Rochester Rockstar: Chris Curts, CEO of Purpose Driven Solutions

Chris is a self-made successful CEO of multiple Rochester Top 100 companies. Chris never finished high school or college, yet, he is now leading 4 local businesses. Chris was determined to achieve success and he isn’t stopping now. He doesn’t believe he is entitled to anything, instead, he feels he has an obligation to exercise his natural abilities to its fullest. Watch this video to learn:

  • How to create success for yourself
  • Why you need a common spine when managing multiple businesses
  • His secret to creating a strong, recognizable brand
  • An awesome tip on hiring the best employees
  • Hi success belief system – Believing he is not entitled to anything is leading him to greater success
  • Rochester is a strong market and you can succeed here


Rochester Rockstar: Suzanne Ward, Executive Director of The Rochester City Ballet

Every organization goes through peaks and valleys. The actions of the leader in each situation makes the difference. Suzanne took the helm of the Rochester City Ballet during a tough time. She is leveraging her banking industry experience to build this non profit to greatness. We are particularly proud of this interview because it shows that every leader has to overcome tough times but the successful ones know how to stay positive and forge forward. If you are struggling with your business then you will definitely want to watch this video to learn:

  • How to leverage your connections to grow your business
  • How a successful leader thinks about dissapointments
  • How to craft a value proposition that is all about the client
  • Tips on staying focused and executing a strategic plan
  • The key to selling success when you are getting rejections from prospects


Rochester Rockstar: Tom Parrish, Co-CEO of Geva Theatre

Tom used to run a similar community theatre in Massachusetts where he was able to reduce their debt, increase donor money, and increase attendance. In a down economy when arts related organizations are hit hard, how is Tom managing to do the same for Geva? Watch this interview to learn:

  • How he is using innovation to drive revenue in this down economy
  • How he is building his network in a new city
  • His top priorities in turning around an organization
  • 3 unique success tips for entrepreneurs
  • Advice on how to reach the level of success he has already achieved


Rochester Rockstar: Robert Healy, President of Labella Associates

Robert is the president of one of Rochester’s largest engineering and architecture firms. He has grown his firm to over 250 employees with offices in multiple states. Watch this interview to learn:

  • Details of how he is growing his firm despite the economy
  • The core value, Growth, and how that helps motivate his employees
  • How to instill core values among entire workforce
  • Key metrics he watches daily to steer his company
  • Advice on how to reach the level of success he has already achieved


Rochester Rockstar: Frank Insero, CEO of Insero & Company

Frank is growing his accounting firm despite the economy. Not only is he growing his firm, he is having lots of fun doing it along with his 85 employees. Watch this interview to learn:

  • How to grow in a down economy
  • Clever ways to train employees to deliver on firm’s core values
  • How to create a fun environment for employees
  • Secret to making acquisitions successful
  • 2 keys to becoming super successful


Rochester Rockstar: Phil Yawman, VP/General Manager of Frontier

Phil is busy running the biggest market for Frontier. You won’t find him complaining about the economy or the market direction. He is focused on growing Frontier even though the demand for their traditional voice services isn’t growing. Watch this video to discover:

  • Tips on growing your sales
  • How to find good sales people and make them successful
  • Key metrics that all entrepreneurs should be looking at closely
  • How to get the mentor of your dreams
  • Phil’s philosophy in growing your company despite a downturn in demand for your product or service

Celebrity interview with Mike Wolfe from American Pickers

Sitima was one of 12 IT business owners in the nation who was recently invited to a mastermind session with Mike Wolfe from the hit show, American Pickers. In this exclusive interview, Mike tells Sitima about how his passion for creating an experience using his TV show has catapulted his retail business into the stratosphere. Watch this video to inspire you to think “out-of-the-box” for your business!


Rochester Rockstar: Marc Iacona, CEO of Simcona

Marc Iacona is a mover and shaker. In addition to running a very successful company, Simcona Electronics, he has co-founded the wildly popular Xerox Rochester International Jazz Fest. Listen to this interview as Marc discusses:

  • The secret to managing multiple companies
  • How to start a new initiative from scratch and make it super successful
  • Despite the company, what are some ways to keep growing your company
  • How to market your business so that people want to buy from you
  • 3 Key success tips for entrepreneurs


Rochester Rockstar: Brother Wease, Radio talk show host, 95.1, The Brew

Brother Wease has a brand following that business owners should emulate. He doesn’t have a marketing budget like a Xerox or Kodak, yet he has created the brother Wease brand that is recognizable throughout Rochester and beyond. So how did he do it? Is it possible for you to create a brand that everyone recognizes? Watch this video to figure out how its done without spending a dime.

  • The secrets to becoming slightly famous in Rochester
  • If you do this one thing then you can overcome all of life’s challenges
  • How do you pick a business that has the potential to be a success
  • What makes Dinosaur Barbeque such a phenomenal brand

Celebrity Viewpoint: Winner of Multiple Super Bowls, Mike Ditka

If you do not know of him, “Da Coach” was one of the best football players and coaches ever. He has won multiple Super Bowls as a player and as a head coach. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988. Today, he shares his drive and team-building skills with others. In his presentation “ACE” – Attitude, Character and Enthusiasm, he shared the lessons learned in a life of commitment and attention to the fundamentals – resulting in victory. He delivered a powerful presentation that highlighted the key characteristics people need to achieve their personal and professional goals. Here’s a breakdown of “ACE”:

Attitude – You control this. You can choose to have a great attitude or not.

Character – What you believe in, what you’ll die for. This is the fabric of your being.

Enthusiasm – Be committed and get excited!

I asked him how he motivated his team and his answer may surprise you. He said I don’t motivate anyone; they have to come to the team already motivated. He also went on to say that the best players weren’t the ones with tangible talents…its more what was in their hearts. Your heart and will to win is what will make you successful.

Rochester Rockstar: Lori Van Dusen, Principal at LVW Advisors

Lori Van Dusen, founder of LVW Advisors talks about the process of leaving a super successful career with Smith Barney to starting her own wealth management firm that is flourshing. The desire to serve her clients with a holistic financial wealth building approach rather than pushing products was the driving force. In my interview with Lori, she discusses:

  • The process of acquiring customers after she started off on her own with zero clients under her belt.
  • Why having a high specialty product and serving a narrow niche is better than serving the general public
  • What growth strategies she is putting in place to make sure she is growing her company in the midst of this economy.
  • How to grow by acquiring companies and how to do it right.
  • 3 Things that every entrepreneur must follow for ultimate success!

Celebrity Interview with Tony Horton, founder of P90X fitness programs

Sitima was brave enough to participate in a P90X workout session led by the man himself, Tony Horton. Later in the day, Tony shared his business success stories with the group. Sitima got a chance to catch up with Tony personally and ask him some questions. Watch this interview to learn how Tony has taken his exercise program and gotten national with its popularity. He also shares with Sitima what he believes is the secret ingredient to be a successful entrepreneur.

Rochester Rockstar: Naomi Silver, President & CEO of The Rochester Red Wings

When all odd were against her, Naomi Silver came in and saved The Rochester Red Wings. She is a passionate and tenacious business leader who is making her mark in a male dominated industry. Get energized by watching this exclusive interview, where Naomi shares the following:

  • 2 Specific Things She Did To Save The Business From Going Under
  • How She Deals With The Credibility Issue Working In A Male Dominated Field
  • Her Secret To Increasing Attendance To The Ballpark
  • How Her Mentor Helped Her Become Who She Is Today
  • Her Future Plans For The Red Wings
  • The Key To Becoming A Successful Entrepreneur

Celebrity Viewpoint: Mark Sanborn, Author of the book “The Fred Factor”

I had the awesome experience of meeting and listening to Mark Sanborn talk about how to be a FRED: how to get everyone In your organization passionate about making a real difference to your customers. Here are my notes:

  • We have to create an Extraordinary business because that’s the only way we will not be just like our competitors. People are born to want to be extraordinary but they become cynics over time because they were disappointed. So once you decide to be extraordinary, you have to create simple systems that produce remarkable results. The process has to be created and taught to our team. The benefit of doing this is huge…your business will become more lucrative.
  • No one stays the same and gets ahead. You have to constantly create value.
  • Be fully immersed in the moment. Don’t day dream. Don’t waste any moment in the day.
  • Its always about the Service:
  1. Start with commitment – People do business with us because of who (each of us)
  2. Work with Passion – You have to have passion and then processes to back it up. How do you figure out your passion? Answer what I would do for free, what irritates you and then come up with a fix, what interests you
  3. Get Creative – We should be ingenious but then teach our clients to become more ingenious. Ask clients the total value audit and ask them what else should be on the list that isn’t. get creative with the team by asking, sharing, brainstorming, give team ideas of what to do. Ie. Pizza delivery businesses increased market share by giving out lollipops. The kids then begged parents to get pizza from them again.

Rochester Rockstar: Arunas Chesonis, Chairman and CEO of Sweetwater Energy

Arunas Chesonis is an iconic Rochester Rockstar. In 10 short years, he formed and sold Paetec for billions. He is an ingenious businessman who knows how to take a product and service and make it valuable beyond belief. In this exclusive interview, Arunas shares the following:

  • The secret to dreaming big and actually making it happen
  • How to keep your fears in check when dreaming big
  • A significant failure that effected him and his team deeply and how he dealt with it
  • 3 key steps all successful business owners should have in place
  • The most critical thing you have to have in order to be a successful entrepreneur
  • And much more….

Celebrity Viewpoint: Bill Rancic, First Winner of the Hit TV Show The Apprentice

Bill Rancic, winner of the hit TV show The Apprentice, talked about how anyone can become their own personal success in both business and life, using his own experiences as a self-made entrepreneur.

Getting back to basics, he shared insights about his own path to The Apprentice — his work ethic, top business strategies, and lessons learned competing on the show, and working for Donald Trump. From valuable lessons learned as a budding ten year old entrepreneur pitching pancake sales; to starting his own small business to pay for college; to launching an on-line cigar company now worth millions — Bill proved you don’t need to be a Harvard MBA to be a success in business.

Rochester Rockstar: Victoria Van Voorhis, CEO of Second Avenue Software

Victoria transitioned from being a school teacher to an entrepreneur in the education field. Her business, Second Avenue Software specializes in the development of interactive media and serious games for education and training. In 6 short years, her business has become extremely successful. Victoria was named 2011 Technology Women of the Year by Digital Rochester. Her company was also listed in the 2012 RBJ book of lists as one of the top software companies in Rochester.

If you are currently working but have a business idea in your head but hesitant in taking the next step then you will want to watch this video. Learn from Victoria where she talks about:

  • The next step that you must take to turn your idea into a business
  • 4 things you must do when you start a business
  • Learning to market and sell your product or service
  • How to get others to sell your product/service
  • Where to go to look for mentors and coaches to help you take your business to the next level

Celebrity Viewpoint: Superstar Sales Trainer Tom Hopkins

Tom specializes in coaching people on selling the invisible. He told me that people can become successful at selling by mastering the fundamentals. The fundamentals he is talking about are:

  • Product Knowledge – Prospects must perceive me as an extremely competent expert adviser as soon as possible.
  • People Skills – Marketing/Prospecting, initial contact, qualification, presentation, addressing concerns, closing the sale, getting referrals.
  • Attitude, Enthusiasm, Discipline & Goals

He also cautioned against speaking too much during the sales meeting. The fewer the words the better if you want o close lots of sales. HE also says to get in the habit of asking a question at the end of a sentence that demands a ‘yes.’ This must be used naturally and become a speech habit. For example, ask, isn’t it?, doesn’t it, shouldn’t it, don’t you agree, can’t you, haven’t you? So ask, “Having a highly competent IT service available to you 24/7 would give you great peace of mind, wouldn’t it?”

Lastly, when you met a person, radiate the goal of helping them to like you, trust you, and want to listen to you.

Rochester Rockstar: Angella Luyk, CEO of Midnight Janitorial

Angella’s cleaning business is becoming a household name in Rochester. It may surprise you to know that she spends next to nothing on marketing. So how is she successfully marketing her company without spending a dime? Watch this video and learn her tips and tricks:

  • This ONE thing she did that has helped close more sales than anything else. The best part is that its available to everyone.
  • 3 additional no cost to low cost marketing ideas that are getting great results and more importantly, tips on what not to do.
  • This extra gesture significantly increases her sales close rate.
  • The business books that taught her everything she knows.
  • Her advice on dealing with your shortcomings.

Celebrity Viewpoint: Lou Ferrigno – Actor, Bodybuilder, and Participant on Player on Celebrity Apprentice

Lou has an incredible story to share. He was born with hearing and speech disabilitites. He knew he couldn’t do anything about his disabilitites, so he began to focus on things that are under his control. He started working on his body and won Mr. Universe titles. He was also on the hit show, The Incredible Hulk, and then we was a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice. The man has overcome many challenges and now he goes around the country talking about his life lessons. His determination and his will to win is something we all need to emulate.

Rochester Rockstar: Richard Kaplan, CEO of Torvec

Dick now has 10 startup and turnaround companies under his belt. He also discusses how he is planning to turn around his latest company that has never sold anything since 1996, has no product, and only has 2 months of cash left. Watch this fascinating interview where Dick talks about the following:

  • This one thing all business owners MUST do to convince clients to buy from them
  • If you want new clients then you have to do start with this important activity
  • 5 criteria a company must have for him to consider taking it on
  • 2 reasons companies fail
  • How to turn your weakness into your #1 success factor
  • How to sell a product or service that doesn’t exist yet

Celebrity Viewpoint: Nido Quibin

Nido is one of the most inspirational person I have ever met. He came to this country with couple of dollars in his pocket and now he is a very influential and wealthy person. He has many businesses including the job of running Highpoint University. He focuses on being the best in class no matter what the business is. He wants us to sell a Godiva service instead of a Hershey service. 3 Questions you must answer:

  1. Why should I do business with you
  2. How easily can someone imitate what you do?
  3. If I were in the marketplace to buy what you sell, would I buy it from you?

He wants us to lead an Extraordinary life because its something we can choose to be. He reinforces that when you can do a common thing in an uncommon way, you can command the attention of the world.

Here are 4 takeaways on his advice on selling:

  • Your company’s future sales and profits will be in direct proportion to the depth and quality of your prospect file.
  • Sell every feature and benefit as though it were exclusive; for if your competitor fails to bring it up, yours is exclusive in the eyes of the customer.
  • Values are perceived as being equal by the customer unless someone explains the difference.
  • You and your company are no better than your most marginal competitor, unless you have the ability and the know-how to sell and interpret the difference.

Rochester Rockstar: Bill Pollock, CEO of Optimation Technology

Despite setbacks like the economy and clients going bankrupt, Bill is forging ahead and growing his company in a big way. If you are struggling on how to grow your company then you don’t want to miss this interview. In this exclusive interview, Bill shares the following:

  • How to achieve 40% year over year growth
  • How to grow from a one man band to a 300+ employee company
  • The key to seeking out new opportunities
  • His #1 growth strategy
  • Why the word fearful is not in his vocabulary
  • Where he gets his “mojo” from

Celebrity Viewpoint: Sean Stephensen, author of “Get Off Your But”

I had the privilege of meeting an incredible motivational speaker …Sean Stephenson, author of “Get Off Your But.” Sean is only three feet tall, but put a microphone in his hand and he becomes a giant. Born with osteogenesis imperfecta, which stunts growth and causes bones to break under minimal pressure, Sean has faced several challenges and overcome many obstacles on his path to becoming a successful author, psychotherapist, and motivational speaker. He works with many celebrities, presidents and he has appeared on Oprah and many other talk shows.

Before his 18th birthday, Sean had survived 200 bone fractures. Confronted with the mental choice of accepting his disorder as either a gift or a burden, Sean found an inner strength to focus on what he could do instead of what he could not.

Some highlights I jotted down:

  • It all starts with a vision for your life. Know what you want.
  • Happiness comes in 3 parts…health (keep your body healthy), wealth, and relationships (have great relationships with family, friends, lovers, employees, etc.)
  • Go do something new. This will help release a chemical in your brain called dopamine. This chemical makes you happy. So plan a trip, start a new activity with your spouse, etc.


Rochester Rockstar: Randy Henderson, President of Henderson Ford

You will be amazed to hear all the recognition Randy has gotten this year. Randy was named 2012 Business Person of the Year, named on RBJ’s Book of Lists as One of the Top Automotive Dealers, and named in the RBJ Who’s Who list. In this candid, exclusive interview, Randy discusses:

  • How he is succeeding in this down economy
  • 3 things he does to overcome setbacks and keep moving forward
  • Secret to surviving a downturn in the economy
  • His one key advice for all business owners


Rochester Rockstar: I.C. Shah, CEO of ICS Telecom

I.C. Shah is a very well known entrepreneur in Rochester. He has built a very successful business and he is a very involved in many worthy community activities. I.C. who is of Indian origin overcame adversities and turned those into assets. In this interview, I.C. shares:

  • The #1 key to being successful in business
  • The secret to closing a sale
  • How to keep going when everything goes wrong
  • How to turn adversities into strengths


Jim Bertsch: 2 Things He Is Doing Right Now To Increase Revenue

Jim Bertsch, CEO of Aldon Corporation is a Rochester Rockstar! Watch this video and learn how he busy growing his company in Rochester. He just found out that he was named #13 in the RBJ Book of List as the top Exporters in Rochester. Jim is a fantastic entrepreneur and he has been doing this for a long time. Jim talks candidly about the following:

  • Two things he is currently doing to grow his business
  • How he manages to get everything done
  • A failure that almost put him out of business and what he learned from it
  • How innovation is keeping him ahead of his competition

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