SPOTLIGHT

Mid-June 2022 Pi Cohort Spotlight
The Nest Tambien

This month we will focus on our new Legacy Cohort Members Antonio and Heather Appling, Co-CEOs of The Nest Tambien Restaurant in Bellflower, CA. The Nest: Tambien opened June 2021. Yes, you read that correctly. Building out the space during 2020 was no cake walk and opening during 2021 had its own set of challenges; but The Nest: Tambien is well on its way to becoming a neighborhood favorite.
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INTRODUCING:  Servando Orozco…A highly successful entrepreneur, mentor, and family man…

Servando Orozco is the CEO of Orozco’s Auto Services that was founded in 1999.  When he met Gary Polk in 2016, he had only three business locations and now he owns five locations. He also grew from 25 to 40 employees.  On a family level, Servando has three beautiful children, a cute dog, and a loving wife of 25 years.  For Servando, family is first and foremost.  He resides in Signal Hill, CA.

Top Quote by Servando

“Any business is people business.”


How does Servando teach social entrepreneurship as a mentor for Pi? 

As a social entrepreneur, Servando’s mission is to help people with business ideas, those who are starting their businesses, and those who are already in business by mentoring them. 

  • He helps Pi cohorts with creating the roadmap and guidelines to develop their enterprises based on his experiences of being a successful social entrepreneur. 
  • He speaks at colleges and coaches entrepreneurs on their presentations and pitches. 
  • He gives advice to those who are entering the entrepreneurial phase. He advises them on possible challenges and obstacles they might encounter in the journey and how to tackle some of them. 
  • According to Servando, entrepreneurs must surround themselves with better or more innovative people and have good relationships with people—employees and customers. 
  • The mindset of someone with one business location is different from that of someone with five business locations.
  • He always tells people who wants to open businesses to find someone who shares the same vision they have. 

Servando’s success story is still in the making…

In 2018, Servando became a qualified franchisor. As a franchisor he has license to sell his name to other entrepreneurs, called franchisees, and then earn royalties from their sales results. His dream is to have 20-25 locations in the next 20 years.  To help him achieve this strategic goal, he is currently grooming his son, Andrew Orozco, to succeed him as CEO by May 2028.  

How Servando is involved with the Polk Institute?

He joined the Polk Institute as a Mentor in September 2020 when Pi was first formed.  He became a Charter Legacy Cohort member in February 2021. 

What are the benefits of being with the Polk Institute? 

According to Servando, 

    • The Polk Institute helped him to know business accounting better, gaining a great understanding of financial data and how useful it is in business. 
      • He said, “Not many people understand financial data and know how to analyze and interpret financial data but being with the Polk Institute helped him to understand  business accounting concept.”
      • Understanding accounting to him means taking note of sales, costs, margins, expenses, assets, liabilities, equity cash flow and finance. All these factors help business owners to understand and have a full view of their business standing. 
      • Knowing financial status helps you focus on the important key points in financial statements. They act as a point of reference, like if there is a slow down or a loophole you can easily identify where the problem is coming from by verifying it on the statements. 
    • The Polk institute has been a blessing and helped him to develop as a leader and to improve the working environment of his people. 
      • He also learned how to develop the job description. The unique job description is described as follows: 
        • set the company goals, 
        • find, and hire the right people, 
        • develop assistance to monitor and measure performance, resources, and 
        • human resources for every position in every department of the company, develop people as they are the biggest assets you have and know how to secure the assets of the company. 
      • The job description is considered important and one of the key factors that needs to be there is to identify the minimum acceptable performance for each position. Not to the person but specifically for the position, it does not matter what state the employee is in, the requirements should be met. 
    • He has four T’s: Training, Transfer, Tolerance and Terminate. 
      • It is one of Servando’s values to employ people who are hungry, humble and smart. The greatest of these is hungry, when someone is hungry they work so hard to satisfy that hunger, but when someone is lazy, he going to be lazy forever and it’s very hard to change, when they had the need and satisfaction. 
      • It is a big challenge for him and everyone else who is in business to foster people to adapt to your vision. Not everyone is trainable or coachable. 
  • It is important to know the strengths and weaknesses of your employees and focus more on their strength(s) without pushing or focusing too much on their weaknesses. 
Darrow’s New Orleans Grill

INTRODUCING CEO and President, NORWOOD CLARK Jr. Darrow’s New Orleans Grill

 

Norwood Clark was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He went to segregated schools from elementary through collage. He graduated from Grambling State University (a HBCU) where he was a standout baseball player. Norwood has been sacrificing his life to make the world and his communities a better place. Norwood’s personal and professional mission is making positive changes in the world. His goal is to help people in need through his business activities. He has lived his life through the help of other people from all walks of life and this has compelled him to do better and live a purpose driven life. 

How did you connect with the Polk Institute?

In 2015 Norwood decided to relocate to Carson CA and rebrand his business name to Darrow’s New Orleans Grill. In 2016 he first met Gary Polk at the CSU, Dominguez Hills. In February 2022 Norwood joined the Polk Institute as cohort as part of the Charter Legacy Cohort member. 

Norwood’s Background

Norwood opened a food and candy manufacturing company back in 1988 in Beverly Hills and became a Starbucks vendor supplying them with Southern candy products. They opened their first eatery, Uncle Darrow’s, on February 4, 1994 in Los Angeles. Their clients were celebrities like Nancy Wilson, Halle Bailey, Jasmine Guy and Earvin “Magic” Johnson. They opened his second eatery when he moved his operation to Marina del Rey, CA. Their clients now coming from all over the world, and including professional athletes from the Dodgers, Lakers, and L.A. Kings. He was in business in Marina del Rey for 16 years. Norwood decided to close the Marina del Rey eatery due to a ruthless landlord who did not care about their success, but respected money more. The landlord did not care about the positive impact their business was making.

Now he is in a new market and location Carson California, a suburb of Los Angeles California whereby many of their clients are celebrities. Norwood did not allow that negative situation to change who he was despite losing 95% of the first business generation clients.

Norwood’s View on Ethics

Norwood’s ethics are as follows

  1. Respect yourself and others, if you can be honest with yourself, you can be honest with your company.
  2. Have your own demarcations which cannot be crossed by anyone.

     

    Norwood’s success story-Who You Know!

    Meeting Magic Johnson roused many successes in Norwood’s business career. He first met Magic Johnson when Magic opened his movie theaters, the Magic Theaters in Los Angeles. The relationship led Norwood to enter partnership with Starbucks and they opened 30 Starbuck stores. Norwood was also cited in the New York bestselling book called “32 ways to be a champion in business” by Mr. Johnson.

    What is top benefit of being with Polk Institute

    The Pi has been a magnet to likeminded and creative people, those who share great vision and mission to transform the world, people with the same type of passion and commitment. It is very rare and hard to find one another, and the Polk Institute played this role magnificently. The Polk Institute has highly contributed more to who Norwood is today.

 

Quote:

If you can find one person who believes in you, you can rock, and that person is you, Believe in yourself!

 

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(Website Under Construction)

My name is Rosario Vigil, and I would like to tell you a little bit of my business experience.

I was around 10 years old when I make my first attempt, my parents had a little shop in our home town, and one day I decided that I wanted to earn my own money, I ask my mother if she allowed me to set a table by their shop and sell my own snacks, she said yes and I borrowed the equivalent of 10 dollars for my supplies and I think it lasted the school vacation, probably about a month. It was an incredible experience, the feeling of earning my own money. 

Later in life that feeling was very useful when a set of circumstances make me leave a secure but
unfulfilling job, I was 25 and I had a 4-year-old daughter. 
With zero financial or business knowledge, with a lot of fear but with a lot of passion, I decided that it was time to take control of my circumstances and I started a real business.

  • How are you involved with the Polk Institute?

 I was part of a business created by for woman, for several reasons the project did not do well, and the two partners left, the remaining partners decided to start looking for answers, what went wrong?   What could we have done differently? We had a mess, financially, legally, we wanted to learn from our mistakes and try again and that’s when my partner Anika, was told by a
friend about the Polk Institute and Gary Polk. We sign up, had an interview, and we got in.

  • Please tell us one of your best success stories.  

At the Polk Institute I am acquiring the knowledge and the tools to become a real entrepreneur. My business partners and I, are already putting these tools and knowledge in practice and very soon we will open our new business venture, Nik and Ro.

  • What is your top benefit of being with the Polk Institute?

  I will say that this is more than that, it is realizing that if education is expensive, ignorance is catastrophic. During the course I learned that I was not an entrepreneur, I owned my job, and it is a big difference. 

The unlimited access to an incredible team of very supportive and knowledgeable professional from all different business area, people who are willing to share their wisdom regardless of skin color or social, economic, or cultural differences.

 

  •  Please give us one of your favorite quotes:

Failure is an incredible opportunity to revise our goals, as long as we don’t give up.

INTRODUCING: Jeffrey Heubusch…Chief Marketing Officer for the Polk Institute…

Jeffrey has a background in marketing and communications, business development and senior management. He is the founder of JCH Consulting Group.  He has worked with six other nonprofit organizations and consulted with about seventy or more nonprofit organizations through the years. Besides nonprofit organizations, Jeffrey worked in education, law, real estate and all combined make up about 15 different organization that he has consulted with.  In most of nonprofit organizations, he worked as a volunteer with a heart open to help communities.

The second part of his career has been the corporate side, primarily in technology firms, based in the United States and Europe. He has over 30 years of experience overall. On a family level, Jeffrey has one beautiful daughter who just received her MBA in May, and a loving wife of 25 years. Jeffrey and wife are both born and raised in the Washington D .C. area. 

 Top Quote by Jeffrey

“The Polk Institute is run and controlled by great leaders” according to Jeffrey,  “Great leaders are those who inspire, help individuals, small and larger teams to maximize their personal and team efforts.”

Jeffrey’s goals for the Polk Institute…

  • Jeffrey’s marketing goals align with the organizational mission and vision of the Polk Institute, to serve social entrepreneurs help make the world a better place and to launch 1,000 social entrepreneur…SHIPS by 2032.    
  • Working with a world class and talented marketing team consisting of Devon Blaine, Alice Taylor, Jason Clark, and Lillianna Najera.  It is Jeffrey’s goal to create the  best possible marketing, communication, and development strategies through technology. He wants Pi to be that innovation-driven enterprise that Gary has  quoted often..
  • In terms of social media outreach, improving our website, working with customer relations management systems is another key goal for Jeff.  
  • Finally Jeff wants to credit our existing marketing team for being so talented and dedicated to the Pi brand and cause before his arrival
  • The second goal that Jeffrey has is to build awareness that makes the Polk Institute a household name nationally, then globally.
    • His team is looking for media exposure, partners They must remember that Pi Cohort targets underrepresented Black and Brown entrepreneurs as their main audience, so finding talented volunteers to serve as trainers, mentors, and business supporters and other organizations who want to partner with the Pi is critical to our sustainability. 
  • Finally, he has a goal to pull together all the experience of these people and make it a seamless process. Making sure that everything is customized and thrilling especially to those who are going to join Pi. 

How is the Pi important to Jeffrey?

At a professional level: 

  • The Polk Institute can be a lifeline for the betterment of America’s society and economy, especially for our targeted Black and Brown people. 
    • The Polk Institute helps people to participate in their communities, lifting startups and small business to grow, help people create business legacies that will put food on their tables for generations to come.
    • Under his leadership, the team will also  help in creating a global interface for Pi and a betterment of society.

At a personal level: 

  • Jeffrey appreciates being with the Polk Institute and the time taken to help people especially those coming to ask for assistance relating to business development and advancement of their businesses and communities. 
Michael Manahan - CFO

INTRODUCING Mike Manahan, Co-Founder & CFO Polk Institute.

Michael Shawn Manahan was born in Vancouver, Canada.

Mike’s  background

 

I immigrated to the United States (legally) in 1990 with my wife and two daughters. Like many, I came to the US seeking economic opportunity. It just seemed to me at the time that there were more opportunities to earn money and create wealth in the US than in my home country. Thankfully the US has provided me with over 30 years of income earning opportunities, including work as a CFO, consultant, author and educator.  I am also very lucky to have worked with about 200 management teams, and met a lot of very wonderful people.  Like many immigrants I came to the US for the opportunity, but I have now come to appreciate that the opportunity is a function of the American system, and the American attitude, based on the fundamentals of personal freedom and liberty, and the belief that everyone is entitled to participate in American prosperity.

How did you connect with the Polk Institute?

I was fortunate enough to meet Professor Polk at California State University where we are both professors.  At the time Gary was heading up the South Bay Entrepreneurial Center and he recruited me to help the Center with its programs.  Later I helped Gary with a number of programs and events when he was heading up the Innovation Incubator at the University.  When Gary suggested that I join him in founding the Polk Institute, it was just a natural extension of our common interests.

Mike’s  View on Ethics

Unfortunately, I see a decline in the moral and ethical behavior of Americans, from the people in government and the board room, to the people on the factory floor. While we have always had characters that behaved poorly, it seems there are more of those than ever before. I am not sure why this is happening, but this moral and ethical decline will not bode well for America, or the world. Ethics begins with a clear understanding of right and wrong, and we seem to have blurred those lines. It’s not okay for one person to behave poorly, because of that person’s background and circumstances, but it is okay for another person to behave poorly, because of that person’s background or circumstances. The fallacy of many people is that they think you can somehow legislate ethics – as if some words in a statute will make people act in an ethical manner.  It doesn’t work that way. Ethical and moral behavior comes from self-regulating one’s own desires, beliefs and actions. Each of us, regardless of what the politicians and so-called leaders do, have a responsibility to conduct ourselves morally and ethically, and even further, to ensure what we do is done in a way that it avoids the perception of unethical behavior or conflict of interest. The good news is that I believe that when people act ethically and morally, it rubs off on other people. Doing the right thing sets an example. Other’s take note and follow suit. Each of us needs to set the moral and ethical example for those in our circle of influence to follow.

Mike’s success story!

I have had thousands of successes.  Those successes include raising two wonderful daughters, starting a number of businesses, writing books, running three marathons, reading a ton of great books, helping many companies and management teams achieve their goals, earning the trust and friendship of many tremendous people, I helped one government agency put two public company executives in jail for stealing shareholder money and help another government agency put a controller in jail also for stealing money, and so many other things.  However, along with those successes I have had plenty of failures.  I have lost money on business deals, gotten fired from jobs, failed to complete my doctoral program, and had a civil suit filed against me by Uncle Sam.  I have a drawer full of stock certificates in what I thought were great companies that are totally worthless.  I think my greatest success is really my attitude – the fact that even when things have been their darkest, I was always confident things would get better.   

What is the top benefit of being with Polk Institute?

Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey.  Yet research shows that both learning, and business success are enhanced through collaboration and team activity. Entrepreneurs often struggle because their advisors, partners and employees often have vested interests, and thus their advice contains bias. The Polk Institute allows entrepreneurs to associate with and learn with other entrepreneurs, educators and successful people who have already made the mistake and learned things the hard way.  The top benefit of the Polk Institute is that the collaborative learning community approach should allow the savvy entrepreneur to significantly increase his or her chances of success.

Mikes Quote:

According to Mike:  “We can best help people by adhering to the fundamental concept that individuals, pursuing their own economic interests in free markets, will create more prosperity for more people than can ever be achieved through government regulations and a planned economy.”

 

Grecia Iniquez - Director Cohort Recruting
  1. Would you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience?

Hi there! 🙂 I am from SoCal and have been in learning and development and training for the last decade. I work with several joint programs in California including CSULB, LBCC and Fortune 100 and 500 companies. I develop curriculum, programs, teach and train for both in person and online for 5-150+ people.

I love traveling, adventures and trying different foods while learning about new places and cultures. 

I assist with recruiting, marketing, and financial literacy here at Pi.  I look forward to hearing about the new business models people will implement this year and how new solutions are being created to better our lives.

 

  1. How did you connect with the Polk Institute?

Good people find good people lol! I was connected via our very own Alix Williams! 

 

  1. What is your success story?

It’s still in process! Ha, but I do define success by both soft indicators such as feeling passionate and joyful about what you do, but also by crushing personal financial targets. I am so blessed to have found a field that I love and am excited about everyday. Helping people achieve their goals and connecting them to resources is super rewarding for me. I have a great schedule, lots of flexibility and my success lies within growing the programs and courses I create each year!

 

  1. What is the top benefit of being with the Polk Institute?

I have to pick just one?! Ha, honestly, I love seeing everyone living their best life. I hear amazing business pitches, solutions, and passions that people have. It’s great to be a part of a team full of leaders living their full potential. I also get direct mentorship and advice myself when needed from our very own Gary Polk and the rest of the leadership team! Lastly, I also love the annual summer bash 🙂

 

  1. Would you please give us one of your favorite quotes?

If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.