PictureTami & I at the Gold Spike #DTLV

Our guest blogger today is a human jungle gym.  When Tami Belt doesn’t have one of my girls hanging off her arms, she can usually be found creating public relations strategies for some of the largest brands and organizations in the Las Vegas valley. Wether it is muscling her way through the crowded media waters with grace to make sure a worthy non profit organization’s message is heard or donating her time in the community to create an effective event, Tami is one of the rare Las Vegas locals who was born and raised here.  Tami came into my world at a Downtown Project speaker series where one new friend introduced me to Tami and we have been fast friends ever since.  Since Tami is a rare downtown born and bred Las Vegan, I had to ask her to share what it was like to grow up in Las Vegas.  Enjoy!

PictureTami’s Grandpa
Krista asked me to write about what it was like to grow up in Vegas. To me, it was normal to attend school with a kid whose parents owned a hotel or had mob ties; expect a prime rib dinner before a show; get comps; know everyone and watch a lounge show from the light booth. OK, I only did that once and it was way cool to shine the spotlight on the performers. Following is my story about growing up in Vegas and my thoughts about the revitalization of Downtown.

I live in the penthouse in Caesars. 

This was my standard response to everyone who asked which hotel I lived in when they discovered I was born in Las Vegas. Since my family has lived here since 1936, I told them we had first dibs on the Palace’s penthouse. They believed me! Silly people, residents never lived on the Strip. Well, Howard Hughes did but he was the exception. Honestly, most residents avoid the Strip unless they’re going to work. Downtown, however, is a different story. It was the hub of the community. Before the Boulevard Mall was built in the late 1960’s, Downtown Vegas was the place to shop, eat and greet visitors arriving at the train station where the Union Plaza now stands.

My Grandparents lived on Park Paseo until I was 9 and my Grandpa’s air conditioning company was on Utah Street so I remember a few things about the neighborhood and the town he helped build. While a lot has changed, some things remain the same. The Huntridge Theater, which opened in 1944, is making a long-awaited comeback. The old post office still has pictures of criminals on the walls in its reincarnation as The Mob Museum. The corner of Fremont and 6thonce again a favorite gathering spot now occupied by The Beat Coffeehouse & Records and Emergency Arts. Fremont Street remains a corridor for cruising – on foot instead of in a convertible – and street performers are more prevalent than streetwalkers. For a joke, on Halloween in 1982 a group of friends dressed up as the characters from The Best Little Whore House in Texas and we trick-
or-treated on Fremont Street. The tourists loved it! With the growing number of watering holes on East Fremont, maybe pedestrian traffic is better but I still miss driving down Fremont and wish someone would implode the canopy.

PictureA story about Tami’s grandpa
Another tradition that returned to Downtown after a brief hiatus is Helldorado, originally brought to town by the Elk’s Lodge to entice Hoover Dam workers and their families to stay in Southern Nevada. My Grandpa was a longtime member of the Elk’s and I remember walking from their house to watch the parade on Las Vegas Boulevard. Today, Life is Beautiful is launching a new type festival anchored in Downtown. Unlike the Strip, which seems to implode the old to make room for the new, Downtown works to preserve some of our city’s history through the Neon Museum and Vegas Vernacular.

I love the energy and optimism that surrounds Downtown today. Pioneers gambled on a little patch of desert and built this city from the ground up. Today, a new group is of trailblazers are betting on Las Vegas. Instead of lumber, steel, asphalt and air conditioning they are relying on Internet connections, community building, creativity and serendipitous collisions. The one thing I know for sure about Las Vegas is that it is still a small town. I wish I paid more attention to the stories shared by my family . . mom babysitting for a retired mobster who lived next door; the ‘family members’ my dad caddied for on the golf course where he taught for more than 45 years; the notable characters who hired my Grandpa’s company including Rex Bell and Clara Bow, Howard Hughes, Benny Binion, and Jay Sarno just to name a few. Everyone knew everyone back then. They all worked together to build this town or went to school together. What a coincidence that the number one song the year I was born was Downtown. This historic area is once again becoming a hub for the community, reuniting old friends and creating new connections. A familiar excitement is in the air. I love my town! I hope you can come experience the magic soon.



I had a bad day.  Not a horrible, no good, nothing go right kind of day, but just the kind of bad day where your hair refuses to behave, you’re sure you have gained 10lbs overnight, and people you thought you could trust have proven otherwise.  I like bad days.  I like the challenge to my own belief about myself that I can make it through even the most difficult challenges.  I like the honesty that a bad day brings to your inner circle.  Who was your first phone call? (Mine was to my business partner- Mr. Voice of Reason) Whose voice did you want to hear to reassure you that the world is not falling apart?  (The second call was to my husband- Mr. I Love You In Spite of Your Crazy)  Optimism is an easy task when life is coming up roses, your bank account overflows, and your skinny jeans are loose.  It’s an entirely different story when you are in the midst of a bad day.  So, how can you be optimistic when the odds are stacked against you? Here’s some 3 tips I use to stay optimistic on my bad days:

1. Play out the worst case scenario.  When it seems like everything is working against you in the world you tend to get caught up in the moment.  The best advice I ever got was “it’s darkest before the dawn” and it gave me hope that there is always light at the end of the tunnel.  No one remembers the bad days- even when you are Lindsay Lohan.  Work out the absolute worst things through to where you would be able to move on. Death isn’t a fair excuse because we are all going to die and, even then, no one is going to remember you for your bad days.  They will, however, inevitably remember the good times and all the good things you did in the world.  

2. Reach out to your inner circle.  I had to train myself to reach out for support during difficult times because I thought I was the impenetrable wonder woman who wasn’t allowed to be vulnerable, weak, or insecure.  The funny part was that my good friends who have been there for me for years all knew better.  They saw through my fancy armor and were happy to hear me get real about the challenges I was facing.  Everyone needs a safe spot to fall in our lesser moments and it makes the people who love you feel good to be there to lift you up.

3. Do something about it.  I used to feel fat and go have another cookie.  I used to have a bad hair day and throw my hair up into yet another funky bun or ponytail.  I used to get burned and make up my mind never to trust again.  Don’t use one bad day as an excuse to create a cycle of bad days that leads to a funk you’ll need intervention from.  Get your booty out into the sunshine for a walk, make time to blow your hair out tonight, and appreciate all of the people you have in your life that you can trust with all your ugly moments.  You’re going to get through this and I know you are headed somewhere amazing that will change the world.  

I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that one bad day won’t change my optimistic outlook.  We have one life to live and I’m more determined than ever to live mine to the fullest, enjoying each step.  Please comment and let me know how you get through your bad days.  I love hearing from all of you!


PictureNina & I with my girls at First Friday

I married an Italian.  I wasn’t entirely sure what this meant when I first started dating him, but by the time the World Cup Soccer finals started and I got to watch with all of his extended family and friends as Italy won (apparently a very good sign for the future of our relationship), I started to understand that Italians have a wonderful culture all their own.  Allow me to introduce today’s guest blogger and a friend that we consider to be a part of our own extended family here in Las Vegas, Nina Tomaro.  Nina is a brilliant public speaking coach, content creator, and digital community manager whose kind heart and determination to leave a legacy of her own inspires me often.  Enjoy!

PictureNina Tomaro
Being Italian goes beyond your heritage, your cuisine, and your crazy mafia uncle. It’s also NOT, and I repeat NOT like how it’s portrayed on Jersey Shore. It even goes beyond the stereotypes of Italian women are strong headed (that one is true, except I would change it to strong willed), that we have 100’s of cousins (we have a lot), that we are loud (totally), we all have mafia ties (wouldn’t you like to know), and we are the best lovers (also claim that one as true!). No, it’s more than that. Being italian is about valuing family above all, celebrating culture, enjoying what life is, and having the courage to share what’s on your mind because you were raised to be confident, and at the same time taught to respect those around you. 

Just like Christopher Columbus left his home to explore and discover a new world, I left my home to explore Las Vegas, and discover greater opportunity and pursue my dream to be an entrepreneur. Leaving my Italian family behind in Cleveland was difficult. The culture was and still is a part of who I am, and it was difficult for me to adjust to Vegas. I couldn’t understand why people thought it was odd that I ate my salad after the main course (it’s great for digestion), couldn’t understand why no one here made made their own tomato sauce, or what this weird Paleo diet is that frowned upon me eating my 3 servings of pasta, and homemade bread each week! On another note, going to the overly crowded clubs here wasn’t a huge issue, because if you are truly Italian, you know how to have a 200 person family reunion and make it work within a 50 sq. ft. yard!

I missed my culture, and I asked myself the question, “Where are all my Paisanos at??” (Translated this is equivalent to my homies of Italian Descent) I had to face the facts, that there was no true representation of Italian culture here in Las Vegas. This Italian Festival called the San Gennaro Feast happens here, and I was offended that they try to pass it off as “Authentic Italian”. It’s a lie! Go to the Feast of the Assumption in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio at the end of summer, and that is what a true Italian festival should be. It’s about the culture, the art, the food, and spending quality time with your loved ones. The only truly authentic Italian cuisine I’ve found is Vegas is a restaurant called Guiseppe’s, which is owned by a family who actually comes from the same village as my family, Baranello, Italy.

PictureNina’s big Italian family
One of my goals for 2014 is to bring culture back into Vegas, by finding the people that these amazing cultural stories, artworks, music, food and values live within! The Downtown Project in Las Vegas has reignited my sense of community pride, and the people in it are mia famiglia allargata (my extended family). Krista and her incredible family are an amazing example of how an outsider missing her culture like me, can find those connection in their community. I know that if we all collaborate, and hold a monthly celebration of a different cultures, it would add tremendous value back into a cultureless Vegas, re instill pride into those who have lost it, and ultimately bring our communities closer together. Our culture is a part of who we are, and we should celebrate that and share these gifts with others.

Be proud of your culture! I am and will always be proud to be Italiana, because I know hold it’s meaning within. Embrace your culture, and share it with others. Culture unites us, and culture inspires us!



I met Shandel Slaten at the EO Alchemy Seattle conference last year.  We were attending a rock karaoke event and, as some of the less than 10% of women in attendance, we naturally connected and ended up dancing on stage as back up dancers.  When I was done laughing until my face hurt, I connected with Shandel and she shared that she is the CEO of True Life Coaching.  Shandel’s entire business is focused on helping high achievers achieve their goals while maintaining balance.  She’s like a CEO whisperer or team work ninja.  Shandel shares some of my strong personality traits and has been an ever present voice of reason in my life through some of my more challenging moments.  The test of a true friend is their ability to be candid with you about your opportunities for growth and then to hold your hand as you walk towards your best self. Shandel is without a doubt one of those true friends in my life.  

One of Shandel’s goals was to create a leadership conference just for women where lady leaders can inspire other lady leaders and every woman in the room can walk away inspired by the caliber of ladies around them.  She describe’s the one day conference as TED’s super hot girlfriend, which always makes me laugh.  TED wishes he could date a lady like these LEXI leaders!  On Saturday, November 2nd at 8AM, some of the world’s top lady leaders will connect at my favorite co working space, the InNEVation Center, in Las Vegas to share their life experiences in an exchange of ideas that is guaranteed to inspire.  For less than $200 you can attend this one day event that is well worth booking a babysitter for.  Personally, I’m excited to hear Shandel share some of her most recent lessons and to grab some great social media tips from sassy red head Debra Trappen.  Yes, you’ll also hear my fast growth story and many adventures in reality television, but I’m not sharing this inspiring leadership conference just because I get to speak at it.  If I wasn’t speaking, I’d be attending and soaking up the collective wisdom of these ladies like an enthusiastic sponge.  Book your ticket here NOW: https://ticketcake.com/event/lexi-womens-leadership-summit/las-vegas/2013-11-02.  See you there my friends! 


As a native Washingtonian myself, I am always on the look out for lady leaders that are making a difference in my home state.  In the case of this guest blogger, I was introduced through a homeless charity that I work with here in Las Vegas who thought this particular lady leader would exceed my every expectation and she has most certainly done that.  An enthusiastic evangelist for social change, Temper is always looking to change the world no matter where she is or what she is doing.  Her life is about being the change she wants to see in the world and that, my friends, is pretty dang cool.  I hope you enjoy her blog as much as I did!


Hi, everybody! I’m Temper, a reeeeeally late 20-something single mother of two, fulltime non-profit employee, documentary assistant director, online magazine contributing author, co-founder and creative director of a self-reliance focused business and volunteer organization run out of our home and a tattoo (espresso, crème brulee and downtown Seattle) addict. I’m excited to let you in on a little bit of what I’m up to… and hopefully share in the inspirational awesome that is The Mean Girls. 

You know what I don’t get? Putting limits on yourself; how much you can do, how many people you can reach, where you can meet, who you can talk to… it’s ridiculous. That’s why a year ago this August I joined up with the Washington branch of the Initiative (www.facebook.com/wai.seattle) – a group of like-minded individuals who are, internationally, coming up with creative solutions to problems big and small. We also use the “real life super hero” (or RLSH) persona in the media to draw attention to causes. We’re a group of people that are tired of the “why” and ready to employ the “try”, and who fight to effectively eliminate apathy. In Seattle, our branch focuses on everything ‘communication’ and ‘self-reliance’; creating and distributing commuter safety postcards, offering free self-defense to our LGBTQ community, doing safety patrols through high-crime areas, conducting large-scale homeless outreach events, starting our own business… it’s a lot, and it’s a lot I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t shed the “I can’t do THAT much…” mindset. 

Right now, the Washington Initiative (WAI) is focused on continuing our free self-defense training for kids and adults, and launching The H][VE (thehiveseattle.tumblr.com) in February. The documentary “Taking Initiative: Nation of Heroes” is currently in the editing stage after having wrapped in August, and will be focusing on our group’s need to do good for the world and our trip from CA to NY in search of others who are compelled to do the same. Add into that all the duties and joys that come with being Super Mom to two boys under five, a full-time employee and overly caffeinated, and you’ve got yourself the best life ever. 

If you’re interested in ways to help in your community, or casting off those pesky, life-restricting limits, please contact me!

– Temper



PictureKat and I laughing about life

It is my pleasure to introduce today’s guest blogger, Katharina Hueggenberg.  Kat walked into my life about five years ago when she decided to walk into my first Fabulous Furballs location in Sherwood Park, Alberta to tell me that she would like to open a location in Phoenix, Arizona to escape the harsh Alberta winters.  Eventually she did open our first franchise in the less sunny and warm Terwillegar, Edmonton, Alberta area and she absolutely exceeded all expectations.  Her real life lessons from franchising are priceless for anyone who is considering purchasing a franchise.  Enjoy mean readers!  

A number of years ago, I bought my first franchise. I weighed my options, and decided I wanted to spend the extra cash for the support and established brand that my Franchisor would offer. I am proud to say that my franchise was a wonderful success and I was consistently the highest grossing and highest customer service ranking venture among my fellow franchisees. So what made my store different? Why was I doing so well while others were struggling? I helped a number of my fellow franchisees along the way and here are the most common mistakes I saw.

1. I paid for success.

Wrong. I could never fathom why franchisees felt entitled to success. Just because you forked out the cash to own a franchise doesn’t automatically mean your venture will succeed. Let me tell you what you bought: a successful blueprint for a money making machine. That’s it. So your money allows you to skip the invention process (with a high rate of failure) and build a system that has been proven to work. Here is where most people screw this up. THEY DON’T USE THE SYSTEM THEY PAID FOR. You bought the schematics, now you have to work your booty off and build the damn thing. If you don’t build it according to plan and you don’t work the system of success you paid for, why would you succeed at the same level as the franchisor? Or any other major competitor for that matter?

2. My franchisor will fix it.

Yes…. And no. I’ve come across this phenomenon a number of times and I find it baffling. A franchisor is not a babysitter or your cleanup crew. A franchisor is invested in your success – so long as you are invested in theirs. You are part of a very large team. Tell me, if you get drafted onto a really great football team, are you not expected to work as hard as everyone else on the team? How long do you think you will last if you constantly expect the rest of the team to carry you to success? The rest of your team will get awfully tired of fixing preventable screw ups that you should be owning, and fixing, yourself. Your franchisor will coach you and support you, but you have to be invested in the long game. The dichotomy of a franchise can be tough to wrap your head around but it is your business, not the franchisors, and you are the one who is ultimately responsible for it.

3. It’s my business I can do what I want.

This is the flip side of franchising dichotomy I mentioned earlier. I’ve seen this a number of times; “I paid for this business, I can do what I want.” If you wanted to go rogue and do with your business whatever strikes your fancy, you shouldn’t have bought a franchise. This is probably the most costly and success killing mentality I’ve come across. The rebellious franchisee who thinks they know better than everyone else and are hell bent on doing things their way. A franchise’s value is in their consistency. That’s the brand power and the goodwill you wanted, so you better honor it. Most franchisors are absolutely open to ideas and change (Did you know the Big Mac was created by a franchisee?) and there are avenues to be heard. A franchise isn’t a buffet where you can pick through the system you purchased and selected the parts you like and discard the rest. Doing so hurts every other franchise in existence and will usually incur swift action from your franchisor, including having your franchise pulled. Enjoy your new freedoms!

Franchising is one avenue of entrepreneurship, one that has a history of being successful. If you choose to go down this road, educate yourself on what you are really in for. If you work the system, take ownership of your business, and respect the structure that you willingly signed up for, your odds of success skyrocket. In the end, that’s the prize we all want – success.



There I was, inputting another Starbucks coffee meeting into my calendar and I got that icky feeling in the pit of my stomach as it finally hit me, “Why do I hate this so much?”  I was excited about who I was going to meet with and I was really looking forward to connecting.  I have a ridiculous addiction to Starbucks drinks, so it couldn’t be that.  It was the monotony of doing my 18th Starbucks meeting in a week.  So I stopped.  Just like that.  I emailed my friend and relocated our meeting from Starbucks to a park.  Swinging on the swings in the park in the middle of a beautiful, sunny Las Vegas day, we connected, got business done, and had a sanity break from our daily grind.  It is based on this experience that I challenge all of you to take the bold move to stop boring meetings, coffees, and lunches.  Stop it.  Over the course of the last month, I have had meetings in parks, at a performing arts center, during a restorative yoga class, and the boldest by far- an anti gravity fitness class where I literally hung upside down.  A change of venue can change your perspective and give you a break from your daily grind.  Give it a try and let me know how your new meeting adventures go!  

Don’t miss this great blog featured on techbased.co with tips that I had to share with all of you.  Check out the full blog right here: http://techbased.co/kristacastellarin/ and don’t miss these great tips!

1. Watch your inner circle. Whoever you spend the majority of your time with is who you will become, so be really cautious about spending all of your time with people who do not inspire, challenge, or motivate you to be better than you are today.

2. Bet on yourself and bet big. Go all in on who you are and what you are really good at without worrying what anyone else will think. If I listened to the haters during that worst month ever, I’d still be crying in my mama’s kitchen.

3. Get out of your tech bubble. Domino’s is the result of a FedEx executive who decided if you could get a package anywhere in the world in 24 hours or less, you should be able to get a pizza delivered in your neighborhood in 30min or less. You never know where inspiration for your next breakthrough will come from.

4. Do you. It’s easy to get sucked into the idea that you are your business and your business is you, but that type of thinking is risky. Own your own identity, because I doubt this is your best idea ever and you’ll want to have the flexibility to move onto bigger and better projects some day.

5. Give back. Just because your tech company isn’t solving world hunger doesn’t mean you can’t give back in a meaningful way. Take the time to figure out how you can donate your time or talents to a homeless shelter or teaching needy children how to code. Your soul will thank you for it.



Earlier this summer I was at a downtown speaker series with a friend and a lovely new face arrived to sit behind us.  Like the social ladies we are, we began chatting about why she was relocating to the community and welcomed her to the land of #DTLV.  That friendly new face was the CEO of Umba Box, Lauren Thorp, and I am thrilled to call her a friend whose company I believe in.  I know you will fall in love with their products as much as I did.  Haven’t heard of Umba Box?  Allow me to share more about this up and coming company.  

What launched two years ago as Umba Box, a subscription box for handmade goods, is undergoing some significant changes. After taking a hard look at what Umba represents, they realized that ultimately, Umba is about empowerment and inspiration. While their mission of uniting through creative discoveries that delight and inspire remains constant, they’re starting to take this ideal to the next level.

In just under two years, Umba has partnered with hundreds of amazingly talented artists who spent years refining their craft, sometimes spending hours making a single product, purely out of a love of what they do. Many artists are often (rightfully) frustrated that their products aren’t getting the attention they deserve as they face fierce price competition. Online markets have become oversaturated with artists. The Umba community is the voice for these artists, designers, producers, and illustrators, connecting them with a powerful marketing force who understands and appreciates the time-honored skills they practice.

This is a two sided equation of empowerment. In addition to empowering artists by connecting them with passionate consumers who value their work, Umba empowers a new class of entrepreneurs who recognize that they want more out of life than a 9-to-5 job. They are seeking to find purpose and change lives while doing something they’re passionate about. 

Umba is a one-of-a-kind social selling platform that selects savvy entrepreneurs to be Umbassadors, empowering them to launch their own businesses as independent consultants. Umbassadors earn 20% of sales made from hosting online and in-home Trunk Shows, receive direct mentorship from industry experts, and join an active community of new friends, all the while helping to improve the lives of artists across the world. Consumers are able to work with an Umbassador to get a personal touch, and they can also shop directly at umba.com.

By connecting artists and Umbassadors, children in Ethiopia are now able to attend school because their parents who craft our Banded Cotton Towels are now earning a steady income. After launching their businesses, Umbassadors are able to pay off debt, take much needed vacations to reconnect with their families, and donate to causes that they are most passionate about. Lives are truly changing when Umbassadors and artists come together. 

Connections and relationships are what drive Umba. The Fall Collection celebrates relationships. Umba has hand-selected products that are reminiscent of cozy fall weekends full of steaming mugs of coffee sipped while wrapped up in blankets, surrounded by all of the people you love most. While shooting the lookbook for the new line, Umba team members gathered around a bonfire in the Catskills, many bundled up in Vine Arm Warmers and Wooly House Shoes

As families are at the heart of relationships, Umba is now offering men’s and kid’s products. After using Beard Oil, your manly-man will smell delightfully rustic and have a soft beard to boot. Your little ones will be bloggers-in-the-making when practicing their photography skills with a Pixie Wooden Camera.

Umba is your invitation to discover and empower a vibrant community of artists. Browse their entire Fall Lookbook here

My first company was created as the result of consumer frustration.  I wish I could tell you I spent months researching the market, doing a business plan, and ensuring I had a well laid out plan, but that just was not the case.  To make a long story short, I had a bad customer service experience and right then I decided I could do, and would do, better.  Ah, the naievete of entrepreneurs…

I can laugh now, but at the time I was entirely confident that I was unstoppable.  A great idea, a core team that believed in me, and a market of customers that were ready for what we were about to offer- how could this possibly go wrong?  Growth.  Not just your standard, run of the mill 10-15% growth each year.  We are talking about 981% growth that is so fast, so rapid that it blows your hair back.  As CEO of the freight train, you keep your head down, work your booty off, and pray it all just works itself out. Allow me to share how the ‘work and pray’ method panned out to save you some grief;

1. Slow down.  In the middle of the tornado it was impossible for me to see that I was throwing warm bodies into positions that had no right being there.  Rather than hiring the right people, I just hired people. I felt as if I just didn’t have time to wait – I could replace those bodies with better ones later, right? What I wound up with was a group of people who did not share the vision or values that I had started the company with. Before I knew it, I was fighting to save my company from the hands of the very people who worked for it.  If only I had slowed down to really hire the right people, to train them the way I envisioned, and stepped back from the day to day highway that had become our fast growth company.

2. Check your ego.  Every time I thought we were off track, I would win a growth award.  It became this unending cycle of rewarding bad behavior.  I would grow frustrated, decide to make changes, but then I would win an award for fast growth and my internal voice would say “don’t change a thing!  All these people think you are fabulous!”  The more people who tell you what you need to hear- not what you want to hear- the better. You can hire the ‘yes men’ after you take your company public, make millions, and retire in Hawaii.

3. Plan your corporate culture.  When I started my company, I adored going to work and would easily work 100 hour weeks because I adored every aspect of my job.  By the five year mark, I dreaded getting out of bed in the morning and my core team agreed that the magic was gone.  Yes, we could have fired all of those people I hired in a rush, in fact we gave it a bit of a go. But I couldn’t escape the harsh reality; my company was terminally ill. The biggest lesson I learned was to stick to my guns, only work with people and customers that are a clear values match, and never compromise my corporate culture for anything.  

My first company doesn’t exist anymore.  It’s gone.  A pitiful shadow of my original concept remains with those mutinous bodies I hired in a rush, but the company I created is no more. I took a  big breath, stepped back, and decided to let it go.  I don’t regret a single day, a single decision, or any of the adventures along the way because they brought me to where I am.  It was a truly harsh lesson to learn, but it is definitely one I won’t soon forget. I wouldn’t have made it through without the small group of right people I started with. They knew what our company was like at the beginning, so they appreciated just how off track things had become. We weren’t just in a ditch- we had allowed the wrong people to lead us down a river and over a waterfall.  

Today, with my new venture, I am lucky enough to have amazing partners and we turn away more clients than we accept.  My team and I have learned the lesson that sacrificing corporate culture for immediate growth is akin to cutting off your nose to spite your face.  Our most important priority is ensuring that any new employees, and even new clients, are a values match to our company and understand our corporate culture. We have all had the experience of how smooth and effortless things can be when all the pieces fit. Forcing a square peg into a round hole is a waste of valuable time and energy. Besides, while those other guys are fighting with pegs, I’ll be…………