• Stronger Together: A Family in Business

    Most parents have helped their sons and daughters with any n

    Stronger Together: A Family in Business

    Most parents have helped their sons and daughters with any number of school projects. But unless you’re Judy Gatena, they have not been asked to help build a company from the ground up as part of one.

    In 2008, Gatena, now CEO of REP Interactive, a corporate and commercial video production agency, was posed a homework question by her son, Steve, then a public relations graduate student at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles: think of a job that couldn’t exist five years ago and that could boom in the next five years. What would it be?

    The answer was simple: with YouTube a recent startup and the videos being posted of low production value, there should be a company that makes professional, high-quality videos online. “Why don’t you go start that?” As with many homework projects, that “you” in short order became “we.”

  • Want to fire your boss?

    Something about 2018 has stirred up much momentum for new an

    Want to fire your boss?

    Something about 2018 has stirred up much momentum for new and seasoned entrepreneurs, alike. Those that have been operating and growing a part-time business while working their full-time jobs are taking the leap. They have mustered up enormous amounts of courage and decided that this New Year is ripe enough to write corporate America that infamous “Dear John” letter.

    Imagine leaving a little note on your boss’s desk that reads, “YOU’RE FIRED!” Well, that seems to be the run-on theme as more and more entrepreneurs are discovering their purposes and paths to a more lucrative and fulfilling life. For many, the excitement of this transition is causing them to overlook three vital must-haves that need to be set in place before firing their bosses in 2018.

  • Passion provides marketing and technology solutionsa

    Back in college, Jared Kelly realized he had a knack for mar

    Passion provides marketing and technology solutionsa

    Back in college, Jared Kelly realized he had a knack for marketing. He was instrumental in bringing high-profile talent, including musicians and comedians, on to the campus. He loved it. Today, Kelly is the principal consultant of CEI Media Group, a Chicago-based digital intelligence firm and award-winning supplier of media, marketing and mobility solutions.

    Growing up, Kelly was always fascinated with film and photography. But it wasn’t until his time spent at Drake University that his entrepreneurial spirit began to unfold. A well-rounded and creative scholar, Kelly often embraced leadership roles for a variety of student activities. “All of those things shaped my perspective of being interested and getting involved with what I felt was the business side of entertainment and media,” said Kelly.

    Kelly’s talents on campus didn’t go unnoticed. The university recognized his technical skills and creativity and eventually asked him to develop their first website. But as a senior in business school who was holding down two jobs during his spare time, Kelly had to turn down the offer.


    It’s no secret that Olivia Pope, ABC’s “Scandal” fix


    It’s no secret that Olivia Pope, ABC’s “Scandal” fixer, is one of television’s most stylish women whose clothes have become so popular that in 2014, recently shuttered clothing retailer, The Limited launched an Olivia Pope-inspired fashion collection.

    Each week, the “Scandal” heroine’s wardrobe keeps social media abuzz with viewers wondering where and how to buy her Prada handbags, Burberry trench coats or Armani gloves. Well, purchasing items seen on “Scandal” or any other television isn’t as difficult as one can imagine thanks to entrepreneur Ana Bermudez, who wants to “handle” the way people shop in the same way Pope handles the hard charging political shenanigans in D.C.

    A little over three years ago, Bermudez founded TAGit™, a tech startup and mobile app that allows viewers to favorite, buy or gift items they see on their favorite TV shows. When users see a product they like in the app’s product streams, they TAGit™ to show they like it or BUYit™ for themselves or a friend.

    Bermudez says, the app “is for any television viewer that is watching their favorite show or perhaps, an award[s] show or a live television event and has ever seen a hat or a dress or a pair of shoes or a handbag or a jersey that they like. They see it, and they have to have it. TAGit™ was created for them to be able to shop for it.”

    Bermudez left a demanding career in finance as the co-founder of AWM Global Advisors in San Diego to launch TAGit™ because of her own love of shoes. She was working every day of the week for a minimum of 12 hours each day, with very little time to shop or do anything else. One night, while watching a television show, she fell in love with the shoes worn by an actress.

    “Every time I saw a pair of shoes on TV, I wanted to be able to buy them on the spot. There was no easy way to do that. The more I thought about it, the more I encountered the problem, the more I realized that TAGit was a viable business idea,” she says.

    Bermudez launched TAGit™ as an app, but as the company has grown, she’s looked for ways to scale and grow the business to make it more intuitive, dynamic and engaging for the television viewer to shop. To do so, she’s utilized the resources of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC).
    “I started networking within NMSDC to meet professionals in retail and to meet executives in media so that I could learn more about how we could apply our business to help them generate more revenue. We started adjusting or rather building up a technology to be able to accommodate corporate businesses as partners,” she says.

    Bermudez also participated in the organization’s Emerging Young Entrepreneur year-long program created in partnership with McPherson|Berry and MetLife to advance business opportunities for millennial entrepreneurs and connect them to corporate members.

    She was one of 13 young entrepreneurs who participated in a five-day exercise during the NMSDC Conference and Business Opportunity Exchange in Chicago that included access to industry experts as well as an elevator pitch competition. During the competition, each participant was given 90 seconds to explain their business and its capabilities to a panel of three judges. Remarkably, Bermudez won second place, but she came away with so much more than that.

    “Alex Alvarez at Apple who is a big advocate for minority business owners in tech and Angela Guzman at NBC and Comcast who is a huge advocate for women in business selected TAGit™ as one of the five companies to pitch in front of all of the attendees at the conference,” she explains

    She continues, “Then, other people like John Munson and, at the time, Maria Rios of Macy’s were huge in being able to learn what it is that the retail industry is really looking for in a company like TAGit™. Being able to gather all of that information and foster those relationships was [a big part] in being able to bridge that gap between retail media and technology.”

    Armed with the relationships that she has formed and the knowledge gleaned from her experience at the NMSDC conference, Bermudez is poised to have TAGit™ “revolutionize the media world, so that whenever you’re enjoying any type of media whether it is in real time as you’re watching cable or streaming your favorite TV shows or enjoying your favorite movie from 20 years ago [you’re] able to have your phone identify it, and pre-populate a list of products that are tailored to your preferences, so that you can shop anything and everything if you so desire.”