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Martin
Mobarak
DavidPawlan-
Leading
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theSoftware
Development
Economy
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Most Innovative Business Leaders Of The Year | Exeleon Magazine | Business Magazine
C O N T E N T S
MARTIN MOBARAK
12
C O N T E N T S
DAYNA ALTMAN
30
C O N T E N T S
JEFF HEGGIE
42
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Most Innovative Business Leaders Of The Year | Exeleon Magazine | Business Magazine
MARTIN MOBARAK
Founder | Frida.NFT
12 EXELEON MAGAZINE
C O V E R S T O R Y
K E E P I N G T H E L E G E N D O F
WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 13
– F R I D A K A H L O
he legacy of an
artist can often be
determined by the
impact and
in luence their art
holds across
generations,
across communities, and across
geographical boundaries.
Renowned as Mexico's most
popular painter – Frida Kahlo was
an example of excellence whose
artistry continues to have an impact
in our lives and in our society.
Her artistic legacy molds into the
form of an incredible biographical
narrative in which, using drama and
rich symbolism, Frida shares the
story of her intimate experiences,
her despair, her beliefs, and her
values.
Growing up in Mexican City, Martin
Mobarak was someone who was
introduced to the works of Frida at
an early age. He was fascinated with
her paintings and the cultural
impact Frida had in extending the
history of Mexico.
As Martin grew up, his
understanding of art expanded
and simultaneously his
appreciation for Frida's work and
her life beyond.
Today, Martin Mobarak, a global
entrepreneur and visionary, aims
to immortalize the legacy of Frida
Kahlo with Frida.NFT, a
pioneering innovative blockchain
technology reforming the charity
industry to increase transparency,
donation frequency, and donor
incentive.
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
Martin grew up in a
Lebanese/Mexican household
with a strong in luence of
Lebanese culture.
For him, the food, the music, and
art were a different world
altogether. He discovered Mexican
culture as he started his high
school years.
Through his school trips to
cultural sites, Martin grasped
more understanding of the
country's rich history.
He recalls his irst visit to the
Museum of Frida and getting
introduced to her artworks. “It
was a very typical ield trip on
every school in Mexico. But to me
it was extraordinary as I was
immediately fascinated with her
paintings, like love at irst sight,
even though I visited the museum
several times during my school
years, each time was like a irst
time.”
Martin's involvement with arts
increased during his high school
years, when he signed up for
artistic shop classes and plastic
arts school.
“One of my best friends was a
prominent painter, and a teacher
in Mexico City in the school of
Plastic Arts, which is how I got
more serious with art and
education myself in the school.”
Martin eventually moved to a
different state, pursued college,
and started his professional
journey. However, he brought his
love for admiring and collecting
art with him in this journey.
14 EXELEON MAGAZINE
C O V E R S T O R Y
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As a Mexican Native, Martin's vision is to bring the work of
Frida Kahlo into the metaverse and bring together a
communityofcollectors,creators,andlovers.
Frida had an impactful presence in Martin's growing up
years. As he learned more about her life of pain and
suffering, it impacted him to take notice of her struggles
and how she conveyed these emotions through her
paintings. Martin mentions, “Frida Kahlo lived a
tumultuouslifetosaytheleast,fromPolio,tobeingtoldshe
would never walk again after a terrible bus accident, to
marrying a notorious womanizer Diego Rivera, Frida
paintedheremotionsandlifeuntilherpainfuldeath.”
He adds, “I share her feelings of pain in this material world,
and yet, still not giving up helping the needy and try to ix
the broken system. In my case it is the health system and
thepeoplethatsufferfromit.“
Through Frida.NFT, Martin hopes to share the artworks of
Frida with the world, instead of holding it in his possession
whilemakingaglobalimpact.
16 EXELEON MAGAZINE
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FASCINATION WITH
TECHNOLOGY
Throughout his professional
journey as an entrepreneur and
business leader, Martin has been a
passionate visionary of technology.
He mentions “I owned one of the
irst ISP providers in anchorage
Alaska. I was involved in the
development of the Internet
between 1993 - 1998. I've always
been involved in technology.”
Moreover, when Martin was
introduced to the burgeoning
blockchain technology and Bitcoin
in 2009, he became obsessed with
the potential of the industry. The
led him to start his own
cryptocurrency AGCoin, which is a
silver-backed crypto.
“AGCoin is the irst crypto platform
to invest in Silver, and it's the next
generation precious metal
tokenization model with
continuous access to liquidity and
availability. Creating a silver-backed
tokenomy while tokenizing vault
deposits, we have attempted to
produce innovative solutions that
address customers' needs but also
provides consistent support. “
Martin learned about blockchain
through various different
conferences in Dubai and the US,
while in the last year, he has learnt
all about NFTs.
FRIDA.NFT
Martin realized the potential of the
NFT market and how the
technology can be leveraged to
bring forth a change in the charity
space. This prompted him to
introduce Frida.NFT.
Frida.NFT's vision is to create the
bridge between the traditional art
world and the expanding potential
of Web 3.0. This community-driven
initiative has a vision to introduce
Frida's work into the metaverse and
leverage her powerful likeness to
bring together a community of
collectors, creators, and art lovers
on a mission to merge the
traditional art world with the
digital art world's expanding
potential and immortalize
humanities story.
“Like a Phoenix rising from its
ashes, this collection of 10,000
NFT's represents the rebirth &
immortality of a timeless piece by
Frida Kahlo “Fantasmones
Siniestros or “Massive Sinister
Ghosts.”. This piece will be
transformed to live eternally in the
digital realm.”
Valued over $10,000,000, Martin
has decided to take this to be the
irst perpetual royalty charity
initiative.
The mission for Martin and team is
to create a consistent donation
stream to charities, while
rewarding the ones who are willing
to be a part of this journey.
He mentions, “Each Fantasmones
Siniestros NFT grants the holder
membership to our exclusive art-
driven charity foundation along
with a host of ever-evolving
bene its including, but not limited
to, access to luxurious amenities,
unique experiences, and exclusive
events around the globe.”
NFTS AND CHARITY
According to Martin, NFT holds the
key in revolutionizing the entire
charity industry!
He elaborates, “Blockchain
technologies are the answer, if
managed correctly to raise capitals
for many industries, why not
charitable ventures? It's a very
viable solution for possible
perpetual pipeline of funds,
transparent and secure.”
Over the last decade, Martin has
collected timeless pieces of history.
“As the current owner of the
paintings, I have a vision of creating
perpetual donations to multiple
organizations for the needy with
royalties from the NFT sale and
collection.”
Martin's goal is to make an impact
by providing donors full
transparency of foundation funds,
increasing donation frequency
through perpetual donations, and
dramatically increasing a much
larger incentive for the community
to donate.
The charity industry has struggled
to keep up with the advancements
in technology and digitalization,
thereby prompting the public to
take notice. “Inef icient
bookkeeping, unpleasant user
experiences, and distrusting donors
make for an industry that is quickly
losing public interest.”
Owing to scandals surrounding
mismanagement of donors' gifts
and general lack of transparency,
public con idence in charity leaders
has seen a sharp decline in the last
C O V E R S T O R Y
18 EXELEON MAGAZINE
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decade.
According to the Give.org Donor
Trust Report, 32 percent of
respondents trust charities less
today than they did ive years ago.
GIVING BACK
For Martin, giving back to the
society is an integral part of his
value system. Moreover, his
personal experiences with his
daughter have given him this
unique perspective “It is bigger
than, me, you, and Frida would have
understood it if she was alive.”
During his early years living in
Alaska, Martin's irst daughter was
diagnosed with a rare congenital
disease and due to this he had spent
countless sleepless nights in the
hospital, broken and helpless. This
was 30 years ago. And that changed
him completely.
“I was myself in need of a place to
stay, and these inancial and
logistical dif iculties, as well as the
broken health system in this
country, made me want to take
things into my own hands, just like
Frida had done. Years later, when I
became wealthy, I helped countless
patients, their parents whenever I
was in the hospitals, this time for
my second daughter Elektra (now
11 years old) who was diagnosed
with Crouzon Syndrome. Anytime, I
see a person in need in the broken
health system I had to interfere.
Therefore, the proceeds from the
sale of all the NFTs will go to the
Charities that are dear and near to
my heart and very important for my
family,” he recalls.
Similar to him, Martin saw a
number of other families who were
facing this struggle to afford the
care they needed. He tried to help
them in whatever capacity he
possibly could. Along with his
daughter's battle, Martin prepared
himself to combat the broken
healthcare system of the country.
“While my daughter had surgery
after surgery (21 surgeries in total)
and recovery of 3 months each
time….it was dif icult, but I
managed, I got help from a loving
family and other giving people.
There are many families in need of
help all the time and not enough
resources.”
This impacted Martin to make a
bigger difference and impact.
Through Frida.NFT Martin is
dedicated to bringing forth a
disruption that contributes to the
overall welfare of the industry and
the society at large.
20 EXELEON MAGAZINE
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David
Pawlan
Co-Founder | Aloa
24 EXELEON MAGAZINE
I N - F O C U S
Leading Transparency in the
Software Development Economy
In a world where anyone can innovate
freely, there is still a barrier because
software development is a pain point for far
too many.
Driven to ix the problems in this process, a
24-year-old entrepreneur started to ind
sustainable solutions for it. David Pawlan is
the founder of Aloa— a platform for
outsourcing software development for
startups. Four years later, since his college
days, David has grown Aloa to a multi-million-
dollar business.
As an ardent believer in changing the world,
he is also involved in social initiatives like
Fifth Star Funds. David, along with other
Chicago entrepreneurs, recognized the
inequality in the entrepreneurial landscape
and decided to make a difference by helping
startups grow.
His ultimate goal is to create wholesome
environments that empower innovators to
plan, experiment and build incredible things.
In an Exclusive Interview, David talks about
his journey and Aloa.
What according to you makes one a
transformational leader? How do you
integrate the same thought into your
leadership?
In my opinion, all leadership should be built
upon the values of transformational
leadership. An effective leader is one who
empowers those they are leading to a point
where the leader is no longer needed. That is
exactly how I view it as an integration to
business leadership. My goal is always to
eliminate my own job, and it's the most fun
part of it. In this way, I'm helping to build an
effective and self-suf icient organization.
Talk to us about your growing up years.
What prompted your interest and
subsequently your foray into the tech
space?
I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but I
really was never a tech kid. I didn't play video
games; they never really caught my attention.
My interest in tech I think is just a
consequence of the way the world is moving.
Brief us about Aloa and what led to the
inception of this platform.
Aloa is a platform for outsourcing software
development for startups. You can think of us
as software outsourcing infrastructure.
While in college, we were building out apps
and doing student tech consulting. We wanted
to expand our development team, so we began
looking for resources. We looked domestically,
but it was too expensive, so we outsourced.
We had a horrible experience. To us, that
didn't make sense. Why haven't we been able
to igure out a predictable and consistent
experience for software, the most remote
industry there is.
At Aloa, we believe in a world where anyone
T
WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 25
I N - F O C U S
can innovate freely, and at this
point, we see software development
as a barrier to innovation for far too
many. So, rather than trying to build
a blanket solution as a dev shop, we
studied the pain points themselves
and fell in love with the problem of
outsourcing software development
itself.
Four years later, since those college
days, we've grown Aloa to a multi-
million-dollar business. We've
vetted through 10,000+ software
irms around the world and have
quali ied just 8 to be in our
Network.
We built Aloa Manage so anyone,
even non-technicals, can manage
their dev team. We built AloaPay so
clients don't have to deal with
foreign transaction fees or
international tax compliance. A
dedicated Account Manager will
curate a match to the proper irm in
our network. We'll build out custom
development strategies and
continuously audit. The beauty is
that we've automated so much of
our process that we can do all of
this at the same rate as other
outsourcing competitors. In our
opinion, just providing you a
developer isn't suf icient.
Being the Co-Founder, what role
do you play in the day-to-day
proceedings of the company?
As a Co-Founder, you're wearing
tons of different hats. My main role
is de initely sales and lead
generation as ultimately that is
what keeps the lights on. However,
most recently I've been
spearheading a lot of our marketing
efforts as well as working on
process and operational ef iciency.
I'll also serve as our legal liaison
and help out with taxes. There are
no two days that are the same!
What is the approach followed by
the company when it comes to
providing optimal client
satisfaction?
We're a very mission driven
company, so that is what truly
guides our decision-making. Each
one of us tries to act sel lessly: what
would I truly do if I were in their
position? We lead with empathy,
resonate with the client experience,
and ensure that we prioritize the
core mission of what we're doing.
As long as we maintain our
integrity and quality of service, the
pro its will come.
You are an ardent believer in
changing the world. Talk to us
about some of your social
involvements and why it is
important for you.
The most important social
involvement I have is being the Co-
Founder of Fifth Star Funds. Along
with other Chicago entrepreneurs,
we recognized the inequality in the
entrepreneurial landscape and
decided to dedicate our nights and
weekends to make a difference.
Only 1% of VC capital goes towards
Black founders, and more curiously,
from 2009-2017, only .0006% of VC
funding went to Black women. Now,
let's take this one step further. The
average Black-owned startup has
roughly $500 of outside equity
when starting. The average White-
owned startup has roughly $18,500
of outside equity.
Fifth Star Funds is a venture
philanthropy evergreen fund
seeking to address the funding
epidemic in America where only
1% of venture capital is awarded to
Black founders. We accomplish this
by investing in Black tech founders
in Chicago at the early stage
“Friends & Family” round. We
believe the funding gap at this stage
is the most critical to address, as
centuries of inequity have
prevented these potential
entrepreneurs from having the
initial capital to start their
businesses. 100% of all returns
from our investments are
reinvested into the fund, so as the
startups we invest in grow, the fund
inherently does too, making our
impact compounding.
What has the journey been like
for David Pawlan over the years?
Looking back, what would you
have done differently if you were
to start again?
It’s been a journey of perseverance.
I've always been starting things,
always trying to build companies.
When talking about it to others, I
always say it just feels like I'm
playing a real-life version of
Rollercoaster Tycoon. I always had
a little side business growing up.
My Senior year of High School and
Freshman year of College I dove
into my irst of icial startup. It
failed. I learned a ton. In my Senior
year I joined the Aloa founding
team and I haven't looked back ever
since.
This second part of the question is
pretty funny to me because I'm
actually working really hard on
myself to avoid that thought
exercise. I need to stop looking back
and questioning every little
decision, it's debilitating. So, I guess
in this context, I'd say that I'd tell
my younger self to stop looking
26 EXELEON MAGAZINE
I N - F O C U S
back. Be present. Live in the
moment. The past is the past. You
can learn from it, but your mind
should be on the present, on what is
in front of you, not behind.
What would be your advice for
aspiring and emerging business
leaders?
The two biggest lessons I've
learned are actually related to one
another. The irst is to fall in love
with the problem, not the solution.
If you are in love with the problem,
then any roadblock or set back is
actually a step forward, because
you found another way that doesn't
work. In the same vein, do
something because you're
passionate about it, not because
you're chasing the money.
Entrepreneurship is really hard.
Money won't come right away.
You're going to fall. You're going to
cry. You're going to question
everything. Only passion, a true
intrinsic motivator, a belief in what
you're doing, will be suf icient to
push you through the journey with
a smile on your face.
What has been the biggest
roadblock during your journey?
What has been your biggest
learning?
I myself am my biggest roadblock.
I'm really hard on myself.
Confrontation scares me. I take
things too personally. I'm not sure
what my biggest learning is yet
because I'm still in the thick of it.
Finally, what does the future look
like for you and Aloa?
We believe in a world where anyone
can innovate freely. We want to
change the world, and we won't
stop short of doing just that. Today
it's software, creating a pathway
where non-technical entrepreneurs
and tech-giants alike can
predictably build their technology.
I'm so proud of our team and what
we've accomplished, but we're far
from the inish line.
I don't know what we'll be in 10
years, but I do know that as long as
we continue to follow our mission,
we're going to create the proper
environments to let innovators do
some truly incredible things.
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I N - F O C U S
Most Innovative Business Leaders Of The Year | Exeleon Magazine | Business Magazine
Most Innovative Business Leaders Of The Year | Exeleon Magazine | Business Magazine
Dayna
Altman
Author & Mental Health Entrepreneur
30 EXELEON MAGAZINE
I N - F O C U S
Healing and Empowering People
Through Acceptance
* * *
ince the dawn of time, staying true to life and sharing stories has
been part of humanity. We have always told stories to pass on
knowledge and lessons to future generations. We are constantly
learning,makingnewdiscoveriesthroughstorytelling.
However,themostsigni icantadvantagethathumanshavegarnered
with storytelling is our ability to embrace our and others' stories,
giving us strength and the will to carry on in dif icult times. These
stories show us that we are not alone in this world, and it is support
from others during harsh times that motivate us to move forward
and lourishinlivingthelifeeveryonedeserves.
Dayna Altman, a mental health entrepreneur, author, and public
health professional, couldn't be a better example to showcase the
power storytelling has in healing people. Overcoming and learning
from the challenges that started in her college years, Dayna
embarked on a journey to help others by creating her organizations
specializinginmentalhealthadvocacy.
Exeleonexhibitstheempoweringstoryofthisboldentrepreneur.
THEPROACTIVEMINDSET
Dayna can distinctly remember how she has always been a leader,
even from a young age. Growing up, she loved musical theatre and
every other aspect related to dancing, acting, or singing. Even so, she
createdherownshowduringhersecond-gradeyear.“Icoordinateda
rehearsal schedule with my friends' parents. I did the costumes and set
designaswellastheadvertising,”sharesDayna.
S
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I N - F O C U S
And when the show was over, all
Dayna could think of was when she
would be able to do something like
that again. This was the active
mindset with which Dayna grew up,
and 20 years later, she still feels the
same. She says, “Every time I get to
lead an initiative and work on a
project that I love, I am so grateful
andcan'twaittodoitagain!”
However, before she could take this
proactive mind into the open world,
Dayna saw herself struggling with
mental health issues, taking a
signi icant toll on her life.
ACCEPTING THE IMPERFECTIONS
Dayna began struggling with her
mental health at the start of her
college years. It was there when she
decided to jot down her
experiences in hopes of publishing
a book about living with mental
illness someday.
What worked for Dayna was the
acceptance of her struggles and her
will to embrace the imperfections
the fate had thrown at her. Those
early years when she couldn't
accept it, Dayna was in the
perception that something was
wrong with her, and she needed to
be happy all the time. “I think
something that held me back from
getting help earlier on was not really
'knowing' about mental health or
seeing other people openly speak
about their struggles,” shares Dayna.
“Had I seen someone living openly
and simultaneously talking about
their mental health struggle, I think
things would have unfolded
differently.”
And this is what Dayna has been
doing by now. She has led an
authentic life by staying true to her
life's imperfections. Her work is
inspired by her struggles and being
the person who embraced it. “I like
to both lead and live authentically,
which means living with mental
illness.”
This strength to live up to herself
empowered Dayna to help others
with her book Bake it Till You
Make it: Breaking Bread,
Building Resilience. It is a
cookbook with recipes, stories, and
resource pages that encourages
people to realize their inherent
power in their own stories. It
combines the mental health stories
and recipes of over forty different
contributors.
The book humanizes mental health
and mitigates people's discomfort
when talking about it by using
recipes and food. Tied together
with resource pages and a diverse
number of perspectives, the book is
written in such a way that anyone
can pick it up and feel the greater
sense of living with imperfections.
CONTINUING THE PROACTIVE
MINDSET
Dayna picks up after her childhood
habit of longing after productive
work even after so many years. To
her, it is essential to lead by
example, especially with
vulnerability and authenticity. In
Dayna's dictionary, a
transformational leader is someone
who has a passion for what they are
doing and believes in their message,
so many others want to become a
part of it.
And as a leader in the mental health
space, Dayna does not pretend to
appear 'perfect' or 'completely
recovered' and takes on the
leadership role in an authentic
manner. “I show up like me and do
my best as well as speak to what I
am passionate about and what I
know. I have found that vulnerability
and authenticity are contagious,”
shares Dayna. She continues,
“Leading with vulnerability has not
only allowed me to help inspire
others, but it has also allowed me to
create meaningful relationships with
people who wanted to be 'seen and
heard'.”
Dayna describes being humane as
the solution to understanding the
current gap in the mental health
industry. In her opinion, the more
the subject is humanized, and
people are reminded that they are
not alone, the more acceptance will
be followed, and there will be more
ways to help struggling people.
Whether it is in a big way through a
community event, book, or
workshop, Dayna wants people to
be invited to be vulnerable and
want to be supported.
That's also the reason why Dayna
inspires emerging and aspiring
women leaders to get rid of any
reasons to hide their struggles. She
advices, “Struggling with your
mental health is not shameful; in
fact, it probably makes you an even
more in-tune and empathetic leader.
You do not have to struggle alone,
nor do you have to lead alone.”
A WILL TO DO BETTER
Dayna's journey has been long and
circuitous, and she has overcome a
lot of roadblocks to reach where
she is today. Her journey has also
been painful, but these moments
brought her the most clarity in
what she wants to achieve today.
However, the most challenging road
32 EXELEON MAGAZINE
I N - F O C U S
for her has been the judgment and
pressuresheputonherself.
Dayna says, “I put so much pressure
on myself to continue to churn out
products and inspiration and be a
beacon of light for everyone at all
times. When I am learning in reality,
the best thing I can do is be honest
and be myself, even if it is messy and
not necessarily pretty.” And for the
next phase of her life, she wants to
continue to learn that and practice
what she preaches. She wants to
grow by what she is inspired by and
not think about the extra pressure
of feeling good enough.
And to do that, Dayna imagines a
future where there will be a
continuation and broadening of all
things Bake it Till You Make it. She
will mix everything from new
books, workshops, and multimedia
elements to live by her mission.
On the personal side of things,
Dayna hopes to continue to live
authentically and continue to be
close to those she loves, both
metaphorically and literally.
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I N - F O C U S
Most Innovative Business Leaders Of The Year | Exeleon Magazine | Business Magazine
Most Innovative Business Leaders Of The Year | Exeleon Magazine | Business Magazine
UPLIFTING
WOMEN
Elyse Kaye
Founder & CEO | Bloom Bras
ashion has always been at the
Fforefront of human evolution.
As human civilization has
continued to grow and expand,
trends in fashion has
simultaneously evolved.
In many cases, fashion has been a
voice for change and a statement of
progress. Recent years has seen
brands becoming more and more
aware of their audience, prompting
them to commit to a more inclusive
future.
At the heart of this change is Elyse
Kaye, the Founder of Bloom Bras.
For this transformational leader, a
quest to ind the right sports bra led
her to research and subsequently
engineer a line of body-inclusive
bras that customizes according to
your body type.
Through Bloom Bras, Elyse is
uplifting women across ages and
sizes by not only offering them
comfort but also addressing real
health issues.
In this Exclusive Interview, Elyse
Kaye talks about her idea behind
Bloom Bras, the industry, and the
future.
What according to you makes one
a powerful women? How do you
integrate the same thought into
your leadership?
36 EXELEON MAGAZINE
I N - F O C U S
A powerful woman is one that
surrounds herself with people who
can help her to achieve success.
Bringing on mentors early in my
career not only helped me to
become the leader I am but also
taught me how to mentor others.
Talk to us about your growing up
years. What is your earliest
memory as a
leader/entrepreneur that you
can remember?
I was the kid who ran every
lemonade stand, created the
babysitters club with games and
activities, joined every leadership
club. My parents instilled in me I
could be anything that I wanted to
be. My irst job out of college was
working for the company that
makes Lava Lamps. My boss was let
go a few months after starting
(nothing that had to do with me) so
I did not have a boss. I pulled out
my old marketing notes and built a
marketing plan to present to the
CEO. To my surprise, he said “great,
it is all yours.”
I was 22, bright-eyed and ready to
take on the world. First phase was
to build out a licensing department.
This brought in ancillary income
and allowed me to hire a team. One
of the potential licensees asked if
we could get one their characters to
loat around in a Lava Lamp. The R
& D team and I started playing
WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 37
I N - F O C U S
around in the lab which got me
hooked on innovation and product
development. The glitter lamp
outsold the Lava Lamp that year
opening up new channels and
consumers. That became the path
for me.
What was the idea that led to the
formation of Bloom Bras?
I could not ind a sports bra that
worked. 70% of women in the US
are a D-cup or above. The average
dress size is a 14 - 16 which is a 44 -
46 band and yet no companies were
focusing on this. It is not the same
mechanism to lift a 3 lb rock as a 12
lb so why would we not engineer a
product that works with larger
breasts. I brought in top minds from
NASA, Oprah's corset maker and
shipping/packaging experts to
bring the vision to life. We are now
the most body-inclusive line on the
market ranging in sizes from 28C -
56L designed to lift vs. squish.
Talk to us about the engineering
challenges of designing a bra and
how Bloom Bras are standing out
from the competition.
The Bloom Bra features patented
lifting straps and cinching cups
allowing the bra to customize to
your body and exercise type. It has
been designed without underwire,
both for comfort and to address the
health concerns.
Working like a shelf to lift the
breasts rather than squashing them,
the Bloom Bra distributes weight
throughout the back and sides
rather than putting pressure over
the shoulders and across the ribs,
allowing for natural movement of
the breast and uninterrupted
circulation of the body's essential
systems. State-of-the-art
compression materials and cooling,
moisture-wicking power mesh
combined with a reinforced front
zipper to “lift, not squish”.
More and more brands are now
talking about size-inclusivity.
What prompted this shift in the
industry?
The demand continues to rise,
Brands like Nike have been printing
money for decades producing the
same bra in different colors, adding
a feature, changing a material.
Adding new sizes is not as simple as
taking that bra and making it
bigger. It is a different engineering
challenge. If you put 10 people who
are a 38DDD next to each other, we
hold differently with different
expectations on how a bra should
it. Our bodies change 10% a month
naturally. For a B cup, not a big deal
38 EXELEON MAGAZINE
but for a DDD, that is a full cup size.
If you have children or a major shift
in weight, imagine what that does
to our breasts.
Being the CEO and Founder, what
role do you play in the day-to-day
proceedings of the company?
As the CEO, it is my responsibility to
lead the strategy. The mission
statement of Bloom Bras is to
empower women of all shapes,
sizes, and stages of life to feel good
while moving. Everything we do
encompasses that. Our social media
and events are designed to support
our community. Every hire matches
our ethos. I make decisions daily
from mil thickness of a business
card to whether we take on outside
funding so staying the course is one
of the most important roles I can
play as a leader.
Looking at your journey, what
would you have done differently
if you were to start again?
I would have paid more attention in
my accounting classes. It is the area
that I always feel the least
comfortable in. I also would
consider a co-founder. Being a
leader is amazing but can be very
lonely. I tell all of the aspiring
entrepreneurs that your company
will take everything - your money,
time, personal life, energy so make
sure you have a strong support
system.
Finally, what does the future look
like for you and Bloom Bras?
The new product development
pipeline includes channel and
product expansion. Using the
patented functionality, the next
three major categories include pre-
and post-maternity (4 million new
moms annually), breast cancer
survivors who have gone through
non-elective reconstructive surgery
(1 in 8 women) and the ever-
growing active senior population
(<20 million women).
Using our patented adjustable
lifting system, we will design
beautiful, comfortable safe
solutions in sports bras, sleep
shirts, and tops, Bloom pays
homage to my grandmother, a
casualty of breast cancer. I will
always offer the option for
contributors to donate bras to
breast cancer survivors and we will
match.
WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 39
I N - F O C U S
Most Innovative Business Leaders Of The Year | Exeleon Magazine | Business Magazine
Most Innovative Business Leaders Of The Year | Exeleon Magazine | Business Magazine
T H E G R OW T H M I N D S E T
J E F F H E G G I E
42 EXELEON MAGAZINE
I N - F O C U S
What according to you makes one a
transformational leader? How do you
integrate the same thought into your
leadership?
We live in a fast-paced world where things are
changing rapidly. In the past, many businesses
developed a culture where employees resisted
change. Change was uncomfortable, and they
didn't want it. I believe over the years we have
seen more and more transformational leaders
rise to the top of organizations as they have to
be willing to change and adapt with the world
around them.
A transformational leader helps to guide a team
and organization forward with growth and
advancement. It's a leader that isn't afraid of
change and stepping out of their comfort zone.
This means that they are willing to accept the
possibility of failure to achieve their bigger
vision.
Implementing this type of leadership requires
great communication within the entire
organization. The team has to understand the
direction they are going, what the plan looks
like, and why they are doing it.
Talk to us about your growing up years.
What is your earliest memory as a leader
that you can remember?
I grew up in Southern Alberta and had the
opportunity to be involved in many different
sports. Sports were a great place for me to
experience leadership at a young age and learn
a lot from my coaches. There are many things I
learned as a young athlete that are a part of my
life today.
What prompted your interest and
subsequently your foray into the business
coaching space?
I've always loved business and
entrepreneurship. As a bank manager I had a
lot of opportunity to spend time with
entrepreneurs. I learned a lot from them and a
lot about their businesses. Throughout the
years I had many opportunities to mentor and
coach entrepreneurs. As I was running my
business, I had many conversations with one of
my business partners, Dave, about the lessons
we were learning from our successes and
failures and how I wanted to use that to help
other entrepreneurs. After many years of this,
in addition to some coaching certi ications, I
decided to become more serious about the
coaching.
What is the process followed by you to take
entrepreneurs to the next level with your
coaching?
I don't have a speci ic set process that I use
with every client because every client is unique
and so are their businesses. But one thing that I
do put a lot of effort and focus into is helping
them to understand their own mindsets and
WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 43
I N - F O C U S
how to improve them.
A lot of the work I do with my clients focuses a
lot on the individual to help them become more
successful in all they are doing, which, in turn,
directly impacts their leadership and decisions
in their business.
By helping them improve their mindsets, they
in turn have more powerful thinking, learning
and behaviors which makes them more
successful in their work, life, and leadership.
Being an entrepreneur, industry leader,
success coach, father, and a husband, how
do you ensure work-life balance?
I believe it's important to understand that a
work-life balance is a myth. At different times,
some things are going to carry more weight,
priority, and time than others. It's not a
balancing act. To me it's important to have a
clear understanding of your goals and
priorities in all areas of your life so you can
allocate the appropriate time and energy.
For myself, I do put a lot of time and effort into
my coaching. But my family is my number one
priority overall. That doesn't mean that I spend
more of my time with my family than my work
necessarily. But it does mean that when it
comes to things that are important with my
family, they take priority, and I am there.
Nine years ago, when we adopted my son from
the DR Congo, I moved my of ice to our home
and have worked from home since then. Even if
I'm working longer hours, I can still be close to
my family.
I have been a basketball coach for 20+ years
and many of those years were coaching my
daughter. Recently I actually coached with her
as her assistant coach.
What has the journey been like for Jeff
Heggie over the years?
As with any entrepreneur, the journey is a
roller coaster. There have been the highest of
highs and the lowest of lows.
But the experiences have been invaluable.
There have been many lessons from all of my
businesses, both good and bad. Some of the
failures have been extremely hard. They've
caused incredible anxiety and stress. But even
with the incredible lessons learned, that didn't
make it any easier. Those were some tough
lessons to go through.
It has been all about the people. Everything you
do as an entrepreneur involves people.
Customers, suppliers, partners, investors, staff,
and on and on. Just like some of my failures,
I've had failed relationships. But overall, I look
back and the relationships I built were
incredible. Everyone from employees, to
customers, to investors were unique and great
relationships. I had people I worked with on
our team who I have such a deep respect for
because of the people they were.
My mentors and business partners have been
amazing and are still people I look up to today.
Looking back, what would you have done
differently if you were to start again?
That is such a tough question because some of
the hardest failures were my biggest lessons.
But if there is something I could change it
would be to accept sooner that failure is an
option. In the end I made some decisions in my
manufacturing company that were based on
emotions too much. I took a “failure isn't an
option” attitude because one of my number one
concerns was protecting our investors. But the
reality is, we had already past the point of
recovery and failure was going to happen. The
only thing that dragging it out longer did was
created a bigger hole and bigger losses.
What has been the biggest roadblock during
your journey? What has been your biggest
learning?
Starting such a capital-intensive company was
dif icult. It was such an expensive operation to
set up and run that cash low was often a
44 EXELEON MAGAZINE
I N - F O C U S
problem. This put us in a position to base
decision on cash low, even if it wasn't the best
option for the business. In hindsight, I wouldn't
have started a business that was so capital
intensive.
Then going back to what I said earlier about
acknowledging that failure is an option would
have made a big difference for me personally.
At the point I should have accepted failure, I
continued to try to save things with my own
funds, some of which were leveraged. This
obviously caused more pain when things didn't
work out.
What would be your advice for aspiring and
emerging business leaders in this current
changing work environment?
Regardless of your background and experience,
get a coach or a mentor. Someone who is not
close to you and will hold you accountable for
your success.
Finally, what does the future look like for
you, professionally and personally?
I will continue to grow both my mortgage
business and my coaching business. I will
continue to coach clients one-on-one but will
expand my reach with more of my group
coaching programs and courses. My podcasts
will grow and be a positive in luence on many.
I'll continue to work with elite athletes in The
Con ident Athlete Program. I will always keep
my family Number One!
WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 45
MOUSTAFA HAMWI
Where Passion Meets
Leadership
What according to you makes one
a passionate leader? How do you
integrate the same thought into
your leadership?
To de ine a passionate leader, we
have to de ine 2 things i) Passion ii)
A leader
To give you some context on how
much depth the de inition I am
about to give you has: I spent years
of research on the topic of passion
where I travelled the world to
conduct in-person interviews of
160+ leaders, authors, speakers,
coaches, celebrities, Olympians, and
Nobel Prize laureates talking about
one topic…PASSION
So, the de inition that came out is:
Passion is consistently doing what
you love, what you are good at, and
what is of value to the world
So, if it doesn't tick all these boxes,
I'm sorry but it's not passion. You
can call it anything else that you
want, but I promise you that it's not
passion.
The shortest de inition I can give
you of a leader is “someone who
takes ownership and demonstrates
courage, humility and discipline to
walk the talk”
So put both de initions together
and will be “a leader is a person
who walks the talk to deliver on
their true passion”
Brief us into your journey of an
inner search and your
experiences traveling to India.
My journey started by trying to
answer a question: Do You Know
What Makes You Tick?
Without knowing the answer to this
question, you will always feel
like something is missing, no matter
how successful you are, which is
how I felt many years ago when I
was running a multimillion-dollar
business in Dubai while living a
seemingly successful life.
Although my life looked super
successful on the outside, like the
stuff you see in movies and rap
videos, I was all empty on the
inside. Sure enough, I had a nervous
breakdown
My business was great, and my
lifestyle was enviable, but I wanted
more out of life than this golden
cage. I kept asking myself, “WHAT
AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?” It
became increasingly apparent that
having clarity about one's passion
46 EXELEON MAGAZINE
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WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 47
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and purpose affects one more than
just direction; it impacts the quality
of life and increases the probability
of success!
This question triggered me to start
an inner search of true passion,
purpose, and meaning.
After years of courses, workshops,
and books I'm still lost so I was at
the stage now where I had to go
deeper on my journey inwards
before I looked for resources
outwards. I remember waking up
one day with a jolt of energy and a
thought that got stuck in a loop in
my head: “I'm going to India.” And
so, I bought a one-way ticket to
India.
The story of my journey from
Cavalli to Manali is a whole book in
itself, but not the purpose of this
interview. I will, however, share two
key incidents that stand out for me
and that were pivotal in my life.
The irst of them could be described
(for lack of a better word) as a
coincidence—meeting Swami
Yogananda who had been
meditating in caves for over 13
years. He had just stepped out of a
life of solitude and meditation and
started teaching wisdom-seekers in
his ashram in a small village outside
the town of Manali in the
Himalayas. On one of my many deep
conversations with him, trying to
get an answer about life and the
purpose and meaning of everything,
he said, playing with his long beard,
in an Indian accent, “Do you know
what you are thirsty for? If you do
not know what you are thirsty for,
you cannot quench your thirst.”
His words made me realize that
while I had bought this one-way
ticket to India seeking an answer, I
did not even have the most
essential element right: the
question!
As my journey continued from one
place to the next, across the span of
this vast, beautiful landscape that is
India, I experienced another
coincidence (if you still believe in
coincidences). One day, on my way
to the meditation center, I decided
to walk into a hospital to get myself
checked up. When the results came
in, I felt as if my life stopped and
everything crumbled and collapsed
around me; I was told that I had
benign prostate enlargement that
was, at that moment, labelled
medically as an incurable disease!
The summary of that healing
journey is that I dedicated all my
time and energy towards healing
with the help of everything I had
access to: Ayurveda, vegan diets,
juicing, and all kinds of meditations
(including laughter meditation and
crying meditation). You name it,
and I did it. And as you might have
guessed, I eventually healed!
however, this interview is not about
physical healing and medical
miracles.
I am here to talk to you about the
self-re lection I had to go through
when I faced the reality of a serious
“WHAT IF…?” What if these were
the last days of my life? DID MY
LIFE REALLY MATTER?
48 EXELEON MAGAZINE
I N - F O C U S
Imagine you live your life, thinking
you are on top of the world—
you're ruling, you're the king,
you're “it.” And then, you realize
none of this is worth it. When it's
time for you to die, you are going to
re lect on your life in a totally
different manner
That is what triggered me to make a
180-degree shift in my life and
focus on spreading passion &
purpose in the world.
How are you helping leaders and
entrepreneurs ind purpose and
live passionately?
I work with high-preforming
entrepreneurs of passion & purpose
“Passionpreneurs” to help them use
passion to DOMINATE THEIR
MARKET NICHE and leave their
mark.
That's what I call the Way of the
Passionpreneur.
I do this through either one-to-one
coaching but that is very exclusive
as I can only handle a handful of
entrepreneurs, so they need to be
dam serious and already having a
serious level of success, so my job is
to take them to new heights.
Or by helping underdogs write &
publish their books and then use it
to spread their message to the
world, build their personal brand
and
What does a day in the life look
like for you? How do you ensure
work-life balance?
On the long term the work-life
balance is a myth. I aim to have a
life that I do not need much of a
break from. That is a truly
passionate life. The way to do it is
to always ask before you do
something:
1. Does it directly relate to my
passion in life?
2. If not, does it bring me closer to
the direction of my passion?
If neither of the above, I avoid doing
it.
WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 49
With time you will not need a
break from what you love. This
takes some time and depends on
what responsibilities in life you
have. But remember the
de inition of passion, the irst
word is “consistently” so if it
really matters to you, then you
will not quit on it
Looking back at your journey,
what would you have done
differently when
starting out?
Very good question, I
would have started the pursuit of
what my passion is at a much
earlier age, and then would have
stayed consistent with it till it
paid off. Starting late has
advantage of being more mature
but it's much more challenging as
you make a lot of sacri ices. It's
like investing, the earlier you
start the better it is on long run
What would be your advice for
aspiring and young business
leaders?
Find your real purpose as early
as you can and dedicate the rest
of your life to make it happen,
you only have this life to make an
impact. Regardless of you believe
in reincarnation you cannot
guarantee what format you will
come back in as it might be less
powerful. So why leave it to
another life. It's all about this life
to make an impact and leave your
legacy.
Finally, what does the future look
like for you, both professionally
and personally?
I have achieved my goal of hitting a
100 authors at Passionpreneur
Publishing (as of date of this
interview) which is the seed for
Passionpreneur Organization where
we are building a community of
Passionpreneurs who are
on a journey of
changing the
world and having fun
while doing it.
As this becomes more in motion, I am
redirecting my attention toward
bring more healing to the world.
Think about it, “Compassion” is the
other side of “passion.”
That will be through writing more
books, speaking, doing retreats in
nature that involve healthy food,
yoga, therapy, etc. Everything that I
used to heal myself in 2012 and then
launch my passion into the world and
connecting all of that into social
impact be it for people or the planet
now it's time to be less on the
business side and more on the giving.
We all need it, i want it for me and for
the world remember, one life to leave
a legacy
50 EXELEON MAGAZINE
I N - F O C U S
Most Innovative Business Leaders Of The Year | Exeleon Magazine | Business Magazine
Most Innovative Business Leaders Of The Year | Exeleon Magazine | Business Magazine
Most Innovative Business Leaders Of The Year | Exeleon Magazine | Business Magazine
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Most Innovative Business Leaders Of The Year | Exeleon Magazine | Business Magazine

  • 1. Embracing Excellence www.exeleonmagazine.com Martin Mobarak DavidPawlan- Leading Transparencyin theSoftware Development Economy IN - FOCUS K E E P I N G T H E L E G E N D O F F R I D A K A H L O A L I V E INN VATIVE O BUSINESS LEADERS OF THE YEAR ElyseKaye: UpliftingWomen IN - FOCUS
  • 4. Copyright © Exeleon Media LLC. All rights reserved. The design, images, and content in this issue should not be reproduced in any manner or by any means, i.e. mechanical, electronic, recording, photocopying, or otherwise, without any permission from Exeleon Media. For any advertising related information, please contact info@exeleonmagazine.com. Submissions as well as contributions to the magazine are welcome. Take a moment and let us know about our magazine; whether it be about the design or a possible mistake, we would appreciate any feedback from your end. You can reach out to daryl@exeleonmagazine.com. 600 N Broad St 5 Middletown, DE 19709, United States +1 (302) – 569 – 9387 Editor-in-Chief – Art Director – Managing Editor - Creative Director – Contributing Editors – Content Curator – Daryl Yeung (Story-Tailor) Naomi Lam (Design Ninja) Matt Reis (Wordster) Adam Waring (Grafista) Ian O'Shea, Matt Hale, & John Riggs (Three Musketeers) Cathy G. (Explorer) Sales Josh Wilder (Cultivator) Mike Jackson (Marketeer) Katherine Price (Sustainer) Richard Dann (Facilitator) Project Manager – Marketing Manager – Senior BDM – BDM – Embracing Excellence
  • 6. C O N T E N T S MARTIN MOBARAK 12
  • 7. C O N T E N T S DAYNA ALTMAN 30
  • 8. C O N T E N T S JEFF HEGGIE 42
  • 12. MARTIN MOBARAK Founder | Frida.NFT 12 EXELEON MAGAZINE C O V E R S T O R Y
  • 13. K E E P I N G T H E L E G E N D O F WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 13
  • 14. – F R I D A K A H L O he legacy of an artist can often be determined by the impact and in luence their art holds across generations, across communities, and across geographical boundaries. Renowned as Mexico's most popular painter – Frida Kahlo was an example of excellence whose artistry continues to have an impact in our lives and in our society. Her artistic legacy molds into the form of an incredible biographical narrative in which, using drama and rich symbolism, Frida shares the story of her intimate experiences, her despair, her beliefs, and her values. Growing up in Mexican City, Martin Mobarak was someone who was introduced to the works of Frida at an early age. He was fascinated with her paintings and the cultural impact Frida had in extending the history of Mexico. As Martin grew up, his understanding of art expanded and simultaneously his appreciation for Frida's work and her life beyond. Today, Martin Mobarak, a global entrepreneur and visionary, aims to immortalize the legacy of Frida Kahlo with Frida.NFT, a pioneering innovative blockchain technology reforming the charity industry to increase transparency, donation frequency, and donor incentive. LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT Martin grew up in a Lebanese/Mexican household with a strong in luence of Lebanese culture. For him, the food, the music, and art were a different world altogether. He discovered Mexican culture as he started his high school years. Through his school trips to cultural sites, Martin grasped more understanding of the country's rich history. He recalls his irst visit to the Museum of Frida and getting introduced to her artworks. “It was a very typical ield trip on every school in Mexico. But to me it was extraordinary as I was immediately fascinated with her paintings, like love at irst sight, even though I visited the museum several times during my school years, each time was like a irst time.” Martin's involvement with arts increased during his high school years, when he signed up for artistic shop classes and plastic arts school. “One of my best friends was a prominent painter, and a teacher in Mexico City in the school of Plastic Arts, which is how I got more serious with art and education myself in the school.” Martin eventually moved to a different state, pursued college, and started his professional journey. However, he brought his love for admiring and collecting art with him in this journey. 14 EXELEON MAGAZINE C O V E R S T O R Y
  • 16. As a Mexican Native, Martin's vision is to bring the work of Frida Kahlo into the metaverse and bring together a communityofcollectors,creators,andlovers. Frida had an impactful presence in Martin's growing up years. As he learned more about her life of pain and suffering, it impacted him to take notice of her struggles and how she conveyed these emotions through her paintings. Martin mentions, “Frida Kahlo lived a tumultuouslifetosaytheleast,fromPolio,tobeingtoldshe would never walk again after a terrible bus accident, to marrying a notorious womanizer Diego Rivera, Frida paintedheremotionsandlifeuntilherpainfuldeath.” He adds, “I share her feelings of pain in this material world, and yet, still not giving up helping the needy and try to ix the broken system. In my case it is the health system and thepeoplethatsufferfromit.“ Through Frida.NFT, Martin hopes to share the artworks of Frida with the world, instead of holding it in his possession whilemakingaglobalimpact. 16 EXELEON MAGAZINE
  • 18. FASCINATION WITH TECHNOLOGY Throughout his professional journey as an entrepreneur and business leader, Martin has been a passionate visionary of technology. He mentions “I owned one of the irst ISP providers in anchorage Alaska. I was involved in the development of the Internet between 1993 - 1998. I've always been involved in technology.” Moreover, when Martin was introduced to the burgeoning blockchain technology and Bitcoin in 2009, he became obsessed with the potential of the industry. The led him to start his own cryptocurrency AGCoin, which is a silver-backed crypto. “AGCoin is the irst crypto platform to invest in Silver, and it's the next generation precious metal tokenization model with continuous access to liquidity and availability. Creating a silver-backed tokenomy while tokenizing vault deposits, we have attempted to produce innovative solutions that address customers' needs but also provides consistent support. “ Martin learned about blockchain through various different conferences in Dubai and the US, while in the last year, he has learnt all about NFTs. FRIDA.NFT Martin realized the potential of the NFT market and how the technology can be leveraged to bring forth a change in the charity space. This prompted him to introduce Frida.NFT. Frida.NFT's vision is to create the bridge between the traditional art world and the expanding potential of Web 3.0. This community-driven initiative has a vision to introduce Frida's work into the metaverse and leverage her powerful likeness to bring together a community of collectors, creators, and art lovers on a mission to merge the traditional art world with the digital art world's expanding potential and immortalize humanities story. “Like a Phoenix rising from its ashes, this collection of 10,000 NFT's represents the rebirth & immortality of a timeless piece by Frida Kahlo “Fantasmones Siniestros or “Massive Sinister Ghosts.”. This piece will be transformed to live eternally in the digital realm.” Valued over $10,000,000, Martin has decided to take this to be the irst perpetual royalty charity initiative. The mission for Martin and team is to create a consistent donation stream to charities, while rewarding the ones who are willing to be a part of this journey. He mentions, “Each Fantasmones Siniestros NFT grants the holder membership to our exclusive art- driven charity foundation along with a host of ever-evolving bene its including, but not limited to, access to luxurious amenities, unique experiences, and exclusive events around the globe.” NFTS AND CHARITY According to Martin, NFT holds the key in revolutionizing the entire charity industry! He elaborates, “Blockchain technologies are the answer, if managed correctly to raise capitals for many industries, why not charitable ventures? It's a very viable solution for possible perpetual pipeline of funds, transparent and secure.” Over the last decade, Martin has collected timeless pieces of history. “As the current owner of the paintings, I have a vision of creating perpetual donations to multiple organizations for the needy with royalties from the NFT sale and collection.” Martin's goal is to make an impact by providing donors full transparency of foundation funds, increasing donation frequency through perpetual donations, and dramatically increasing a much larger incentive for the community to donate. The charity industry has struggled to keep up with the advancements in technology and digitalization, thereby prompting the public to take notice. “Inef icient bookkeeping, unpleasant user experiences, and distrusting donors make for an industry that is quickly losing public interest.” Owing to scandals surrounding mismanagement of donors' gifts and general lack of transparency, public con idence in charity leaders has seen a sharp decline in the last C O V E R S T O R Y 18 EXELEON MAGAZINE
  • 20. decade. According to the Give.org Donor Trust Report, 32 percent of respondents trust charities less today than they did ive years ago. GIVING BACK For Martin, giving back to the society is an integral part of his value system. Moreover, his personal experiences with his daughter have given him this unique perspective “It is bigger than, me, you, and Frida would have understood it if she was alive.” During his early years living in Alaska, Martin's irst daughter was diagnosed with a rare congenital disease and due to this he had spent countless sleepless nights in the hospital, broken and helpless. This was 30 years ago. And that changed him completely. “I was myself in need of a place to stay, and these inancial and logistical dif iculties, as well as the broken health system in this country, made me want to take things into my own hands, just like Frida had done. Years later, when I became wealthy, I helped countless patients, their parents whenever I was in the hospitals, this time for my second daughter Elektra (now 11 years old) who was diagnosed with Crouzon Syndrome. Anytime, I see a person in need in the broken health system I had to interfere. Therefore, the proceeds from the sale of all the NFTs will go to the Charities that are dear and near to my heart and very important for my family,” he recalls. Similar to him, Martin saw a number of other families who were facing this struggle to afford the care they needed. He tried to help them in whatever capacity he possibly could. Along with his daughter's battle, Martin prepared himself to combat the broken healthcare system of the country. “While my daughter had surgery after surgery (21 surgeries in total) and recovery of 3 months each time….it was dif icult, but I managed, I got help from a loving family and other giving people. There are many families in need of help all the time and not enough resources.” This impacted Martin to make a bigger difference and impact. Through Frida.NFT Martin is dedicated to bringing forth a disruption that contributes to the overall welfare of the industry and the society at large. 20 EXELEON MAGAZINE
  • 22. We Embrace Excellence! Exeleon Magazine features some of the leading players in business and shares their journey of excellence to inspire aspiring leaders across the globe. SUBSCRIBE
  • 24. David Pawlan Co-Founder | Aloa 24 EXELEON MAGAZINE I N - F O C U S
  • 25. Leading Transparency in the Software Development Economy In a world where anyone can innovate freely, there is still a barrier because software development is a pain point for far too many. Driven to ix the problems in this process, a 24-year-old entrepreneur started to ind sustainable solutions for it. David Pawlan is the founder of Aloa— a platform for outsourcing software development for startups. Four years later, since his college days, David has grown Aloa to a multi-million- dollar business. As an ardent believer in changing the world, he is also involved in social initiatives like Fifth Star Funds. David, along with other Chicago entrepreneurs, recognized the inequality in the entrepreneurial landscape and decided to make a difference by helping startups grow. His ultimate goal is to create wholesome environments that empower innovators to plan, experiment and build incredible things. In an Exclusive Interview, David talks about his journey and Aloa. What according to you makes one a transformational leader? How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership? In my opinion, all leadership should be built upon the values of transformational leadership. An effective leader is one who empowers those they are leading to a point where the leader is no longer needed. That is exactly how I view it as an integration to business leadership. My goal is always to eliminate my own job, and it's the most fun part of it. In this way, I'm helping to build an effective and self-suf icient organization. Talk to us about your growing up years. What prompted your interest and subsequently your foray into the tech space? I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but I really was never a tech kid. I didn't play video games; they never really caught my attention. My interest in tech I think is just a consequence of the way the world is moving. Brief us about Aloa and what led to the inception of this platform. Aloa is a platform for outsourcing software development for startups. You can think of us as software outsourcing infrastructure. While in college, we were building out apps and doing student tech consulting. We wanted to expand our development team, so we began looking for resources. We looked domestically, but it was too expensive, so we outsourced. We had a horrible experience. To us, that didn't make sense. Why haven't we been able to igure out a predictable and consistent experience for software, the most remote industry there is. At Aloa, we believe in a world where anyone T WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 25 I N - F O C U S
  • 26. can innovate freely, and at this point, we see software development as a barrier to innovation for far too many. So, rather than trying to build a blanket solution as a dev shop, we studied the pain points themselves and fell in love with the problem of outsourcing software development itself. Four years later, since those college days, we've grown Aloa to a multi- million-dollar business. We've vetted through 10,000+ software irms around the world and have quali ied just 8 to be in our Network. We built Aloa Manage so anyone, even non-technicals, can manage their dev team. We built AloaPay so clients don't have to deal with foreign transaction fees or international tax compliance. A dedicated Account Manager will curate a match to the proper irm in our network. We'll build out custom development strategies and continuously audit. The beauty is that we've automated so much of our process that we can do all of this at the same rate as other outsourcing competitors. In our opinion, just providing you a developer isn't suf icient. Being the Co-Founder, what role do you play in the day-to-day proceedings of the company? As a Co-Founder, you're wearing tons of different hats. My main role is de initely sales and lead generation as ultimately that is what keeps the lights on. However, most recently I've been spearheading a lot of our marketing efforts as well as working on process and operational ef iciency. I'll also serve as our legal liaison and help out with taxes. There are no two days that are the same! What is the approach followed by the company when it comes to providing optimal client satisfaction? We're a very mission driven company, so that is what truly guides our decision-making. Each one of us tries to act sel lessly: what would I truly do if I were in their position? We lead with empathy, resonate with the client experience, and ensure that we prioritize the core mission of what we're doing. As long as we maintain our integrity and quality of service, the pro its will come. You are an ardent believer in changing the world. Talk to us about some of your social involvements and why it is important for you. The most important social involvement I have is being the Co- Founder of Fifth Star Funds. Along with other Chicago entrepreneurs, we recognized the inequality in the entrepreneurial landscape and decided to dedicate our nights and weekends to make a difference. Only 1% of VC capital goes towards Black founders, and more curiously, from 2009-2017, only .0006% of VC funding went to Black women. Now, let's take this one step further. The average Black-owned startup has roughly $500 of outside equity when starting. The average White- owned startup has roughly $18,500 of outside equity. Fifth Star Funds is a venture philanthropy evergreen fund seeking to address the funding epidemic in America where only 1% of venture capital is awarded to Black founders. We accomplish this by investing in Black tech founders in Chicago at the early stage “Friends & Family” round. We believe the funding gap at this stage is the most critical to address, as centuries of inequity have prevented these potential entrepreneurs from having the initial capital to start their businesses. 100% of all returns from our investments are reinvested into the fund, so as the startups we invest in grow, the fund inherently does too, making our impact compounding. What has the journey been like for David Pawlan over the years? Looking back, what would you have done differently if you were to start again? It’s been a journey of perseverance. I've always been starting things, always trying to build companies. When talking about it to others, I always say it just feels like I'm playing a real-life version of Rollercoaster Tycoon. I always had a little side business growing up. My Senior year of High School and Freshman year of College I dove into my irst of icial startup. It failed. I learned a ton. In my Senior year I joined the Aloa founding team and I haven't looked back ever since. This second part of the question is pretty funny to me because I'm actually working really hard on myself to avoid that thought exercise. I need to stop looking back and questioning every little decision, it's debilitating. So, I guess in this context, I'd say that I'd tell my younger self to stop looking 26 EXELEON MAGAZINE I N - F O C U S
  • 27. back. Be present. Live in the moment. The past is the past. You can learn from it, but your mind should be on the present, on what is in front of you, not behind. What would be your advice for aspiring and emerging business leaders? The two biggest lessons I've learned are actually related to one another. The irst is to fall in love with the problem, not the solution. If you are in love with the problem, then any roadblock or set back is actually a step forward, because you found another way that doesn't work. In the same vein, do something because you're passionate about it, not because you're chasing the money. Entrepreneurship is really hard. Money won't come right away. You're going to fall. You're going to cry. You're going to question everything. Only passion, a true intrinsic motivator, a belief in what you're doing, will be suf icient to push you through the journey with a smile on your face. What has been the biggest roadblock during your journey? What has been your biggest learning? I myself am my biggest roadblock. I'm really hard on myself. Confrontation scares me. I take things too personally. I'm not sure what my biggest learning is yet because I'm still in the thick of it. Finally, what does the future look like for you and Aloa? We believe in a world where anyone can innovate freely. We want to change the world, and we won't stop short of doing just that. Today it's software, creating a pathway where non-technical entrepreneurs and tech-giants alike can predictably build their technology. I'm so proud of our team and what we've accomplished, but we're far from the inish line. I don't know what we'll be in 10 years, but I do know that as long as we continue to follow our mission, we're going to create the proper environments to let innovators do some truly incredible things. WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 27 I N - F O C U S
  • 30. Dayna Altman Author & Mental Health Entrepreneur 30 EXELEON MAGAZINE I N - F O C U S
  • 31. Healing and Empowering People Through Acceptance * * * ince the dawn of time, staying true to life and sharing stories has been part of humanity. We have always told stories to pass on knowledge and lessons to future generations. We are constantly learning,makingnewdiscoveriesthroughstorytelling. However,themostsigni icantadvantagethathumanshavegarnered with storytelling is our ability to embrace our and others' stories, giving us strength and the will to carry on in dif icult times. These stories show us that we are not alone in this world, and it is support from others during harsh times that motivate us to move forward and lourishinlivingthelifeeveryonedeserves. Dayna Altman, a mental health entrepreneur, author, and public health professional, couldn't be a better example to showcase the power storytelling has in healing people. Overcoming and learning from the challenges that started in her college years, Dayna embarked on a journey to help others by creating her organizations specializinginmentalhealthadvocacy. Exeleonexhibitstheempoweringstoryofthisboldentrepreneur. THEPROACTIVEMINDSET Dayna can distinctly remember how she has always been a leader, even from a young age. Growing up, she loved musical theatre and every other aspect related to dancing, acting, or singing. Even so, she createdherownshowduringhersecond-gradeyear.“Icoordinateda rehearsal schedule with my friends' parents. I did the costumes and set designaswellastheadvertising,”sharesDayna. S WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 31 I N - F O C U S
  • 32. And when the show was over, all Dayna could think of was when she would be able to do something like that again. This was the active mindset with which Dayna grew up, and 20 years later, she still feels the same. She says, “Every time I get to lead an initiative and work on a project that I love, I am so grateful andcan'twaittodoitagain!” However, before she could take this proactive mind into the open world, Dayna saw herself struggling with mental health issues, taking a signi icant toll on her life. ACCEPTING THE IMPERFECTIONS Dayna began struggling with her mental health at the start of her college years. It was there when she decided to jot down her experiences in hopes of publishing a book about living with mental illness someday. What worked for Dayna was the acceptance of her struggles and her will to embrace the imperfections the fate had thrown at her. Those early years when she couldn't accept it, Dayna was in the perception that something was wrong with her, and she needed to be happy all the time. “I think something that held me back from getting help earlier on was not really 'knowing' about mental health or seeing other people openly speak about their struggles,” shares Dayna. “Had I seen someone living openly and simultaneously talking about their mental health struggle, I think things would have unfolded differently.” And this is what Dayna has been doing by now. She has led an authentic life by staying true to her life's imperfections. Her work is inspired by her struggles and being the person who embraced it. “I like to both lead and live authentically, which means living with mental illness.” This strength to live up to herself empowered Dayna to help others with her book Bake it Till You Make it: Breaking Bread, Building Resilience. It is a cookbook with recipes, stories, and resource pages that encourages people to realize their inherent power in their own stories. It combines the mental health stories and recipes of over forty different contributors. The book humanizes mental health and mitigates people's discomfort when talking about it by using recipes and food. Tied together with resource pages and a diverse number of perspectives, the book is written in such a way that anyone can pick it up and feel the greater sense of living with imperfections. CONTINUING THE PROACTIVE MINDSET Dayna picks up after her childhood habit of longing after productive work even after so many years. To her, it is essential to lead by example, especially with vulnerability and authenticity. In Dayna's dictionary, a transformational leader is someone who has a passion for what they are doing and believes in their message, so many others want to become a part of it. And as a leader in the mental health space, Dayna does not pretend to appear 'perfect' or 'completely recovered' and takes on the leadership role in an authentic manner. “I show up like me and do my best as well as speak to what I am passionate about and what I know. I have found that vulnerability and authenticity are contagious,” shares Dayna. She continues, “Leading with vulnerability has not only allowed me to help inspire others, but it has also allowed me to create meaningful relationships with people who wanted to be 'seen and heard'.” Dayna describes being humane as the solution to understanding the current gap in the mental health industry. In her opinion, the more the subject is humanized, and people are reminded that they are not alone, the more acceptance will be followed, and there will be more ways to help struggling people. Whether it is in a big way through a community event, book, or workshop, Dayna wants people to be invited to be vulnerable and want to be supported. That's also the reason why Dayna inspires emerging and aspiring women leaders to get rid of any reasons to hide their struggles. She advices, “Struggling with your mental health is not shameful; in fact, it probably makes you an even more in-tune and empathetic leader. You do not have to struggle alone, nor do you have to lead alone.” A WILL TO DO BETTER Dayna's journey has been long and circuitous, and she has overcome a lot of roadblocks to reach where she is today. Her journey has also been painful, but these moments brought her the most clarity in what she wants to achieve today. However, the most challenging road 32 EXELEON MAGAZINE I N - F O C U S
  • 33. for her has been the judgment and pressuresheputonherself. Dayna says, “I put so much pressure on myself to continue to churn out products and inspiration and be a beacon of light for everyone at all times. When I am learning in reality, the best thing I can do is be honest and be myself, even if it is messy and not necessarily pretty.” And for the next phase of her life, she wants to continue to learn that and practice what she preaches. She wants to grow by what she is inspired by and not think about the extra pressure of feeling good enough. And to do that, Dayna imagines a future where there will be a continuation and broadening of all things Bake it Till You Make it. She will mix everything from new books, workshops, and multimedia elements to live by her mission. On the personal side of things, Dayna hopes to continue to live authentically and continue to be close to those she loves, both metaphorically and literally. WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 33 I N - F O C U S
  • 36. UPLIFTING WOMEN Elyse Kaye Founder & CEO | Bloom Bras ashion has always been at the Fforefront of human evolution. As human civilization has continued to grow and expand, trends in fashion has simultaneously evolved. In many cases, fashion has been a voice for change and a statement of progress. Recent years has seen brands becoming more and more aware of their audience, prompting them to commit to a more inclusive future. At the heart of this change is Elyse Kaye, the Founder of Bloom Bras. For this transformational leader, a quest to ind the right sports bra led her to research and subsequently engineer a line of body-inclusive bras that customizes according to your body type. Through Bloom Bras, Elyse is uplifting women across ages and sizes by not only offering them comfort but also addressing real health issues. In this Exclusive Interview, Elyse Kaye talks about her idea behind Bloom Bras, the industry, and the future. What according to you makes one a powerful women? How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership? 36 EXELEON MAGAZINE I N - F O C U S
  • 37. A powerful woman is one that surrounds herself with people who can help her to achieve success. Bringing on mentors early in my career not only helped me to become the leader I am but also taught me how to mentor others. Talk to us about your growing up years. What is your earliest memory as a leader/entrepreneur that you can remember? I was the kid who ran every lemonade stand, created the babysitters club with games and activities, joined every leadership club. My parents instilled in me I could be anything that I wanted to be. My irst job out of college was working for the company that makes Lava Lamps. My boss was let go a few months after starting (nothing that had to do with me) so I did not have a boss. I pulled out my old marketing notes and built a marketing plan to present to the CEO. To my surprise, he said “great, it is all yours.” I was 22, bright-eyed and ready to take on the world. First phase was to build out a licensing department. This brought in ancillary income and allowed me to hire a team. One of the potential licensees asked if we could get one their characters to loat around in a Lava Lamp. The R & D team and I started playing WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 37 I N - F O C U S
  • 38. around in the lab which got me hooked on innovation and product development. The glitter lamp outsold the Lava Lamp that year opening up new channels and consumers. That became the path for me. What was the idea that led to the formation of Bloom Bras? I could not ind a sports bra that worked. 70% of women in the US are a D-cup or above. The average dress size is a 14 - 16 which is a 44 - 46 band and yet no companies were focusing on this. It is not the same mechanism to lift a 3 lb rock as a 12 lb so why would we not engineer a product that works with larger breasts. I brought in top minds from NASA, Oprah's corset maker and shipping/packaging experts to bring the vision to life. We are now the most body-inclusive line on the market ranging in sizes from 28C - 56L designed to lift vs. squish. Talk to us about the engineering challenges of designing a bra and how Bloom Bras are standing out from the competition. The Bloom Bra features patented lifting straps and cinching cups allowing the bra to customize to your body and exercise type. It has been designed without underwire, both for comfort and to address the health concerns. Working like a shelf to lift the breasts rather than squashing them, the Bloom Bra distributes weight throughout the back and sides rather than putting pressure over the shoulders and across the ribs, allowing for natural movement of the breast and uninterrupted circulation of the body's essential systems. State-of-the-art compression materials and cooling, moisture-wicking power mesh combined with a reinforced front zipper to “lift, not squish”. More and more brands are now talking about size-inclusivity. What prompted this shift in the industry? The demand continues to rise, Brands like Nike have been printing money for decades producing the same bra in different colors, adding a feature, changing a material. Adding new sizes is not as simple as taking that bra and making it bigger. It is a different engineering challenge. If you put 10 people who are a 38DDD next to each other, we hold differently with different expectations on how a bra should it. Our bodies change 10% a month naturally. For a B cup, not a big deal 38 EXELEON MAGAZINE
  • 39. but for a DDD, that is a full cup size. If you have children or a major shift in weight, imagine what that does to our breasts. Being the CEO and Founder, what role do you play in the day-to-day proceedings of the company? As the CEO, it is my responsibility to lead the strategy. The mission statement of Bloom Bras is to empower women of all shapes, sizes, and stages of life to feel good while moving. Everything we do encompasses that. Our social media and events are designed to support our community. Every hire matches our ethos. I make decisions daily from mil thickness of a business card to whether we take on outside funding so staying the course is one of the most important roles I can play as a leader. Looking at your journey, what would you have done differently if you were to start again? I would have paid more attention in my accounting classes. It is the area that I always feel the least comfortable in. I also would consider a co-founder. Being a leader is amazing but can be very lonely. I tell all of the aspiring entrepreneurs that your company will take everything - your money, time, personal life, energy so make sure you have a strong support system. Finally, what does the future look like for you and Bloom Bras? The new product development pipeline includes channel and product expansion. Using the patented functionality, the next three major categories include pre- and post-maternity (4 million new moms annually), breast cancer survivors who have gone through non-elective reconstructive surgery (1 in 8 women) and the ever- growing active senior population (<20 million women). Using our patented adjustable lifting system, we will design beautiful, comfortable safe solutions in sports bras, sleep shirts, and tops, Bloom pays homage to my grandmother, a casualty of breast cancer. I will always offer the option for contributors to donate bras to breast cancer survivors and we will match. WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 39 I N - F O C U S
  • 42. T H E G R OW T H M I N D S E T J E F F H E G G I E 42 EXELEON MAGAZINE I N - F O C U S
  • 43. What according to you makes one a transformational leader? How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership? We live in a fast-paced world where things are changing rapidly. In the past, many businesses developed a culture where employees resisted change. Change was uncomfortable, and they didn't want it. I believe over the years we have seen more and more transformational leaders rise to the top of organizations as they have to be willing to change and adapt with the world around them. A transformational leader helps to guide a team and organization forward with growth and advancement. It's a leader that isn't afraid of change and stepping out of their comfort zone. This means that they are willing to accept the possibility of failure to achieve their bigger vision. Implementing this type of leadership requires great communication within the entire organization. The team has to understand the direction they are going, what the plan looks like, and why they are doing it. Talk to us about your growing up years. What is your earliest memory as a leader that you can remember? I grew up in Southern Alberta and had the opportunity to be involved in many different sports. Sports were a great place for me to experience leadership at a young age and learn a lot from my coaches. There are many things I learned as a young athlete that are a part of my life today. What prompted your interest and subsequently your foray into the business coaching space? I've always loved business and entrepreneurship. As a bank manager I had a lot of opportunity to spend time with entrepreneurs. I learned a lot from them and a lot about their businesses. Throughout the years I had many opportunities to mentor and coach entrepreneurs. As I was running my business, I had many conversations with one of my business partners, Dave, about the lessons we were learning from our successes and failures and how I wanted to use that to help other entrepreneurs. After many years of this, in addition to some coaching certi ications, I decided to become more serious about the coaching. What is the process followed by you to take entrepreneurs to the next level with your coaching? I don't have a speci ic set process that I use with every client because every client is unique and so are their businesses. But one thing that I do put a lot of effort and focus into is helping them to understand their own mindsets and WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 43 I N - F O C U S
  • 44. how to improve them. A lot of the work I do with my clients focuses a lot on the individual to help them become more successful in all they are doing, which, in turn, directly impacts their leadership and decisions in their business. By helping them improve their mindsets, they in turn have more powerful thinking, learning and behaviors which makes them more successful in their work, life, and leadership. Being an entrepreneur, industry leader, success coach, father, and a husband, how do you ensure work-life balance? I believe it's important to understand that a work-life balance is a myth. At different times, some things are going to carry more weight, priority, and time than others. It's not a balancing act. To me it's important to have a clear understanding of your goals and priorities in all areas of your life so you can allocate the appropriate time and energy. For myself, I do put a lot of time and effort into my coaching. But my family is my number one priority overall. That doesn't mean that I spend more of my time with my family than my work necessarily. But it does mean that when it comes to things that are important with my family, they take priority, and I am there. Nine years ago, when we adopted my son from the DR Congo, I moved my of ice to our home and have worked from home since then. Even if I'm working longer hours, I can still be close to my family. I have been a basketball coach for 20+ years and many of those years were coaching my daughter. Recently I actually coached with her as her assistant coach. What has the journey been like for Jeff Heggie over the years? As with any entrepreneur, the journey is a roller coaster. There have been the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. But the experiences have been invaluable. There have been many lessons from all of my businesses, both good and bad. Some of the failures have been extremely hard. They've caused incredible anxiety and stress. But even with the incredible lessons learned, that didn't make it any easier. Those were some tough lessons to go through. It has been all about the people. Everything you do as an entrepreneur involves people. Customers, suppliers, partners, investors, staff, and on and on. Just like some of my failures, I've had failed relationships. But overall, I look back and the relationships I built were incredible. Everyone from employees, to customers, to investors were unique and great relationships. I had people I worked with on our team who I have such a deep respect for because of the people they were. My mentors and business partners have been amazing and are still people I look up to today. Looking back, what would you have done differently if you were to start again? That is such a tough question because some of the hardest failures were my biggest lessons. But if there is something I could change it would be to accept sooner that failure is an option. In the end I made some decisions in my manufacturing company that were based on emotions too much. I took a “failure isn't an option” attitude because one of my number one concerns was protecting our investors. But the reality is, we had already past the point of recovery and failure was going to happen. The only thing that dragging it out longer did was created a bigger hole and bigger losses. What has been the biggest roadblock during your journey? What has been your biggest learning? Starting such a capital-intensive company was dif icult. It was such an expensive operation to set up and run that cash low was often a 44 EXELEON MAGAZINE I N - F O C U S
  • 45. problem. This put us in a position to base decision on cash low, even if it wasn't the best option for the business. In hindsight, I wouldn't have started a business that was so capital intensive. Then going back to what I said earlier about acknowledging that failure is an option would have made a big difference for me personally. At the point I should have accepted failure, I continued to try to save things with my own funds, some of which were leveraged. This obviously caused more pain when things didn't work out. What would be your advice for aspiring and emerging business leaders in this current changing work environment? Regardless of your background and experience, get a coach or a mentor. Someone who is not close to you and will hold you accountable for your success. Finally, what does the future look like for you, professionally and personally? I will continue to grow both my mortgage business and my coaching business. I will continue to coach clients one-on-one but will expand my reach with more of my group coaching programs and courses. My podcasts will grow and be a positive in luence on many. I'll continue to work with elite athletes in The Con ident Athlete Program. I will always keep my family Number One! WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 45
  • 46. MOUSTAFA HAMWI Where Passion Meets Leadership What according to you makes one a passionate leader? How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership? To de ine a passionate leader, we have to de ine 2 things i) Passion ii) A leader To give you some context on how much depth the de inition I am about to give you has: I spent years of research on the topic of passion where I travelled the world to conduct in-person interviews of 160+ leaders, authors, speakers, coaches, celebrities, Olympians, and Nobel Prize laureates talking about one topic…PASSION So, the de inition that came out is: Passion is consistently doing what you love, what you are good at, and what is of value to the world So, if it doesn't tick all these boxes, I'm sorry but it's not passion. You can call it anything else that you want, but I promise you that it's not passion. The shortest de inition I can give you of a leader is “someone who takes ownership and demonstrates courage, humility and discipline to walk the talk” So put both de initions together and will be “a leader is a person who walks the talk to deliver on their true passion” Brief us into your journey of an inner search and your experiences traveling to India. My journey started by trying to answer a question: Do You Know What Makes You Tick? Without knowing the answer to this question, you will always feel like something is missing, no matter how successful you are, which is how I felt many years ago when I was running a multimillion-dollar business in Dubai while living a seemingly successful life. Although my life looked super successful on the outside, like the stuff you see in movies and rap videos, I was all empty on the inside. Sure enough, I had a nervous breakdown My business was great, and my lifestyle was enviable, but I wanted more out of life than this golden cage. I kept asking myself, “WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?” It became increasingly apparent that having clarity about one's passion 46 EXELEON MAGAZINE I N - F O C U S
  • 48. and purpose affects one more than just direction; it impacts the quality of life and increases the probability of success! This question triggered me to start an inner search of true passion, purpose, and meaning. After years of courses, workshops, and books I'm still lost so I was at the stage now where I had to go deeper on my journey inwards before I looked for resources outwards. I remember waking up one day with a jolt of energy and a thought that got stuck in a loop in my head: “I'm going to India.” And so, I bought a one-way ticket to India. The story of my journey from Cavalli to Manali is a whole book in itself, but not the purpose of this interview. I will, however, share two key incidents that stand out for me and that were pivotal in my life. The irst of them could be described (for lack of a better word) as a coincidence—meeting Swami Yogananda who had been meditating in caves for over 13 years. He had just stepped out of a life of solitude and meditation and started teaching wisdom-seekers in his ashram in a small village outside the town of Manali in the Himalayas. On one of my many deep conversations with him, trying to get an answer about life and the purpose and meaning of everything, he said, playing with his long beard, in an Indian accent, “Do you know what you are thirsty for? If you do not know what you are thirsty for, you cannot quench your thirst.” His words made me realize that while I had bought this one-way ticket to India seeking an answer, I did not even have the most essential element right: the question! As my journey continued from one place to the next, across the span of this vast, beautiful landscape that is India, I experienced another coincidence (if you still believe in coincidences). One day, on my way to the meditation center, I decided to walk into a hospital to get myself checked up. When the results came in, I felt as if my life stopped and everything crumbled and collapsed around me; I was told that I had benign prostate enlargement that was, at that moment, labelled medically as an incurable disease! The summary of that healing journey is that I dedicated all my time and energy towards healing with the help of everything I had access to: Ayurveda, vegan diets, juicing, and all kinds of meditations (including laughter meditation and crying meditation). You name it, and I did it. And as you might have guessed, I eventually healed! however, this interview is not about physical healing and medical miracles. I am here to talk to you about the self-re lection I had to go through when I faced the reality of a serious “WHAT IF…?” What if these were the last days of my life? DID MY LIFE REALLY MATTER? 48 EXELEON MAGAZINE I N - F O C U S
  • 49. Imagine you live your life, thinking you are on top of the world— you're ruling, you're the king, you're “it.” And then, you realize none of this is worth it. When it's time for you to die, you are going to re lect on your life in a totally different manner That is what triggered me to make a 180-degree shift in my life and focus on spreading passion & purpose in the world. How are you helping leaders and entrepreneurs ind purpose and live passionately? I work with high-preforming entrepreneurs of passion & purpose “Passionpreneurs” to help them use passion to DOMINATE THEIR MARKET NICHE and leave their mark. That's what I call the Way of the Passionpreneur. I do this through either one-to-one coaching but that is very exclusive as I can only handle a handful of entrepreneurs, so they need to be dam serious and already having a serious level of success, so my job is to take them to new heights. Or by helping underdogs write & publish their books and then use it to spread their message to the world, build their personal brand and What does a day in the life look like for you? How do you ensure work-life balance? On the long term the work-life balance is a myth. I aim to have a life that I do not need much of a break from. That is a truly passionate life. The way to do it is to always ask before you do something: 1. Does it directly relate to my passion in life? 2. If not, does it bring me closer to the direction of my passion? If neither of the above, I avoid doing it. WWW.EXELEONMAGAZINE.COM 49
  • 50. With time you will not need a break from what you love. This takes some time and depends on what responsibilities in life you have. But remember the de inition of passion, the irst word is “consistently” so if it really matters to you, then you will not quit on it Looking back at your journey, what would you have done differently when starting out? Very good question, I would have started the pursuit of what my passion is at a much earlier age, and then would have stayed consistent with it till it paid off. Starting late has advantage of being more mature but it's much more challenging as you make a lot of sacri ices. It's like investing, the earlier you start the better it is on long run What would be your advice for aspiring and young business leaders? Find your real purpose as early as you can and dedicate the rest of your life to make it happen, you only have this life to make an impact. Regardless of you believe in reincarnation you cannot guarantee what format you will come back in as it might be less powerful. So why leave it to another life. It's all about this life to make an impact and leave your legacy. Finally, what does the future look like for you, both professionally and personally? I have achieved my goal of hitting a 100 authors at Passionpreneur Publishing (as of date of this interview) which is the seed for Passionpreneur Organization where we are building a community of Passionpreneurs who are on a journey of changing the world and having fun while doing it. As this becomes more in motion, I am redirecting my attention toward bring more healing to the world. Think about it, “Compassion” is the other side of “passion.” That will be through writing more books, speaking, doing retreats in nature that involve healthy food, yoga, therapy, etc. Everything that I used to heal myself in 2012 and then launch my passion into the world and connecting all of that into social impact be it for people or the planet now it's time to be less on the business side and more on the giving. We all need it, i want it for me and for the world remember, one life to leave a legacy 50 EXELEON MAGAZINE I N - F O C U S