What is your definition of success?
In my personal life I define success as being able to spend quality time with my family and friends. I want them to know that I'll be there for them and I want to know that they'll be there for me.
In my professional life I define success as creating wealth - for my shareholders, for my employees and for my clients - while maintaining the highest integrity.
Broadly speaking, success is knowing that you have done everything possible to maximize the opportunities for you and your loved ones. It means knowing you worked hard, you made good decisions based on the best information you could acquire, and you thought about how your decisions would impact the people closest to you, both immediately and in the future. Success is a process more than anything else, and it boils down to giving 100% at all times - leaving nothing on the table or on the playing field.
Who do admire both personally and professionally?
Personally, I admire my Grandpa who turned 100 this year and has taught me so much about life. He never compromises his principles, and he taught me that character means doing what you say you're going to do and standing up for what's right.
Professionally, I admire Leonardo DaVinci who was a great artist, writer, inventor, businessman, military tactician, politician and athlete - a true renaissance man. But what I admire most is his vision. Leonardo's sketches and notes describing advanced machinery and industrial inventions were literally hundreds of years ahead of his time, including early depictions of bicycles, parachutes, helicopters, airplanes with retractable landing gear, army tanks, and SCUBA gear. His extraordinary combination of vision, execution, and artistic genius was incomparable.
What did you learn from the last season of The Apprentice?
Watching the candidates interact during the first season of the Apprentice reminded me of an excerpt from Rudyard Kipling's poem, "If" - "If you can keep your head about you, While all of those are losing theirs and blaming it on you. Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!" The lesson related to this was the reinforcement of a critical axiom of business: always work with people in whom you have a great deal of trust. A group of three or four talented, hard-working people who complement and trust each other can accomplish infinitely more than a larger group that is not working from the same sheet of music.
What has been your biggest challenge in the pursuit of your career goals?
As a lifetime entrepreneur, I've had two primary challenges to overcome. The first has been harnessing the resources required to tackle very large projects. Fund-raising is a constant part of the job description for any entrepreneur; it detracts from the ability to focus on business issues and limits the speed with which you can grow your business. The second challenge of building my own businesses was having to sacrifice the mentorship that comes with being a part of larger organizations with established global executives. Early in my professional career, I had the hubris to believe that ability, desire and hard work alone were enough to propel me where I wanted to go. Having made a lot of mistakes and enjoyed a few triumphs, I now have the perspective to realize how much of a difference the knowledge and experience of a mentor as well as the resources of a large organization can have on my career. I've got big aspirations and I'm avidly looking forward to applying all of my leadership skills, start-up expertise, and cross-functional capabilities in a larger organization with significant brand awareness and resources at my disposal.
If you had a super power, what would it be and why?
I would choose the power to heal. It may sound cliché, but I know from personal experience that all of the success in the world means nothing if you don't have your health. Of all the super powers, this would provide me with the opportunity to have the greatest impact on the greatest number of people. Not only could I help those close to me, but I could also help the thousands of brave Americans putting their lives on the line to protect our freedom.