to build and keep lasting business relationships. He is an example of professionalism, grace, humility and a go-getter. I think he is one of the people to watch in 2012. I am proud to call Mr. Russell my HeRole.

Thanks to Eula M. Young, COO of Griot’s Roll Film Production & Services Inc.

11. Merci Beaucoup, Tim Paulson!

There are a few people who come to mind when I think of the coaches and other supporters that have championed my business over the past 12 months, but I owe the most to Tim Paulson, “The Head Coach of Coaching.” Tim took me from being a complete novice in the world of coaching to being the “Paris Muse of Time Management.” He helped me design my first coaching program in 2010 and gave me the tools and inspiration to take that business to the “next level.” When I decided to seek out a new niche market this year, he introduced me to my first JV partner to help me accomplish my goal. He also referred me to a major thought leader in the industry who is ready to partner with me on future ventures. I would not be where I am today without him. Thanks Tim!

Thanks to Monique Y. Wells of Understanding Time Management

12. Thanks To The Youngest Self-Made Billionaire

We want to go ahead and thank Mark Zuckerberg. The reason we are thanking him first is because of the power that Facebook has on small-businesses around the world. Without Facebook, our business could not thrive. Our company utilizes Facebook to promote our mega-prize giveaways that we run every few weeks. In just two short months, our Facebook page gained almost 6,000 new members. People from all over the world like our updates, comment on our statuses, and converse with each other through this great social medium.

Thanks to I. Aronovich of Awardable

13. If BRAIN CANCER Does Not Slow Him Down, Then My Small Hurdles Should Be NOTHING!

We are all handed challenges in life, some minor, some more daunting. With those challenges come choice. This year I have been inspired, to say the least. As I watched a close family friend experience a life challenge most could not imagine, I found myself in complete awe. If he took more than 30 minutes total to feel like a victim, I would be shocked. He approaches every day as a gift.

Thinking of calling in sick today? This guy gets up daily, and heads to work with excitement. Takes a quick lunch break for chemo and radiation combined, then comes back to tackle the rest of his corporate day. After work, yes, then there’s family time with his wife and two kids. And he does it again tomorrow. Every day is a choice. He chooses optimism and ambition. A priceless lesson for us all.

Thanks to Amber Schaub of RuffleButts, Inc.

14. You Really Helped Us With Public Relations!

If we had to thank anyone this year, it would definitely have to be Peter Shankman. This year, with his help, we have been featured in hundreds of different media outlets. His HARO newsletters allow us to respond to reporter’s queries, which then gets our business mentioned in their articles, blogs, or broadcasts. We’ve had many profiles done on our company and also been mentioned is large media outlets.

Thanks to Elik Aaron of SaleRacks

15. Thanks For The Support!

A big thank you will have to go out to Brian Littleton, who is the CEO of ShareASale. With his guidance, we created and successfully grew and sustained our affiliate program. He has personally answered any queries or concerns that we had about his network and affiliate marketing. His answers provided us with a clear understanding of our inquiries and we took his advice on those aspects. Our program has been on the rise ever since we joined the ShareASale network and we continue to grow everyday.

Thanks to Max Aronson of Government-Auctions-Guide

16. Singing For The Rainforest

I am still in amazement when I reflect upon the impact Rickie Byars Beckwith made on the Rainforest ECObank project this year. When she heard we were being taped for a BBC reality tv pilot, she composed lyrics on only a moments notice, to fit the forest theme AND taught her entire Choir to sing them for the cameras to roll. Seriously, all of this with only minutes of preparation!

Agape International Choir’s “Rainforest Blessing Song” became our best viral video on YouTube, and has helped to raise money for 833 trees to be planted in Brazil, to date. The video’s still doing its work on our behalf, and I’m one of Rickie’s biggest fans for life.

She demonstrated that running a socially responsible business, can be a lot more fun than I’d ever imagined!


Thanks to Alana Lea of Rainforest ECO

17. HOT HOT Partnership

We met in IBIZA, just said hello. Two years later, I called, we met in an infrared spa…a sort of SWEAT LODGE! We discovered our connection, shared values and desires for the future. It is not a partnership where I am in BED with someone financially. It is a partnership where we align on a vision and give support to each other using our gems of communication which brought us together initially in IBIZA.

This partnership has launched a project for us that lights us up and is appropriate to the world of business: media. Neither one of us ever had experience in this area, yet we are inspired, turned on and taking on leadership in the field of Feminine Leadership! This outcome would not have been possible by myself!

Thanks to Beverly Dombroski of BeverlyD Luxe Organic Hair

18. Thank You, Mr. Chairman.

This year, the biggest thank you has to go to the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke. In 2011, the economy was still in turmoil and Bernanke tried to help out the market by lowering mortgage rates to all-time lows. This greatly helped our cause due to the fact that our site provides information to find the greatest foreclosure deals happening around your county. People started buying again, our site became a hotspot for people to find a great home for an ever better price.

Thanks to Eli Israel of Foreclosure Magic

Thanks so much again to all our wonderful contributors for sharing your best business champion for 2011! We hope to hear from you again. And to all our readers, if you have an innovative idea to share, we hope you will leave it in the comments below.


If you found me via helpareporter dot com (HARO) and am so happy to be connected through this blog! Going ahead I will no longer be posting my queries to HARO, so if you’d like to receive my weekly announcements of new blog opportunities, please sign up for my special Question of the Week list.


If you have a question that you would like to see addressed on my blog please leave it in the comments below, and your topic might be featured on an upcoming post.

Thanks for reading!

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  1. Posted December 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Remembering those who have had positive influences in our lives is a good thing. We should do it regularly, and let them know it.

    • Posted December 19, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Randy, Thanks for your contribution and shout out to your business champion. It’s important to take the time to say thanks for those who make a difference for us. 🙂 Shannon

  2. Posted December 19, 2011 at 10:33 am | Permalink | Reply

    Why thank you for your kind inclusion. Huge thanks and big hugs to Kimberly for the kind words. Kimberly is a serious go-getter and doesn’t let anything stop her. Such a treat to work with!

    • Posted December 30, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

      It’s always great to learn about amazing people, so I am so glad that Kim shared your information with us! Shannon

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