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Amy Hedrick: Reimagining smart tech hygiene solutions


Amy Hedrick: Reimagining smart tech hygiene solutions



In 2018 Amy Hedrick founded the Nashville, Tennessee-based Cleanbox Technology Inc., a premium eco-friendly smart tech hygiene company specializing in UVC surface decontamination. Hedrick’s strategy for building a thriving business is by solving a real-world problem, and her vision for creating a global impact brand with reach across multiple industries has grown the company from an idea to a multi-million-dollar global business in two short years. Hedrick and her Co-Founder David Georgeson, both visionaries in the immersive tech space, worked in tandem to build the vision behind Cleanbox into a successful business. Her execution of the company’s vision has established Cleanbox as a brand trusted by its many Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 clients.

To learn more about her vision and inspiration that led her to start this company, we sat down with Amy Hedrick, CEO and Co-Founder of Cleanbox Technology. Here she shares about her entrepreneurial journey so far, how Covid-19 turned out to be a blessing in disguise for her business of keeping others healthy, and how she plans to change the world by bringing hygiene technology to a new frontier.

Aspioneer(A): Pretend I’m not a tech person. Can you tell us about Cleanbox in simple terms? How does it work? What makes it unique?

Amy Hedrick (AH): “Cleanbox Technology uses UVC light for surface decontamination, specializing in high levels of efficacy in the shortest amounts of time. We leverage the science of ultraviolet C-wavelength light to clean devices.

Our UVC engineering is proprietary and has been independently lab validated to ensure successful decontamination. We provide safe hygiene without the use of chemicals, heat, or liquids. Our hygiene and safety products are made for frequently used or shared devices, including head-mounted displays (HMDs), surgical and protective masks, eyewear, personal electronics and accessories, and other business and household items. Cleanbox products have been independently lab validated to kill 99.999% of viruses, bacteria, and fungi in a one-minute cycle—without environmental impact.

BizBoard CEO
Amy Hedrick, CEO and Co-Founder of Cleanbox Technology

Cleanbox Technology uses UVC light for surface decontamination, specializing in high levels of efficacy in the shortest amounts of time. We leverage the science of ultraviolet C-wavelength light to clean devices.

In addition to the independent validation of our engineering, which harnesses UVC light to eliminate a range of bacterial and viral contagions, Cleanbox technology also comes equipped with premium, intelligent tracking functionality. Our products combine the science of UVC decontamination with ongoing monitoring to ensure modern businesses that the invisible hygienic process is working. All Cleanbox products are user friendly and provide consistent and reliable hygiene—mitigating human error.” 

(A): What is your purpose behind your products?

(AH): “The defining purpose of Cleanbox is to provide a powerful tool in the fight against microscopic contagions of all types. At Cleanbox, we’re obsessively focused on ensuring the efficacy of our products. Ineffective decontamination products leave users with a false sense of security, and that’s not something we can live with. Our products are designed with nothing less than the total removal of these contagions from surfaces where they are potentially transmitted. While there is one particular contagion that is currently – and appropriately—the center of attention, the problems we solve extend beyond COVID-19 to protecting people from the contagions that make people sick every day.” 

(A): Please share with us the story behind the birth of Cleanbox. What was your inspiration behind it?

(AH): “About six years ago, I was writing for a think tank about technology and its impact on consumer behavior. I began to see the progress that XR was having in entertainment and education first-hand. Because I have a long relationship with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, I began thinking about the huge number of objects in their possession, and the reality that they can display only about 1% of them at any given time. From my perspective, there remained an endless supply of stories, knowledge, and learning opportunities that were under-leveraged. I could see significant potential in triangulating all this historical information with Hollywood storytelling to produce an immersive experience through developing technology via an XR experience.

I pitched the Smithsonian, and, although the project did not end up happening, we identified a significant hurdle to rolling out immersive tech. As an organization that saw 30 million people go through their facilities every year, the Smithsonian required a way to protect the people that came through. Even in a pre-Covid world, people needed to be protected from contaminants that could be passed through the sharing of XR head-mounted displays. My co-founder and I developed and patented our UVC LED engineering solution which later became the foundation for Cleanbox Technology. Beyond XR, we saw a huge need for what our engineering could provide across a variety of use cases.”

(A): As the saying goes, criticism is the key to success. Have you ever been criticized for your business idea? Also, what was the biggest challenge you encountered while growing your business? How did you overcome it?

(AH): “Most founders will tell you that they had to believe in their vision and not rely on the enthusiasm and support of family and friends. Starting a new business is hard—from building the right team to raising money, to creating a valuable end product. I’ve been told before “I don’t believe this science” or “You don’t know enough to do this”. But every leader has to continually learn, so I learned to ignore naysayers who had no vested interest in my success so that I could take strategic advice from those who did.

I think the hardest part is getting a company off the ground. Because we started out in the XR (immersive technology) space, my co-founder and I had an idea based on a need that many people hadn’t even realized was a critical business pain and liability point. It was my job not only to pitch the idea to get the funding needed but also to convince investors and clients alike that our products were critical and met a need they had not yet realized they had. We were essentially “creating” a market for our products. Before the COVID pandemic, the hardest part of my job was convincing people of the necessity of hygiene in the workplace. Fortunately, I can now move on to bigger and better challenges.”

(A): What does a typical day for you look like? What are some of your hobbies? 

(AH): “Am I supposed to have a typical day? (smiles…) Every day is different and has its own set of challenges and surprises, and I really love that. I’m an all-in worker, committed to the vision and job at hand. This is a necessary trait for success. The drawback is that I sometimes need to be reminded to find balance and create downtime. When I need a break from “brain work,” I love switching to something hands-on to allow my mind to reboot. I love to create art and paint, and I’m also a musician. Taxing a different part of my brain does wonders for increasing my energy.”

(A): Are you currently working on any new project? What is your end goal?

(AH): “Our OmniClean unit is the only product of its kind on the market. This product will literally transform the way businesses execute and monitor hygiene across many, many industries. Beyond that, we are planning to take the platform of the OmniClean and adapt it to a consumer version. Our longer-term efforts will share new technology, innovation and adding to our innate value proposition by meeting additional enterprise needs.

I personally want nothing less than to change the world, and I believe that bringing hygiene technology to a new frontier will create a lasting impact on global and environmental health. UVC decontamination technology presents us with incredible opportunities for preventing the transmission of disease as a less wasteful, and more effective alternative to traditional methods.”

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Greg Hemmings: Creating a kinder world, one story at a time

BizBoard CEO

Greg Hemmings: Creating a kinder world, one story at a time

Storytelling is an art. Right from the stories, our grandparents told us, to the stories we read in books, every story creates memories. However, we have to accept that the most impressive, entertaining, and mesmerizing way of storytelling is through movies. 

There are many storytellers in the world, but there is only a handful of those who create a real impact that remains for ages. One such storyteller is Greg Hemmings, the Founder & CEO of Hemmings House Pictures Ltd. Recognized as an impactful filmmaker, Greg speaks his heart out through his movies and is set out on a mission to help brands make the world a happier and kinder place through passionate storytelling. Established in 2006, New Brunswick Canada-based Hemmings House has grown as a brand and has been consistently delivering the best quality content for its customers both nationally and internationally. 

Producers of various documentaries, branded content, series, and commercials, this award-winning film production company are the reason behind many purpose-driven brands being able to share their values with their stakeholders. The company fills the gap between the brands and its customers & stakeholders through its high-quality filtered content and establishes a relationship that is beyond just business. “Many companies have a difficult time attracting customers that stick. We help our customers be heard in a noisy market by producing films that connect to the hearts of target stakeholders,” says Greg. Hemmings House disrupts conventional practices and delivers quality content in its own signature style. It adds soul and meaning to the products with the intention to create a long-lasting and perennial flow of trust, synergy, and bonding. “The solution we offer is a solution of trust-building. We build trust by sharing authentic stories that demonstrate the values and the humanity of the people behind the brands,” shares Greg. We are heavily process-driven, and deploy local crews around the world to produce high-quality content for our clients and community.”

BizBoard CEO
Greg Hemmings, Founder & CEO at Hemmings House Pictures Ltd.

"If we want to see the transformation happen in our world and our communities, we cannot wait for governments leaders to make the necessary change. It is we who have to stand up to the challenge and make the change happen"

Making change happen

Committed to bringing a positive social change globally, Greg is a community movement maker who through storytelling has been trying to create a change he wants to see in the world. Change that will keep the world united, change that will spread smiles and make this world a better place to be. He does this by being the change himself first. An inspiration to his team of versatile filmmakers, Greg has been the mind behind producing film content that creates a measurable impact for the brand marketing and global broadcast industries for more than a decade now. Greg is indeed rewriting the script of how stories are told. “If we want to see the transformation happen in our world and our communities, we cannot wait for governments leaders to make the necessary change. It is we who have to stand up to the challenge and make the change happen,” adds Greg. Greg is also building a movement of change by empowering others to become leaders in their own ways, in their own communities. He is a member of the Order of the Wallace McCain Institute and a graduate from the Wallace McCain Institute’s Entrepreneur Leadership Program. An official global ambassador for the B Corporation movement, a HATCH Latin America, and Governor-General of Canada Leadership Conference alumnus, Greg has won multiple awards internationally and regionally including the prestigious Royal Common Wealth Society’s Vision Film Award in London England. 

Though stupendously successful today, did Greg have a flying start in his career? Far from it. Greg too had to face some situations where he didn’t feel one with what he was doing. After completing his formal education from film school, he started his career in the film industry with the camera department. However, after a few years, he realized that it was not what he wanted to do. He did not resonate and was not in the favor of the culture that was followed on Hollywood featured sets. I wanted to work in a creative environment that was inclusive, respectful, and entrepreneurial,” says Greg. Hence to transform his long-held vision into reality, Greg launched Hemmings House. Cashflow and debt management in the early years were a big issue. “When I finally hired a CFO, all of that got cleaned up and I have not worried since,” says Greg. “I deviated once and bought a franchise bathroom renovation company. I thought it would run itself so I could focus on Hemmings House. Boy was I wrong. My supportive wife was not comfortable with this transaction but supported me anyway. It failed miserably sadly, but I learned a valuable lesson to “stick in my lane.”

From the beginning, Greg was careful to build a shared leadership system at Hemmings House where his staff has a lot of say in the company’s decision. Greg adds, “We have the spirit of shared ownership as well. We have a great culture, very low turnover.” Greg rightfully attributes his success to five factors: Surround yourself with people who are smarter and more talented than you, leave your ego behind, share leadership, be grateful, check privilege, and most importantly focus on making positive social/environmental impact as closely as you focus on making money.

A business with a purpose

Hemmings House is in the business with a strong purpose. On its way to massive success, it has seen many other companies sharing stories that create a negative impact. Such companies might become an overnight success and make some quick buck. But in the longer run, they lose their grounds as they lack the material, the content, the stealth, the honesty, and the integrity to repeat their success. Greg through his principles and strategies has always strived to make movies and deliver content that creates a positive and a deeper impact on the target audience. With honesty and integrity at its core, Greg and Hemmings House have won the hearts of millions of people including their investors and customers. “We work with companies that are doing great things in the world, and who measure the triple bottom line… profit, people and planet,” highlights Greg. Our company is built to be a giving machine, making a profit so that we can give more to our employees, the community around, and our planet. We do not support companies or share stories that result in negative impacts.” Going ahead Greg however acknowledges a new set of challenges ahead of his conscious business. “In the TV side, it is getting harder and harder to find traditional broadcasters with budgets to support the quality shows we want to produce because of the streamers. This is also an opportunity,” carries on Greg. “For the commercial work, we are competing with many other local providers around North America, so we need to defend our value with a bit more care.” 

Hemmings House is one of only a few certified B Corp film companies in the world and a proud member of “One Percent for The Planet” which contributes at least 1% of top-line sales to environmental NGOs. “I am excited to be part of the 1% For the Planet movement,” asserts Greg. “I really would love to see our company move towards creating content exclusively for the companies who are focused on addressing environmental and social issues.” By doing so he hopes to inspire others to lead with love when building their business in our evolving economic system. “I need Hemmings House to continue to build value so I can focus on this important mission,” says Greg.

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Kent Vaughn: Building a new generation of businesses


Kent Vaughn: Building a new generation of businesses

Kent Vaughn, the CEO, and Co-Founder of a performance improvement company, Blaze Performance Solutions, has helped 100’s of organizations improve their performance and results. He has conducted over 2,000 days of Strategy & Execution Consulting, Leadership Development, and process improvement work for these organizations. Kent co-founded Blaze Performance Solutions in 2015 with a mission to help individuals and organizations maximize their potential and achieve Extraordinary Results. Its aim is ‘Energizing 1,000,000 Leaders by 2025!’ His book “The 3 Keys of Execution. Simple Ideas. Extraordinary Results” was listed #6 on INC’s Summer Must-Read Books list and is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

In an exclusive conversation with Aspioneer, Kent Vaughn discusses his journey, beliefs, and vision with Blaze Performance Solutions.

Aspioneer(A): How would you describe your company? What is the biggest problem you want to help solve through your service?

Kent Vaughn (K): Complexity is at the center of the world’s most significant challenges.  Complexity causes us to work some of the longest hours in history.  We’re time-starved, busy and disengaged at work.

At BPS we specialize in Simplification!

Simplification is the competitive advantage that allows you to be more innovative, adaptable and to thrive!

Our tools and processes don’t replace any of the great system’s organizations already have, they’re about making those systems work better. What Lean and Six Sigma are to manufacturing, BPS is to the entire organization. We will help Leaders and Organizations excel in four areas:

  • Transform their Key Goals/Strategies into powerful Choices

  • Ensure Breakthrough Choices are being made from the C-Suite to the Front Line

  • Create real-time visibility into every team member’s daily ABC’s (Actions, Behaviours, and Contributions) 

  • Eliminate the unnecessary and hidden barriers impacting an organization’s success.

Kent Vaughn, CEO and Co-Founder, Blaze Performance Solutions

“Walking away from a big salary with great benefits to change the world. In my last company I started out to change the world (and had a lot of fun and success along the way), but after 20+ years the magic was gone. It became just a job with a great salary and benefits, but no fulfillment and certainly no opportunities to make a real difference!”

(A): What inspired you to start this company?

(K): We’ve worked for some of the best companies in the world and we’ve found that no matter how good you are your own success can ultimately become your worst enemy. You get too big and create so many systems and processes to maintain that success that you forget how to be nimble and what created the success in the first place.  

We had to walk away from the golden handcuffs to make a fresh start. This forced us to identify new approaches and new tools to the age-old problems of helping every leader to do three things consistently well:

  • Lead themselves well 

  • Lead others well 

  • Achieve extraordinary results

We’ve all seen people that lead themselves and people well but never achieve the kind of results they should achieve. We usually get rid of these people and we should. Just being nice isn’t enough. The more pernicious leader is the one who achieves extraordinary results but leaves carnage in their path. It’s amazing how many Executives are afraid to let these people go because they’re afraid of losing the results. Every time I’ve seen leaders with the courage to let those bad leaders go the rest of the team steps up and makes a difference. In fact, the results seem to always improve once the autocrat is gone.

Another issue is that Leadership is not created just by having a title. We all know Executives and Managers who are not leaders at all! We also know plenty of people with no title who are outstanding Leaders.

(A): What are the challenges that you usually face in your business? How do you overcome them?  

(K): Getting people to listen and recognize there is a better way. Getting people to slow down and invest some time, bandwidth, and resources into finding a better way. Another huge problem is the 19th-century accounting mindset that equipment is an asset and people are an expense.

Here’s another way to think about it. I’ve got a friend who bought a new Maserati convertible several years ago. He often complains about the cost of the maintenance, but he spends the money without fail. Why? He knows that prevention is almost always cheaper than redemption. With that kind of high-performance vehicle, it is not unusual to spend 2 or 3% of the original purchase price on annual maintenance costs. It’s expensive, but it’s worth it (if you want to own that kind of machine). Imagine if every CEO, COO, President and CFO started thinking about their people as assets rather than an expense and treated them accordingly?  Then developing your people becomes an investment rather than expense. Then the thought of investing just 1% of their annual payroll in maintaining/developing their people doesn’t seem so outlandish?  

Prevention is almost always cheaper than Redemption!!

(A): What was the biggest risk you had to take to start this venture?

(K): Walking away from a big salary with great benefits to change the world. In my last company I started out to change the world (and had a lot of fun and success along the way), but after 20+ years the magic was gone. It became just a job with a great salary and benefits, but no fulfillment and certainly no opportunities to make a real difference!

(A): How would you characterize your company’s overall management style?

(K): The Best ideas wins! We don’t care who has the idea or who gets credit for it. We care about finding and implementing the best ideas.

Abundance. The more we share the pie, the bigger it gets. We’d rather be 1% owners of a Billion $ firm that continues to evolve by helping people change their world, versus 100% owners of a multi-Million $ that thinks they have the best ideas and quits learning, improving, and growing.

(A): What upcoming initiatives do you find particularly exciting? Where do you see your company expanding or focusing its efforts in the next few years? 

(K): We’ve just agreed in principle to acquire an extraordinary tech start-up right out of the Harvard Business School incubator. They’ve created an amazing tool that gives you real-time daily feedback on the engagement and motivation of every employee top to bottom. It tells you Why people do what they do and that combined with our tool that tells you What people are doing is a game-changer for any organization.

(A): What do you believe will be your legacy?  

(K): I don’t think about creating a legacy. I focus on making a difference. Helping leaders solve problems. Helping people lead themselves better and achieve success in every area of their lives. That’s the kind of legacy that gets me out of bed.

(A): What advice do you have for someone wanting to be an entrepreneur?

(K): I read a great book several years ago “Main Street Entrepreneur” by Michael Glauser. He interviewed 100 Entrepreneurs in 100 cities and found that the successful ones had succeeded because of one of three big ideas:

  1. They started a business in the industry they’d been working in already.

  2. They started a business in an industry that was already their avocation or hobby. An industry they knew a lot about. 

  3. They purchased a franchise system or successful business

This is some very inciteful information. But I always tell people to do something they love! 

Making money is important, but if you don’t love it you’ll never stick with it! Identify your Why. Schulze’s book was a great reminder for me on just that. Keep that Why in front of you and find other successful people to help you. 

Everyone needs their own personal board of directors, not so much for the business but their life. Find people who will help you, who care about you, and who have your best interest in mind!

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Alicia Carroll: Using technology to make daily life easier

Tech Innovation Global (TIG) Incorporated

Alicia Carroll: Using technology to make daily life easier

After the world was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the leading economies crashed and businesses started to realize the limitations of not having an alternative to digital storefronts. Now, more than ever, even the smallest of enterprises and professionals are looking for a way to take their businesses online. Tech Innovation Global (TIG) Incorporated, a one-stop solution for business needs, led by Alicia Carroll is providing services and creating digitized global small businesses and community of professionals from various backgrounds that will serve as a liaison between users and service providers. A digital platform such as this will also allow them to actively invest in community programs and socioeconomic initiatives in countries.   

Also, TIG has been performing a detailed COVID-19 analysis since the beginning of the pandemic while encouraging face mask recommendations and best prevention practices. Alicia shares, “We’re launching a new tool at TIG where companies and individuals can sign up using an electronic device. You can upload videos/webinars, job boards, and even resumes.” 

TIG was one of the firsts to offer essential planning resources to help curb the SARS CoV-2 infection rate.  Besides, they also provide an organized and step-by-step approach in preparing health and safety guidelines that include 4 major socioeconomic factors based on science, overall wellbeing and collaboration with other corporations to establish a safer environment includes Afwerx National Response & COVID-19 JAFT led by the Department of Defense (DoD) WHO recommendations, FAR52, and Public Safety. Apart from this, TIG is working with telehealth services to facilitate screening, identification, and determination of symptoms, inoculation along with directions to the nearest testing site, or medical facility.

Women Leaders 2021
Alicia Carroll, President at Tech Innovation Global Incorporated

“We’re launching a new tool at TIG where companies and individuals can sign up using an electronic device. You can upload videos/webinars, job boards, and even resumes.”

Local to Global 

Starting with promoting modern initiatives and science on a global platform, TIG’s mission is to provide access to skills needed for the completion of projects in science, innovation, business marketplaces, and to connect companies to communities. It acts as a business ambassador for the community of resources, volunteers, diversity, training, recruitment, talent development, health clinics, family expos, and vital living. When enlisting their core competencies, the following come to play a major role in differentiating them from other platforms: 

  • Contract development technology initiatives

  • Collaborate with community developers, private industry, small and large businesses, and nonprofits

  • Interactions for technology, health, guidelines, and other programs

With TIG, professionals can support skill gap analysis, recruitments, and combat health and safety challenges when armed with scientific initiatives, technology, project management, and business administration tools, data, and other methods offered on TIG in countries like the United States of America, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Europe, France, Finland, The Netherlands, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Africa, Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Russia, and Poland.

When asked about her inspiration behind this venture, Alicia exclaims, “The inspiration behind TIG began with phenomenal experts providing training and leadership. My book “Tech Innovation Global Incorporated” describes and outlines those training and events along the journey and the challenges to start the company. While communicating technical issues, the information must be precise and when delivered to the public, it must provide the same meaning to all readers. This does not imply a copy, but implies specific wording to anticipate and answers the reader’s or public’s questions as it is more visual.” Technology by Tech Innovation Global Inc. ® ISBN-13: 978-1- 7344654-2-6 $43 available now for pre-order at https://www.techinnovationglobalinc.com Barnes & Noble and more. Alicia also has two additional books:

The Big Picture 

Alicia’s determination to serve humanity and make the world a better place using technology, innovation, and science is what gives her an edge as a leader. She values her people and believes that diversity, sustainability, infrastructure, operational planning, and technical competence are the key to progress, development, refinement and in general, the advancement of mankind. Even when she isn’t working, she invests herself into a youth development program and having illuminating scientific discussions with the public.  

With TIG, her mission is to be a resource in helping others reach their visions and improve equity. She shares, “TIG is enhancing businesses to include high-performing members across the nation in the network and ultimately sharing innovators’ stories throughout the nation and world. As start-up invents a solution, but can’t find a nearby company, Tech Innovation Global Incorporated makes those connections. We are currently working on three aspects of its mission: business, community building, and marketing and investment to award and fund initiatives to open corporations, health care systems, start-ups, investors, small businesses, universities and research institutions, and service providers in the global marketplace.”

Lifting the veil 

Alicia is thrilled to be associating with many people and organizations who are working to stimulate diversity, inclusion, and equality in a workplace that will in time lead to a safer environment allowing potential leaders to emerge from their backgrounds. For the aspiring entrepreneurs looking forward to making their own contribution towards the betterment of the world, she asks, “Experts, and industry leaders with an exceptional past performance/work history and capabilities with measurable improvements (i.e., safety statistics, outstanding leadership) to achieve success. I.e., what are the leadership principles that you have discovered and executed that have contributed to your success?”   

She further concludes by saying, “The leadership principles that I have discovered and executed to contribute to my success include measurable achievements, respect, and processes for compliance; values, planning new technology and improving communities are very important standards. Empowerment is the net effect of enabling others. Other vital attributes are intuitive, listening (gut), purpose, collaboration, motives, motivation, intensity, and stability. In innovation.” 

Tech Innovation Global Incorporated is planning a mental health app and establishing products with local businesses to global. Mental health includes certified counseling, research, mental health, associate and professional/clinical supervision and CPEs. Security includes Trident, LLC and WINTRIO, Cyber, Cloud/DevSecOps and Software/Data Analytics.

You can sign up at https://www.techinnovationglobalinc.com and donate anywhere and amount, $3 Million to $1 Billion valuations are available. Mr. SN Mishra develops international & domestic practices, retention. You can sign up multiple ways using an electronic device at https://www.techinnovationglobalinc.com or techdailylife.app Tech Innovation Global Incorporated contact international at 1-888-214-1033 for IT, skill development, products and services with a team of specialists.

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Gary Fowler: Transforming businesses to thrive in volatile markets

BizBoard CEO

Gary Fowler: Transforming businesses to thrive in volatile markets



The competition in today’s world is not just confined to local markets. Entrepreneurs now pine for more than just regional success and aspire to build a brand that is well-acclaimed in the global markets. As difficult as it may sound, decent planning, research, carefully crafted strategies, and fail-safe execution can make this journey much less drawn-out.  

Gary Fowler’s award-winning growth stage AI venture studio company, GSD Venture Studios has taken it upon itself to help young and promising start-ups to realize their potential and successfully set up a shop across the international borders. And this commitment towards scaling, growing, and propelling each of their portfolio companies to global success is what sets them apart from the rest of the industry. Gary exclaims, “Very rarely do you see young companies projecting their future success in a global context. Where we provide a unique solution in allowing companies to set on a journey to specifically develop a global-scale business, rather than considering global market entry as an afterthought to growth.”  

GSD Venture Studios offer exhaustive resources to their clients to plan and strategize beyond their immediate reach. Their global network of mentors, investors, and professionals make way for various new opportunities and their executive and recruitment support services ensure efficient management and growth of their portfolio companies. Gary explains, “We aren’t investors in the traditional and limited sense. We are directly involved in the growth journey every step of the process, stepping in at co-founder or executive levels and weighing in the decision-making process as the company develops. We provide connections and partnerships on a global scale that help build global success stories from scratch, without remaining limited to one locality and market.” 

BizBoard CEO
Gary Fowler, CEO & Co-Founder

“Very rarely do you see young companies projecting their future success in a global context. Where we provide a unique solution in allowing companies to set on a journey to specifically develop a global-scale business, rather than considering global market entry as an afterthought to growth.”

What makes him an expert? 

Before he founded GSD Venture Studios with Derek Distenfield, Gary filled several executives and leadership roles in top-tier companies such as ClickSoftware, Mirantis, Siemens, HP, etc. allowing him to hone his expertise in global strategic innovation leadership, sales, marketing, operational, and investment management. As a recognized expert in entrepreneurship, lean startup methods, innovation management, and technology development, he has been known to launch several startups- leading them from concept to capital raising to IPO.  

He is also the founder of one of the top startup accelerator programs in Eastern Europe, a frequent keynote speaker at global conferences, a contributor to the Forbes magazine, and a co-chairman at the American Chamber of Commerce Technology Committee. Besides, Gary has worked on technology commercialization initiatives and industry partnerships for a 40-nation, $1B+ fund that employed 26,000 scientists and engineers across 500 research institutes as a sales and marketing executive consultant for the US, Russia, EU, Canada, South Korea, and Japan. For his remarkable contribution and multifarious talents, Gary was recently recognized as one of the ‘Top Ten Most Influential AI Executives for 2019’, ‘Top 30 Technology Executives to Watch in 2020’, and ‘10 Most Innovative Global AI Executives’.

Get Stuff Done! 

Gary firmly believes in starting the day early and setting a tone for the rest of the day by engaging in some exercise. Apart from this, Gary loves to ride on his electrical bike, playing tennis, swimming and driving sports cars. He loves to communicate with people on both personal and professional levels to keep learning and growing as an individual while also doing the work that inspires him. The inspiration behind GSD Venture Studios creation was to discover the best and most resilient teams on a global scale and foster partnerships that will help emerging companies grow in the right direction with the right guidance, making confident and secure steps along the way. He shares, “I have helped grow businesses from startup to scaleup and unicorn before – Clicksoftware, which was acquired by Salesforce for 1.5B, and Yva.ai are among the companies that have seen successful growth and maturation. In this process, I discovered how important it is to expand your scope of business into other countries and beyond in a search for the best professionals and talents to build a resilient business. What I also noticed was that going global and tapping into resources beyond a given locale didn’t cross many startups’ minds very often — so GSD is the culmination of my personal success stories and the opportunity gap that I have identified and now fill with our portfolio companies.” 


As digital transformation is taking over the world, AI, machine learning, and Quantum have become a megatrend among tech enthusiasts. Gary shares, “I am particularly interested in the impact that the combination of AI and Quantum will have to make our lives better. Also, the advances in Med Tech! What has been really exciting is my talk show Silicon Valley Tech & AI that runs the second and fourth Tuesday every month. The show features leading minds and characters from the tech world and discusses hot topics in the industry. For instance, one of our episodes is going to be centered around the migration of California’s tech minds to Florida during the pandemic through a discussion with the Mayor of Miami Beach!” 

Holding an innovative approach since its inception, GSD Venture Studios had begun its global journey way ahead of the pandemic. Now that internet has made it possible to collaborate and work remotely, it is advantageous to be a part of the global network to be able to sustain a growing business. In the context of COVID-19’s implications for GSD Venture Studios, Gary asserts, “Where we see us moving is discovering more companies that want to establish a strong footing in the global arena, capture new target markets that the new scale can offer, and get ahead of the competition in its efforts to conquer the global market.” As a CEO, Gary values this global outlook that he and his team carry along with the mutual respect and mentorship, and moving ahead he aims to build a culture where his team is forward-thinking and responsive to all the unique qualities of the cultures they bring together as an organization with a diverse workforce.  

Gary’s Legacy 

“I believe my legacy is this new approach to scaling companies with global goals and strategies in mind — and the importance of a solid network backing in the process. It’s the reflection of how I have always approached startups and company growth- for me, it has always been about going above what is accessible nearby and instead always believing in the potential of tapping into new markets for opportunities and talents,” says Gary. 

One big piece of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs that Gary believes will never get obsolete, he says “Build relationships. The relationships you build will eventually make your endeavor or break it, depending on if you have successfully developed a safety net you can fall back on and rely on whenever you need resources and support. It’s important to really take the time to invest in building tangible connections with people around you to ensure a two-way appreciation and understanding. This is the backbone of every successful entrepreneurial venture and it will always remain the key to success that’s sustainable and supported at all times.”

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The road to entrepreneurship with Dan Prince


The road to entrepreneurship with Dan Prince



Entrepreneurs are rightly considered hot stuff. The money, the fame, the charm. It’s the combination of these qualities that people find attractive. However, no matter how much entrepreneurs demonstrate an aura of effortlessness, at the end of the day, it is the struggles that make them successful men and women they are today.

Struggle and pain is something that Dan Prince knows well. For the CEO of illumisoft, the personal reasons were what made him choose the difficult path of an entrepreneur, “Three things inspired the founding of illumisoft: 1) seeing my father run short of time in his own entrepreneurial pursuit. 2) The desire to help people in need and, 3) Trying to set a good example for my sons,” affirms Dan. 

Do the right thing

Losing his father when he was in his 40s was a transformative experience for Dan. His death, combined with his own awareness of his mortality motivated Dan to start his business. “I was motivated to eat right and exercise right. I didn’t want to die before I had a chance to build and grow my own thing. I didn’t want to die before I had a chance to show my sons that they could build and grow their own things.” 

The personal desire to do the right thing, to help people in need, is today embodied by the type of clientele supported by illumisoft. Today the company is currently laser-focused on providing bespoke software solutions to the healthcare industry, at a level of quality that separates them from its competitors. “We are starting to develop quite a reputation for remote patient monitoring systems (RPMS) and putting together Telehealth solutions. That really excites me because of the potential to increase the quality of healthcare for so many people. We’ve also become pretty well known for our ability to produce enterprise-grade mobile apps that help patients and parents of patients to manage their chronic diseases easily. Among the many things, this pandemic has taught us as a society is the value of a person’s life. Being centered around helping others is why we’ve focused our services toward the healthcare industry. We realized at some point several years ago, that building great solutions feels great. Delighting our clients feels great too. But, building great solutions that delight our clients, and then realizing you’ve helped literally hundreds of thousands of people around the world live happier, healthier lives feels way better than just great. It feels noble and heroic and totally worth it,” affirms Dan.

BizBoard CEO
Dan Prince, CEO at Illumisoft

“It takes ages for an entrepreneur to build the right team. I've been lucky enough to hire people in search of their own greatness. Everybody that works with me is motivated to do their absolute best. I love that. They're not motivated out of fear or insecurity. They do their best because they want to find out what their best will produce. They do their best because they are not sure how great they are yet and they're trying to find out”

Struggle and Perseverance 

Entrepreneurship is not a quality that everyone has. It requires dedication, determination, grit, and most importantly perseverance. It is a life filled with the kind of struggles that can grind a person down and completely destroy their motivation. The trick to success is to stand up again after you have failed. Good entrepreneurs know this. They know that If they give up when the going gets tough, it’s game over. It is a truth Dan understands all too well. “I quit my job in May of 2015 and in June of 2015, our client pulled the plug on the project. My income suddenly dried up. I was sure I could get my job back but at that same time that made me feel a little guilty. One of my sons was working really hard growing and struggling with his business. He wasn’t throwing in the towel. I felt obligated as a father to take advantage of this opportunity to build my own business. Those were the things that inspired me to push illumisoft into the future. I wanted to build something that inspired my sons to build their own thing and to set an example about making sure it was centered around helping others.”

The Perfect Blend

The struggle of an entrepreneur may seem glamorous to some. The pain, the failures, the pitfalls, the drive needed to succeed. Making your own money, making your own time, and being your own boss. These facts in the life of an entrepreneur can be intoxicating to others. But what often gets overlooked is that entrepreneurs don’t work in a vacuum. It is not a job for one person. From branding to picking furniture, from creating a strategy to delivering a product, it is the team that works hard and delivers the goods. It is the perfect blend of individuals that write success stories. Building the right team is however probably one of the most difficult challenges faced by an entrepreneur. Dan considers himself lucky that he has the right team. “It takes ages for an entrepreneur to build the right team. I’ve been lucky enough to hire people in search of their own greatness. Everybody that works with me is motivated to do their absolute best. I love that. They’re not motivated out of fear or insecurity. They do their best because they want to find out what their best will produce. They do their best because they are not sure how great they are yet and they’re trying to find out,” adds Dan.

The Great Secret

“Don’t think you’re going to become an entrepreneur without getting some scratches. It’s a fight to learn everything you need to know before not knowing it defeats you”, the CEO of illumisoft is absolutely right when it comes to answering the question, “What is the secret to your success?”

Entrepreneurship is not a walk in the park. Being an entrepreneur will have to give your life to the business. And it is not easy, it is a road littered with failures. But what matters is not giving up. As Dan rightfully concludes, “Understand that failure is always an opportunity for growth. Never take anything personally. Don’t get all up in your feelings. Keep going and don’t expect anything for free. Work for it. Be and do your best, all the time, every time.”

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Adriana Mezic: Harnessing data for good


Adriana Mezic: Harnessing data for good



In the constantly shifting new world, data has become the most valuable resource which if used correctly can lead the world towards safety, prosperity, and sustainability. To do this, we need experts who can refine, organize and analyze this data to bring out information that will ultimately save us a lot of time, capital, and in some cases disasters.

For instance, AIMdyn Inc., founded by Adriana Mezic in partnership with her husband Dr. Igor Mezic, has solved some highly challenging world problems including the prediction of the oil spill in the oceans, for which, they were featured in some of the highly renowned journals across the globe.

Established in 2003, Santa Barbara-based, AIMdyn strives to enable the development of powerful forecasting technologies for broad use in industry. AIMdyn has developed a suite of software tools that enable the user to forecast and propose the best remedial or control action for engineered or natural systems. AIMdyn has a depth of expertise in flow mechanics, mechanical engineering, automatic control, vehicle terrain or ocean coverage and cleanup strategies and has developed proprietary software in each of these fields. Their ultimate mission is to continue working towards the betterment of our natural environment and society at large. Amongst its customers and collaborators are large corporations as well as preeminent national research agencies such as DARPA, ONR, AFOSR, ARO, AFRL, NSF, BAE, HRL, Boeing, MixMode, CumminsEngines, United Technologies, Boing and Ford.

To learn more about how they operate and how far their proprietary algorithms can be applied, we sat down with Adriana Mezic herself, and here’s what she has to say-

BizBoard CEO
Adriana Mezic, CEO at AIMdyn Inc.

AIMdyn is a small high-tech woman-owned business built in partnership with my husband who is the world-renowned scientist and an expert in the Koopman operator theory.

Tackling the complexity of real-world problems

“My husband and I have successfully worked together on a couple of consulting research projects and decided to open our own consulting business which led to many exciting adventures in physical and social sciences.”

“Our first company project was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and we work closely with the DOD and many private large corporations such as Boeing, Ford, BAE, and many more.”

“Our product is a customizable software application aka “Designer AI” where our algorithms are designed exclusively for the needs of our customers. We are easily adaptable to new challenges of the real-world data and can tackle problems in virtually any domain by simply adapting our algorithms. We understand your data in the way you have never experienced it before and there is no problem big enough that we cannot make sense of!”

Overcoming challenges

“Establishing any business is a challenge, in particular a high-tech one especially without any prior experience of running one. We overcome those challenges by spending enormous time learning how to be a productive, adaptable and viable small company in this highly contested high-tech business world.”

“Sometimes we get “Oh guys, it’s too complicated what you do! It sounds interesting but goes way above my head”. Then we try to simplify and explain via examples what we can do to improve whatever a customer’s final goal is.”

“AIMdyn is a small high-tech woman-owned business built in partnership with my husband who is the world-renowned scientist and an expert in the Koopman operator theory. I am extremely proud of our multicultural and gender diverse group of top scientists who are either AIMdyn’s employees or consultants. Our principal research scientist is a woman (Dr. Maria Fonoberova), and I consider her to be my right-hand, we work incredibly well as a team and the goal is always what will benefit the customers and staff.”

A day in Adriana’s life

“I get up in the morning, dress in my sweats, get my coffee, open my laptop and I’m ready to go to do the work I love. (NOTE: this is my current COVID time work routine), before the pandemic, I would go daily to my office (not in sweats, LOL) and would check with my team on what challenges lay ahead for that day.”

“Besides, I volunteer in the nonprofit sector a lot (my Santa Barbara community). This is my passion and my hobby. I love swimming and power walking and I try to do that daily to de-stress and stay healthy.”

“For mindfulness, I love to read. I am a voracious reader, my favorite authors are Orhan Pamuk and Ann Patchett. Book “Snow” by Pamuk is my all-time favorite, literary masterpiece with poetic undertones.”

“I also love to travel with my family and experience different cultures, food and customs, and I really love to cook! I am a very proud mom of 3 grown up, and super awesome young women.”

Addressing the megatrends and upcoming risk factors

“Change (societal and economic) is the biggest risk/danger factor to any individual or company yet sometimes accidentally or by adaptation could become your best friend. We’ll see where this new post pandemic world will take us. We have been so far incredibly adaptable as a company therefore I still have good hopes for our future.”

Leadership principles for anyone who aspires to make the world a better place!

“I have my unique approach and it does not come from the formal business education received from the top business school. I learned everything from experience and of course, failed in some attempts more than a few times. I run my company organically, almost as it is my own household. I budget frugally when needed to save and preserve what we have (meaning; our employees and customers).”

“I would only expand when the economic growth rate would start to increase. I was always careful to diversify my business to easily adjust to the needs of the “new normal” such as a current pandemic or economic and scientific positive and negative trends. I treat my employees very fairly with the utmost respect and I also give them huge freedom of “everything”; scientific, places to work, flexible schedule, and more. In return, I ask for honesty, loyalty, and the hard work.”

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21 Elite Women in Business, 2021

Women Leaders





“My dream of bringing premium educational opportunities to underprivileged youth is now a vivid reality. Our mission is to nurture and cultivate their gifts in order to build excitement, elevate hope, and support children in creating positive and lasting changes in the world around them.”

“At OMG, we believe that a child who identifies his or her passion and in due time nurtures it, quickly learns that knowledge is indeed power. And with great power comes great responsibility, a philosophy our instructors embed into every enriching lesson plan.”

Dr. Marisa López-Teijón

“We have overcome them with a lot of work, a lot of enthusiasm, and a team with the best professionals. That is how we manage that hundreds of children are born every year in more than 50 countries”

“Creativity is neither a subject taught at school nor an occupation but an art of living”


Here’s what the hype is all about 'GREEN STEEL'

"I try and be a servant leader. My role is to help everyone else shine. I practice empathy as much as possible. Some people think that this is a feminine trait, and it might well be, but I know plenty of very empathetic men and some women who are not. I think you learn humility as a woman leader, and how to be heard in a world that is not designed to listen to you."

“The best option for any ambitious woman is to champion others as well as herself.”

“If you are not good at understanding people, at putting yourself in their shoes, it is unlikely that you can become a successful leader. People would end up resenting you and leaving the organization. I firmly believe that the most important element for the success of a business is PEOPLE”

“When a Realtor® or other partner refers a client to me, they know the transaction will be completed efficiently and on time. Simply said, I get families into homes.”

“These are not just transactions. These are real people with real dreams.”


Cities around the world are reducing traffic speeds and improving access to local services and activities by public transport, cycling and walking. They are now reaping the many 'slow city' benefits.

"I want people to remember me as someone who had a passion for changing the corporate environment and the accomplishments to have achieved a degree of change."

Amanda Brock

“Leadership is based on treating people with respect and encouraging them to be the best versions of themselves in what they do while holding people accountable for their actions and for what they promise to deliver. It is a fine balance between trying to get the most out of people, and respecting their situations.”


New technologies have fuelled the rise of personalised nutrition

“Our results show personalised dietary advice can support people to eat less junk food. This should have important implications for how researchers and health-care professionals design healthy eating strategies moving forward..”


“Women are underrepresented in technology fields, but especially so in cybersecurity. It's not just a matter of fairness. Women are better than men at key aspects of keeping the internet safe..”

“Believe in yourself, have self-confidence, and speak up. It’s up to every woman to earn respect and prominent roles in organizations. It starts with believing you are enough and that you belong there”

“My curiosity and learning agility got me where I am today. Had I relied on only what I knew I could do, I never would have climbed the leadership ranks. So, be curious and embrace the joy of being a lifelong learner!”

women leaders

“I have the word “BELIEVE” tattooed on my right forearm as a reminder that if you believe in yourself, you can do anything!”

Nicole Heimann

“Most leadership teams and boards we work with would agree with the vision of creating a true partnership, however, almost all of them struggle with how to do that. This is why our company, Heimann Cvetkovic & Partners, focuses on helping boards and management teams across the globe create strong leadership alliances”

Marina Cvetkovic

“The role of the board has changed significantly over the past decade and even more so over the past year. Increasingly, boards are asked and challenged to be a true strategic asset to organizations, moving past the outdated mandate rooted purely in governance and oversight.”

“Discrimination against job applicants with ethnic minority, "foreign" names is still endemic.”

Jodi Harris: Creating FUNtastic experiences.

women leaders




Jodi Harris

Founded in 1994 by Jodi Harris, Las Vegas, Nevada-based Sight & Sound Events is a professional multi-award-winning event production and entertainment company in Las Vegas, Nevada. Sight & Sound Events is best described as an all-inclusive entertainment and event production company. It is a one-stop for all event production needs from a DJ to party band, celebrity impersonators, Las Vegas Showgirls, photography, videography, photo booths, lighting, A/V productions, and more.

We caught up with Jodi Harris self-proclaimed CEO of FUN at Sight & Sound Event to learn how they create unforgettable events that are one of a kind. Here, she shares how a quick pivot helped them sail through the pandemic, why she loves Stephanie McMahon, as well as the only thing that takes her mind away from work.

Aspioneer(A): Every company has its own story to tell. What is the story behind your company? What inspired you to build it? What is the philosophy behind it?
Jodi Harris(J): “Before I started Sight & Sound Events, I was in television production. I worked for the ABC (television network) as a secretary (that’s what administrative assistants were called) in the most unglamorous department BO&E (Broadcast Operations & Engineering). I knew that was my foot in the door in the company. I spent 1 year in that department and used the internal job postings to get to my next move in public relations. I learned all about the world of public relations and working with our celebrity talent which helped me on my next internal job move. That move was TV production and again using our internal job postings, interviewed and landed a dream job on the award-winning production team of “Live with Regis & Kathie Lee”. I knew I loved PRODUCTION. Especially LIVE event production. On a vacation to Los Angeles, California, I met my now-husband, who at the time was a working special disc jockey (DJ). He would DJ a lot of weddings and corporate events. I thought it was fascinating. I took a few trips to Southern California to see if the relationship was going anywhere and accompanied him on a few of his events. It was a LIVE event like I was used to just different. So, I left New York knowing that I could get a TV production job in Hollywood. I did. I worked for Woody Frazier productions, Nickelodeon, and had a short stint at MTV in Los Angeles before their big move to New York. I later was introduced to our local cable company where I was hired to produce local origination TV. All while working side by side with my then fiancé on events. We later got married and moved to Las Vegas, the wedding and event capital of the world, and that is when I went ALL in with the entertainment and event production. While others in my field were doing this as a side hustle my company, Sight & Sound Events was full-time. That opened up many doors for us because we had the flexibility and freedom to make appointments with the hotel catering directors.

Our philosophy is simple WE CARE. We are very hands-on with our clients and events. We get personal with our clients and truly show them that we CARE about their events' success. Our clients are not just a date on our calendar it's a relationship and bond. It’s about TRUST that our team will deliver a flawless and fun event based on their needs. The team that works at Sight & Sound and our clients are just that, a team and it's our job to give them the best experience ever.”

“I have the word “BELIEVE” tattooed on my right forearm as a reminder that if you believe in yourself, you can do anything!”

(A): What are some of the professional challenges you faced in the special event industry?
(J): “The most significant barrier I’ve had to overcome is being a woman in a very male-dominated industry which is the DJ entertainment side of what I do. Female DJs are still perceived as a novelty act because many just want someone sexy (eye candy) behind the sound system like a supermodel YET they want a DJ who knows how to ROCK the dance floor. The public on the social side of our events has seemed to embrace the idea of a female DJ better than our corporate clients have. Many of our social clients, like our wedding clients, have the idea that by having a female DJ they are getting the wedding planner and DJ all in one. Which is not exactly wrong. There is a lot more work with being a wedding DJ than a corporate event DJ with timelines and making sure activities get done on your timeline. Whereas with a corporate DJ event, you show up on time, play music, and read the audience with not a lot of talking on the mic. I’ve overcome this perception by focusing on what is important and that is being a DJ. Always looking my best using my talent and knowledge. I choose to focus on creating FUN events for FUN people.”

(A): Now that you have mentioned the pre-conceived notions/ stereotypes female DJ face in your industry. Can you also discuss what holds back women from climbing leadership ladders in other male-dominated industries?
(J): “I feel CONFIDENCE and IMPOSTER SYNDROME/MINDSET are the challenges women feel because it’s been a man’s world for so long. Most of the players in leadership roles have been men. Women feel the pressure now to not only play in the sandbox with the men leaders but also how they stand out. Women have to go back and think of those unique super skills and qualities that brought them to the table, to begin with. If you do that, you’ll realize that you are NO IMPOSTER and you belong to be at the table.”

(A): Who were or are your female role models?
(J): “My female role model is WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) Chief Brand Officer, Stephanie McMahon. Stephanie is living proof of a woman thriving in what can be considered a man's world - professional wrestling and bringing it mainstream and into pop culture. I love what she's done for the company's brand which includes using modern digital technologies to reach their audience. It's essential now. She is also behind the movement for giving female athletes more visibility. Stephanie is highly visible with her company’s culture. She is raising awareness on today’s most issues while being a mom. Another female role model was early on in my career when I worked on the LIVE WITH REGIS & KATHIE LEE show. I worked with an amazing Emmy nominated segment producer, Victoria Lang who was just the most organized individual I’ve ever met.”

(A): With the rapid emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, many businesses were finding themselves in survival mode. How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your company? How did you breakthrough?
(J): “2020 was a year that we ALL broke down personally and professionally. My year started out strong and it was taken away from me and the rest of the world. I chose not to “turtle-up” but to stand out. I immediately went to work on our social media channel CONSISTENTLY reminding people that we will meet again and it will be an epic celebration. My team and I made educational videos on our company’s services. Our team DJ-ed themed dance parties on Saturday nights virtually like our epic FUN HOUSE dance party complete with puppets and stuffed animals on our set. Clients and colleagues loved our themed dance parties because they didn’t know what to expect. I made sure we were consistent with our message and branding during the pandemic.”

(A): What is next in your life?
(J): “My current goals are to step out more and speak at trade and industry conferences to be the expert in my industry and mentor others in the hospitality industry. My podcast “Boss Time” is in production. It will be launching very soon on all podcasting platforms. I’m so excited for others to meet these amazing bosses in all professions! I’m ALWAYS learning from finding the right people to surround myself with to watching YouTube videos and webinars. The pandemic has given us all a clean slate to reset by building the business you want, not the business you had. My 2021 goals also include opening a social media agency to help those struggling with content and posting.”

(A): Lastly, how do you unplug from work?
(J): “My husband would say, I never really UNPLUG from work. However, I do LOVE anything that has to do with WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). It’s an escape. I’m always looking at the New York Times Best Selling business books list. “Crush It” by Gary Vaynerchuk is a favorite and “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. I watch a lot of YOUTUBE. It's the best! You can find everything on the platform. Here are my favorite business YouTubers Vanessa Lau and Scott Friesen with Simpletivity.”

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Does your name affect job prospects?

Women leaders

Does your name affect job prospects?


Since moving from Pakistan to Australia, Mariam Mohammed has gained a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, co-founded a social enterprise (teaching financial literacy to women) and made the Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence list. But there was a time she was so disheartened at not being able to get a job she considered changing her name to something less “Muslim” and more “Anglo”.

Her experience is not unique.
In the past 50 years most Western countries have become more tolerant of cultural diversity. Laws now forbid overt forms of discrimination based on gender, ethnicity or age.
But unconscious biases remain – with one of the most well-documented being discrimination against job applicants with ethnic minority names.

Reviewing 123 resume studies
I have analysed 123 “resume studies” to get a more fine-grained understanding of name-based discrimination in recruitment.

Resume studies typically involve researchers responding to real job advertisements with very similar resumes of fictitious job candidates. In these studies, some resumes have names indicating an applicant comes from an ethnic minority group, while other resumes have more common names. This enables researchers to compare the responses for the different names. My review covered studies conducted in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Sweden, and the United States. More than 95% of the studies identified high ethnic discrimination in recruitment. On average, ethnic minority applicants received about half as many positive responses to their job applications

“Discrimination against job applicants with ethnic minority, "foreign" names is still endemic.”

Notable differences
There were, however, large differences in the degree of discrimination across the studies.

The following chart shows results from a selection of studies in different nations. The “net discrimination rate” is a common measure in resume studies. The higher the percentage, the higher the discrimination. So the resume studies show applicants with Moroccan names in Italy and African or German names in Ireland are more discriminated against than those with Turkish names in Germany.
ust three of the studies did not find any hiring discrimination against ethnic minorities. Only one reported hiring discrimination against the ethnic majority group – a study in Malaysia finding a Chinese name was more helpful than a Malay name. (Chinese Malaysians represent less than a third of Malaysia’s population, but are disproportionately represented in the business class.)

Yes, it really is the name that counts
The most noteworthy finding is the similar degree of discrimination against immigrants and the native-born children of immigrants (or second-generation immigrants).

Studies measured this effect through resumes for candidates with an ethnic minority name but with local educational qualification and work experience. Resumes for first-generation immigrants indicated attendance at foreign schools and universities and no local work experience. The response rate from recruiters was roughly the same.

These results show it is the ethnic minority name that’s the hindrance, rather than an assessment about a candidate’s language skills or a preference for local qualifications and work experience.

This point is underlined by US and Swedish study findings that adopting an ethnic majority name improves job application success.

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