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Firehouse Subs Steve Jobs’ Legacy Circle K Furniture Google Juice? Entrepreneurs Anchor


Volume 3, Issue 1

Jacksonville University: Developing Effective Leaders

Executive MBA in Leadership Development If you are preparing to join an executive leadership team or launching a significant new venture, then the Davis Executive Master of Business Administration is designed for you. Developing a leader’s strategic mindset, business expertise and creative instincts—all grounded in an ethical and professional foundation—are essential. These are the competencies acquired in this intensive 18-month program.

A Degree with Immediate Payback: With an interactive environment in a state-of-the-art facility, you will integrate cutting-edge theory with best practices ready to employ at work. Emphasizing the practice of business in a dynamic global environment, you will develop strategic leadership skills with the ability to create and work through effective leadership teams; deepen your functional business expertise through practical application; build your leadership presence and style; and design, drive and communicate strategic, positive change. All this with state-of-the-art knowledge and tools, coupled with the very latest personal management strategies— that is the Davis EMBA, unlike any other program in the Southeast.

Mayo Clinic Executive Health Program Grounded in a compelling holistic leadership framework, the program recognizes that sustainable high performance today requires attention to mind, body and spirit. Leader knowledge is critical, of course, but we also know that

What does your signature say about you?

attention to a leader’s physical, emotional and psychological well-being is equally critical in today’s dynamic business

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environments. This is why we collaborate with the world

Jacksonville University’s Executive Master of Business Administration is a signature program that is the epitome of the University’s mission for student achievement and leadership. We integrate progressive theory with best practices ready to employ in today’s complex business environment. For more than 20 years, many of Northeast Florida’s most successful business leaders and entrepreneurs have had one thing in common: an Executive MBA from JU’s Davis College of Business. Hone leadership skills that last a lifetime—and the relationships you forge with your classmates may be just as invaluable.

assessment and seminars for each of our EMBA students

JU’s focused 18-month EMBA program offers: •

Holistic leadership emphasis, including: – Mayo Clinic’s Executive Health Assessment Program – Certified executive leadership coaching program

renowned Mayo Clinic in providing an executive health

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Jacksonville Regional Political Leadership Institute International trip to study global businesses Distinguished, world-renowned faculty

Now accepting applications for fall 2012. To discover how you can take charge of your continued education, visit or call 904.256.7811.

to achieve this goal. The EMBA program is exceptional in its ability to balance focus and development in all of these areas. You’ll receive a state-of-the-art preventative medical

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examination by specialists in the Mayo Clinic Executive

JU is located in a scenic riverfront setting in suburban



Jacksonville, across the St. Johns River from downtown

executives. The program includes a complete checkup and

and just minutes from the Atlantic Ocean. Our campus

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beach or the city, JU is in a convenient spot where it’s easy

medical staff.

to enjoy either one.





VolUME 3, Issue 1

editor's note

Celebrating Our Leaders, Partners, Contributors…and You Dear Reader,




Firehouse Subs—Chris and Robin Sorensen


Circle K Furniture—Jose Lantigua


In Memoriam—Steve Jobs

Last year, your input and comments on what you’d like to see improved on, or featured in Entrepreneurs Anchor was instrumental in ensuring we bring top-notch, informative, and transformative business information to your business door steps. I received a letter from one of our ardent readers that described our magazine as “a must-have for seasoned and upcoming entrepreneurs.” Much appreciated.





Say Who? Game


The Leader in the Mirror


Social Entrepreneurship


Who Are Leaders?


45 Smexy ’Treps—Leadership Resources


Dangers of USB Flash Devices


What the Heck is Google Juice?

EDITORIAL Publisher & Editor-In-Chief Ethelbert Nwanegbo Managing Editor & Chief Copywriter Robert Kaye Contributing Writers Mary Fisher William G. Mora Diana Peaks, Ph.D. Carlton Robinson, Ph.D. Bryan Smith




Facebook’s Epic IPO


Selecting the Right Graduate Business Program





Copyright © 2012 by Entrepreneurs Anchor TM. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced without written consent of the publisher.


Jacksonville University’s Business Program


Imani Boykin, P.A.



JaxChamber, JEDC


Regions Bank


Fenderson & Hampton, Attorneys at Law


Masters of the Industry Awards Banquet


Beaver Street Enterprise Center, UPO


Mary Fisher Design, Business Cards


Make It Happen Bail Bonds


Harper Law Firm

E n t re p re n e u r s A n c h o r T M p ro v i d e s g e n e r a l information about business topics. It does not provide legal business advice. Views and opinions expressed herein by all articles and advertisements are solely those of the authors and advertisers; they do not necessarily represent those of the magazine, nor its parent organization, Brain Media GroupTM. Therefore, neither entity accepts any liability with respect to any incorrect, incomplete, or unacceptable statements contained within.

I’m especially passionate about our feature stories in this issue— Firehouse Subs’ Chris and Robin Sorensen, Circle K Furniture’s Jose Lantigua, and a tribute to Apple’s belated Steve Jobs. You’ll learn much about and from the sage CEOs of these successful firms. Our special 360° Leadership section delves even deeper into qualities cultivated by exceptional leaders, also providing resources for your continued education. There’s even an interactive game for you to play; the first two winning entry’s receive a free, one-year subscription to the magazine, as well as a free, ¼-page color advertisement in the next issue. Just around the corner is our Masters of the Industry Award Banquet on March 1st. (Register and nominate today!) We are proud to host this premiere, annual event. You’re all encouraged to attend, acknowledging with us local businesses and leaders within our community that continue to create jobs, sustaining our local economic engine.In hosting this singular banquet, we are indebted to our sponsors. Their generosity and support are invaluable, as always. Special appreciation goes out to our leading partners and to our new magazine advertisers: Beaver Street Enterprise Center, Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce, Jacksonville University and Regions Bank. We also thank our contributing writers who share their expertise with you on several pertinent topics concerning businesses today. We consistently strive to keep ahead of the changing business climate, presenting invaluable information with articles written by or featuring business leaders from divergent industries. Throughout the year, we’ll present industry-specific editions tailored to educate, inform, and inspire your own entrepreneurial vision. We’re here to serve your business information needs. We take pride ensuring we exceed your expectations. As Entrepreneurs Anchor begins its third year in publication, we need you for our ongoing progress. I humbly request, appreciate and welcome all your comments, criticisms and advice. Your interactive involvement assures our continued growth. After all, we couldn’t have made it this far without you. Thank you!

Ethelbert Nwanegbo Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

Vol. 3, Issue 1




Co-Founders Chris and Robin Sorensen

“Hold your fire—keep it burning bright. Hold the flame ’til the dream ignites. A spirit with a vision is a dream with a mission.”


—Lyrics by Neil Peart, Music by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson

aised in an entrepreneurial family, which for two centuries has been steeped in the proud heritage of firefighting, it seems Chris and

Robin Sorensen were destined to create Firehouse Subs. Like their father and several other male relatives, the Sorensen’s eventually became firefighters. But before founding their first Firehouse Subs Chris and Robin tried various business ventures: rock ’n’ roll (Chris has played guitar with numerous headliners), real estate, and even Christmas tree farming. Core philosophies that became key ingredients of Firehouse Subs’ success were fostered when the brothers worked or hung around their parents’ retail and repair shop, San Jose Television. From their first store in Crown Point Plaza in Jacksonville’s Mandarin area in 1994 to the present, their recipe for success now has the popular restaurant franchise in nearly 30 states. That’s over 450 Firehouse Subs sparking up across the continent. And last summer, Firehouse Subs laid down kindling wood in Puerto Rico, starting with around 26 restaurants and eyeing expansion towards 50 or 60.

Hold Your Fire

¡Muy caliente! Entrepreneurs Anchor publisher, Ethelbert Nwanegbo, and managing editor, Robert Kaye, had the honor of

Chris & Robin Sorensen’s Firehouse Subs Gets Even Hotter

a candid, two-on-two conversation with Jacksonville’s

By Robert Kaye

aligning themselves with knowledgeable advisers and

hottest entrepreneurs at the company’s colorfully decorated headquarters. Through perseverance, by staff, engaging in prudent-yet-lucrative partnerships, and—as they’ll readily admit—several strokes of good fortune, the Sorensen’s siren song rings sonorously.


Vol. 3, Issue 1


FOCUS FEATURE “No, we’re not that smart.” [Laughs.] When customers come in …

RS: Here’s what we had. We’re not, by any means or stretch of the

I enjoyed being in my parents’ TV business,

was on the line. We were so excited to finally have our own business.

“forced work ethic” type of environment. We’ve both been working

customers … which was a lot better than toting

We wanted them to know they were welcome and appreciated.

stairs. [Laughs.]

CS: That’s one of the difficult things about growing. We discussed

we were playing and hanging out with friends. But sometimes we were working.

ones. You feel like you’re doing something wrong. Because it’s kind

doing something. Even when we didn’t have anything to do, we were

Chris Sorensen (CS): When I wasn’t playing guitar or performing,

Let me tell you, when Chris and I had our first store, everything

merchandizing the equipment, dealing with

When somebody visited our store we were absolutely thrilled.

those wooden, 300-pound TV consoles up the

We talked with them and built a relationship. It’s important.

Robin Sorensen (RS):

this when we were about to open our second store and then subsequent

I’ve always had an interest in food.

Our grandparents on both sides were great cooks.

“Do Whatever It Takes.” —Chris Sorensen

Our mother, too. Fortunately we were exposed to different types of cuisines. So I like to host and entertain.

CS: We do a lot of that at Firehouse, whether

of like our parents’ TV shop. They’d built relationships with their

it’s our annual convention in Orlando … for ten

customers whom they’d known forever. Then they left their Lakewood

years we hosted an event for our area reps down

store to work at a new location at the beach. They said it didn’t feel

in Key West.

right at first.

RS: Three times a year, I host a Bahamas trip

RS: We had to decide, “Are we going to operate two restaurants

for different groups within the organization.

where I run one and Chris the other, where we can control and do

We’ve hosted trips to Octoberfest in Munich,

everything ourselves? We didn’t realize it when we first opened.

to London, and elsewhere. This past summer,

But later we began to see the potential for real growth, that Firehouse

we hosted 1,100 people, franchisees and their

Subs could be much bigger than we’d originally envisioned. We had to

families. Our business conventions are also

imagination, smarter than anyone else. [Laughs.] We grew up with the since we were kids in our parent’s TV shop. Putting TV stands and

consoles together, moving equipment around, delivering stuff, that sort of thing. It was fun, a neat environment to be around. Sure some days The bottom line is, from an early age until today, we were always

always coming up with something. Mowing lawns, Chris was playing in bands, whatever. And that’s important. We didn’t really realize it.

But not everybody is willing to get out there … We were hungry so we needed something to eat. [Laughs.]

EA: You once stated all business owners aren’t entrepreneurs. CS: Absolutely. We see it all the time. People come in and are

hesitant to start their own franchise and often it’s because they grew up in a completely different background. They’re just looking for a business

per se. A widget maker. They don’t care what it is; just something they can do to get by.

RS: Conversely, we had a work ethic and a total passion for this business. We really thought hard about it when we opened, going

around and looking what everybody else served, how they presented

ask ourselves: “Are we going run with this and do it? Or are we going to

different than others. We call them “Family Reunions.”

hold ourselves down to two stores so we can personally control everything?”

About 80 percent of our franchisees attend,

CS: We were terrified at first with having multiple stores and that

which is a huge percentage. That’s because we

the whole thing was just going to crumble and fall apart.

ensure everybody always has something fun to

do during the entire event. When the franchisees

EA: That’s because your prior business model was

activities for their spouses and kids.

RS: Without a doubt. We didn’t realize back then how great of a

are in meetings, our wives will plan and lead

your parents’ two TV shops.

CS: Robin and I personally interact with as

job they were actually doing. We never even thought about it. But in

their product, the environment—we were really confident that we

them, taking pictures, etc. Regardless of where

today. I mean, if you were to bring your TV or whatever in their store

CS: But the other thing was just common sense. We worked hard.

While, of course, the ultimate goal of any company is to generate

and some other things about you. Their service was sincerely personal.

we took care of them.

about them.

uniform to do home installations, repairs, what have you.

many of our employees as possible. Talking to

hindsight, we see what strong role models they were for our franchises

could kick every body’s butt.

we’re holding our corporate events, we always

to be repaired, my parents usually knew your name, where you lived,

We did what we said we were going to do. And when people came in,

work the front door and hotel lobby every day.

We enjoy greeting and welcoming our guests, providing that family touch, even when the number of attendees is in the thousands.


Wherever we are hosting these events, our home office

staff knows that Chris and my primary responsibilities are to host,

entertain, and touch base with every attendee.You can even say that about each one of our restaurants: We’re in the entertainment and

hosting business. We’ve presented three of these big, 1,000 person-

plus conferences where franchisees have complimented us, saying that

CS: Which we do.

You don’t often find that in larger organizations.

profits, you have to show your employees you’re genuinely concerned

And our dad used to go out, sometimes in his fire truck while in

Entrepreneurs Anchor (EA): Because they’re

CS: We strive to create that same personal, positive interaction

the ones you’re entrusting to propel your company forward.

RS: Right. EA: Otherwise it’s tough for them to represent you every day. Your leadership approach is impressive.

events they’ve attended by other firms don’t even compare. Because

RS: Well, there’s no master plan in that regard. In previous

and I have to be visible. We make them feel important and that we

to Firehouse Subs!” Is it a special study we conducted? I just answer,

you can tell we’re sincere about it. They came to our event so Chris care about them. 8

interviews, we were asked why we insist our employees say, “Welcome

between our employees and customers. At the end of their experience, if a customer has had a great meal—it’s fresh, made correctly, steamed

just right—and they feel we were sincere in how we treated them, then

their overall Firehouse Subs experience will be much better than at our competitors. And that definitely shows in our sales figures.

RS: It wasn’t any big secret formula. But what we had was hard work ethic and an unflinching passion to do it. That’s the basics. And then after that, once success started happening, how we’ve managed our

money and the decisions we made are the only reasons why we’re here today. There are two things: First is the creation of the concept. Then

there’s the business, the company. How did we do almost $300 million last year and how we’ve been debt-free for ten years? Those are the

results of the decisions we’ve made and how we’ve managed our pennies.

EA: It’s also about you two finding, creating and expressing

your own passion in what you do. Then sharing that dream with everyone else in your company.

Vol. 3, Issue 1


FOCUS FEATURE I haven’t lost the other half, I have to give another $10,000. The same

directors, two firemen and a policeman. So we sit down and go through

give another $10,000.

we encourage … we give the money out throughout the system, not

goes for our 2013 family reunion. I have to keep the 75 pounds off or

The Love You Take is Equal to the Love You Make

CS: Importantly, we encourage our customers to give to the

just to Jacksonville firefighters.

people can put their change or extra cash in there. For folks using

the fire chief and/or the sheriff, and say, “We’re Firehouse Subs. We’re

their purchases to the next dollar amount or more. We also promote an

memorbilia in our stores and show off your department. And I want

sell our empty five-gallon pickle buckets.

CS: So we try to establish these key relationships with first

foundation as well. In our stores we have an acrylic change box so

We encourage our franchisees to go out in their communities, meet

credit cards, we have a “Round It Up” program so they can round up

going to be your neighbor. We’d like to put some of your specific

idea one of our franchisees came up with about five years ago. We now

you to know we have a national foundation to help you buy necessary equipment.”

“We walk the talk.” —Robin Sorensen

What also shows is that Chris and Robin truly care about people and communities. In 2005, the brothers created their nonprofit, Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation; its mission is to provide funding, life-saving equipment, and educational opportunities for first

all the requests. The idea is, let’s say you’re a franchisee in Oklahoma,

responders. Then those fire and police departments will forward us

their requests. Chris and I—because we were firemen, we know what the equipment is—evaluate each individual request with our board

members. So the funds help out the fire and police departments across the country. We’ve also done some projects with the Salvation Army.

RS: Last year, we bought about 130,000 barrels of pickles for our

Right now, we’ve

probably sold 120,000 of them, with proceeds going to the foundation

donations in 22 different

sandwiches. We then turn around and sell them for $2 each.We

responders. Through this customer-participation 501(C) entity, they’ve donated thousands if not millions of dollars to hometown

handled about 328

and we also keep that amount of plastic going in to the dumpster

heroes, impacting over 200 communities across America.

states [to fire and police

and probably the environment. The pickle manufacturer has even put

RS: Earlier in 2005, Katrina slammed in to the U.S. So we took our

our foundation logo on it so they’re now the official foundation pickle

CS: It was a life-changing experience.

EA: What do people do with those things?

departments], with the

average donation being

buckets. We sell a ton of those.

bus and a fully stocked 18-wheeler and headed west.

about $17, 000.

CS: But we don’t tell

them what they can have.

RS: We were originally going to feed Jacksonville firefighters

Instead we ask them,

working on site. But since they had plenty of food, we were then

“What do you need?”

directed in to Mississippi and other stricken areas. Chris and I

RS: They might send

personally served hundreds of Firehouse Subs’ meals to survivors.

us requests for thermal

CS: Often we were the first ones to arrive, before FEMA, the National Guard ...

imaging cameras, Jaws

RS: It was awesome.We handed out meals—sometimes it the first

of Life, rescue jacks, bunker gear, police cars, scuba diving

real sustenance survivors had in days. One of the towns we visited had experienced a 20-foot storm surge. It was like a nuclear holocaust.

CS: From that experience, we kept returning to our idea

of establishing a foundation. As of the end 2011, we’ve raised

$5 million dollars. About 50% comes from customers. The other half comes from vendors, franchisees …

RS: But Chris and I are, by far, the largest donors. I think we’ve

personally given over $600,000 now we’ve put in of our own. So we

walk the talk. We do corporate challenges all the time as well. We did

one two years ago at one of our family reunions during the last night’s

dinner. We wanted to encourage everybody in the room to get off their wallets.

CS: We told them, “If you make a pledge tonight for the next year, $100, or $1,000, whatever it is, Robin and I will match everybody in

this room, dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000. We thought it might take

months for them to raise that revenue. But it was all raised that night. So that was $100,000 total.

equipment, boats, four-wheelers for rural departments, and

and every request. We believe that community philanthropy

Hurricane Katrina survivor with a meal provided by Firehouse Subs

is a core element of what Firehouse Subs stands for. And that will never change.

RS: Last year we said we’d match up to $75,000 and we ended up

raising almost $80,000. So that was $160,000. And right now, I’m on

a “weight challenge,” so some people in the company got together and

CS: Some hang them off their porches, punch holes in their sides, and grow

it out to the franchisees, our office staff, etc.—this is without my say

have to wash them out because of the brine and vinegar in them. But it’s a

put together a Robin Sorensen Weight Challenge. And so they sent

so—but I was going to eventually do it. [Laughs.] As of last week we

have over $30,000 in pledges. I have a year to lose a specified amount of weight. So I weighed in three weeks ago. I have to weigh in again

during our June family reunion convention. I have to lose at least half

of 75 pounds by then. If not, I have to write a check myself for a third

of the total, so that’s $10,000 to the foundation out of my own pocket. Then I have to weigh in at September’s area representative meeting, if


other necessary gear. Chris and I and our board evaluate each

Photo Courtesy of Chris Sorensen

tomatoes out of them. Anyway, two bucks. They’re $5 at Home Depot. You great campaign for the foundation.

RS: Each October we do Fire Safety Month across the system

where you can buy $1 or $5 medallions. I think we raised $200,000

doing that. The bottom line is all those funds are collected on behalf of the foundation, which we manage. We have three staff members who

run its day-to-day operations. We meet every quarter with the board of Vol. 3, Issue 1


360° LEADERSHIP So here’s a chance for you, dear reader, to sizzle your synapses and—“wonder of wonders, miracles of miracles”— be rewarded for it! You read rightly.

Say Who?!

All you need do is puzzle out whom to attribute each quote. The first two winners will be awarded a free, one-year subscription to Entrepreneurs Anchor magazine, and a ¼ page ad in one issue.

Just because Entrepreneurs Anchor is business and leadershipfocused doesn’t mean we’re a cadre of curmudgeons hunkered down in dour-looking offices. Quite the contrary: we prefer joviality on the job. You probably do, too. Smiles yield greater capital than frowns on our spreadsheet.

NAMES A. Andrew Carnegie B. Dr. Stephen Covey C. Peter Drucker D. Albert Einstein E. Dwight Eisenhower F. John W. Gardner G. Grace Murray Hopper H. Daisaku Ikeda I. Steve Jobs J. Henry Kissinger K. Vince Lombardi L. Golda Meir M. Lao Tzu N. Oprah Winfrey

Simply email your respo ns e to e d i t o r @ e n t re p re n e u r s a n c h o r. c o m . Yo u m a y f o r m a t y o u r a n s w e r s a s : 1.C., 2.N., etc. Along with your submission, please provide your best phone and email contact info.

May the best brains win!

1 2 3 4 5





10 11 12 13 14








7 8



Photo Index: Andrew Carnegie: Courtesy of • Albert Einstein: Courtesy of Golda Meir: Courtesy of • Dwight Eisenhower: Courtesy of • Steve Jobs: Courtesy of Grace Murray Hopper: Courtesy of • Henry Kissinger: Courtesy of • Lao Tzu: Courtesy of Vince Lomardi: Courtesy of • Oprah Winfrey: Courtesy of

Vol. 3, Issue 1



Selecting the Right Graduate Business Program

LAW OFFICE OF IMANI BOYKIN, P.A. Excellence in Representation

By Diana Peaks, Ph.D.

Faculty Qualifications

Seek out institutions where the full-time faculty is scholars and practitioners in their fields. This ensures they’re familiar with the essential skills and knowledge you need to succeed in today’s environment. A faculty dedicated to student success also provides an environment where you will gain the critical thinking skills necessary to advance in your career. Other issues to research:

• Is the faculty involved in the community? This may increase your own network of internship and job opportunities.

We help clients throughout Florida with a focus on Duval, Clay, St. Johns, and Nassau Counties


(904) 632-4836 Office Imani A. Boykin, Esq.

(904)399-8348 Fax 644 Cesery Blvd., Suite 340 Jacksonville, FL 32211 w w w. I mani Boyk i n. c o m

• Are they terminally degreed? You’ll want your professors

to have the highest degree possible along with exceptional competence in their fields of study.


reater earning capability, career enhancement and promotional opportunities are just a few of the reasons for continuing your education by earning a graduate business degree. Depending upon the type of graduate program—whether campus-based, online or hybrid-learning—balancing work, family, and studies can be challenging, but not impossible if you take the time to properly research and plan before beginning your degree program.



There are many different types of accreditation and varying organizations that grant it. Regional accreditation is the most recognized and accepted type of accreditation in the U.S. You should research what type of accreditation your prospective school has earned and from what organization they received it. That way, you’ll ensure you’re earning your degree from a reputable institution. This is important. Once the degree has been conferred, it will be respected and you can utilize it toward future degrees along with your career advancement. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation is awarded to only five percent of the world’s business schools.

“You should research what type of accreditation a prospective school has earned.” According to its website, AACSB’s Accreditation Standards are the basis to evaluate a business school’s mission, operations, faculty qualifications and contributions, programs, and other critical areas. AACSB accreditation ensures students and parents the business school is providing a top-quality education. It also assures employers that AACSB-accredited business school graduates are ready to perform on day one of their employment.

• Are they actually teaching the course or will a graduate assistant be responsible? All of these elements come into play.

Career Planning

A crucial aspect of any institution is the services it offers to its students. Look for one-on-one career development services, internship and student chapter opportunities with local businesses, as well as personal financial aid counseling. “Career planning and development is much more than perfecting your résumé and posting it online. Unless you develop a strategy for your career and understand how to make the most out of every opportunity, you are playing a game of hit-or-miss with your future,” advises Chad V. Sorenson, SPHR, and Executive-In-Residence at Jacksonville University. Mr. Sorenson is the Career Coach for JU’s Center for Professional Studies. He also is the President of Adaptive HR Solutions and the co-founder of Talent Development, Inc., an organization dedicated to the expansion and advancement of leadership and employee development. “The Center for Professional Studies understands the need to give students that competitive advantage. Not only to use in their work experience, but also to maximize their Jacksonville University education to better market themselves and advance their careers.”

Diana Peaks, Ph.D., serves as Executive Director for the Center for Professional Studies at Jacksonville University. She is also an adjunct professor with more than 30 years of practical experience in corporate management, with an emphasis on organizational design, change management and leadership. She earned her bachelor’s from JU and her Master in Management from Regis University. For more information, visit www.ju.educps.

Vol. 3, Issue 1





(PART 1)


Just as water is vital for our bodies, so, too, is having sufficient Google Juice in your website. Without adequate quantities of this essential ingredient, your website will very likely get lost in the ever-shifting no-man’s-lands of the Internet. A decomposing relic. We’re going to focus on Google, because approximately 70% of all Internet search and research is done using it nowadays. Apologies to Bing, Yahoo!, Dogpile, etc., but that’s that. To paraphrase the wise-but-sometimesupstart comic strip hero, Calvin (of Calvin & Hobbes), when a noun becomes a verb, you know you’ve made it … big time. Thus is Google.

“Approximately 70% of all Internet search and research uses Google.”

No SEO? 404 … 4rl!

Our text-intensive world is inundated with acronyms. Since its inception in the U.S. military, the Internet, like its creator, has its own lexicon of these initial-based buzzwords. Some are more important to know and understand than others. One acronym no website can ignore is SEO = Search Engine Optimization.

Google Juice is the value that Google assigns to each element in your website that helps position or list it on the various search engines. The more Google Juice your site contains, the higher Google (and probably the other sites) ranks it. Higher ranking usually means more hits. More hits generally garner more business. So the more drafts of Google Juice your site quaffs, the better its chances of organically landing on the first page whenever someone searches for your company name, products and/or services on the ubiquitous search engine. Google Juice is the elixir of Internet success. Would you believe there are businesses in Jacksonville that are paying tens of thousands of dollars each month to Google? Wouldn’t it be better for you to optimize your site for better search engine rankings—rather than paying Google? Better still … why not invest this critical task to an experienced firm that can assure your site is overflowing with the Juice du Google?


ur bodies are about 60 to 70 percent water. Without ingesting sufficient quantities of this essential, natural nutrient, we’d shrivel to dust. R.I.P. Dehydrated and dried up like the Egyptian mummies of old. 16

URL x (GJ) N = HR --> $

SEO is a reality and a process. It’s the art of bringing your website higher on the search engines, ideally without paying Google. Fact of the matter is:You must adhere to this search engine’s parameters when you implement SEO. After all, Google rules the World Wide Web; hence you must follow Google’s rules.

“One acronym no website can ignore: SEO.”


Eva Greenfield Owner Hometown Threads

“People do business with those they know, like and trust. The Chamber helped me build my reputation and my business.”

Connect. Grow. Prosper. Join the Chamber

“Google is constantly changing the way it ranks websites.” Danger, Will Robinson!

If you employ SEO techniques Google doesn’t approve of, it will simply delist your website entirely. Your site is G-O-N-E. “404: Page Not Found.” For real! My firm once worked with a national company that came to us after its site was delisted. It can happen to any business, entity, or individual. The lesson, then, is clear: When in doubt, or if you don’t have an IT staff that is SEO/Google Juice savvy, hire a professional to manage your website’s SEO properly. This isn’t a perfect world; that’s true for our real lives as well as the web’s virtual reality. So wouldn’t you know it, Google is constantly changing the way it ranks websites. (Pardon the pun, but you don’t want your website to be rank.) Nor is Google inclined to reveal what it is currently doing with its search results. And Google continues to widen its influence across cyperspace. So now, having your website linked via the other websites Google now owns has become increasingly important as well—YouTube, Google Places (maps), and Google + (Google’s answer to Facebook). To be sighted, ideally your primary website is linked through a multiplicity of sites. Next issue, we’ll roll up our pants and stomp on the grapes that will bring SEO to fruition on your site. We’ll discuss specific elements your website needs to maximize its SEO. And we’ll provide specific examples to help you determine if your own site is satiated with


Call 904.366.6628 or visit us at

that oh-so essential Google Juice. That way, your website can obtain the high ranking that every entity seeks on Google. Having ample quantities will increase the “juiciness” of your website, so the search engines will drink it in.



Mary Fisher is the president of Mary Fisher Design, a 23-year-old advertising agency in Jacksonville. Her marketing solutions include website development and updating; SEO; corporate branding; print, radio, TV and Internet advertising; media placement; brochures; press releases; marketing strategies and more. Mary was honored as the “Women in Business Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2007 by Women Business Owners of North Florida.





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Vol. 2,

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Fruitful Leadership Steve Jobs BY ROBERT KAYE

One of Jobs’ final presentations

Mass Mourning The loss of Steve Jobs resembled the death of John Lennon, more closely than Henry Ford or Thomas Edison. Upon his demise, volumes were written, and continue to be penned, about him by major publications and discussed throughout electronic media. Time magazine even stopped its weekly presses to create a special commemorative issue. Within moments after the official announcement of Jobs’ untimely death to pancreatic cancer at the too-young age of 56, the inevitably heartbreaking news inundated the web, downloaded into mobile phones and similar devices faster than the newest rage app, and was bannered across social media sites more rapidly than a video gone viral.


ore than likely, none of us will become like Steve Jobs. Not going to happen. Nor should we ever strive to be. Jobs, always a staunch advocate of individualism, would undoubtedly concur. As entrepreneurs and leaders, we can apply lessons from Jobs’ life and death to continually develop our own singular talents, attributes and skills. 20

Poignant, that. In today’s climate of corporate mistrust, the emergent Occupy movement, wide-ranging exasperation with business and government leaders, Jobs was one the very few CEOs to be mourned throughout the world. Not only by political and business leaders, celebrities and gurus expressing their remorse, but by people and users from all walks of life. Truly a 21st century homage.

Celebrated Leader-in-Chief

Jobs’ singular approach to leadership. Nearly as iconoclastic, and at times, as contrariwise as the man himself. In a compelling article appearing on Forbes’ online site, Dr. Gianpiero Petrigleiri (with contributing writer Zoe McCay) enthusiastically applaud Jobs’ headship of Apple and Disney/Pixar Animation Studios —in addition to saluting Jobs’ life-changing technical innovations. And rightly so. “After revolutionizing the computer, music and publishing industries in his lifetime,” they write, “Steve Jobs’ death

“Jobs was one of the very few CEOs to be mourned throughout the world.” has pointed he may have transformed just one more: the leadership industry.” Little surprise in 2007, Forbes awarded Jobs its accolade, “Most Powerful Person in Business.” “We didn’t lose one of the best CEOs of his generation,” Petrigleiri and McCay maintain. “Jobs’ passing is far greater. We lost one of the greatest visionaries of our times.” Just as in the technology he invented and popularized, Jobs-the-Leader was an interface connecting us with our inner world. Assert the authors, “… his presence was a mirror in which we hoped to see our future.”

iMac, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iPad. Even the mouse. Jobs’ inventions define our modern times, if not ourselves. Yet what has also become increasingly clear—and now discussed, written about and studied—is Vol. 3, Issue 1



“Jobs’ leadership style was characteristically diametric.” soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything— all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”

Above: Jobs inventing with Bill Gates Right: Jobs and Gates at the D5 Conference

Inside Jobs Delving more closely into the Man, Myth and Maverick of Steve Jobs, one learns Jobs’ leadership style was characteristically diametric. At times, he could be a scrupulous micromanager, striving for perfection even in the smallest details. On the evening before the grand opening of Apple’s first-ever retail store, so the story goes, Jobs was dissatisfied with how the floor tiles looked. In a split decision, he insisted all of them be ripped up and replaced before opening the doors to the public the following morning. Another case in point: Just prior to launching the iPod, Jobs demanded all its headphone jacks be replaced to make them more “clicky” feeling. Conversely, Jobs could be a corporate Confucius. Despite having a direct hand in creating world-changing technology, websites/ applications (iTunes) and extraordinarily successful entertainment businesses, Jobs was a visionary. He philosophically and pithily explained the overarching liet motif of his inventions. “Your customers dream of a happier and better life,” he said. “Don’t move products. Instead, enrich lives.” Jobs was often known to have his hands in nearly every phase of a new product’s development, from inception to manufacturing to marketing. Yet he was also a firm believer in delegating. His companies were born, grew, recovered and excelled because he didn’t do everything himself. Both Apple and Pixar were brilliant at attracting and retaining talented employees in a multiplicity of disciplines. Another dichotomy: Jobs was notoriously stealthy and secretive about Apple’s products prior to their public launch. This allusive approached helped feed consumers’ near-insatiable desire for Apple’s products once they were revealed. These were usually announced and premiered by Jobs himself—often donned in his trademark black turtleneck. Yet at other times Jobs was an easily accessible iPad, extraordinarily candid, as during the 2005 commencement speech he gave at Stanford University, shortly after receiving the earth-shattering diagnosis of having pancreatic cancer. “Remembering I’ll be dead 22


Jobs’ aforementioned ’05 Stanford University commencement speech is now deemed requisite viewing/reading by entrepreneurs, CEOs, career advisors, job seekers, students and others. Candid and instructive, that afternoon Jobs discussed how his various life experiences, some of which at first appeared happenstance, later forged the pioneering design and functionality of Apple’s products. For instance, after he formally dropped out of college, one of the classes Jobs sat in on was calligraphy. This became his impetus for insisting that Macintosh computers be the first to offer its users numerous font types. The in-your-face realization of his own mortality became further motivation to Jobs’ approach to leadership and his seemingly perpetual creative force. It reiterated his fervent believe one should follow her/his own dreams. “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” Looking ahead in hindsight—yet another of Jobs’ paradoxical abilities—he continued advising the rapt audience, “… You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

And in ours. Soul Food for Thought Despite creating out-of-the-box, yet extremely popular technology, along with rising-star entertainment companies, digital publishing, and other phenomena, Jobs wasn’t purely motivated in amassing mind-boggling corporate profits or enriching his shareholders. This was pointed out by his friend and business colleague, John Lasseter, filmmaker and Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney/Pixar Animation Studios (which Jobs purchased in 1986). Jobs cavorted to a different jig. “His wife, Laurene, and the kids were so important to him,” Lasseter reflects, “and that affected the ideas he came up with. He thought about what technology could do for families.” Lasseter recalls Jobs was always pondering the what ifs …“What if you could have a thousand songs in your pocket?” Voila! The iPod. “You know, almost everybody has a cell phone, but I don’t know one person who likes their cell phone. I want to make a phone that people love.” The germination of the iPhone. An astute comment Jobs once made about himself, markedly prescient given his passing last October, speaks terabytes about his raison d’être: “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t’ matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful. That’s what matters.” Photo Index (clockwise): Page 20: Courtesy of, Page 21: Courtesy of • Page 22 Courtesy of, Page 23: Courtesy of,, Contents Page: Courtesy of

Vol. 3, Issue 1



Social Entrepreneurship

By Dr. Carlton Robinson


t its basic level, social entrepreneurship is the act or process of leveraging entrepreneurship to impact social issues. Usually, the social issue is unique to the individual rather than an accepted norm in a community. A social entrepreneur is an individual who may lead a social enterprise, such as a non-profit, or a for-profit leader that seeks to make a difference in her or his community while concurrently pursuing profits in their business endeavors. On a much broader scheme, social entrepreneurship can be a catalyst for change. Throughout our nation’s history, entrepreneurs have acted as constructive catalysts within the status quo. They exercise levels of resourcefulness to explore opportunity where others see obstacles. Several business leaders currently come to mind: Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates, Gordon and Betty Moore (founders of Intel), Oprah Winfrey, and scores of others.

“Social entrepreneurship can be a catalyst for change.” Social Enterprises

Social Enterprises have often been characterized as “organizations that apply business strategies to achieving philanthropic goals.” These entities can be structured as a for-profit or nonprofit. This position has often clouded the perception of social entrepreneurship as a form of charity. For clarity, social enterprises use “earned revenue strategies” to pursue a double or triple bottom line, either alone (as a social sector business, in either the private or nonprofit sectors) or as a significant part of a nonprofit’s mixed revenue stream. These may also include charitable contributions and public sector subsidies. This distinguishes them from traditional nonprofits, which rely primarily on philanthropic and government support. (SEA, 2012)

Social Entrepreneur

A Social Entrepreneur recognizes a social problem and uses his or her entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage a venture to achieve social change (a social venture). While a business entrepreneur typically measures performance in profit and return, a social entrepreneur focuses on creating social capital. Thus, the main aim of social entrepreneurship is to further social and environmental goals. (Thompson, 2002).


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The recognition of this enterprise on the First Coast is new; and yet, the practice of social entrepreneurship throughout the region is widespread. There are numerous initiatives and organizations that have enjoyed success using business as a way to impact social issues. Currently, there is movement on the First Coast in the following areas: • Community Entrepreneurship • Corporate Social Responsibility • Entrepreneurship and Education In the coming months, we will highlight these efforts and outputs. Carlton Robinson, Ph.D., is a partner with Human Capital Management where he specializes in business development strategies. He graduated as a part of the inaugural class (2009) of Jacksonville Political Leadership Institute. Hw has contributed to numerous regional non-profit organizations, was co-organizer of the inaugural Jacksonville Start-Up Weekend, and contributed to Mayor Alvin Brown’s Economic Development Transition Team. He has been a resident of Northeast Florida since 2000.

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The Leader in the Mirror By Ethelbert Nwanegbo

Reflections of Leadership

According to Wikipedia, “a mirror is an object that reflects light or sound in a way that preserves much of its original quality prior to its contact with the mirror.” How does your stewardship reflect how well your associates understand and embrace the course you’ve chartered for your organization? Do you regularly facilitate how others perceive what you envision for its future? How does a successful leader preserve the essential quality of their vision within her or his organization?

“Leadership often embraces the concept of having a vision.” The subject of leadership often embraces the concept of having a vision—a compass or GPS indicating where to chart a company’s future. Here are several definitions of leadership culled from a University of Kansas, Wichita School of Medicine survey. Note the similar themes: • “A leader is someone who can visualize a better world in the future and is able to convince other to join him/her on the journey.” • “Leadership is the ability to guide and motivate a group of people to a common purpose.” • “Central to success is having a realistic vision and the ability to share it with others who incorporate it as their own. Empowering others is the key to success; and success further defines leadership.”

Leaders Through the Looking Glass


ome misconstrue leadership as the ability to control others. In the words of George Gershwin from his legendary musical Porgy and Bess, “It Ain’t Necessarily So.” Genuine leadership is expressed in the ability to energize people through your vision and inspire them to achieve their own personal best. The more you invest in and can convey your vision, the more it becomes your own, and of those whom you lead. Effective communication and sharing of your vision is as important as the concept itself. Great leaders understand people don’t or won’t invest in a vision they don’t understand; sometimes they even resist it. According to Max De Pree, author of Leadership is an Art and Leadership Jazz, “The leader’s role in an organization is to act like a third grade teacher. You have to repeat the vision over and over again until the people get it.”


Boeing’s Bill Allen was known to be a great listener. “Don’t talk too much,” he taught. “Let others speak.” His vision of Boeing and its value proposition were totally different than those who thought he wasn’t experienced enough to lead the company. Allen’s outlook on the future of aviation changed the company’s entire mission. Allen piloted Boeing to become one of the world’s foremost aircraft industries in history.

Leadership is more than a system, style or characteristics. It is propelled by the vision expressed by the leader her or himself. Many tend to eschew this core element of leadership because of inexperience, myopia or inaccurate perceptions. However, even a cursory look at some of the greatest leaders of our time reveals key qualities and prevalent traits in their organization’s culture and the “how to’s” of their leadership style. One of Sam Walton’s greatest strength was his emphasis on putting clients first. “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else,” he rightly declared. Walmart’s core vision: To make better things ever more affordable to people of lesser means. Little wonder Walton was included in Time’s list of the “100 Most Influential People of the 20th Century.” Charles Coffin of General Electric took over after Thomas Edison. He created the ideology and mechanisms that made GE one of the most emulated organizations. Coffin forwarded GE to greater success than it had previously achieved, inscribing his name several degrees higher than those that succeeded him.

George Merck, of Merck & Co., held a contrary view from other CEOs during America’s unprecedented growth following WWII. Above all, he believed customer satisfaction was the prescription for increasing revenue. In August, 1952, Merck declared, “Medicine is for people, not for profits.” His unswerving belief was if a corporation does right by the people, the people will do right by the corporation, and its profits will increase accordingly.

Attributes to Acquire

Quiet Resolution — A detailed analysis and look at effective leaders shows that those who succeed are driven to pursue a task to its end. It is in the fires of adversity, fear, chaos, distress, and crisis where leaders are forged. The finest are unflustered when facing hard times or challenging situations. A leader is composed, not frantic. Temperate, not fitful. Steadfast, not wavering. Risk Takers — Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Great achievements often do not come without risk. Ordinary efforts yield mediocre gains whereas extraordinary efforts yield triumph. A life without risk may be alluring to those of feeble temperament. In truth, the weak person stands at the crossroads of indecision, tempted by possible rewards, yet paralyzed by the fear of defeat. Responsible — Exceptional leaders take full accountability for their actions or inactions. They assume liability for their unfavorable actions or decisions; then seek to rectify their mistakes. They don’t try to cover up their own errors with divertive actions. Ineffective leaders fail to acknowledge their own culpability when things go wrong.

Reflect upon the type of leader you are now. Look honestly but with compassion. Then contemplate and envision the type of leader you’d like to become. Study, and yes, even mirror those who’ve successfully focused and articulated their vision from different walks of life. Then learn, practice and acquire those attributes to become the leader who will not only inspire others, but also to become the leader whom you aspire to be.

Vol. 3, Issue 1


BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY Clear & Present Danger The disadvantage of these oh-so-convenient, portable drives? They all wear out eventually, thus losing your precious data. Decidedly uncool. Potentially catastrophic. Imagine you recently purchased a 16 gigabyte USB flash drive, so you nonchalantly start using it as an external storage device for your important data for an extended period of time. You think it has lots of room so you store and erase various documents, pictures, Power Points, spreadsheets, PDFs, and cool MP3s from your friends. Download, delete. Download, delete. Download, delete. Until one day… I t s t o p s w o r k i n g. USB flash devices can only write and erase data a certain number of times before havoc occurs. Each has a finite number of write and erase cycles. Sometimes you may only lose portions of data while trying to save files or during a write operation. Or you could lose the entire contents completely. All the information contained within, you’re now without. Irreparable and irretrievable.

Flash Drive in the Pan How long can you use one of these portable devices? No one knows. Manufacturers usually estimate the number of write and erase cycles range from 10,000 to 100,000. The most disquieting thing about that number is that it exists. Yet few of us are aware of its implications.



“Your portable drive has a finite number of write and erase cycles.” Manufacturers created a “wear leveling” algorithm, attempting to make the devices last longer. This formula is their fail safe program; but you never know what internal abracadabra is trying to extend your flash device’s lifespan. Or, importantly, what is its current state of decay. The fact an elaborate calculation attempts to extend its duration should be warning enough. The moral? Your temporary storage device is a ticking time bomb that will eventually go boom. Who knows when. Hmmm, perhaps there’s a reason it’s called a FLASH drive?

USB: Use Storage Better These portable devices are best used,then, to transfer data from one location to another, rather than using them for permanent storage. Like a form-fitting cardboard container used to carry your drinks from the concession stand to your seats inside a movie theater or sportsgame, they’re merely temporary transport mechanisms. Keep in mind that reading data from the device doesn’t impact its lifespan; there isn’t a limit to read operations. It’s the overall file management that causes all the wear and tear. Best to fill the device up to its full capacity, rather than erasing older files and writing new ones in their stead. Constantly adding and erasing files decrease these devices’ already limited obsolescence.

If possible—unless the files you’re transferring are larger media-type files— avoid purchasing USB flash devices with large gigabytes of space, as you’ll tend to use them more frequently as quasi-permanent storage tools. And never walk around with 16 to 32 (temporary) gigabytes of important client or personal data attached to your key chain or stuffed in your pocket. It’s prudent to back up the files you do copy to the USB device to a more permanent drive, especially if they’re really important. Consider, too, making hard copies (that is a print copy, whenever appropriate), and store it in a safe, memorable place. You can also store your data on to a DVD or CD, but keep in mind these wear out over time as well. Some sagacious users employ a thirdparty data storage firm; much like keeping your valuables in a bank’s safe deposit box. Another solution is an encrypted 2.5mm laptop hard drive in an external USB cases. Nowadays, hard drives are fairly portable. They have drawbacks, but there’s no limit on write or erase operations. A good ol’ fashioned hard drive is often your best bet, but it has moving parts that will eventually wear out. The Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) of most hard drives is five years, when running 24/7. Like your significant others or pets, hard drives don’t like to be dropped, kicked or drop kicked. Treat them with care.

lash devices, flash drives, key drives, USB drives, etc. These hand-held IT storage gadgets are ubiquitous throughout our lives. Convenient and compact, we trust these contraptions because everyone uses them. They’ve replaced (both large and small) floppy disks, zip drives and other once-popular, handy methods of data storage. It’s commonplace to label USB flash devices as “drives,” but that’s just a buzz word. Flash devices aren’t actually drives at all. A hard drive, like the one inside your computer, has a shiny round platter and other and moving parts. 30

Vol. 3, Issue 1




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V alorous V isionary


xceptional. Unparalleled. Heroic.

These are just a handful of adjectives that can be ascribed to Jose S. Lantigua, the new owner and CEO of Circle K Furniture. His life and accomplishments are the stuff of movies. Compelling ones at that. Born in Cuba, Lantigua came to the United States in 1960 with his mother several years after his father had barely escaped with his life from the tyrannical Fidel Castro. Growing up in Florida and New Jersey, Lantigua won a swimming scholarship to University of Florida. A selfacclaimed “Gator,” Lantigua was the first family member to pursue a higher education, an accomplishment that he remains steadfastly proud of today. “I felt a responsibility, being the first in my family to attend college,” says the former All-American swim team captain, “so I wanted to make certain I did something useful.” Majoring in Aerospace Engineering, the Phi Theta Kappa honors society graduate aspired to become an astronaut in the then newly created space program, but his eyesight didn’t meet NASA’s specs.

The new Circle K Furniture store on Southside Blvd

After leaving active duty once he and his wife started a family, Lantigua went on to excel in business. Alas, limited space prohibits a detailed accounting of his numerous accomplishments in the world of commerce and IT. Suffice to say he was a consistently rising star within each corporation he

Lantigua at NASA’s Mission Control during the Apollo-Soyuz mission worked for, often leading his division or department. In a nutshell, Lantigua worked for IBM as a systems designer, heading up many projects and departments. He ran the Emerging Technology Development Group for Financial Services in Charlotte, NC. Later he was in charge of an IBM joint venture company with American Management Systems. He went on to serve as Executive Vice President for Enterprise Banking at Fidelity National in Jacksonville.

Lantigua has attained two bachelor’s and two master’s degrees.

Serving with Honor

Jose Lantigua in the Circle K Furniture showroom in in Westside, Jacksonville

Circle K Furniture’s Jose Lantigua BY ROBERT KAYE


Arriving in the U.S. as a refugee from Castro’s repressive regime had made an indelible impression on Lantigua, forging his American patriotism. He joined the Army shortly after graduating college and went on to become the only Army personnel assigned to NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas. There he served as a Guidance, Navigation and Control Officer for its Skylab mission. Lantigua also worked on the first joint American-Soviet Apollo-Soyuz Test Project and later helped design the Space Shuttle. Still enlisted in the Army after his NASA tenure, Lantigua joined the Special Operations team with the Missile Intelligence Agency, gathering intelligence from and within several foreign countries, capturing critical equipment and reclaiming stolen American equipment. By the mid-’80s, the fluently bilingual Airborne Ranger Special Ops Officer served undercover in Central America. He later served in the U.S.’ campaign against the South American drug cartels. Throughout his 27-year tenure in the military (including the Army Reserves), Colonel Lantigua was decorated with multiple distinguished awards, including the Silver Star, for valor under fire.

Homeward Bound “Sometimes, though, life presents challenges that you weren’t expecting,” Lantigua says, taking up the narrative about his exceptional life. His wife passed away about six years ago. At the time, his son, “JG,” was a college freshman and his daughter, Christina, was a sophomore in high school. “Before, my wife was the one who had always volunteered at the kids’ schools, at church, and for other activities while I was off traveling with my various businesses. Very quickly afterwards, I realized my daughter needed a parent around. So I retired to become her ‘Mr. Mom.’” Lantigua volunteered for all sorts of projects at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, where Christina was a voice major. He became the unofficial official videographer for the vocal department. “I shot all the videos, all the performances, went on all the field trips, I knew all the kids and their parents,” he reminisces. Lantigua also volunteered at his church with Christina’s youth group, going on field trips such as mountain hiking. “I did that until she left for college. I continued to volunteer with my church and other charities, and this is still one of the things closest to my heart.

Vol. 3, Issue 1


FOCUS FEATURE we thought we could build upon, to create a dynamic, growing company, not just a family-owned furniture store. So we always had the intention of developing relationships or ownership in manufacturing, procuring logistics capabilities and expanding into other sales and distribution lines.” Stop. Read Lantigua’s previous quote again. Notice how he switched pronouns from the singular, “I,” to the plural, “we”? That seemingly simple grammatical change evinces volumes about his character, leadership, and emphasis on team effort.

“But after Christina went off to school in Hawaii, I found myself all alone in this big five-bedroom house.” From April 2007 until October 2008, Lantigua re-entered the business world, leading the Florida Association of Regional Health Information Organization’s effort to develop and implement interoperational standards for health information exchange.

Coming Full Circle

Looking for a new opportunity, the indefatigable Lantigua renewed his association with the Kittrel family from the days when he and Christina had rode horses at the Kittrel’s family-owned Diamond D Ranch on Jacksonville’s Westside. The timing was propitious; the Kittrels were looking to sell their retail business, Circle K Furniture, which they’d started in 1984. Lantigua eyed lots of potential. In October 2008, he assumed leadership of the furniture legend, which boasts the distinction of being the largest furniture retailer in Northeast Florida with its impressive 65,000 square-foot showroom, and 55,000 square-foot warehouse.

“Circle K Furniture’s 65,000 square-foot showroom is spectacular.” After coming aboard Circle K, Lantigua decided to rescue an Alabama-based furniture factory from going under. He purchased Country Expressions (now American Expressions), and is in the process of expanding its product lines to include more contemporary styles. Lantigua also made a capital investment in a logistics firm, further complementing Circle K Furniture’s three-pronged advancement in the furniture market: retailing, manufacturing and shipping. Within the past year, for the first time in its celebrated history, Circle K opened a second location on Southside Boulevard, just north of the Avenues Mall. The scuttle butt is there’s a third location in the works. “When I decided to buy this business from the Kittrels, it wasn’t just about buying a furniture store,” Lantigua explains. “It was about purchasing and investing in a business with a foundation that 36

Lantigua also brings his previous expertise in business technology and IT to the fore, notably in his designs to upgrade Circle K’s internal accounting, inventory and communication systems. “Understanding we wanted to expand the retail business,” he continues (again, using the plural pronoun), “one of the first things we needed to do is instigate systems and process that we could replicate. So we went through the process of incorporating integrated hardware and software systems that would allow us to do inventory control at the point of sale to automate the procedures for us. That way, with multiple locations, we can still operate as efficiently as one store.”

Looking Forward Thinking When describing the long-established reputation of Circle K and comparing it to other well-known brands, Lantigua refers to it as the Cracker Barrel or Gander Mountain of furniture.“Traditionally it’s been geared toward folks who’d be attracted to a sort of rural ambiance, say that of a lodge, country home or cabin. That creates a unique niche for us.” But over the past few years and especially since Lantigua became its CEO, Circle K has started to expand its offerings, reflecting the Mehaffey-coined tagline, “Everything from Country to Contemporary.” The firm has taken various steps to implement that change, especially at its Southside Boulevard adjacent from Target. “One of the things you always try to do when you create a retail location or any type of business is to make it unique,” Lantigua says. The key, he says, is discovering or creating and then capitalizing upon what makes your business or service different from your competitors. “People aren’t just going to come to Circle K just because we’re the hometown furniture store, especially if we expand outside of Jacksonville. So we need to create branding that is exceptional.

Faith-Based Leadership Given Lantigua’s exceptional prowess in the corporate arena, it’s no surprise his associates at Circle K think highly about his recent stewardship of the furniture giant. Mary Kay Mehaffey, Circle K’s Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, pronounces Lantigua as “an incredible ‘Vision Caster.’ That’s how I describe him,” she smiles. “He perceives the potential out there and has the ability to help us all envision it as well. He doesn’t hold back. He says, ‘Here’s what I see. Let’s go there.’ In my mind it’s an essential ingredient to any leader that I’m going follow. They have to know where they’re going and get us excited about it, too, so we’re in the game.” With tears welling up in her eyes, Mehaffey continues. “Also, he’s a man of incredible integrity. He just has such a strong faith in God that he’s not just willing, but encourages us to speak our faith, and carry it out on the job. And that’s an amazing characteristic. It’s rare you get the opportunity to work for a leader who not only has great vision and says to you, ‘Help us get there,’ but to also do it in an environment embracing the foundational principles of integrity, trust, love and caring, along with strong family values.”

“Going back to our roots, however, one thing that makes our Jones Road store very successful is that is a destination location,” Lantigua explains, gesturing around its voluminous showroom containing hundreds of items. To use the term tourist attraction wouldn’t be a hyperbole. Customers drive from Waycross, Georgia, from as far south as Ocala, and as far west as Tallahassee to shop there because of the uniqueness of its brands and products, amazingly diverse selection, and reputable quality and service. “It’s down-home, country, and good ol’ Southern hospitality. We take care of our customer’s like they’re family. Our customers truly feel we care about them, which very much differentiates us from other furniture companies. And even though we’ve now expanded to our first satellite location, we never want to change that.”

contrary, its well-accomplished CEO remains humble. “I don’t know that I know I’m going to be successful,” chuckles Lantigua. “That’s what keeps me up at night, gets me up early. It’s not the fear of business going down, but just the responsibility of knowing we need

to be vigilant, we need to work hard, we need to be consistent, we need to ensure we make the right decisions on a day-to-day business. To me, the minute you get complacent in any business, and think that you’ve succeeded, that’s when you get in to trouble. It’s just like anything else in life.” Cuban-born émigré. Outstanding collegiate athlete. Honors graduate with four degrees. One-of-a-kind NASA engineer. Decorated military officer. Accomplished business executive. Loving husband and devoted parent. Community and church volunteer. Man of faith. CEO of Circle K Furniture. Reflecting upon what have been some of his guideposts throughout his near legendary life, the unassuming Lantigua answers: “As with most things anything, persistence is probably the most important thing. You can’t ever give up. But also flexibility. ou have to be willing to change with the times and situation—whether it’s cost-cutting, product changes, changes in advertising or whatever it might be—you need to be able to make the necessary modifications to weather the downturns and take advantages of your market position. Be persistent. That’s the main thing.”

“We need to create branding that is exceptional.” —Jose Lantigua

Emboldened by Lantigua’s leadership, Circle K—that popular, wood cabin-like store nestled in the backstreets of Jacksonville—seems destined to become an indomitable force in the region’s retail, distribution and logistics arenas. Yet, despite all indications to the Vol. 3, Issue 1



Facebook’s Epic IPO

Another Déjà Vu of the Internet Stock Bubble?

By Ethelbert Nwanegbo

Gauging the value of social media companies can be very difficult, but the merit of the valuation hasn’t stopped investment companies and bankers from competing for the IPOs of social networking companies. Social networking sites including Groupon, LinkedIn, Zynga and others have been pegged around $10 billion or greater. Could all these firms of the “Socialnet” be following in the footsteps of the now-omnipresent search engine, Google?


Google’s IPO occurred in 2004, with 19,605,052 shares offered at $85 per share. Google rose to a market capitalization of $23 billion with a share sale of $1.67 billion. To maintain its dominance of the search engine space, Google acquired several competitors and applications, including the ever-popular YouTube.


Following Google’s monumental IPO comes Groupon, with $700 million raised after increasing its IPO size. The successful unveiling of the three-year-old Internet coupon company’s IPO yielded a valuation of $12.8 billion. Groupon’s IPO move and the 50% rise in shares on its Wall Street debut gave this company a huge bump on its stock price and valuation. Investor appetite and demand for Groupon’s stock is partly due to the tiny slice of the company’s offer, creating artificial scarcity and demand.


LinkedIn, another highly successful social networking IPO, rose from a valuation of $3 billion to a whopping $9 billion valuation after its successful IPO. The share prices of LinkedIn rose 171% in its first day of trade on the New York Stock Exchange. Can the earnings potential of the professional social networking company hold its value in the long run? Buyers of these stocks need to know when to cash-out.


Zynga … a game-changer? The social gaming company raised $1 billion, issuing 100 million shares at $10 per share, rating just behind Google’s IPO. However, the overly hyped expectation of Zynga’s IPO performance placed the shares of the company at a lower performance than anticipated on its first day of trade. The company’s growth prospects, in conjunction with the company’s inability to maintain its earnings over time, led to a disappointing performance of Zynga’s stock price.

“Gauging the value of social media companies can be very difficult.” Back to Facebook. Its IPO filing, a 150-page, S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, could be a watershed event for the social media giant. It hopes to raise $10 billion this spring. Could this sought-out valuation be attained, especially given the downward trend of its profit and more recent geometric decrease in subscribers? Despite Facebook’s $1 billion profit at the end of 2011, its annual revenue last year, $3 billion, only amounted to a fraction of most of other technology powerhouses’ profits. Companies including Apple, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle take the shine away from Facebook’s glamour because their respective revenue and net profit is many times higher. Investors’ expectation is crucial. Low anticipation of the market stage affects their return on investment resulting in disappointment. Setting expectations too high and not attaining them spells doom for investors’ confidence.

Valuating Social Networking Companies


monumental and historic Initial Stock Offering (IPO) of the 21st century is the social media giant, Facebook. The company filed its first IPO papers on Wednesday, February 1, 2012, with an expectation of a valuation between $75 and $100 billion. Created by Harvard students Mark Zukerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes in 2004, Facebook now has nearly 850 million active users. Facebook’s successful launch of its IPO, coupled with the right expectations, may indeed set the stage for its success in its new world of public stock trading. 38

Has Facebook already reached its prime? According to Zurich’s Swill Federal Institute of Technology, the value of a social networking company is directly related to its number of users. Facebook’s subscribers’ growth decreased from its exponential increase of 178.38% in August 2008, to 3.5% in November of 2011. Analytic geometry geeks refer to this as a S-shaped curve, or a “horizontal asymptote.” Can the earning potentials of social networking heavy weights like Facebook sustain their valuation in the future? Only time—and the number of its users and subscribers—will tell.

Vol. 3, Issue 1




Masters of the Industry, Women of Steel, Men of Steel


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360° LEADERSHIP The best leaders, asserts Covey, excel at “communicating to people their own worth and potential so clearly that they are then inspired to see it in themselves.” Culminating in decades of research, he established Four Imperatives of Leadership:

Inspire Trust. Relationships of trust are built through both your

character and competence, along with the trust you extend to others. You demonstrate your believe in their capacity to live up to certain expectations, to deliver on promises, and to achieve clarity on key goals. You don’t inspire trust by micromanaging and second guessing every step people make.

Clarify Purpose. Great leaders involve their people in the

communication process to create the goals to be achieved. If people are involved in the process, they psychologically own it. Then you’ve created an environment where people are in agreement about what is most important—mission, vision, values and goals. Align Systems. Eliminate conflicts between what you say is important and what you measure. Frequently organizations assert its personnel are most important. However, the structures and systems, including accounting, make them out to be just an expense or cost— rather than an asset as the organization’s most significant resource.

Unleash Talent. When you inspire trust and share a common

purpose with aligned systems, you empower your people. Their talent is then maximized in full capacity; hence their intelligence, creativity, and resourcefulness are fully utilized.

Leaders walk their talk. They’re intimately aligned with their organization’s and their own core values and purpose. People thus respect, listen—and most importantly—trust and follow them. A leader’s strength of character enfranchises those around them.

“Your leadership must be grounded in the bedrock of your beliefs … ” —Rebecca Barnett Peter Eastman II, in his The Character of Leadership, echoes the sentiments of many pundits who view the recent scandals in Wall Street, the banking industry, and ripe throughout government, as a breakdown of this fundamental attribute. “The challenges we face today are not economic, environmental, social, or legal; they are challenges of character and leadership.” In our next segment, we’ll examine more indispensable parameters of leadership, including the ability to innovate, the difference between management and leadership, and other key attributes.



By William G. Mora


reat leaders follow. Understanding the functions and characteristics of eminent leaders is a prudent prerequisite to those who aspire to such positions. There are role models aplenty one can emulate, learn from and aspire towards. Volumes have been written about key traits and the modus operandi attributable to exceptional stewardship.

People Persons

Leadership occurs in numerous, and sometimes unexpected places— in the business world, certainly. But also in the military; politics and diplomacy; sports; volunteer, civic and religious organizations; the entertainment industry; in the classroom; at home; and in myriad places throughout our communities. There are many kinds of leaders, and as a result, leadership styles. Some guide their organizations through visionary innovations. Some are brilliant at inspiring others. Others excel at performing top level administrative functions. Regardless, the outlook and behavior of one’s followers, along with the overall success of one’s organization, determine if one is a bona fide bellwether.

Dr. Stephen Covey’s definition of leadership is empowerment. Covey is an internationally respected leadership authority, family expert, teacher, organizational consultant, and author, providing sagacious insight to millions. His landmark book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, was named “The #1 Most Influential Business Book of the 20th Century.”


Leaders make decisions and inspire followers to embrace, implement and follow-through on them. The best care about the individuals within their organization and spend a good percentage of time developing their talents, strengths and skills. They genuinely are concerned about whom they lead.

Leaders that embrace strong strength of character within themselves inspire similar attitudes and behavior among their followers. They realize “business ethics” is not an oxymoron. Few are blessed in having these innate temperament and acumen. However, most of us can culminate and practice them by choice. Effectual leaders are in constant quest of continuous improvement; not only for their company and employees but importantly, themselves. They are insightful: recognizing their own weaknesses while capitalizing upon their own strengths … along with wise task delegation. They don’t contradict themselves by using words or taking actions that aren’t allied with who they are. This is also true for the mission they’ve envisioned and defined for their organization.

“Effective leadership is putting first things first.” —Dr. Stephen Covey As stated by Rebecca Barnett, internationally published author and acclaimed motivational speaker on character-centered leaders, “Your leadership must be grounded in the bedrock of your beliefs as you make decisions about people and strategy.” The best never betray themselves or their company. “Doing what is right always comes down to the individual,” she stresses. “It begins with the most basic leadership skills, supported by the organizational framework.”

William G. Mora, MBA, is an engineer and entrepreneur. As a consultant and business specialist, he has had key assignments in Europe, South America and the U.S.

Vol. 3, Issue 1





hat? Never heard of a Smexy ’Trep? That’s 2012speak for Smart & Sexy Entrepreneur. Something most of us aspire towards becoming.

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We’ve also navigated and surfed the web for some exceptional sites you may wish to bookmark and/or join. Of course this offering is far from complete; the tip of the leadership smorgasbord. Have a favorite book or website we’ve not mentioned? Please share it with us so we can include it in future resource sections. Send to: editor@

Becoming a Smexy ’Trep: Leadership Resources

Suggested Reading Business Success Guides, The Best Book on Leadership, Dr. Joseph Graham Churchill on Leadership: Executive Success in the Face of Adversity, Steven F. Hayward Four-Star Leadership for Leaders: Interviews with Distinguished Generals & Admirals, R. Manning Ancell

The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, Dr. Stephen R. Covey Zen Lessons: The Art of Leadership, Thomas Cleary

Useful Websites & and (Harvard Business Review)

Leadership & Strategy: Lessons from Alexander the Great, Leandro Martino

Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box, The Arbinger Institute

Leadership Charisma: Step by Stepto Being a More Successful and Charismatic Leader, Bud Haney, Jim Sirbasku with Deiric McCann

Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace, Gordon MacKenzie

Self Leadership and the One Minute Manager: Increasing Effectiveness Through Situational Self Leadership, Ken Blanchard with Susan Flower and Laurence Hawkins

http://people-equation com/25-free-leadership-resources

Vol. 3, Issue 1


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