Tracy Boyce

Besides being a single mother raising four kids, Tracy Boyce’s full time job is a feng shui practitioner.

Originally an accountant, Tracy never knew something like feng shui existed. The seeds for her profession were planted after receiving a home consultation twelve years ago, and were sowed once a divorce became eminent.

With a settlement that barely covered the mortgage, Tracy decided that her part time feng shui practice did not have enough of a steady income to support a family. Falling back on a part time bookkeeping position to pay bills, she found that her time was being consumed by calculations, and not by color coordination.

Overwhelmed and overworked, Tracy walked into her boss’s office one day and requested that she be compensated fairly for the extra workload she was assuming. The next day she was a full time feng shui consultant, fired from her bookkeeping job.

“I guess my ex-boss did me a great favor by firing me. I’m not sure if I would have taken that step on my own. It was a pretty scary thing to do, financially. No one was offering their support to me or even help. From the vantage point of now, he was my biggest supporter.”

Going from accounting to design isn’t necessarily the recommended career course for designers, but as the feng shui practice preaches, it was Tracy’s “path.”

Check out Tracy Boyce at http://www.tracyboycefengshui.com/

Five Years From Now

The question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” really used to bother me. I believed it was a throwaway question in an interview that didn’t measure anything.

How are we supposed to know where we are five years from now?

I was flipping through old notebooks this weekend and I came across a quote I wrote down from Atlas Shrugged, written by Ayn Rand. It read:

“The greater the mind, the better the range. A man whose vision extends to a shanty, might continue to build on quicksands, grab a fast profit and run. A man who envisions skyscrapers, will not.”

The quote gave me a new perspective, so I thought I’d share it.

Jesus Delgado

Jesus Delgado-Jenkins, founder and president of JNI, LLC, knows something about hard work and commitment. As the son of Cuban immigrants who instilled a great deal of patriotism in their son, for his new country, Jesus attended West Point and served in the United States Army for five years. Entering the private sector, Jesus immediately began to excel in the world of business turnaround, where business are acquired and streamlined to reach their maximum potential. Jesus points to the mentors under which he was able to work as helping to shape him for his future, individual endeavors.

From 1999 through 2001, Jesus began to look carefully at his own opportunities, but never closed a single independent deal. This proved fortuitous when, after 9/11, Jesus felt obliged to serve his country. In two years at the United States Treasury, Jesus advanced to become the CFO of the Treasury, overseeing account volumes the likes of which most businessmen never see. He calls the numbers “humbling.” After two more years of public service, Jesus once again entered the private sector, this time with a better grasp of economics on a global scale.

Now, Jesus has taken JNI from a startup to a multi-million dollar company, completing his piece of the American dream: an immigrant family, whose son serves his country, then enters and dominates the business world. “If you work hard enough, and long enough,” Jesus says simply. “You will achieve your dream.”

Rick Barrera

After college, California author Rick Barrera found himself out of a job. Although he helped establish a store, under the tutelage of a retail marketing guru and mentor, and was well on his way to buying it, the opportunity instead went to the family of the owner. The son of a restaurateur, Rick set out to find a way to
communicate all that he had learned in his life, to the world in need of inspiration, and coaching in the tumultuous world of sales.

What came of his attempt are numerous books about scrupulous marketing, something Rick sees as lacking in today’s society.

“Integrity,” says Rick, “Is key to everything. It’s clarity of values, doing what you say you’re going to do.” Rick’s books offer his method of selling without misleading, gimmicks, or dishonesty. Rick focuses on a customer oriented sense of business, where seeing from the customer’s point of view is vital. Everything from the connotation of words used, to the empathy required to understand the
fickle choices of customers. When asked for advice to those searching for their path, Rick offers this: “Even if you don’t have financial success for some reason, make sure to enjoy every day of what you’re doing.”

Ryan Barnes

“Wherever you go, there will always be a mixture of people destroying, helping and living mutually with the outdoors.” Ryan Barnes, a United States Park Ranger in the Yellowstone national forest, understands that not everyone was raised with the same appreciation and respect for the outdoors as himself. That is why, after three years of applications, he spends his days roving the basin surrounding Old Faithful, educating, protecting and perhaps just conversing, with those who choose to enjoy the national park.

A self-described “modern-day drifter,” Ryan says, in his North Carolina drawl, “I love the outdoors and I love educating people.” The job is an excellent fit. Ryan gives talks to thousands of spectators, gathered before Old Faithful, warning of the dangers of the wilderness, not intending to scare anyone, but rather to inform the urbanites as to the realistic dangers they may face in the wild. Ryan stresses the importance of conservation, as without conservation, there can be no research. Ryan’s advice, to people who would like to follow his path, is that “if you want to do something, do it. There are no excuses.”

Keith Covart

In 1968, at 22, Keith Covart and two friends founded Electric Fetus, an independent-minded record store in Minneapolis, MN. Nearly four decades later, Keith is the sole-owner of the thriving store, to which he added two new Minnesota locations, in Duluth and St. Cloud. When asked his motivations for starting the store, Keith says, “I certainly wasn’t thinking as much about business as I was about music.” Following that direction, or lack thereof, Keith has shaped a customer-centric music store concerned more with what is for sale, than how much is sold.

Keith spent 2 years juggling a second career as a claims adjuster before realizing that he must commit himself to his passion. “Play music you want to play,” Keith says with a smile, “And that’s your job.”

Without an advance business degree, Keith is as suited as any to run a company. “Customer service,” he says, “Is not an MBA term.” By maintaining a “wonderful staff devoted to the store,” Keith is able to offer music to “every segment of the population.” Asked for the secret to employing knowledgeable and motivated individuals, Keith says simply, “We like each other more than many stores.”

Lisa Bauch

Lisa Bauch doesn’t like being told “no.” The owner of Uppercut Boxing Gym, in Minneapolis, MN, found other boxing gyms to be unwelcoming to a woman entering the sport; Lisa rectified this problem by starting her own gym. Now in its eleventh year of operation, Uppercut welcomes all boxing enthusiasts, from fighters in training, to casual exercisers. Lisa has long sought to “demystify” boxing so that many can enjoy the fitness and confidence it provides. Lisa, who fell for boxing while learning self-defense, still faces the prejudice inherent to a male dominated world, but she lets her fighters speak in the ring.

When asked where boxing and business collide, Lisa conjures a boxer who has lost the first round. Sitting in the corner, beaten and tired, that fighter must “look for the angles and take a different approach,” even in the face of a terrible start. It is this kind of resilience that allows Uppercut to thrive, while “simply allowing more people to be involved with the sport.” Lisa, whose 43 years are not evident in her face, knows that when the bell rings, it’s “back to basics.” Uppercut continues to be a place to hone these basics, even if you are not looking to fight.

Gamal Aziz

Gamal Aziz, CEO of MGM Mirage and COO of the MGM Grand, has spent his entire life in the tourism industry. Born in Egypt, Gamal was fortunate enough to naturally acquire various languages as a child, possibly foreshadowing a life of demanding communication. At 16, Gamal spent his entire savings on a roundtrip ticket to France; his first job was bussing tables in Paris. After business school at the University of Cairo, Gamal realized that his “true passion is quality service.”

Today, Gamal uses that passion to lead more than 9,000 employees, a responsibility he gladly undertakes. “It is essential to know,” says Gamal, “That leadership is leadership, wherever you employ it,” whether as the CEO, or a pool attendant.

“I Love What I Do…”

When we were in Seattle a month ago, our group met a couple of motivated guys that were raising awareness for their younger brother, who was in need of a bone marrow transplant. The guys around me, Jay and Zach, encouraged me to use this blog to help these guys out.

This morning I opened up my inbox to find this email. It’s subject line was “I love what I do…”

My name is Monica Moshenko. I am a single mother of three “kids” – boy/girl twins now 27 and 14 year old son Alex. I have found my mission and passion in life through my different life experiences that I have gone through. But I believe I found my calling in life through my youngest son Alex, who was diagnosed with a high functioning form of autism, Asperger Syndrome, when he was six years old. Frankly I didn’t know much about the world which people with disabilities live or their families.

I have been an advocate for my son and many other children and adults over the years fighting for children to have the appropriate supports and services in school under law. I started an online support group called Power Advocates to provide other parents this support volunteering my time to help them. I also found a huge void in the community about autism and facilitated several conferences on autism with international speakers in the area to help educate the public, including educators, professionals and parents. I organized two walks for autism to help raise awareness and funds for research in Buffalo, NY in 2002 and 2003 – raising over $200K as parent volunteer, working full time and taking care of my son Alex.

In 2004 I created a radio show to provide a consistent voice in media for people with disabilities and others to be heard and understood, DisAbility News & Views Radio. I was able to acquire some sponsors who shared my mission and vision for the radio show. I started broadcasting at a local radio station paying for air time each week, hosting the show and interviewing guests. I moved to the internet after one year as the audience is worldwide and listeners wanted to hear more! It has been three years since the show began, and I have to tell you that airing this show each week is my passion. I am thankful that I have been led to this place through my son Alex! He has been a blessing to so many. In fact he advocates for children and adults with autism too. He was selected as spokesperson for Wrestling Autism, a national fundraising effort to help raise awareness for autism to benefit the National Autism Association. Alex has also been hosting his own talk radio show since June 2006 called Al’s Wrestling Talk, a weekly talk show about pro wrestling each week. Alex has received a lot of attention for his work on TV shows and articles that have been written about him. Alex broadcasts his show online at www.alswrestlingtalk.com.

I wanted to let you know that while I am unemployed from my full time position at the local university after 17 years, I continue to host the radio show each week to share information about disabilities. WHY? Because it fills a huge void for the largest minority in the country.. 56 million people. The show provides a place for people with disabilities to be heard and understood and also many professionals as well.

I am hopeful that more businesses will become a part of making a difference on DisAbility News & Views Radio. We have had plans to go on the road across the country in an RV, since last January. I have had my home for sale and continue to reach out to potential advertisers that will help support us on the road, Taking it to the Street Tour. You can learn more about us online at www.disabilitynewsradio.com.

Thanks so much!

Monica Moshenko
Parent, Advocate and Host
DisAbility News & Views Radio
www.disabilitynewsradio.com