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Interviews

Interview with Darion Kitchens CEO of Kitchens Equity Group

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Darion Kitchens CEO of Kitchens Equity Group, raised in Irvington, NJ. Darion Kitchens is a multiple business owner and local non-profit organizer, everything from a real estate investing to and financial consulting company. The 26-year-old multiple business owner knows no limits when it comes to business, and while talking to him you can tell fear especially in business is nonexistent to this young man.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with us the story of how you decided to pursue this career path? What lessons can others learn from your story?

Thank you so much for having me. It is truly a great honor, Thank you. This is my first interview, so this is a significant milestone for me. Absolutely, I was always a hard worker and love to hustle, but I guess as you start getting older you realize the same energy I putting for this CEO. I can put that same energy within myself.
The one thing about me is I would bet on myself a million times even if I’ve already failed 3 million times. I’m a high stakes hustler, anybody you can find would agree with that lol. You just get tired of maintaining someones else’s dream and legacy. I want my own. And, The only lesson I have is always to have faith and stick to the game plan.

Can you tell me about the most exciting projects you are working on now?

I am actually working on a non-profit under my organization to help High School, and College athletes understand financial literacy. I’m starting this because they hear the same thing over and over again “Save your Money,””Invest your money,” “Do buy this or “Don’t by that.” It always has seemed crazy to me because you’re giving a 20-year-old a multi-million dollar deal, that just went from no having little to no money to getting a $10 million check overnight”. The purpose of this organization is to build a foundation on things they don’t teach us while we are in school for 8 hours day/5 days a week.

This gives the athlete more confidence and has the knowledge to maintain and build because the foundation is already there, they’ll have more experience on personal credit, business credit for investment ventures, how to buy and maintain the things they want, etc. So, I’m proud of what the company is building and can’t wait to roll it out.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Yeah, My mother(Sonya Caldwell). There’s no describing our relationship, the amount of love cant be counted nor described. She is the most powerful person I know. I will do anything in my power to make sure she gets everything she wants. Also my grandmother(Sandra), and my aunt(Beverly). All three of those women are dear to me. I’ll do anything for them. That simple.

How can other people help to bring positivity into the world?

I am huge on giving people hope when the odds are against them, just giving a much game as possible.

What 3 things would you advise someone who wanted to emulate your career? Can you share an example for each idea?

That’s crazy part is about this question. I emulate so many styles as far as business. I have picked up things from the likes of 50 Cent and Robert Krok, what great examples right (laughs). So somebody wanting to emulate my business style
the first thing never sell yourself short, the second thing know your value, the third thing would be if you’re going to do something don’t half-ass it, you got to be a high stakes hustler. Go all in.

What is your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that had relevance to your own life?

This is a good one. I was attending Essex County College at the time, and my marketing professor told me after ” Darion, it’s not where you get the education and its how you get it … You dont need to be here”. I never went back after that. After that day
I told myself I would make it without it, just as a personal goal from myself and I also didn’t like to have to owe 60-70k (laughs). Not a big fan of debt(laughs).I love that question.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Thank you. And I would just start a movement I guess for people to be comfortable in their own skin and move at their own pace. Sometimes you find your self-caught up with trying to keep up with celebrities, athletes, models, shit even pictures. I used to be caught up with always having $2000.00 outfits but never could show for it unless I got my check on payday. Once I cut that mindset out, I start seeing the bigger picture. Now hopefully I can keep wearing nice things(laugh), but a couple of businesses are owned by those nice things as well.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Thank you for having me, I am grateful for this opportunity. You can follow me on Instagram @cigars_n_caviar. That’s all I got for you (laughs). Thanks again

This was super inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Anthony Delgado (born February 6, 1986) is an American software developer and internet entrepreneur widely known as a professional hacker in the developer community. Anthony Delgado has won numerous hackathons sponsored by Fortune 500 tech companies like Google, IBM, Intel, Facebook and Microsoft and hosted by organizations including Rutgers University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the AT&T Developer Summit in New York City.

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Interviews

An Interview with Brooke Mason; A Pioneer for Women in the Creative Industry

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Australian-born Brooke Mason is so much more than just a photographer. Unafraid and not intimidated by change and breaking the rules, she is everything the creative industry aspires to be. Brooke prides herself on running a creative agency with a single mission: to help women succeed. Already this year, Brooke Mason Creative became a Certified Woman Owned Business.

Since being in Los Angeles, Brooke has immersed herself in the entertainment world and has photographer known artists and actors for magazines like Glamor, InStyle, and Angeleno.

We sit down with Brooke to find out a little more about how she got to where she is today, what inspires her, and what she wants to do in the future.

What inspired you to become a photographer?

I was inspired by wanting to capture my environment, the way I saw things as an artist. I started at a very young age, so at the time, it wasn’t deep thoughts of a career. In fact, my parents are professional business people and being an artist was not a career path that they supported. It was just a passion that I never gave up on and the point I was making money and didn’t need to do other things, I realised, “Hey, this is my career!”.

How did you transition from being a photographer to owning a creative agency?

As a photographer I wasn’t just capturing images. I was hired to art direct, manage projects, castings and aligning with brands. It was 15 years of background that lead to this, however I did study communication at University.

My most memorable work experience was with one of the largest advertising agencies in Sydney, Australia. I was in awe of the complexities of how it ran. I naturally hung out with the creative department more than any other, however my 15 years years of directing on set as a photographer has given me the confidence to work as a team, art direct and have a project come to life. That’s the most exciting part of my job, seeing a seed of an idea come to fruition.

What does it take to be an entrepreneur?

Dedication! A lot of this is probably a natural inclination and I find people asking me if I’m scared about not having a regular paycheck or knowing how much is going to come in. Yes, it can be daunting, however, you have to be a risk taker and most entrepreneurs thrive on that. I like the pressure it brings, I thrive on the deadline and after some time you learn to overcome your own self doubts, fears and strive for your best. There is nothing else like it. I will say, I do work much longer hours and days than most of my friends who aren’t, but the reward for me is much higher.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced on your journey so far?

There are two main challenges that I faced in the past and continue to face from time to time.

One – not knowing when the phone will ring. You can be sailing high on a bunch of jobs

and then all of a sudden it’s quiet. It’s really hard not to have a freak-out.

Two – being a younger female is a male driven business world. As much as I’d like to say this doesn’t exist anymore and as fortunate as I am to live in such an open minded town, this is still very relevant and we as women are still not seen as; intelligent, capable and successful to our male peers.

What is your ultimate goal?

I believe in striving and moving forward with continual growth. I don’t have an ultimate goal,

but I am looking forward to growing my team and bringing in bigger projects for 2019. I already feel blessed with so much we have done this past year.

What motivates you in business?

I’m motivated by creating beautiful masterpieces, even if that’s just a stunning website, it’s awesome!

What are you most passionate about?

When it comes to life; Art, aesthetics and beauty. When it’s my work; I love to see people happy, pleasing our clients is my number one driving factor.

Do you have a secret to your success?

Focusing on being the best at what you do and being honest with yourself – if it’s not your

forte, being okay with finding someone else for that task. There is no ego in my business, we all collaborate and if there’s a better idea we run with that. “Ego’s” gets in peoples way, it stiffens your creativity, your success and your opportunities.

What are your proudest achievements?

It’s always one you haven’t had yet!

What differentiates you from your business peers?

Everyone has their unique talents and I adore some of the other creative agencies who do similar work to us. I guess the main difference I see is my background is heavily in art directing and visual curation so we are heavily focused on branding and the end result. We are small, so clients get to talk with all of us and we are all very engaged in every project that happens.

Do you have a motto that you stand by?

Being authentic. I make an effort to keep strong ethics, stay honest and be as real as I can.

What are the most important qualities that have been most beneficial on your journey?

Working hard is by far the most important thing when you have your own business. Sometimes you have to say no to fabulous social events, but keeping clients happy and delivering work on time is crucial.

What is the best advice you could give to someone starting out as an entrepreneur?

It’s important to have big goals and dreams so I wouldn’t want to ever squash those for somebody starting out. Be prepared to put in the work, turn down party offers from friends, stay up late into the evening fulfilling your dreams and up early to conquer the day.

What are the biggest challenges that you have faced as a female in the business world?

Not being taken seriously. I find the main challenge as a woman in this male-centric world is

that men think we may not be as capable or as intelligent. It’s a fine balance to prove yourself without doing it in a way that is forceful and contrived. It’s important to not give up and let prejudices get in your way.

Who do you most admire and why?

I’m inspired by strong powerful women! It wasn’t until leaving Australia and crossing over

into the workforce that I really saw a difference in culture. Though I adore the US and everything it has to offer when it comes to women in the workforce, Australia definitely has superior viewpoints on women. When I see these amazing women here breaking glass ceilings and succeeding, I am in true admiration.

How many employees do you have?

My team ranges depending on the projects we are doing and how many hands we need. But, on a regular basis, we are a small group of eight. On larger projects, we sometimes have upwards of 15 people.

If you had to choose another job, what would it be and why?

I have always been impressed with Doctors and how much knowledge they have. If I was to do school again, knowing what I know now, I might consider going to medical school and doing dermatology or some sort of surgery.

How do you spend your spare time?

I adore going hiking, being in nature, fishing and exploring new terrain. I’m also always up for trying anything new. I like a good movie as much as an adventure.

Do you have a favorite movie?

I adore movies from the 90’s! A few of my old time favorites are The Professional, Casino, Practical Magic and Federico Fellini’s films for the visuals.

Tell us a little about yourself?

These days, I’m a combination of an Aussie at heart and an American day to day. I’m proud to have grown up with my roots firmly planted in Australia, you can’t have an inflated ego living there and it keeps me grounded. My family also helps with that!

When I first lived in NYC, I was in awe of what an incredible country this is, a driven country with goals of exceeding your expectations. I’m proud to be both American and Australian now.

How would you describe your style?

I adore fashion and I like to stay up to date with trends, but only if they align with my taste. I’d say I’m a combination of 70’s glam, with a hint of menswear, I’m all about duality, I love femininity mixed with the strength of a tailored jacket. I’m certainly not afraid to choose bold colors, unusual shapes and design.

Keep up with Brooke’s beautiful photographs and busy life on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/brookemasonphoto/?hl=en). 

 

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Dan “Tito” Davis connects with Dalai Lama during 7 Continent Book Tour

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World Traveler and Renowned South Dakota Bestselling Author of “Gringo: My Life on the Edge as an International Fugitive” Dan “Tito” Davis has just wrapped up his seven continent book signing tour in Antarctica. Davis has been promoting his book and his message of growth through adversity for the last 18 months after being released from prison. Before then Tito spent 13 years on the run from the US government as an international fugitive. Davis is one of the first, if not the only author, to do a book signing tour across all seven continents.

You took your bestselling book “Gringo: My Life on the Edge as an International Fugitive” around the world. How did you get the idea to do a seven-continent book signing tour?

When my book went number one on Amazon I did my first world tour in 53 days.  After that, I continued to promote my book. Recently when I was in Argentina I realized that I had done book signings on every continent other than Antarctica. At that point, I decided to knock out the seven continents, which meant heading to Antarctica.

I was in contact with John McKeon, the President of Polar Latitudes, and I let him know that my goal for this cruise was to do a book signing in a penguin colony in Antarctica.   I also let him know that this book signing would be on my seventh continent.  I would like to thank Polar Latitudes for making my adventure possible. They have a very attentive and professional staff which made this adventure extremely memorable and comfortable.

Your book is about your life on the run as a fugitive, and how you turned it all around to become a famous South Dakota writer. What was the reaction to your book while you were on tour?

Just about everyone has been extremely positive in regards to my book.   Many of them are intrigued when they meet me because they’ve never met an international fugitive, or I should say former international fugitive, before.  A few people have asked me if I’m still a fugitive.  Laugh out loud! I tell them if I was a fugitive I sure wouldn’t be out here in the front of the room promoting this book!!! I’d be back in a corner trying to slip away.

During your travels, you met the Dalai Lama and gave him a copy of your book. What was that like?

I was fortunate enough to have a private audience with his Holiness the Dalai Lama while I was in India.  At that time I believe he was 83 years old, and he looked 20 years younger. He had five rings of security around him. You could not take your own camera or phone into the temple. It was like going through airport security in the United States but you didn’t get your items back until you were leaving his temple.  Only the Dalai Lama’s official photographer was allowed to take pictures.

The Dalai Lama is definitely a professional. He was very outgoing, very kind and asked me what my book was about. I told him it was about the same thing you’re preaching Your Holiness, it is about perseverance, it is about survival, and it is about life.  He told me that those are very important qualities.  He then put his forehead to my forehead and held up my book with his free hand.

I couldn’t believe it!   My forehead is touching the Dalai Lama’s forehead and he’s holding up my book. I couldn’t have asked for a better scenario.  I had a special feeling of peace and tranquility when I was with the Dalai Lama.  It is a hard feeling to accurately describe.

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Becoming A Successful Music Artist: 5 Tips On How To Survive In The Music Industry With A Certain Energy

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Shain Romanowski, better known by stage name A Certain Energy, is a hip hop artist from Fort Wayne, Indiana and a U.S. Marine veteran. Here’s 5 Tips On How To Survive In The Music Industry he gave:

Brand yourself.

Branding yourself can take you a long ways when it comes to an image you want representing yourself. As a musical artist you would want people to know that image. Some people go about this with a logo, whereas others go with this by a tag on a beat. Think of it like this, you want something external representing you out in public that people would recognize. That they can use to differentiate yourself from the competition. This can become a long term promotional tool for you if executed properly at the same time.

Know your market.

This ties closely with branding. Once you know your brand you want to market yourself to the right demographics. For instance it wouldn’t make sense for a hip hop artist to market themselves into a alternative rock field. This just wouldn’t sell right. Lose more money that way. Come at it with a business approach. You are the product, and the product needs to connect with the people that they find more use for you with. That’s the way I see it.

Don’t burn bridges (unless it is vital).

In an industry as tough as ours we need to come at it from a team perspective. You don’t make it by yourself no matter how you “self-made” you think you are. There are connections you made that got you opportunities in the first place. The moment you burn that bridge you put a strain on the newly developed relationship you had gotten from the previous burned down bridge. I’m not saying bury your dignity away, but all it takes is a little respect towards the ones that already put their foot in the door to let you in (as long as you’re worth the time to open the door for).

Mamba Mentality.

If you know me personally I am a big advocate on basketball legend Kobe Bryant who played for the Los Angeles Lakers from 1996 to 2016. His belief was to always be better than the opponent from all angles. Always be faster than the opponent. Be more defensive. Be more aggressive. You want to want it more than the opponent in front of you. In music this is what you want to be. The more passion you have than the other guy would take you a long ways. You’re more willing to accept risks. You’re more willing to take what you can get, but strive for more in the process. This mentality is clearly an ambitious feat that not all people have. You can’t just force this onto someone. This comes from the heart within. Only you know if you truly desire the success in whichever field you strive for. In this case with musical arts.

Don’t be afraid of failure.

Failure is what either makes you or breaks you. Take failure more for advice instead of taking it to heart. I’ve seen plenty of people venture into a field expecting automatic success just because they have that As Seen On TV mindset seeing someone else accomplish something. Every story is different, so don’t come in thinking everything is going to be easy, set, and automatically golden right from the get go. Every victory you receive is earned. I would rather have it that way too since it would be a win-win either way. Why? Because you value more, and value is the most important thing in my opinion with human traits. What ever we value most to us always seems to have more leverage with any possible outcome.

 

 

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The Disrupt Podcast tells the stories of the world top entrepreneurs, developers, creators, and digital marketers and help empower them to teach others the skills they used to grow their careers, chase their passions and create financial freedom for themselves, their families, and their lives, all while living out their true purpose. We recognize the fact that most young people are opting to skip college in exchange for entrepreneurship and real life experience. This Podcast is designed to give them a taste of that.

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