The theme of the meeting was “Fostering an Entrepreneurial Mindset” appropriately chosen by our Toastmaster of the day, Leisha John.  Leisha brings passion and energy particularly when dealing with environmental issues and a green planet.
Our first speaker, Sharon Patish, told a tale of  “Secrets and Elephants”.  Sharon gave a wonderful speech on a personal and touching subject, which took a great deal of courage and composure.  She shared with us the fact of her adoption as an infant by her biological uncle and his husband.  Her birth mother was too young when she gave birth to Sharon and could not care for her.  Then the idea of adoption came up and  luckily she remained within her biological family circle.  The family kept the adoption a secret although there were telltale signs and it often felt as if there was an elephant in the room.  While Sharon was in her senior year in high school, she was busy with many activities leading to her high school graduation.  During this time, her Aunt Florence (Sharon’s biological mother) had a heart attack landing in the hospital Sharon did not visit and this really hurt Florence.  Eventually they established a relationship.  Fast forward to about 2 weeks ago and Sharon received a letter in the mail with pictures from Tom Wagner.  His mother, Joanne turned out to be one of Sharon’s twin sisters and also Tom Wagner’s mother.  The enormous family secret was out and the elephant in the room is no longer there.
The second speaker was Cristian Stenstrom who delivered a speech giving 4 insights from starting his recent business. He shared a few “kernels” (word of the day) to keep in mind:  1) IDEA – one must have a good idea either for a product that already exist but a better version or new idea (something new and innovative).  2) PICK YOUR PARTNERS AND EMPLOYEES WISELY – If you are successful you must deal with these people daily so it better be fun.  3) CHOOSE YOUR INVESTORS WISELY – .Don’t take just any money.  Make sure investor’s ethics are in line with you.  4) BE FOCUSED BUT NOT TOO FOCUSED – be open-minded, live in the present, plan for the future.  In Cristian’s case he and his partner started with  KEYFETCH but a secondary product for pets they introduced in Holland has done so much better.
The Table Topics Master was David Jimenez whose questions fit in with the theme of the meeting.
1) Sylvia do Pico told us she tends to stick with an idea for TOO long and was reminded of her first business venture where she would not let go and it didn’t go too well.
2)  Anna-Kaye Lue shared that she evaluates and comes up with new ideas while in bed.  Later, when the idea takes some shape she transfers  it to whiteboard and expands from there.
3) Susan Racher told us that she will go as far as it takes to be successful without negatively impacting others. Early in her career working for corporate America it was difficult to be successful without stepping on toes but luckily now she works for a philanthropic organization where there is no interference.
4)  Arlene Amitirilaga told us success is everything.  Success can be found in things we learn, people we meet, how actions impact other.  Success is all around us.
5) Jim Harnett shared the difference between owning a business and working for someone else. Owning your own business is a personal obligation and the amount of profit depends   on you.  On the other hand, when working for someone else you are directed as to what you contribute.
6)  Jody Johnson told us her favorite entrepreneur is Sir  Richard Branson because he is fun, admits failure and is committed. Jody also considers all her clients she coaches as her favorite entrepreneurs.
1st place: Jody Johnson
2nd place: Susan Racher
3rd  place: Arlene Amitirilaga
The Master Evaluator was Luisa Herran who gave a review of the meeting commenting how it ran smoothly and commended Evaluator 1  – Jennifer Garcia and Evaluator 2 – Alex Moreira for such great evaluations on Sharon’s and Cristian’s speeches.
Before adjourning, President Sharon Patish welcomed our only guest of the day, Amanda Velazquez.  We hope to see you again!

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