I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with some of the most brilliant, visionary, kind, considerate and ethical entrepreneurs. Gratefully I met most of them while attending USC Marshall School of Business and Entrepreneur Program. I’m truly thankful for all the time these thriving entrepreneurs generously spent with me to share their expertise and wisdom.
USC Marshall was the first business school to establish an integrated program specifically for entrepreneurial studies nearly 50 years ago. USC Entrepreneur Program was and has been continuously rated as #1 in the nation by Entrepreneur Magazine and Princeton Review.
USC Marshall has also been continuously ranked as Top 10 Business Schools in the nation along with Ivy League schools. It’s been rated number six, in the company of business schools including Stanford, Babson College, Harvard, NYU Sloan and Wharton.
The Entrepreneur Program had weekly select speakers who shared their entrepreneurial journeys. These were amazingly impressive entrepreneurs. Some had created patented products while others had incorporated distinctive niches with products and services. The entrepreneurs with nationwide stores were also USC board members. This meant extra time to interact with them during USC events.
From Sandy Gooch - WFM, Marsha Israel - Judy’s, to Joe Coulombe -Trader Joe’s, each entrepreneur had their own inspiring story of why they created their businesses and how they succeeded. I was in awe of how bold, visionary, confident, persistent and entrepreneurship-minded these remarkable individuals truly were.
One particular entrepreneur stood out more than any other Not only I was impressed by her vision and persistence, but mostly with her kindness, humbleness, impressive etiquettes and how she carried herself both as a kind lady and a strong entrepreneur. In addition to being an invaluable speaker, she was also a member of the board.
Ms. Gooch kindly agreed to mentor me. From her generous home dinner invites to being available when I had questions during school and after graduation - Ms. Gooch not only became a dream mentor, but also a true example of a warm-hearted human being with absolute integrity. She taught me a wealth of indispensable knowledge about entrepreneurship and business.
More importantly - as a true business tycoon - who had taken 1 Ms. Gooch’s Health Food Store to a successful nationwide business - Ms. Gooch has stayed incredibly humble.
Not only she taught by leading, but she had the perfect balance of being gentle, confident and strong. As she was kindly reviewing my resume after graduation, she asked why I had left out some key details. I did not want my resume to sound like I was boasting. Her perfect response was: “How about the truth?” Well said, Ms. Gooch. She made it clear that staying humble and simply sharing the truth are not mutually exclusive. One can highlight strengths and accomplishments while being down to earth. Besides intention - it’s about character, attitude and presentation.
Ms. Gooch is the first entrepreneur in the United States to launch a Health Food Store with mostly organic items, but she went on to grow the business on a national level. With annual sales of over $60M, she eventually caught the attention of many investors. She decided to sell her store for $90M to Whole Foods Market.
Ms. Gooch’s presence and mentorship has had a wonderful corollary on not only how I create products, services and increase sales for companies - but also going that extra mile in both personal and business to ensure all is done with utmost integrity, consideration and attention to detail. I am incredibly grateful for having different outstanding mentors in my life - especially the one and only Ms. Gooch.
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