Best of Innovators and Entrepreneurs in 2020

2020 gave us access to a number of innovators, entrepreneurs, and mavericks who looked to not only survive but were able to thrive on their creativity, meet the changing needs of their clients, and grow their businesses.  

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This episode features Amanda Ma on how her leadership style has grown with her business. Saas entrepreneur and popular podcast host Alex Sanfilippo on meeting your customer’s needs.  Julio Maria on the Entrepreneur’s Mindset.  Harry Brelsford of the Pocket.MBA  with examples of personality types who shouldn’t be their own boss.  Giuseppe Grammatico the Franchise Guide helps us all understand the breadth and possibilities that choosing a franchise for your next business venture can offer.  To round out the episode we finish Einat Gan El and Ilana Stein on how women often see the work world differently and using that as an asset to the company.

Featured Guest on Best of Innovators and Entrepreneurs in 2020

Cath the entire episode on his new book the Pocket MBA 90 day fast track to cash.

Harry Brelsford

Harry Brelsford is the founder of SMB Nation from Bainbridge Island, Wash. He is a long-time SMB channel partner who has served customers and mentored other partners through SMB nation’s 49,000 members.

He holds an MBA in Project Management from the University of Denver and is the author of 21 books on technology and business topics. His 20 years of SMB technology experience were supplemented by teaching 12+ years at night as an adjunct professor at Seattle Pacific University and other higher-learning institutions. He served as the Dean in the Graduate School of Technology at Aspen University where he earned his Phd.

Harry is an in-demand speaker and he has published over 400-articles in business and technology magazines He is an active entrepreneur, the force behind the Pocket MBA, His latest startup is 420MSP.

Einat Gan El

Einat is an organizational consultant and expert in processes of organizational change and streamlining, with a unique consulting system tailored to female managers.

Einat has over 15 years of experience as a manager of organizational development, educator, and consultant to organizations and managers, including on the most senior levels. She holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Consulting from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Einat and Illana who you will meet later specializes in promoting women to leadership positions in organizations and in society. You can learn more about their work at Moveup.Today (English translation option is upper right)

You can listen to Einat discussing “the tiara syndrome” in the full episode “Promoting Women into Leadership
The world of Franchising is wider than many of us ever imagined. But business ownership is not for everyone. Giuseppe give you a solid primer in “Is Franchising a Fit for your career goals.

Giuseppe Grammatico

Giuseppe Grammatico is a franchise veteran, coach & consultant who simplifies the process of franchising and excels at guiding his candidates to the business model that best suits their desired lifestyle. His greatest joy is helping people realize the American dream and sharing the freedom that comes from franchising.

Giuseppe is the author of Franchise Freedom: A New Manifesto For Your Financial And Time Freedom
As well as the host of his podcast: Franchise Freedom
Franchising is a powerful vehicle for success, but the franchising world can be overwhelming, to say the least. Giuseppe takes the guess work out of the process, listens and teaches along the way, and finds the very best fit for his candidates.

“Freedom favors the bold,” Giuseppe says.

Those bold enough to take action on their goals are the ones that realize the freedom boldness can deliver. Learn more at

Amanda Ma

Amanda Ma is the Founder and Chief Experience Officer of Innovate Marketing Group (IMG,) an award-winning event and experiential marketing agency based in Los Angeles.

Amanda is an industry professional with 16 years of experience in event production, event launch, activations, experiential marketing, design and execution. Her extensive background and strategic insights have produced event experiences for clients including Toyota, East West Bank, Marriott, Honda, Bytedance and TikTok; spanning multiple industries from auto, finance, technology to retail and beauty

Born in Taiwan and raised in Arcadia, CA, Amanda studied business at Boston University in Boston, MA and studied abroad in London, UK. Her entrepreneurial journey began in 2006 and few years later she founded Innovate Marketing Group, which through her leadership has flourished into one of the most distinguished event management and design agencies nationally

In the Episode Creating Wow Customer Experiences Amanda shares insights in to her changing leadership style and her business has grown. along with the benefits of working with an events company and maximizing the results of events as we have all shifted to virtual conferences.
Julio believes that we are powerful beyond measure. We just need to remember that, step into our power and enable others to do the same. Learn more about entrepreneur and African business culture.

Julio Maria

Julio is an award-winning professional who trained more than 600 people in marketing, business, and entrepreneurship. He also led the launch and management of a top-tier incubation program in Mozambique.

As an authentic thought leader, Julio made remarkable contributions at Mozambique-Nordic Good Growth Day 2018 Conference, Global Entrepreneurship Congress 2019, and Seedstars Maputo Summit 2019 touching the lives of more than 2000 people. The impact of his work didn’t go unnoticed at an international level. In 2019 alone Julio was recognized as one of 100 Most Influential Young Africans, he became a holder of the prestigious The Diana Award, and he won the Most Outstanding Delegate Award at Global Goals Model United Nations.

Alex Sanfilippo

Alex Sanfilippo is the host of the top 20 entrepreneurship podcast, Creating a Brand which can be found at Alex is also the founder of, a free service that automatically matches podcast guests and hosts together for interviews.

As a side note Alex’s creation of by far was the most influential resource for the podcast we used this year. Many of the amazing guests and powerful conversations we’ve had were because of the site.

On the “Building a Business” Episode Alex shares his own journey as a business owner and advice for building something you love

Ilana Stein

 Diplomat, spokesperson, educator and expert in gender communication and PR.

Ilana has served as Israel’s Cultural Attaché in Moscow, the vice-spokesperson of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the director of the Ministry’s cadet course. She holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science and Communication from Bar Ilan University.

Moveup is a values-based organization that provides consultancy and educational services. We focus on the ideal of promoting women and gender equality, while tailoring this objective to business goals.   

Show Notes and Transcript – Best of Innovators and Entrepreneurs in 2020

Tim Kubiak 0:05
Hi, thanks for listening to bow ties in business. I’m your host Tim Kubiak. If you haven’t already done so please subscribe. leave us a review on iTunes. And certainly you can always reach out to us on our socials at bow ties in business on Facebook and Instagram and bow ties in bi z on Twitter. You can find me at Tim Kubiak on Twitter, LinkedIn. And of course at Tim Today we’re going to have a series of guests as part of her best of 2020 programs. And this is on innovation and entrepreneurship. So we’ll be hearing from Amanda Ma, who runs an amazing marketing agency about how her leadership style has grown with her business. We’ll be talking to Alex sanfilippo, who runs a popular podcast, but also runs the pod match service which I’ve used to get a lot of guests. I’m a huge fan of it. I plug it every chance I get if you run a podcast, you’re not using Alex’s stuff. Check it out. It’s fantastic. We’ll have Julio on who talks about an entrepreneurs mindset. He’s from Mozambique, if he missed that episode, definitely worth checking out in here and there. We’ll have Giuseppe grammatica on he’s written a book franchise freedom. One of the other things to know is a franchise and business ownership isn’t for everyone. And that’s what we cover with Giuseppe we have my friend Harry Brailsford, on who wrote the pocket MBA is talking about what it takes to really start and grow a business. But today we focus on who shouldn’t shouldn’t be an entrepreneur. And then we close out with Nina and olana from move up today on promoting women in the workplace, and understanding the gender differences and how work is perceived. So leaders can be more inclusive. So with that, thanks for listening.


your team is growing, your business has grown. Right? So how have you changed your leadership style and your entrepreneurial journey is your business has grown? You’ve got more key clients. Right? So correct.

Amanda 2:02
Yeah, I think in the beginning, when you’re smaller, you kind of want to do everything on your own. Um, and I think in terms of leadership style, I would say more and more, you have to learn to let go and trust. And then right now my leadership style is more about empowerment. And, you know, letting them try it and giving them the freedom to do so and empower them to do so because I feel like for that, and I tell them, you take ownership of the experience, just like a life experience, but you also take ownership of whatever that you do, right? Whether it’s the office assistant, event assistant or account manager, take ownership, and we have our core values. So I use that when I hire people to when I evaluate people and just on the day to day, right? We talk about Okay, how does this live up to the core value? Even when we talk about events? As a How does this work? One of our core value is while service, right? So while experience, so they will challenge your team? Like, how does this event? You know, yes, you talk about all the logistics, all those those are great, but those are basics for us. But you know, so kind of bringing it back? How do we continue to offer that while service? And then if they cannot answer the question, they’ll have to go back to the drawing board and have a better answer the following week,

Tim Kubiak 3:16
is for them and finding that middle space between the brand they sell and adding that expertise out to their customer set for the people you know, because it is it is a research learn buying decision kind of world. Yeah, I

Ales San Filippo 3:30
think that the balance just has to be, we have to remember in the day that every business no matter what you’re selling, it’s all h two h it’s all human to human at one point, right. And I think that some of these bigger companies especially forget that we think we’re business to business, you know, like we’re selling to another company, but in the day somebody is making that decision, right? And I think that we can remember that put ourselves in their shoes and say, Okay, if I’m new to this, whatever this product might be, and then what does somebody need to know about it? Like? How do they need to be able to like, what do they need to see or know to be able to succeed with this, I think if you can start answering those questions and kind of bridge that gap between somebody who’s just getting started with it, and somebody who can succeed with it, then you’re good. And for some products might be really simple. Like if you’re selling, let’s just say you’re selling some sort of data service, you know, like, you’re actually going to be storing people’s data and how to do it efficiently, and then just share it with just their company. I’m thinking company like LastPass, where they’re keeping your passwords, then making you helping you share it among your different people in your company, or whatever it might be. That’s kind of complex. So you want a lot of education for that. If you’re selling a lawn mower, you wanna tell people how to start it and how to cut nice lines in their yard, right? That’s a very different amount of education has to go into that because it’s a much simpler service that you’re trying to provide to people or that you’re trying to sell to them. So really, Every company has to ask that for themselves. But they have to say how can I help the human at the other end succeed with what I’m doing and how much education is be involved in that?

Tim Kubiak 4:51
You do. And one of the other things since you talked about the personas is you talked about what a person who might not be a successful entrepreneur. values and their work. Do you mind talking through that for just a second?

Harry Brelsford 5:04
See, are you referring to where I have a section on who should not be an entrepreneur? You okay?

Tim Kubiak 5:10
You got it? Right? Yeah.

Harry Brelsford 5:13
Yeah. Well, that’s that’s my eldest son chap, who is an aerospace engineer in the Mojave Desert at an undisclosed location. And he is always, you know, he was the kid at four years old who was lining up the Lego cars in a straight lines, right? He’s, he’s that guy. And he is an employee, he, and happily so and, quite frankly, makes more than me, in terms of what I report to the tax that is W two wages. every entrepreneur likes to minimize w two wages, wink, wink. And we’d like to take dividends and draw. So he literally makes more than me and is doing great. And he’s locked and loaded. Okay, so he said, Do D guy, and he is not an entrepreneur. And that’s just his, you know, myopic view. The other one would be a, you know, maybe my sister’s husband, a career medical doctor in Seattle, you know, just wicked smart in his specialty in this field, but probably not the right guy to go open up a food cart, or a boat tourism company, right? That just would not be a natural act. And, and I hope what I accomplished in that section was I give you permission not to be an entrepreneur, it’s not bad. It’s not bad not to be an entrepreneur. You know, it’s just it’s Tim, it’s not for everybody.

Tim Kubiak 6:45
No, no, right. And one of the things you talk about is, entrepreneurs have to realize whether it’s two weeks in or two years, and how much time you actually have to spend selling and creating and building those contacts. And if you don’t have the fortitude to do that, and I’m a career sales guy, right? So I’m like, Yeah, okay, I got to talk to people, no big deal. Um, the other thing, though, that I like that you called on is, a lot of it is actually about the interaction money, certainly a motivator. But it’s doing things that are interesting having that diversity and routine, getting, you know, frankly, this kind of thing. I do the podcast because I love talking to people. The fact I’m getting to talk to an old friend is a double bonus. Right? But I love talking to different people who are starting different companies. So for me, that works, you know, but for a lot of people to your point in the book, you know, if you want to go to the office, have a day, log off your computer and walk away. entrepreneurships probably not the path for you.

Harry Brelsford 7:45
Correct? Right. Yeah, yeah, a friend of a friend’s mom in Central Texas. So she has a career in god bless her works harder than I do. I don’t know her super well, but she works at Chase Bank in a call center. Right? I mean, that’s real work. I mean, these calls are coming in and in and in and in and in. And she’s not an entrepreneur, right. She likes the structure of her job. In fact, she was saying the other day, that she doesn’t like work from home, right? She likes to go into the cubicle at Chase. Her social life is the co worker, she misses that. But she has a lot of rigidity. And that’s not a bad word. That’s what she does. And to your point, with work from home when she’s off duty at 4pm. Central, the computer goes off, right? You know, versus the use of knees. Man, I’m I’m always writing little stickies on a Saturday morning, write new ideas and something kind of creeps into the wetware. And I write it down on the sticky and a lot of times it goes into the file of unused ideas.

Tim Kubiak 8:54
I have a few of those. I get it.

Harry Brelsford 8:57
But yeah, you know, back to your point about just the interaction and personality. I want to give a shout out. I think it’s Tremaine. Matt curry. I don’t know Matt especially well, we’ve traded notes. He’s an author, keynote guy. He wrote a book that’s pretty popular called the ADHD entrepreneur. And he says, having ADHD is your secret weapon is an entrepreneur. Right? So ADHD is like choo, choo, choo choo. You know, versus and I mean this respectfully, but you know, a musician who maybe is on the autistic spectrum like the Asperger syndrome, right, again, respectfully, yet brilliant, brilliant musician. It’s actually a distant family member. I’m not an entrepreneur, right. Um,

Julio Maria 9:48
I grew up with either divorced mother. So I was blessed enough to notice struggle throughout my childhood and I will see a lot of my friends. They will have both parents. They will be like, fine. I’m actually struggling away way, way more than I was. And from my young age, I always wonder, you know, I only have one parent, right, I should be worse than my friends with both parents, because there’s two people contributing to their income. That’s when I realized that often times we consider that people have like a special skill or special thoughts. But it is about their mindset, right, my mother has always been an intrapreneur herself within an organization, and she had plenty of side gigs. So that mindset of creating things and making sure that she’s answering a need that now it’s clear in our market, or clear in our organization, really kind of put her in a position where she could not only make more money, but also change the life of hundreds of people, right. And that was the kind of mindset that I realized that if I went to support people to grow, they have to be ready not only to have access, but really to save the opportunity that they presented themselves, right, and also be able to create opportunities in the first place. That’s how I really got into really supporting people to start their own businesses. And if you are an entrepreneur yourself, I remember when I was six months into my first startup, and I was making all these big decisions. And people were like, oh, who did such a great idea. And I remember thinking, I don’t know what I’m doing here. I have no clue what I’m doing. I’m doing the best that I can. But I’m sure there must be something better than this, that I’m just not aware of it right. And I had one of the toughest conversations I ever had when I co founder and I decided that I’m going to look for a job where I could develop my leadership. And that’s how I end up working for idea that because I’m the kind of company that all the old business core of the company support other people to start and grow their businesses. And that’s how I ended up leading one of the top tier incubation program freedom authentic

Giuseppe Grammatico 11:53
decisions next to owning a home. So contact me and we figure out if number one, if business owners in general is the right fit, you know, losing a job and thinking the grass is greener with a business is not really the best way to or the best reason to own a business. So we sit down to figure out if business ownership is the right fit. And then from there, you know, it’s it’s either starting a business from scratch, and what we call, the second option is the unfair advantage as I coined the phrase of owning a franchise. And the benefits of both of just entrepreneurship and to be very clear to your audience with one is not better than the other. I know, it’s shocking. And I know I’m in the franchise space. And I shouldn’t say that, right. But it’s true, it’s based off of what is the best match for you. So franchising system is in place, you can run with a day one, versus starting from scratch. And there’s a lot of pros and cons to both. But ultimately, most people in my experience of doing this, and prior to doing this, they want to start a business from scratch. And they sit down, you know, pen and paper, and it never gets further than that they have a bunch of ideas on paper. And it just never happens. Because of time life gets in the way or you know, travel for work. So, you know, franchising is not the right fit for everyone, nor is business ownership. So I love helping people figure that out. And as I mentioned, that free intro call that we do, as I mentioned, all our services are free. But that intro called really shed some light and allows people to really, you know, think about if they really want to go down that path, and I can assist them from A to Z. So I really, really love what I do very passionate, and it’s a lot of fun, get get to meet a lot of cool people.

Tim Kubiak 13:49
So I think a lot of us have an idea in our head of what a franchise is, but it’s probably much broader, right? It’s not just the fast food joint on the corner in your town. So can you talk about the breadth and range of franchises?

Giuseppe Grammatico 14:01
If if there’s an existing business, there’s, there’s a franchise probably available or will be available soon. So I don’t I don’t I don’t classify franchise as an industry, right. It’s just essentially a business. It could be residential cleaning, it could be swimming lessons, and it could be a subway, you know, restaurants and things like that. So employment services, restoration services. So essentially, it’s a business that has that system in place and you’re buying essentially the the right or the license to use the brand name. You’re getting support, you’re getting set up in their system. There’s many benefits of franchising, but essentially you want that that turnkey business in a box. It could be home based. And what that means is that not that you have customers coming to you but you can run it from a laptop from your your home office and You know, you may go, you know, b2b, maybe it’s a coaching service where you’re going from one business to the next and meeting them at their place of business, or it’s a residential service such as cleaning or painting services and things like that. So essentially, it’s that business setup for you. So you’re not figuring out everything from A to Z, and you’re essentially running with a proven business model proven system.

Einat 15:26
And as Lana said, a part of the mine minority group, they have naturally they have more obstacles, and more challenges. So this takes more energy from them. And one of them is what Ilana told before is to be a minority to be the only one in the room. And for this, I will show you an acceptor that many women feel that play the game is to be present, you know, to give yourself time to to speak in meeting like Amanda says before, and if I’m a minority, and no, and everyone look at me, and see that I’m making a mistake. And I have also also another syndrome that kill their perfection syndrome, and I want to be perfect. And I want to be like, you know, the duck, the duck that is going on on the water is like slim asleep is very, you know, it’s going very smooth and doesn’t want everyone anyone to know that you are paddling Frank frantically to stay float, you know, we don’t want to see that. So this is all the energy that women invest in playing the game, it’s more than other majority group.

Tim Kubiak 16:41
In one of the questions you asked openly on your website, which by the way, for those of you that want to learn more go to move up today. And there’s some great primers there, if you will, and foundations of what these ladies teach in and they have an impressive client list. One of the questions you asked directly there is why aren’t there enough women in leadership positions?

Ilana 17:05
Yeah, and it’s a lot of times that the question that we ask in workshops, also when we do a two minute men and women managers and leaders, and also we asked women, it’s interesting, because a lot of times the answers are different. So we think that one of the main reasons, is the fact that they don’t play the game as much as the men, there are a few reasons that’s one of them. The other main reason is that a lot of times there are different things that leaders can do and that they’re not aware of, and that if they would do that, then would have more diversity and inclusion. And they don’t do it because they you know, don’t care. A lot of times, you just don’t know about what kind of difference they can make if they will be more aware of the differences between men and women in the workplace. And if they would be more aware, then they will be able to promote more women, like not just said, sometimes it’s because we think differently. For example, we had this in one of our workshops, we had men and women in the same rank. It was I think, I can’t even say it was in the army. Okay, so they were in the same rank, they were leaders. And we started a discussion about what they said about the tiara syndrome. And it was interesting, because the men said, What do you mean that women expect to be promoted on merit and on hard work? But that doesn’t work that way. They should come to me and tell me I want the promotion. I want the project I want the client. I mean, why would they think that I need to get this? And then the woman said, What do you mean? I mean, if she did a great work, you as a manager should notice that and you shouldn’t give her the promotion, you should give her the client, you should get rid of project, what do you mean. And once we have an open discussion about how we see these things differently, then this guy will know that, for example, the woman that works for him, it’s not to ask for the promotion, because she’s not ready, or she doesn’t think she’s good enough. She didn’t ask for it because she thinks it’s his job to realize that she’s good enough for the next level. And once you can notice that then you can start you know, noticing the winner can put like different things in, for example, he can tell all his employees, men and women, that he expects them to tell him their ambitions for the next two years. Once he says that, then the women will probably do it. And they will say, you know, I see myself as x y Zed, and then this will level out the playing field. But if he doesn’t know about this difference, then he wouldn’t he wouldn’t do this because he thinks that other people are like him. And so he would ask for the and other things that he wants. So probably all of his employees will do the same. So that’s one of the reasons that we don’t have enough awareness and then leaders don’t have enough tools,

so that they can level out the playing field

and once we do that, give them the awareness and tools then we can see more women Men who are in higher levels and then the other side of it the flip side of it is that it was

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