Bruce T. Dugan: CEO, Inicia Incorporated


My NativeAdVantage:

Bruce T. Dugan is an electric entrepreneur whose career spans logistics, music, film, media and technology. He serves as CEO of Inicia Incorporated,  and its subsidiaries, Incognito Worldwide, i2MEDIALAB, Intech Creative LLC., and FIrst Drum Films.

1. What do I do best?

I tend to see trends 5 to 10 or more years before they’re (in some cases) even viable, like envisioning cloud applications to drive business collaboration for the logistics industry in 1994, or media conversion in 1999 when Jupiter Communication at a CEO roundtable told me it would never happen, or also in 1999 telling a Broker/ Dealer that selling music on the internet wasn’t relevant until a secure electronic distribution system was put in place, which was 5-7 years away ( can you say iTunes?)

2. What makes me the best version of myself?

Honesty in all things, regardless of the fall out or potential consequences.

3. What are my aspirations?

My business goals have always been to leave a legacy of quality work and honesty in my wake. Currently our digital agency subsidiary (Incognito Worldwide) has had a near perfect record in that regard, as had our I2MEDIALAB subsidiary.  On a personal level, quality of life is important, whether that is just taking the time to relax with friends for an hour over a cup of coffee on a sunny day, rather than rush or take a coffee to go. Reducing drama around me is a goal, and distancing myself from those that create, I’d like to complete several books I’ve been working on over the past years, and also to seek out creative and honorable people to work with, and take on only interesting or impacting projects.  

4. My Biggest Success?

In a word of deception and treachery, I guess the biggest success has been not being corrupted by any of it. Beyond that I’ve had a variety of separate successes, and I guess each had merit at the time. I launched my first company at the age of 22, and sold it for profit at 25; I’d exec-produced a documentary that was aired on Bravo Networks for 3 years, and I’d secured international distribution for it, as well as raising funds for and exec producing an indie feature film; launched a record label that was featured on the cover of Billboard; built a strong high-quality reputation for; and, on a personal note, rode the Himalayas on my motorcycle for 3o days, ending with a head on crash with a car on a highway in Kashmir and living to talk about it, which will be part of the story in the upcoming documentary Ride of Your Life by First Drum Films. .  

5. My Most Challenging Moment?

On a personal level, ending my marriage was the most difficult thing I’d ever done. Similarly, on a business level, I watched the shareholder powers that be in a publicly-traded media company that I founded, develop a pattern of behavior that I one day realized wouldn’t change, so I simply quite and walked out, leaving all the time, energy, and stock had behind, and never looked back.

6. My Motto?

Be honest with yourself and others, aways, and give your all to whatever you’re engaged in.

7. My Favorite People/Role Models?

I saw Richard Branson in an interview, and when asked “How did you build your empire,“ he casually said “I found and hired people smarter than me.” Throughout my career, I see many CEO’s that have to always be the smartest person in the room, even when they’re not. So I guess it is the humility to recognize and acknowledge others  I see as a strength, not a weakness. So I admire him for that. F.D.R. is another, because asked of Eleanor how he navigated the crisis of his time, she noted -- He established his principles long before he was faced with crises, and thus was guided by thus principles with whatever he was faced with. Victor Hugo said it best: “Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.”

8. My Favorite Places/Destinations?

I’ve traveled extensively, living in many cities across 4 continents: North America, South AMerica, India and Europe.  I was born and raised in NYC, so that city is a part of who I am, and I love my time there. Buenos Aires is a city that I loved the 2nd day I was there. And a 10-day vacation turned into a 7-year stay there, and I’ve returned earier this year. I also maintain an apartment in Bangalore, India, and while I don’t ‘love it,’ it did grow on me, and I do love my summers in Goa.

9. My Favorite Products/Objects?

I love gadgets, especially the SMartPhone, which I waited for for decades -- when the first Palm PDA was introduced, I thought the integration with the phone was a next natural evolution, but it took longer than I expected.  I’m glad it finally arrived. And clearly, the cloud has changed everything.

10. My Current Passions?

Good people, cigars, and wine, traveling, sailing, motorcycling, and creating -- whether it’s writing, conceiving and developing a new product,

Inicia Incorporated

Incognito Worldwide 


First Drum

Hamoon Ekhtiari: Founder & CEO, Audacious Futures, FutureFit AI


My NativeAdVantage:

A lover of all things blueberry and/or avocado, Hamoon is the Founder & CEO of Audacious Futures, a global launchpad for re-imagining the future at the intersection of technology, humanity, & philosophy. Incubated at Audacious Futures, he is also CEO and Founder of FutureFit AI, an AI-powered upskilling and reskilling solution for governments, enterprises, and individuals with a mission to help solve the global skills challenge.

Previously, he was the Director of Strategy and Innovation for the Executive Vice President at TELUS. Prior to that, Hamoon was the Founding Director of Studio [Y], a leadership and innovation academy at MaRS, Canada’s largest innovation hub. He has also founded a social enterprise which raised $1M in its first year, helped build Deloitte’s consulting business in the Caribbean, and taught as adjunct faculty. Hamoon is a member of the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference, an AdR Fellow at University of Cambridge, a recipient of University of Waterloo’s Alumni Achievement Medal, and a Canada Millennium Scholar. He is passionate about unlocking the potential of people, organizations, and societies to re-imagine and build the future.

FutureFit AI:

FutureFit AI is the Google Maps for the future of work and learning and serves as an AI-powered upskilling and reskilling solution for governments, enterprises, and individuals with a mission to help solve the global skills challenge. Our solution is designed to power people at every stage of their work lives to explore the world of careers and skills; set a “destination”; get “located” based on their skills and abilities; choose from recommended personalized “pathways”; and receive supports along those paths.

What do you do best? There is so much that I am definitely no good at so let’s start there - I have 0 (if not negative) creative / artistic talent and am equally unhelpful when it comes to all the life and technical skills requiring one to use their hands. With all those deficiencies, I have been lucky to find one thing I can do reasonably well - (non-technical) problem-solving. I can help individuals, organizations, and societies ask big questions, re-imagine what’s possible, design novel solutions, feel heard / seen / understood, and turn it all into reality. Put another way, I can look for and find the more audacious path and make it easier to take that road.

What makes you the best? Hard to ever consider yourself the best unless you are Usain Bolt-level but makes me often better than most at the tiny sliver of the world I work in is a recipe of 3 ingredients: 1) immigrant mindset - not feeling settled and comfortable, having to make sense of the seemingly foreign, needing to be creative and resourceful in the moment 2) bold humility - pursuing the seeming impossible yet always knowing that it’s never about you 3) sense of responsibility - to the team, to parents, to mentors who have made it possible for you to have this opportunity

What are your aspirations? We have made a lot of progress as humanity in the last few hundred years and solved the majority of simple and complicated problems - we are really good at predictably making more money with money, building almost tool or product, marketing almost anything to almost anyone. What we haven’t had even come close to hacking are the complex problems - how do you make San Francisco a city with 0 poverty? How do you give everyone in the world access to the same rights? How do you make sure every human has enough water and food every day? How do you make sure a business has no toxic internal politics? How do you help every person realize their full potential?

My dream is to make a small contribution to helping humanity level up on how we solve our most complex challenges.

Biggest Success? Yet to come but clear on what it would look like: a full year during which 1,000 people would directly attribute a lasting improvement in their lives in part to something I did and 0 people see me as responsible for a negative impact on their lives.

Most Challenging Moment? Finish work Friday @ 6PM, pack my life on Saturday, land in a country where I didn’t know a single person on Sunday.


Fall in love with the problem, not your solution. Build at the intersection of YesAND not EitherOR. Your best is always good enough and you can always do better.

Favorite People/Role Models? Elon Musk, hands down. He is basically the personification (personal life aside) of what Audacious Futures is all about and the type of world I hope to be a part of building.

Pierre Trudeau, Justin Trudeau’s father, was my first inspiration and the person who made me fall in love with Canada after I moved here.

Favorite Places/Destinations? Barbados is where my heart is. UAE is where the student of the future in me feels most at home.

Favorite Products/Objects? Black + white, hexagonal pattern, leather football (the real one, not the one you use to play that “Hand Egg” sport).

Google Maps - I think it is such an amazing source of inspiration for many of the future problems we need to solve. We’ve built most of the products we need, the problems ahead of us are navigation problems - how do people navigate the world of work, education, health, finance, etc.

Current Passions? Working on building the Google Maps for the Future of Work & Learning in - what if you could ‘explore’ the world of careers and skills, set a ‘destination’ of where you want to go next, get ‘located’ in terms of where you are starting from, get recommended ‘pathways’ to go from a to b, and receive guidance and support along the way?

Christian Palmer: CEO & Founder, ScoopU


My NativeAdVantage:

Christian Palmer is the CEO and Founder of ScoopU which is an up and coming transportation start-up for the Universities.  He recently appeared on the New Theory Podcast.

1. What do I do best?

Personally, what I like to consider myself as being a step ahead of the typical person regarding is the way that I’m capable of bringing the right group of people together. Our team has been modified and changed constantly throughout the past year in hopes of eventually having a team of people who are willing to put their all towards a common goal – enabling student employment and making on-campus transportation more efficient. I like to think that it is because of our effort to put together such a dedicated and productive team that we are able to build the relationships with our partners and potential customers that we have been fostering for some time now.

2. What makes me the best version of myself?

Unfortunately, this answer goes hand-in-hand with my first answer: the thing that separates myself and ScoopU from other people and companies is my, and our, ability to team-build which leads to effective teamwork. It is only when everyone in a company is working towards accomplishing a common goal that they can operate at their peak efficiency.

3. What are my aspirations?

Simply put, our two biggest goals for ScoopU are to both accommodate the campus-livers by providing the most efficient form of campus-transportation available while making our best attempt to enable student-employment throughout the college campuses we service.

4. My Biggest Success?

Aside from forming ScoopU, which, although we have yet to turn a profit at the moment, is easily my biggest success at the moment, while I was 17 and 18 years old, I had a solid season, breaking Knowshon Moreno’s single-season touchdown record in New Jersey – he scored 40 in one season, whereas I was lucky enough to be surrounded by a great group of both players and coaches who pushed and enabled me to cross the endzone 44 times through the air or ground attack. Then, after this season, our school closed, and the community was called on to raise $1,000,000 to keep the school open. Mater Dei Prep is still open to this day, thanks to the school community raising the money necessary refusing to allow its doors to close.

5. My Most Challenging Moment?

When Super Storm Sandy hit, Monmouth County was greatly affected. My Father at the time was the principal of Port Monmouth Elementary School located in my hometown of Keansburg. He ultimately made the executive decision to turn his school into a shelter for the neighboring community. This shelter catered to the members of the community who had been completely devastated by the storm. I took it upon myself to give as much of my time to the relief effort as I could. I helped my father run the shelter for nearly 2 months and there were never enough helping hands. Although I was exhausted day in and day out, I knew my community needed my help. I was personally responsible for helping feed and clothe countless members of my community. It was challenging work, but I am proud to have been a part of this effort.

6. My Motto?

“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime...”

― Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

7. My Favorite People/Role Models?

In business, I’d say I look up to people like Elon Musk → I wouldn’t say that I necessarily see him as a role model, but it’s fair to say that he does things very differently from most others, is usually under scrutiny, yet continuously works to both personally improve as well as help both of his “active” companies: SpaceX and Tesla Motors. Personally, I look up to people like my father: he’s caring, hardworking, and a family man. People tend to overcomplicate life, yet my father has always made it seem so simple; work hard, care about what you do and always stay true to those you love and care for. Life follows accordingly.

8. My Favorite Places/Destinations?

I’ve never gotten the chance, really, to travel for things other than athletics → some places I’d like to see aside from Cooperstown, Disney, and other ballparks include places like Canton, Ohio where the Football Hall of Fame is. I’ve always enjoyed the beach - I pretty much grew up on a beach. If ScoopU were to help all the markets and people that we aspire to, I’d love to go somewhere in Europe, anywhere out there really. I want to witness for myself how other cultures function, see their perceptions first-hand, and enjoy the company of those with potentially differing views. As a genuinely curious person, I enjoy reading about these views and cultures, but would love for the opportunity to experience these differences for myself.

9. My Favorite Products/Objects?

Two fields that I find especially intriguing is the VR field and the AI field. Virtual Reality is going to be at the forefront of the technology sector, in my opinion, whereas the AI field is going to be at the forefront of the informative and analytical sectors soon – both sectors imperative to how we function in our modern society, and, therefore, both sectors should be prioritized amongst these markets.

10. My Current Passions?

My whole life, my parents have enjoyed the musical arts which is what inspired me to go out for drums when I was young, teach myself the piano when I got a little bit older, and now that I’m in college and have little to no space, teach myself the Ukulele. As previously stated, I spend a lot of time reading business books, or books about the people who have paved the way for the business world to grow. One additional passion that I have aside from music and business is, again, athletics. I, personally, grew up playing baseball, basketball and football. However, throughout my life, I have gained an appreciation for athletics of all sorts. I guess the bottom line is that I honestly consider myself to have a lot of passions, ranging from sports, to books, to my original love: Sports.

Dr. Shainna Ali: Mental health clinician, Educator & Advocate


My NativeAdVantage:

Shainna Ali is a mental health clinician, supervisor, educator, and advocate. Dr. Ali is passionate about destigmatizing mental health counseling and helping individuals worldwide recognize the importance of fostering mental wellness. She is the author of The Self-Love Workbook: A Life-Changing Guide to Boost Self-Esteem, Recognize Your Worth and Find Genuine Happiness and an active blog contributor for Psychology Today, the American Counseling Association, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Dr. Ali is a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Florida, a nationally-certified clinician, and an approved clinical supervisor. She is the owner and operator of Integrated Counseling Solutions, LLC, a strengths-based clinical mental health and consulting practice located in Downtown Orlando. She presently teaches counselor education courses at the University of Central Florida and at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Beyond professional conference presentations, she also provides tailored educational workshops for the local counseling community.

As a mental health advocate Dr. Ali has been featured in the media such as on NPR’s On Point, Yahoo, and in the Daily Mail. She is a past president of the Florida Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development and presently serves on the editorial boards for the Journal for Creativity in Mental Health and the Journal of Counseling Sexology & Sexual Wellness: Research, Practice, and Education. Dr. Ali was named an emerging leader by the Association for Counselor Education & Supervision and Association for Creativity in Counseling. Further, Dr. Ali was awarded the Pete Fischer Humanitarian award for her efforts in counseling. 

What do I do best?

I’m fortunate to have the ability and opportunity to help empower people to take charge of their mental health. Using a strengths-based perspective, I am able to help others learn and grow in their healing journeys.

What makes me the best version of myself?

I am at my best when I am myself. When I am able to honor my true self by aligning by sincere goals, values, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors I experience harmony and I find myself at my happiest.

What are my aspirations?

I aspire to contribute to widespread change in the way we view mental health. Mental health awareness, education, and care is essential across the globe, however, stigma, accessibility, and lack of awareness cause mental health concerns to perpetuate while many individuals suffer in isolation. My hope is to contribute to a dialogue in which I can assist people in understanding that we all the responsibility and ability to foster our mental well-being. 

My Biggest Success?

I am happy to reflect on many privileges I have been lucky to have in this lifetime. If I had to choose just one, I would say that my biggest personal success would be earning my doctoral degree. While I was fortunate to be emotionally supported by my loved ones, this feat is a challenge that I endeavored on my own, with the motivations of personal growth and ability to help others in the future, and conquered that hurdle independently. While I can look back with gratitude for this achievement, I am also thankful for the obstacles I faced during that time that taught me about my personal character, mental endurance, and self-worth.

My Motto?

Perspective is power.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

I have many favorite people! My field has taught me that everyone has something to admire, and I have incorporated this into a practice of gratitude and growth. I appreciate the unique strengths of the individuals in my life, and use them to empower my personal growth as well. On a larger scale, I am deeply awed by incredible women such as Malala Yousef, Amal Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Michelle Obama, and Oprah Winfrey. I an inspired by their ability to hone their intelligence and compassion for humanity and the greater good.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

I love anywhere my loved ones can be found. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to delve into cultures that I dreamed of as a child in history class. My favorite spots have certainly been Santorini, Positano and the Phi Phi Islands. From this, I have learned that I love destinations in which the hills kiss the sea.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

I appreciate this question because it stumped me a bit! Most of my favorite things are intangible. Nevertheless, I love my journal, essential oil diffuser, and my laptop. These are the makings of a simple self-care break in my world.

My Current Passions?

While I am always passionate about mental health, my current passion is self-care. I am learning more to listen to my instincts, heart, and body and to prioritize my needs. Part of this passion includes highlighting the importance of self-care to others. We can’t pour from an empty cup; therefore, we all need self-care to foster our mental health. 

Adrien Finkel: Author of "My Naked Truth" & Photographer, writer, producer

My NativeAdVantage:


Adrien Finkel is the author of My Naked Truth, as well as a photographer, writer, and producer based in Los Angeles, California. When not producing Funny or Die, Adrien devotes her time to My Naked Truth Project, a

August Turak: Award-winning author, speaker, & consultant

My NativeAdVantage:


August Turak is the author of Brother John: A Monk, a Pilgrim, and the Purpose of Life (October 21, 2018; Clovercroft Publishing), recipient of the prestigious Templeton Prize. Turak is an award-winning author, speaker, consultant and contributor for Forbes and the BBC