Beck Bamberger: Founder BAM Communications

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How did you get into the industry?
I started in television, had my own show which I hosted on the CW network, and then got exposed to public relations via a PR veteran who was helping me produce one season. I worked in the PR office of that veteran for a few months working on one show, and via sheer osmosis, I learned a lot about public relations. And then I thought, “I could do this. This is storytelling, and I already love that.” That’s how BAM started, and I created the logo 10 years ago in the laundry room of my mom’s house on our old iMac desktop computer.

Moaz Hamid: Managing Director, REME

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How did you get into the industry?

I come from a technology background and, initially, began working with health and wellness companies on the tech side. I applied my knowledge and experience from working with companies, such as Google and HTC, to provide value to them. After learning more about health and wellness and realizing how rewarding and life-changing it could be, I fell in love with the industry. I began dedicating a lot more time, energy and resources to it. Now, I’m Managing Director at REME.

Niall Gannon: Ultra High-Net-Worth Private Wealth Advisor & Author

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How did you get into the industry?

I entered the financial advisory business at the age of 23 and it was an unusual path that brought the opportunity. In the summer of 1991, having recently been commissioned as an officer in the US Army, I was awaiting orders to report to active duty to the Armor School at Ft. Knox (Tanks). I was doing odd jobs during this time, one of which was as a violin teacher. One of the parents of one of my students, Pat Kearns, was the manager of a Shearson Lehman Brothers office in St. Louis and despite my pending service, he offered me an internship and the chance to compete for a slot in the firm’s training program. That was 27 years ago. I have never changed seats or firms.

Austin Stofer: CEO, RateMyInvestor.com

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How did you get into the industry?

I got into the entrepreneurial and investment industry by working with numerous startups to build their companies at an early stage. While running the early stage business builder and accelerator Sieo, my team and I experienced first hand the complexities of raising capital. Founders face a significant lack of transparency into the funding process and rarely have enough information to know whether the investors they are speaking to would be good business partners. Trust is everything, and just because someone wants to put money into your company doesn’t mean it is a good idea to take it.

Devona Stimpson: Co-Founder, Strive & Grind

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How did you get into the industry?

My whole life I was always a creative. My background was in graphic design. I created my first website when I was in the 4th grade. I taught myself how to code websites and learn graphic design software. I thought that’s what I wanted to do with my life all the way up into college. Then I took a painting class and realized I didn’t like graphic design. Actually, I hated it. I decided to pursue painting as my career. So that’s really how I got into being an artist and becoming a painter.

James S. Tonkin: President & Founder, HealthyBrandBuilders

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How did you get into the industry?

I got into the industry kind of circuitously. I graduated from the University of Oregon in 1973 and immediately went into my father’s business, which was a manufacturing operation as well as a distributorship for 7UP, A&W Root Beer, the Crush line,  Welch’s… We had about 60 different brands in the Bay area and Sacramento and up to the Nevada border. I worked for my dad from ‘73 until ‘82. I went through a massive training program until I became Vice President, General Manager of the business. Once I got there I realized In 1982 that I did not want to produce carbonated soft drinks anymore and continue to be a participant in this horrible lack of nutritious oriented kind of business. And so I had no idea what I was going to do but I left the business and was in Hawaii on vacation trying to figure out what I was going to do with myself. I started eating these Maui style potato chips, which are Russet potatoes with the skin left on. Eventually I called the guy on the back of the bag of potato chips and I ended up going to his house and spent three days with him learning how to manufacture the product….

Joe Jacober: CEO, Innovative Brands Accelerator

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How did you get into the industry?
I started my career working for an ad agency and wanted to be more engaged in the total marketing process, not just one element. So I was hired by The Dial Corporation to launch Liquid Dial, the first antibacterial hand soap in the market. They wanted someone with advertising experience since they were going to roll out a significant advertising investment, so I fit the bill. Working on this iconic brand really immersed me into the business of consumer products. We served a new consumer need and ultimately changed a category. That’s where I developed my passion for growing and scaling products that bring meaningful value to consumers.

Shannon Kenny: Founder, Mama Eco

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How did you get into the industry?

Even as a kid, I was collecting trash on the beach and encouraging my family to conserve water. And after spending years at a day job that completely sucked the life out of me, I knew I had to find a career that was more fulfilling and had purpose. I spent two years trying out business ideas that would allow me to fuse my passion into something I could support myself on. And after several iterations, and a few learning experiences along the way, I shifted towards what I now call: Mama Eco 2.0. An online resource for people who want to live sustainably but don’t know where to start.

Igor Bekker: Founder, Made Of

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How did you get into the industry?

I have no experience in CPG (consumer packaged goods), nor am I a toxicologist or chemist.  Not exactly the thing you want to hear from someone selling Baby-care products for newborns.  My background is in Digital and Data Analytics.  My co-founder and I ran a qual and quant project and noticed consumer demand in beauty and skin care. What surprised us was the lack of product on the market that delivered on its promise.  What was already out there failed to deliver and deceived the customers causing confusion and mistrust.

Austin Netzley: Bestselling author, Investor & Entrepreneur

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Austin Netzley is a bestselling author, investor and entrepreneur. He is the Founder and CEO of 2X, a company specializing in helping busy entrepreneurs implement the systems and strategies necessary to get their time back, systemize their operations, and double their business in 90 days.

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Kelly Bleach: Former Chief Business Officer, American Foundation for the Blind

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Former Chief Business Officer at American Foundation for the Blind, current part-time Project Manager and Doctoral Student Kelly Bleach has focused her career on applying forward-thinking management practices to the nonprofit sector, including 25 years at the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB),

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