It is hard to believe that this is the ninth volume of Profiles in Success. For me, it is even more amazing to have been included in it. As you will read in this volume, most of these insightful interviews conducted by Gordon Bernhardt reveal that most successful business people did not start out with that as a goal. Many of us fell into the business world because we needed to earn a living. It was only after a lot of trial…and even more error… that we discovered the value of our chosen path.

Nearly every story addresses the deeper meaning behind the struggle towards creating a profitable business. The stories also address the question, “Why would anyone take the risk and accept the challenge of starting a business in the first place?” The answers are as unique as each of the individuals interviewed, and as universal as our individual search for meaning.

As founder of ExecuVision International, I have had the privilege of helping transform over 200 organizations on four continents. I have personally seen the difference that transformation can make in the lives of owners, executives, and employees when every single person is contributing at his or her highest level of ability.

As a former member and current Master Chair at Vistage, I have seen the benefits that an executive peer group, combined with individual coaching, can bring to business owners and CEOs. Gordon’s sharing of this collection of stories has a similar effect. Yes, each story is unique, while they all share the common theme of overcoming hardship, enduring dark nights of doubt, risk, failure, perseverance, and finally, some semblance of success.

In today’s business world, there is a fundamental question being asked. The question is who are more important, shareholders or stakeholders? Shareholders are the owners of the company. Stakeholders are anyone touched by the organization: owners, employees, customers, vendors, families, the surrounding community, etc. Clearly, the emphasis in this collection of companies is on stakeholders.

As you will read, the shareholders often eat last. And one more thing…when you read these stories, it is fascinating that so many of the subjects do not consider themselves successful. Here is a collection of high-achievers who mostly ignore what has gone before because they are constantly looking for the next challenge, the next opportunity to create something new and different.

What is also special about this edition is the wide range of generations, ages, experience, and variety of businesses. Even with all these differences, there are even more similarities. The people on these pages are similarly driven to achieve. Not driven in a negative, out-of-control way; driven in a considered, dedicated, determined way.

These are disciplined people consistently exercising good judgment and willingness to take risks. These are people accepting that, despite good judgment, not all these risks work out. There is an acceptance that failure is a part of success. The failure is still painful, but for the people in this volume, it was not devastating. It was a necessary part of the process.

In this volume, the ninth in an unending series, you will not meet a Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, or Marissa Mayer. You will meet, instead, enterprising individuals from a wide variety of businesses – technology, retail, consulting, networking, philanthropy, expert testimony, etc. – all the facets of business that make up our world. What you will meet is an exceptional collection of stories about the everyday heroes who drive our economy, create jobs, and provide opportunities for other people to shine.


David Belden
Founder, ExecuVision International

David Belden works with some of the most progressive companies in the world to create organizations where every member has the opportunity to achieve his or her highest potential. Through, ExecuVision International, a professional training and coaching firm, he has helped build teams that have exceeded all previous accomplishments while providing fulfilling and satisfying challenges for all participants. He also serves as a Vistage Master Chair, facilitating CEO and executive peer groups. With both ventures he has the opportunity to spend time with the younger generation joining the workforce in whom he has witnessed an eagerness to contribute at their highest ability.