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Bethany Hamilton: Discover Hope in the Hard Things

We all have a story. And we are currently living it out. Gradually twisting and turning with sweet victories and sometimes bitter defeats. A mixture of honey and salt, like lemons and lemonade. Large or small, we encounter challenges as we live out our stories. Maybe you know “salt” as trials, tribulations, tests, traumas, hurdles, bumps in the road, setbacks, or heartbreaks. But regardless of the name, these more difficult aspects of life are part of the human experience. Where we differ is in whether we let the hard things we encounter define us. Does this salt enhance the flavor of our life or is it overpowering and making it something we can’t quite stomach? My story shifted significantly when I was 13. Faced with a trauma that altered my body, I had to answer: how will this affect my story? Fortunately, back then I had a steadfast mindset that presented only one option: move forward in faith and trust that out of bad can come good. Without knowing it I maintained a perspective that was focused on achieving the

Felicity Aston: Journey into the White

She became the first woman to ski solo across Antarctica and into the Guinness World Records. She felt like a speck in the frozen vastness. Every direction she turned, she could see ice stretching to the horizon: white ice and blue ice, glacial-ice tongues and ice wedges. There were no living creatures in sight. Nothing but her. It’s exactly where British explorer, Felicity Aston, wanted to be. The pure whiteness surrounded her as the sound of the plane faded into the distance, disappearing into the emptiness of the colorless landscape. That last churning of the propeller signaled the end of her connection to human civilization. There were no tears to cry, only frozen droplets that fell from her eyelids and sprinkled on the snow like diamonds. “The first time it really struck me was when the plane dropped me off (at) the beginning of my journey, and I watched it disappearing into a dark blob (in) the sky,” she recalls of her adventure. A Solo Endeavor It was hard to breathe, and each time she exhaled the moisture froze on

Chloe and Maud Arnold: Sisters with Rhythm and Shoe

This sister act helped pioneer a tap dancing renaissance, tapping their way to success and stardom. Fierce Footwork As children, Chloe and Maud Arnold were usually heard before they were seen. In unison they count “Five. Six. Seven. Eight.” followed by the pitter patter of their fancy footwork — it became their calling card. They danced virtually everywhere they went. Their passion and aptitude for dance was plain to see, especially in tap. Their parents supported the “fierce footwork” of their daughters, and encouraged each hip sway, jazz kick, and paradiddle. Those tap dancing girls became tap dancing divas, grabbing the attention of mega-stars like Beyonce, Ellen Degeneres, and world-renowned dancer, Debbie Allen. The attention isn’t unwarranted, these dancing sisters are raising the bar on what it means to dance out loud. Mentored by a Legend  Eventually, the sisters tapped their way into the graces of dance legend, Debbie Allen, who mentored the girls and their talents, ensuring that they were ready for success early on. At the age of 16, Chloe was cast in Allen’s play, the Brothers of

Sean Bandawat: American Made Entrepreneur

By establishing trust and perceived value, he turned a dying business into a thriving family of businesses. About 60 years ago, a young man named Warren Buffett bought a small, troubled New England textile company called Berkshire Hathaway.  He turned it into a property and casualty insurance company, then a holding company, and then he became the richest man in the world using Berkshire as his investment vehicle. We recently had the pleasure of working with another young man, Sean Bandawat, who may be on the same path! Fostering a Business Mindset From a young age, Bandawat witnessed his father, who was a successful entrepreneur, in action.  More importantly, his dad was his hero, role model, and primary business advisor.  While in college at the University of Southern California, Bandawat creates several internet-based businesses —most notably RateMyFraternity.com and RateMySorority.com, allowing students to learn and read reviews about fraternities and sororities across the nation, and College Zoom, a counseling service that helps students apply to America’s best universities. Bandawat attended USC Marshall’s Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, perhaps the best

Words of Wisdom: Insightful And Provocative

“Change Your Thoughts and You will Change Your World…” Dr. Norman Vincent Peale How does this work you may be asking? Change your thoughts and you change your world? I believe it’s true, but before I explore how it works, I want you to take a minute or two to think about how you experience the world around you. And to help with that, I’ll describe two extreme worlds knowing that you are probably somewhere in-between. Two Extreme Worlds One extreme world tends to be chaotic, urgent, full of busyness, and has an overall sense of feeling overwhelming. This world tends to be unpredictable and uncertain which leads to feelings of worry, fear, depression, anxiety, and loneliness. The other extreme world is the complete opposite. It’s calm, less busy, pleasant, and full of deep, meaningful relationships. This world leads to feelings of optimism, fulfillment, hope, excitement, and a sense of community. Okay, so how does the process of changing your thoughts to change your world work? What Dr. Peale is referring to is more than just your thoughts. He’s referring to

Bobby and Tia Norfleet: A Win for All

Like father, like daughter. They’re setting the pace for equality on and off the track. Bobby Norfleet is in a race without a finish line. As a retired NASCAR driver, he is no stranger to competition, overcoming obstacles, and achieving one’s goals, but his drive wouldn’t let him stop after his laps were done. Norfleet is now retired, but as one of the pioneer African American NASCAR racers, he says he’s obligated to introduce more African Americans to the joys of NASCAR racing. He vowed to not let injustice, ignorance, or bigotry stand in his or other African Americans way as they pursue the sport. Instead, he’s gone full-throttle to help NASCAR become more inclusive by mentoring other African American drivers. And, his most prized protege — his daughter Tia Norfleet — is on her way to her victory lap. Getting off the Back Roads Born in 1960 in Savannah, Georgia, during the Civil Rights era, Norfleet heard about protests and sit-ins to overcome ideologies associated with white supremacy, black inferiority, and segregation. Norfleet remembers watching his brothers street race

Auntie Anne’s Pretzels: Life Is As Twisted As A Pretzel

Navigating through the twists and turns of life created one of the world’s most successful franchises. The origins of Auntie Anne’s pretzels are anything but ordinary. The real Auntie behind the popular pretzels navigated a series of unfortunate events and tragic personal loss to come out the other side with one of the most successful franchises in the world.  The aroma of freshly baked goods and homegrown happiness permeate the air when you enter an Auntie Anne’s pretzel store. No matter what location around the globe, the fresh smell of soft pretzels never changes. Like being home, you are greeted by a familiar smile and served familiar delights. Many people ask if there is a real Auntie Anne behind this universal feeling of cheer brought on by the delicious twists of dough. Who is Auntie Anne? Over half a century ago, a girl sat at her doorstep awaiting her parents. With a horse and buggy, they made their way down to the 100-acre farm with the buggy bumping and grunting behind the tired horse. She saw them in the distance

Jim Murphy: Flying High in the Corporate Cockpit

Trained to connect strategy with execution, this F-15 fighter pilot developed a powerful concept for growing businesses. The Start of Greatness He exuded an aura of confidence, standing center stage to deliver his inspirational and illuminating message, in a dark green military pilot jump suit. It was adorned with the badges of an experienced airman. The audience expected to hear about war, about planes, and harrowing tales. They sit and listen as his commanding, yet approachable voice filled the room. “It’s a great time to execute and take market share!” he says. Wait, what? Market share? To their surprise, this airman is not only a master of advanced aviation, he’s also of a brilliant business mind. Corporations stand in line to gain an understanding of his winning concepts. Upping the Execution Game When everything is life or death, there’s no room for mistakes. Jim Murphy sat in the cockpit of an F-15, as he had done thousands of times before, but this time, he made a connection that would change his life forever. Murphy reflected on the last few months and

Mitra Shahri: Fearless, Focused & Funny

Standing Up for Justice in more ways than One Monsters Revealed  On October 5, 2017, despicable sexual misconduct charges exploded across the headlines when the New York Times outed entertainment mogul, Harvey Weinstein, as the sexual predator he’d long been alleged to be. A New Yorker article soon followed with enough new accusations and salacious details to fill several seasons of content in an X-rated horror series, with the monster Weinstein in the starring role. At the same time, the trial of another powerful entertainment celebrity was making headlines. ‘America’s father,’ former superstar actor and comedian, Bill Cosby, had been suspected for decades of sexually preying on young aspiring actresses who had come to him expecting paternal mentoring. Cosby’s denials and legal maneuvering had finally been overwhelmed by the mounting accusations and evidence. As national outrage intensified, fueled by the #metoo movement’s ‘Never Again’ mantra, emboldened women emerged from hiding to tell their own horror stories. Other big-name dominos soon fell across the media gameboard including formerly revered names Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer and Tom Brokaw. It is important to note that

Michael Vetter: Extraterrestrial Carmaker

ET would have loved to go home in one of these. For the past 20 years, Michael Vetter, owner of The Car Factory, has been building custom futuristic concept cars from scratch. You may have seen his cars in movies and TV, or around town for companies and those individuals who want something no one else has. Today, his team consists of expert craftsman dedicated to producing extreme high-end cars and who appreciate each other’s fine workmanship. A Passion for Sports Cars Vetter entered the car world by accident while attending college earning a business degree in Daytona Beach, Florida. He was undecided about his future, but knew he wanted to be in charge of his own day. He happened across a fiberglass body shell of a Lamborghini Countach at the largest car show on the East Coast called the Daytona Turkey Rod Run. He was in love with its design. When he was 12-years old in 1984, he had seen this car at the Frankfurt Auto Show in Germany and never forgot about it. He remembered finding a small black and white picture of