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Dr. Ruchi Dass, Founder of HealthCursor Consulting Group |Serial Entrepreneur|Digital Health Expert

Dr. Ruchi Dass’s Biography 

(See BSO’s  Interview with Dr. Dass 👇👇👇)

Dr. Ruchi Dass

Dr. Ruchi Dass is a serial entrepreneur and the Founder of the HealthCursor Consulting Group.

She is regarded as one of the leading global innovators in the field of Digital Health. She has spearheaded development and rollout of Innovative healthcare programs across the world since 2005 using technology. Her work and recognition includes frugal innovation in healthcare, bringing innovations mainstream, maintain a continuum of care and facilitate coordinated care population health, build healthcare models that provide quality, cost-effectiveness, and timeliness of care.

Dr. Dass excels at conceptualizing innovative and relevant healthcare products and services, especially for emerging markets, and directing development through commercialization, roll‐out and on‐going product performance enhancement. Through her esteemed clients and partners, her efforts have also made to the PMNCH Forum of Healthworkers @ WHO, GSMA’s Best mHealth Awards jury in Barcelona, IPIHD Top innovators list with World Economic Forum and UN’s Millennium development goals expert committee volunteers as well.

In Addition to her work in Healthcare, Dr. Dass runs two charities named “ShantiKaustubh” and “Ananya” that are based on Girl Education and Preventive Healthcare. Her new venture Idealabslive incubates early stage companies working with technology, telemedicine and community health programs across the globe.

Dr. Dass was recognized by the Honorable President of India, Dr. Pranab Mukherjee and Noble Laureate Dr. Aaron Ciechanover as they unveiled her book on “Innovations in Healthcare” that talked about “Frugal Innovation” in Healthcare industry in India.

Dr. Dass got voted as one of the Most Influential Women in Health IT in the world by FierceHealth and Top 10 Impactful Tech Leaders 2013 by InformationWeek. Her many innovations have received international recognition most notably by the ASHOKA, INTEROP, IPIHD (World Economic Forum), Economic Times, GBCHealth Business Action on Health Awards and TED. She was also a member of the HIMMS Innovation community, Las Vegas (2012-2013)

Dr. Ruchi Dass holds a medical degree and has completed Postgraduate programs at Georgia Institute of Technology (Health Informatics), USA; Duke Fuqua School of Business (Healthcare Entrepreneurship), USA and is currenty pursuing her MBA from the London Business School.




BSO: Since our interview years ago, please share with us ways in which you’ve 1) challenged yourself and 2) grown, personally AND professionally.


First of all, Thank you Edith for giving me the opportunity to talk to you. There is so much we can do with our lives and there are so many possibilities. We know that we have the potential but we don’t do much as we have achieved quite a lot already. When we don’t do something for a long time that is challenging, requires discipline, commitment and serious efforts we develop inside us a memory of being complacent, weak and tired. And hence, even after having made a successful business when I would think of another start-ups, the same thought would occur to me.

I decided to challenge myself. 14 years in business, I decided to go for an MBA with London Business School. It wasn’t easy to be a student again (smiles). This year, I launched Digital IdeaLabs-live for incubating and mentoring exciting health technology start-ups and am also working on Prodentine a dental health technology aggregator. Constantly challenging myself brings out the best in me, it gives me a very strong “can-do” memory as well that helps in excruciating circumstances to sail through. If you don’t have a memory like that- you can’t do it.

In my personal life, in addition to putting on some healthy weight, I have started working on my book, joined GWI (Graduate Women International) as they are doing amazing work empowering women and girls with lifelong education and adopted two lovely baby elephants from the Sheldrick wildlife trust.


BSO: With what you’ve learned about yourself and all that you’ve achieved, what are 3 pieces of advice you’d give your younger self ?


Good question. I remember how making more money was important in the beginning and then growing and staying relevant. When I look back I realised that I neglected my long term goals for my short term wins. Like doing work that is not your core area of focus or interest or take up a lot on your plate etc. It is good to be disciplined and vocal about what you don’t want to take up as a project as it will not help you.

I always believed in my team and team work. Most of my team members are with me for over 10 years and I value them. However, in the pursuit of delivering best on quality I used to take up most of the work on my plate and didn’t do well on delivering through others.

And the third one is “me time”. Most of working women like me take “family time” as “me time”. Me time doesn’t mean holiday with family or friends. “Me time” is about you and your spiritual self. If you wish to stay happy which is pretty hard in a stressful work life like ours, you have to make more time for “me time”. It is important because when you live a life that you truly are, it gives you mindfulness, happiness and peace.


BSO: That never ending ‘balance’ question (wellness, career and family). What’s your typical day look like ? Or share with us a sample of 2 days. 


I wake up at 6.30 am in the morning and then exercise for an hour. I take light breakfast usually healthy smoothies and leave home to reach office by 8.30 am. I start my work by reading notes that I made before leaving work the previous evening and refer my calendar for the meetings scheduled.

I have lunch at 1.30 pm and I go for a stroll after that for 30 minutes. When that is not possible, I climb stairs. In Dubai, during prayer breaks, I get a chance to meditate as well which is perfect.

I leave work by 5pm and head home to cook. My husband and myself love to cook together. I spend family time by chatting, talking a bit about our extended family, my parents, his family and work. We play scrabble when there is not much to talk about.

Around 7pm, we pray and then go for a stroll. Dinner is served around 8.30pm. On weekends, dinner is 9.30pm as we welcome friends for get together or go outside to eat. I go to sleep around 10.30pm and usually read a book to bed.


BSO: To function at our highest level and to continue tapping into our creativity, Weekends should be restorative, physically and mentally. What does yours look like ?


I love to engage in some fun activities on the weekend and laying around on the beach reading a book always seems a possibility. I go for a swim in the morning and breakfast is always heavy on the weekend. We generally skip lunch for salads and small snacks and finish some household chores.

My husband and myself are not much into television except when Cricket is telecasted so we have mastered the art of doing nothing- no calls, no TV and no shopping. Whenever any of us has come back from a work related travel, we do indulge in spa or foot reflexology to relax. It may sound boring but going through old photo albums and smugmug is our favourite pastime.


BSO: Please share with us what we can look forward to in terms of projects you are working on or your next exciting venture. 


My current engagements are inter-related.

With IdeaLabs Live, I wish to engage with women business owners and provide them with the mentorship and guidance that is required to succeed. IdeaLabs as a platform is open for all to apply.

However, as a member of women in business club @ LBS, I promised to work for budding women entrepreneurs and connect them to impressive women business leaders. I am working with several development and finance organisations to identify best technology innovations in the industry and provide them with opportunities to pilot and gain commercial success across the globe. I am blessed with a very intelligent and supportive class at London business school. I am learning a lot and getting to network with the best. I have some ambitious plans for 2020 but for now, I am happy to be yet again in a transformative stage.

Founder of BSO Appointed as the PR & Marketing Director for

Edith Moricz

In addition to being the Founder and Editor for BeyondSuccessOnline, Edith Moricz has now become the Director of Public Relations and Marketing for SheNow is a community that believes young women should live their own lives first. The site offers personal and professional development articles and supports an online network. She will also be a contributing blogger for the site.

Edith’s first contributing article for the site is shown below:

8 Tips to Put You on the Path to Financial Freedom.

by: Edith Moricz

“The philosophy of the rich versus the poor is this: The rich invest their money and spend what is left; the poor spend their money and invest what is left.” ~ Jim Rohn.

Ladies, it’s never too early to plan for your secure financial future. As Brenna Smith, the Founder of SheNOW, says, “A man is not a financial plan. Your financial success 

Error - Image unable to loadis up to you.” When you are financially secure, you are the captain of your ship, and the world is your oyster. “Where you go and what you do is limited only by your imagination.”1

Here are some ways to immediately impact YOUR financial future:

  • Collect all of your expense receipts each week and chart your purchases. At the end of each month, analyze the data and you’ll often be surprised to see how much is spent on different items such as entertainment, food, clothing, vacation, etc. Use this data to develop a budget, and plan out how much you will spend each month on key areas. This will help to ensure smart shopping, minimize spontaneous purchases and focus money towards both short and long term goals.
  • Pay off high credit card debt ASAP, and pay by cash or debit card whenever possible. Once this is accomplished:——-Set up an IRA account as early in your 20s as possible. In an article from, they show that, “Someone who puts $4,000 a year into retirement accounts starting at 22 can have $1 million by age 62, assuming 8% average annual returns. Wait 10 years to start contributing, and you’d have to put in more than twice as much — $8,800 a year — to reach the same goal.” So, make sure to contribute religiously every year, and you will definitely reap the benefits later in life
  • Error - Image unable to load.Organize your monthly recurring expenses using the plain envelopes system (each major monthly expense has its own envelope). It is a smart reminder of your key monthly financial priorities, and it also enforces discipline for smarter spending habits.
  • For each pay check, adopt the 30-30-40 rule. Set aside 30% for savings, 30% for out of pocket expenses and 40% for rent/mortgage.
  • If you can’t pay your credit card purchase in 1 payment, you can’t afford the item. If you really want it, adjust your budget and set aside some of the out of pocket expense money mentioned above to save for it. Whatever you do, do not touch your savings for a one-off discretionary purchases.
  • Live within your budget. Your credit score will reflect your lifestyle and will impact your ability to invest not only physical assets like a house, but in your future as well.
  • Don’t use $ to impress people. The security you create from smart spending will empower you to spend your time as you wish – pursuing your passions, retiring early, etc and not just focusing on paying the bills. Also, the people that are impressed by money, and not you as a person, probably aren’t the people you want in your life anyway.
  • Whenever possible, brown bag your lunch at work. It is healthier and more cost effective, as eating out adds up on your waistline (if you aren’t careful with menu options) and on the purse string.

Danielle Volman, Founder of iChase the Cure

Danielle Volman’s BIO

Danielle Volman

Danielle’s passion for entrepreneurship began early on in life, leading her to organize the first Chasing the Cure 5K fundraiser as early as senior year of high school. That year the young daughter of an member in her school community was diagnosed with a rare type of pediatric cancer called neuroblastoma, and Danielle was inspired to organize the 5K walk/run to raise money for the underfunded cause. And she didn’t stop there… Danielle continued the 5K series while studying at Boston University, where the name of the group and its annual event grew to iChase the Cure.

Today, Danielle is approaching her anniversary as an engineer at Microsoft Corp. in Charlotte, NC, and is preparing to bring iChase the Cure to Charlotte as soon as possible. She plans to grow the 5K series into a not-for-profit organization that helps raise funds and awareness for orphan diseases affecting children across the globe. She even made the trip up to Boston University for this year’s 4th annual iChase the Cure 5K on the Boston Esplanade. With her help and direction, a team of extraordinary students at BU continued her legacy and hosted another successful event.


1. Please share with us what prompted your creation of iChase the Cure.

Danielle: iChase the Cure is a growing organization that resulted from combining my passion for running and my passion for helping anyone going through a tough time.

My inspiration for starting iChase the Cure came in the form of an adorable, little girl who was the daughter of a member of my community at my high school. When I first heard of the horrible news that she was diagnosed, my heart just sank and I immediately started thinking of a way I could rally our community in support for their family. Having lost my mom to breast cancer and leukemia, I have always been active in the cancer world trying to aid in the fight for a cure so that no one else has to deal with this monster. I couldn’t just stand on the sidelines for this one. Adult cancers had so much presence and research going on, but everyone seemed to be turning a blind eye to pediatric cancers. Having participated in a plethora of races supporting cures through research and having become an avid runner, I knew what I could do. I combined both of my passions to create iChase the Cure. This year marks the 7th iChase the Cure 5K and we are still growing!

2. There is no typical day in the life of an entrepreneur. Please share with us a sample of your day, start to finish.

Danielle: Like many, I am a full time professional by day and an entrepreneur and advocate for my passion, cause, and idea 24/7. I take breaks or use my lunchtime to make or take calls to attend to my growing foundation, iChase the Cure. I’ll do anything and everything that is required in order to provide my E-Board, volunteers, participants, and supporters with first class attention in a timely manner whether it be by posting a quick update to one of our social media channels, taking a call from a sponsor, or even mailing a pair of sunglasses left behind at the race to their rightful owner. Another day I could be surrounded by hundreds of people all brought together to make an impact on the lives of others and everyday my goal is to create more of those.


3. What are your ‘can’t live without’ Smartphone or desktop applications?

Danielle: The best way for our team to share our documents has always been on SkyDrive. We are able to navigate through our folders and photos while keeping a main collection with the most up to date resources. Since we all have access even from our phones, we kept a copy of the permit for race day there in case we ever had to provide it when caught of guard. We are also using HooteSuite more and more for important and time sensitive social media purposes.


4. What are your tricks for time management?

Danielle: Just do it. It comes down to knowing what you need to accomplish, planning the path to get there, and then not procrastinating and just doing it. Making lists helps me a lot. I’ll set a goal for myself based on an idea I’ve had and I’ll brainstorm all the different pieces that I need to account for to make it happen. It helps that I don’t consider any task relating to iChase as grunt work. I love every minute of it, so I don’t waste any time procrastinating – I always make the best of the time I have and that seems to be the best tool for time management for me. If you can automate any tasks, you will also allow yourself to focus on the greater ones – so I try to automate anything repetitive. Best however, is my iChase team. We work together seamlessly to build on each other’s ideas and energy.


5. What was the best advice you received when you started your career?

Danielle: There are two pieces of advice that go hand in hand for me and without them, iChase the Cure may never have come about. Don’t listen to people who tell you that you can’t do something and always fully believe in what you are doing. Even though my idea was one that came about in order to help and support those in need, I did not get the approval and support I had expected. Regardless, I kept pursuing my passion and my goal to the surprise of many and I am so glad I did!


6. Given the current economic climate, what has been your strategy for building awareness of iChase the Cure? (what you do for short term and long term growth)?

Danielle: We are always aiming to have a bunch of smaller events in between races to keep iChase in the forefront of everyone’s mind. Whether we host an event or iChase is the beneficiary of another event, we try to have some fun leading up to the 5K as well. Our overall goal is to keep working in the background while still staying active in an interactive fashion with our supporters throughout the year. Events and social media are our favorite venues for raising more awareness and support in both the short and long term.


7. What is your proudest achievement as an accomplished entrepreneur?

Danielle: Every year blowing the horn to mark the start of the 5K is a greater level of achievement for me. There has been a 5K every single year since our inaugural race for neuroblastoma in 2007. That in itself is my greatest feat. We experience and overcome many different challenges whether they be repetitive or newly presented, but still we persevere and together with our participants, volunteers, and supporters make a greater impact on awareness and gain ground towards cures.


8. How do you achieve balance in your life?

Danielle: If you love what you do then balance is more easily achievable. I aim to set realistic goals and I try to plan ahead to make everything more manageable. Of course as with every start-up or business, there are times when you have to really put in the time and make some sacrifices. However, since you work for yourself as well, you can use the added flexibility to make it up to yourself later – even though reaching your goal or completing a task or event will be entirely worth it anyway!


9. Your top 3 book recommendations?

Danielle: Once again, I find myself reading more articles and following more news websites than reading paperbacks these days. I like to keep up with technology and other leading trends. I also constantly find great apps that can help me automate or just optimize my every day tasks. I would however recommend Flight of the Buffalo: Soaring to Excellence, Learning to Let Employees Lead. A great read to understand the importance of leadership, management, and competition – key aspects no one should ever overlook.


10. What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

Danielle: Most recently, I participated in the Bark for Life walk. This was your normal run of the mill cancer fundraiser with a huge twist – it’s all about the dogs! You register by registering your pup, you do the walk with them too, and all of the sponsors are focusing on the doggies as well. I was a part of a team with my puppy’s training community and we actually raised the most and had the biggest team too. We were walking in honor of a boxer who was undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia. It was amazing to be able to spread awareness about cancer, but not just in humans…in animals too! I loved being able to share my passion and continue the fight for a cure while doing so with my puppy who has also been of a mascot for iChase the Cure. I am always on the hunt for a new, exiting, and rewarding way to continue the hunt for a cure and to support those who have battled or currently are battling cancer.


11. Who has influenced your career the most? 

Danielle: The most influential players when it comes to iChase the Cure are the kids and families we are supporting. They show such strength, courage, and wisdom beyond their years. The children especially give me the energy that inspires and motivates me to constantly think of new ways to grow iChase the Cure to achieve a great impact.


12. What is your advice for someone interested in entrepreneurship?

Danielle: This advice will never change for me. If your heart and passion are really behind an idea and you are willing to devote yourself to it completely, and I mean completely, there is nothing that can get in your way.  YOU CAN DO IT.  In the beginning, everyone rejected my idea, but it was something I knew I could do and prove everyone wrong.  I was persistent and stubborn at times, but I did not let anyone or anything get in my way. As long as you see the challenge as an opportunity (as every entrepreneur inevitably does), there isn’t much more that can stop you. When you go to bed, wake up, and spend the entire day constantly thinking about “your baby,” then you’re golden, just keep it up!

Larry Elle, President of the Professional Development Collaborative

Larry Elle’s BIO

Larry Elle

Larry Elle is President of the Professional Development Collaborative, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) non-profit whose mission is to provide affordable professional development trainings to unemployed professionals, speeding their return to work. He helped found the non-profit in 2004 and became President in 2008. Today the group serves thousands of in-transition professionals in the metro-Boston area. (

Larry is also Director of Success Associates Career Services (, and facilitates WIND South, a networking group for transitioning professionals. He provides private career counseling services to Boston area professionals and presents on career issues to local alumni and professional groups such as Northeastern University, Tufts University, and Women in Publishing. Larry recently produced Power Networking: The Path to Job Search Success, a DVD.

Larry trained in History and Psychology at the State University College in Buffalo, N.Y. and at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and the published author of Community Connections: Resources for Massachusetts Unemployed (1994 and 1998), and Not So Long Ago: Oral Histories of Older Bostonians. He has been featured on the New England Cable News and in local print media.

Prior to 1998, Larry worked for the Corporation for Business, Work and Learning, providing counseling services at large outplacement centers in Massachusetts including the High Tech Center, Woburn Professional Transition Center, Quincy and Cambridge Career Centers, South Weymouth Navel Air Center and the Purity Supreme Center where he developed highly successful Job Search Success Teams, returning people to work in half the normal time.


1. Please share with us what prompted you to launch Professional Development Collaborative?

Larry: I have been involved with career and job placement services for a number of years.

The Professional Development Collaborative (PDC) was created in 2004, during the “internet recession”, to help unemployed professionals gain the workplace skills they needed to land a job. I and several colleagues noticed that professionals received lots of job search advice but many were missing the key skills they needed to attract an employer’s interest. Often they couldn’t afford to take these key courses due to their low income and the extravagant cost of many courses. Our mission was thus born: to provide affordable professional development courses to speed people’s return to work.

When the Great Recession hit in 2008, we redoubled our efforts and we have been offering important professional development courses ever since, including such courses as Project Management, Lean-Six Sigma, Presentation Skills, Social Media Marketing, Grant Writing, etc…

2. There is no typical day in the life of an entrepreneur. Please share with us a sample of your day, start to finish.

Larry: The PDC is a collaborative effort. My work as President is enlisting people to help and then coordinating their efforts. We’re small. We have three paid staff and scores of volunteers but it’s amazing how much work gets done. I oversee four main groups: Our Training Committee which selects courses, teachers and dates; Our Marketing Committee which makes sure the public (especially unemployed professionals) hear about our courses; Our Fundraising Committee which helps underwrite our educational programs keeping them affordable; and our Website Committee which maintains our link to the public ( Keeping on top of the activities of all four groups takes considerable time and energy.


3. What are your ‘can’t live without’ Smartphone or desktop applications?

Larry: I use a smart phone for calls, information and GPS help when needed. I also design a number of our course flyers and use Word and PowerPoint regularly. But, as wonderful as these technologies are, they don’t replace the importance of one-to-one communication and contact.


4. What are your tricks for time management?

Larry: I work in spurts with slow days and then highly productive days. I create lots of “to do” lists and then follow up. I’ve also learned the hard way to avoid putting off to tomorrow what can be done today. Also, learning to delegate tasks to others allows me to focus on what I do best.


5. What was the best advice you received when you started your career?

Larry: I started my career way back in the 1970’s (not all entrepreneurs are in their 20s). The best advice I received was to do work you enjoyed and do work that would “make a difference” in the world. I have followed that path my whole life.


6. Given the current economic climate, what has been your strategy for building awareness of Professional Development Collaborative? (what you do for short term and long term growth)?

Larry: We are into building our presence in the community mainly by providing high quality professional development courses to today’s professional jobseekers. We expect the quality of the courses will create a “buzz” around us. We also attend job fairs, build our email list, have a Facebook page, and create alliances with professional associations and career centers. We are about to launch a quarterly ezine to our many followers discussing educational issues, the labor market and upcoming PDC courses.


7. What is your proudest achievement as an accomplished entrepreneur?

Larry: My proudest achievement is to have launched an important educational group which has taken on a life of its own and which engages the positive energies of volunteers while helpin professionals grow their skills at prices they can afford.


8. How do you achieve balance in your life?

Larry: I take time three days a week to exercise while also finding time to read and garden. Getting my hands dirty in the garden is a nice counterpoint to the mental and people work of running a non-profit.


9. Your top 3 book recommendations?


I read in three areas:

the economy and labor market; in the field of Positive Psychology and in history.

Current readings: Practicing Positive Psychology Coaching by Robert Biswas-Diener; The Fall of the House of Dixie by Bruce Levine; and Thriving In the Workplace for Dummies by multiple authors.


10. What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

Larry: Work with my own non-profit is number one but I have been a regular supporter of Habitat for Humanity. It’s a great group which has helped build homes for thousands of people.


11. Who has influenced your career the most? 

Larry: All the idealists in the world including people like Martin Luther King, Robert Moses, & Michael Harrington.  People who displayed tremendous courage in the pursuit of their dreams.


12. What is your advice for someone interested in entrepreneurship?

Larry: It’s been said that “if you wait to have children until you’re ready, you’ll never have them” Similarly, you don’t have to have it all together in order to start a business. Be willing to start small and learn along the way. Go ahead, have big dreams but make a plan and start taking the first steps. Also, be adaptable along the way. There is no straight line to success.

Michelle M. Harrington, Executive Director of Friends of the Children (Boston)

Michelle M. Harrington’s BIO

Michelle M. Harrington

Michelle Harrington has a unique breadth and depth of experience in the non-profit sector in Greater Boston with over twenty four years in the field. Most recently, Michelle was the Boston Executive Director of Strong Women, Strong Girls (SWSG). Prior to joining SWSG, Michelle was the Development Director for Federated Dorchester Neighborhood Houses, Inc. (now College Bound Dorchester). Michelle has a B.A. in History from UMass Amherst.


1. Please share with us what prompted you to launch Friends of the Children (Boston)?

Michelle: The organization is the only organization in Boston that makes a twelve year commitment to the children it serves.

Friends-Boston’s mission is to create generational change by engaging children from high-risk communities in 12 years of transformative mentoring relationships. Our vision is that our Achievers will attend and graduate from college, that they can successfully access external and internal resources for themselves and their families, that they are engaged with and giving back to the community as positive productive citizens and that they are actively pursuing future plans and aspirations. As someone who grew up in Dorchester and was the first person in her family to graduate from college, I know the value of breaking cycles, changing mindsets, and developing skills to create educational opportunities which will then change communities.
There is no typical day in the life of a a leader of a 501c3. Please share with us a sample of your day, start to finish.

I get up and see the family off to work and school, answer emails, review my calendar and head to the office. At the office, I check my internal mail to catch up on paperwork, then it’s internal and external meetings to continue to implement the work of Friends-Boston by meeting with staff, community partners, donors and potential donors to build awareness of our work and fundraising for the organization. I head back to the office to review correspondence, sign letters and checks and review files and information for the following day. I usually get home at 7 p.m.


2. What are your ‘can’t live without’ Smartphone or desktop applications?

Michelle: My new Samsung Galaxy III, Picassa, and Dunkin Donuts Coffee.


3. What are your tricks for time management?

Michelle: Answer emails at 7 a.m. and keep Friday’s as an in the office day to catch up whenever possible.


4. What was the best advice you received when you started your career?

Michelle: Proofread everything.


5. Given the current economic climate, what has been your strategy for building awareness of Friends of the Children (Boston)? (what you do for short term and long term growth)?

Michelle: Utilizing social media including an active Facebook page, sending messages through linkedin, a monthly Constant Contact newsletter and also consistently updating our constituents about our work through our investor updates. We have a five year strategic plan that addresses our fundraising growth and the implementation of our public relations plan.


6. What is your proudest achievement as an accomplished entrepreneur?

Michelle: Instituting summer programming for the first time at Friends-Boston this year. We have been able to serve 37 Achievers who would otherwise not have participated in programming this summer.


7. How do you achieve balance in your life?

Michelle: I have an amazing husband who does way more than his share and I try to keep Sunday as family time whenever possible.


8. Your top 3 book recommendations?

Michelle: Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, Trinity by Leon Uris and Rachel and Her Children: Homeless Families in America by Jonathan Kozol.


9. What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

Michelle: Coordinating the Catholic Charities Cardinal’s Garden Party that raised one million dollars for the first time in 2001. Running a capital campaign that raised 3.1 million dollars to restore Gate of Heaven Church, South Boston in 2005, and of course, becoming the Executive Director of Friends-Boston in March 2013.


10. Who has influenced your career the most? 

Michelle: I had two great but very different mentors – Sister Mary Anne Doyle, CSJ when I was starting out in 1988 at the Archdiocese of Boston and Juma Crawford, prior Executive Director of Friends-Boston.


11. What is your advice for someone interested in non-profit leadership?

Michelle: Be prepared because it’s the hardest job you will ever love!

Bob Sansone, Founder of Sneakers to Beakers

Bob Sansone’s BIO

Bob Sansone

Bob Sansone is a 30 year insurance professional. His experience includes working as a Producer, Branch Manager, Business Analyst, Underwriter, Statistical Records Rating Supervisor & Underwriting Manager. After sharing a life changing experience with his two daughters in 2005, he became a leader and champion of diversity and inclusion.

While vacationing at the Ft. Lauderdale Sheraton in June 2005 Bob and his family found themselves poolside as the only white family in the middle of a wonderful African American family reunion. Approximately 75 people were present. It was the first time his children experienced what it was like to be a minority. Their initial discomfort was put at ease after he explained how God created everyone equally and that the color of a person’s skin or their religion did not matter.

The events of that day had such a profound impact on him that he twice filed legislation on the importance of race relations, diversity and tolerance and began a lifelong crusade in diversity and inclusion.

In 2011, while serving as a Diversity Ambassador at Martha Fields’ Global Diversity Leadership Conference at Harvard, Bob shared his idea for Sneakers to Beakers with 75 diversity leaders from across the country. Their response inspired him to pursue the idea. As a lifelong participant, fan and now coach of sports he realized the numerous benefits that sports has to offer and how pivotal a role STEM plays in sports.

Bob graduated from Northeastern University with a BSBA in Business Management in 1994. In June 2012 he graduated from Oiste’s Initiative for Diversity in Civic Leadership program at Suffolk University.

His involvement in diversity initiatives include:

  • Boston Regional Diversity Council of a Fortune 50 Company
  • 2012 graduate of Oiste’s Initiative for Diversity in Civic Leadership program at Suffolk University.
  • World Unity Inc. Board Member
  • Get Konnected, Boston Multicultural Networking Group Advisory Committee/Ambassador
  • National Center for Race Amity Day Volunteer Coordinator
  • Martha Fields Global Diversity Leadership Ambassador at Harvard University
  • Creator of 10th annual Celtics family/group night. Over 200 people attend a Boston Celtics game. Twenty children, including several from underrepresented groups and Boston area homeless shelters, play on the world famous parquet floor before the game.
  • Christmas in the City Volunteer (helping Boston area homeless families) since 1999.
  • Big Brother for eight years during the 80’s & 90’s.
  • Founder of .


1. Please share with us what prompted your creation of Sneakers to Beakers?

Bob: Sneakers to Beakers was created out of my passion for diversity after an amazing experience I shared with my daughter in 2005 which propelled me into the world of diversity and inclusion.

While attending diversity conferences a couple of years ago I continued to hear about the need of underrepresented groups to pursue careers in the STEM field, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  This concept was validated by diversity leaders from all over the country and in my mind while serving as an Ambassador at Martha Field’s Global Diversity Leadership Conference at Harvard in 2011.

It is my belief that children will become more inspired and engaged when they can identify with curriculum in a way they can’t with the traditional curriculum they receive during the school day.  Sneakers to Beakers is a multicultural curriculum of Sports and STEM which also includes physical activity related to the material covered in the classroom.  It will also include mentoring from STEM professionals and college students as well as a component of volunteerism.

I became much more aware of diversity and tolerance one Saturday afternoon in 2005 when my eight year old daughter Rachel found herself as the only white child, along with her five year old sister Hannah, in the middle of an African American family reunion (about 75 others) at the Ft. Lauderdale Sheraton pool.

For the first time in her life she experienced what it was like to be a minority.  It’s not something a suburban white child from the Boston area is used to, or even thinks of for that matter.  That afternoon had such a profound impact on me that it triggered the beginning of an amazing journey.

She told me that she didn’t feel comfortable and wanted to go back to the room.  So I took her inside the hotel and sat down with her and asked if it was because everyone else at the pool was black. Like a typical eight year old, she shrugged her shoulders and didn’t answer, but I knew what she was thinking. I told her that it was ok if she felt a little uncomfortable because she had never been in a situation like this before.

I reminded her of two of the only black children in her school.  This is what their life was like every day.  I explained to her how happy everyone at the pool must be, seeing cousins and family members from all over the country, many of whom they’ve never met before.  (I later learned that over 200 family members gathered that weekend.)  It just so happens that this family had a different skin color. That was the only difference as we’re all the same. (She subsequently told me that people were staring at her). I hugged her, kissed her on the forehead and told her that I loved her very much and that God created many different kinds of people.

Just because their skin color was different than ours that doesn’t matter. Good and bad people come in all colors. At that point we went back to the pool and she did what every other eight year old did. She splashed, swam and had a ball for about two more hours and I had to literally drag her out of there.

That day became the rest of my life.  I subsequently filed legislation on the importance of race relations, diversity and tolerance; and started attending diversity conferences and multicultural events.

2. There is no typical day in the life of an entrepreneur. Please share with us a sample of your day, start to finish.

Bob: Well we are transitioning from concept to implementation and growing the organization. I work full time for an insurance company and work on S2B during lunch, after work and on the weekend. When you have a passion for something you really don’t view it as work.


3. What are your ‘can’t live without’ Smartphone or desktop applications?

Bob: I haven’t really taken advantage of the apps on my smartphone to be honest.


4. What are your tricks for time management?

Bob: I wish I had more tricks in this area. One thing I learned recently is that it is ok to say no. You can’t be everything to everyone. Of course there are certain things that are priorities to me that deserve my time. Planning and being realistic is very important in this area.


5. What was the best advice you received when you started your career?

Bob: The best advice I received was from my father, he simply said do the best job that you can.


6. Given the current economic climate, what has been your strategy for building awareness of Sneakers to Beakers? (what you do for short term and long term growth)?

Bob: Certainly these are two different things. I promote Sneakers to Beakers at various networking events and online via LinkedIn and Facebook. Since we are just recently eligible to commence fundraising after Wheelock College agreed to become our fiscal sponsor we are focusing on raising enough funding to develop our curriculum, get insurance, hire staff etc. We have diversified our funding targets and have some other creative ideas for future revenue streams.


7. What is your proudest achievement as an accomplished entrepreneur?

Bob: My proudest achievement is just being able to share my passion about diversity and attract quality likeminded people into the organization. It’s amazing how powerful a story can be and how many people want to get on board of an organization that has the potential to do something very special for children.


8. How do you achieve balance in your life?

Bob: It certainly isn’t easy. I love helping others so much but realize in order to do that I must take care of myself. To that end I exercise, meditate, take daily naps, spend time with my two daughters and the people I care about. Work can become all consuming if you let it.


9. Your top 3 book recommendations?

Bob: Bill Russell’s Russell’s Rules. Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Good to Great.


10. What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

Bob: Ultimately I know Sneakers to Beakers will be by far but I’ve been blessed with some incredible experiences. I was a big brother for 8 years in the 80’s and 90’s and when Tommy my little brother turned 18, our match officially ended we had the longest match in the state. We’re friends to this day. I drove him, his mother and grandmother to his first day of college at Norwich. He was an usher in my wedding and I actually lived with him for a few years after my divorce. It’s a pretty amazing story.

I’m also very grateful for being involved with Christmas in the City since 1999. We help families from Boston area homeless shelters. Each year we have a party and over 3000 guests attend. The following day we give gifts to over 10,000 people. Words can’t describe how rewarding that is.

I have also been involved with World Unity Inc. which is an organization that promotes the elimination of racism and discrimination.


11. Who has influenced your career the most? 

Bob: I can’t really say there has been one person who stands out. I’ve been fortunate to work with many quality people over the years. Those relationships are key to having a positive career.

One thing that does come to mind was that when I was younger I got passed over for a promotion by a friend and coworker. When I took a step back and realized that he was in very early in the morning and putting in the extra time it was very eye opening and caused me to look inward and make changes. A year later I ended up getting my first management job at the age of 24.


12. What is your advice for someone interested in entrepreneurship?

Bob: Find something that you are very passionate about and is meaningful. Educate yourself as much as possible through workshops such as those offered by Lawyers Clearinghouse.

Be enthusiastic about sharing your vision and find quality people who are likeminded and are willing to work towards a common goal. It’s all about the people you surround yourself with. I have been incredibly blessed with Sneakers to Beakers to have surrounded myself with wonderful people who are extremely smart and committed. Great friendships have developed as a result too.


Brad Winn, Conservation Specialist at Manomet – Center for Conservation Sciences

Brad Winn’s BIO

Brad Winn


Before joining the staff of the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences in Massachusetts in February, 2011, Brad Winn worked for the state of Georgia for 17 years as a Biologist and Program Manager for the coastal office of the Nongame Conservation Section of the Department of natural Resources.

As Program Manager, he oversaw a wide range of research, monitoring and management projects focused on protecting, and recovering depleted populations of native wildlife and natural communities of Georgia. Some of the most significant projects included monitoring the integrity of the North Atlantic right whale calving grounds, managing the recovery of the local loggerhead turtle population, protecting and managing sandbar-island nesting sites for seabirds and shorebirds, monitoring American Wood Stork breeding trends, overseeing Swallow-tailed Kite nesting studies, and mapping and classifying all of the natural communities of Georgia’s Coastal Counties.

Brad’s relationship with Manomet began in the late 1990’s when he and Brian Harrington collaborated on a study of a Red Knot fall staging event at the mouth of Georgia’s Altamaha River. That work with knots, as well as an understanding the significance of the River Delta for American Oystercatchers, Piping Plovers, and other migrant shorebirds, led to the establishment of the 40th Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) site and designation as a nationally significant Important Bird Area. Brad has participated in nine research expeditions to arctic shorebird breeding areas in Alaska and eastern Canada, including 7 with the Manomet Center.

In his new job, Brad is working on many Shorebird Recovery Project initiatives, including

• Developing and Teaching workshops in shorebird management, ecology, identification, and conservation to state and federal biologists in the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico
• Coordinating the International Shorebird Survey (ISS) and monitor its transition to electronic format in contract with the Cornell lab of Ornithology
• Helping to lead the development of the Atlantic Flyway Shorebird Business Strategy with US Fish and Wildlife Service and other partners
• Participating in Arctic Shorebird Demographics Network in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Coats Island in Hudson Bay
• Studying Whimbrel migration and stopover needs with satellite tracking technology. Partner organizations include the Center for Conservation Biology at William and Mary and Georgia DNR Nongame Section


1. How did your conservation career begin?

Brad: I am a conservation biologist with the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences in Plymouth. My work involves all aspects of research and management to understand and develop strategies to protect about 52 species of birds in North America. These species are known as shorebirds.

Shorebirds are very closely dependent upon wetlands throughout the year, including our coasts and beaches. Shorebird populations throughout the world have declined, some dramatically, over the last 20 years. One species called the Red Knot, has declined by as much as 80% since the mid 1980’s, and is now being proposed for listing under the US Endangered Species Act. We at Manomet are not only trying to understand why (research), but also how to reverse the downward population trends in these by working with partner organizations throughout North and South America (management).


2. There is no typical day in the life of an entrepreneur. Please share with us a sample of your day, start to finish.

Brad: Well, I guess I am a different kind of entrepreneur but my days may sound very familiar to your readers.

The profits that I seek are in acres of habitat managed for these wetland specialist birds, and measured gains in populations. We measure “return on investment” by measuring or monitoring biological parameters like annual survival, nesting success, and recruitment of individuals into a population. Although my favorite days are spent in remote arctic landscapes where shorebirds nest, my average day is actually spent at my desk and computer, communicating with the myriad of partners we work with, including federal and state wildlife agencies, and a network of volunteers working with us on a massive citizen science project called the International Shorebird Survey (ISS). We have grants from federal and private foundations that fund much of our work. Grant writing and reporting takes up quite a bit of time. We also rely heavily on donations from individuals to provide needed match for those grants.


3. What are your ‘can’t live without’ Smartphone or desktop applications?

Brad: We use the standard Microsoft Office software, and then rely on internet access to download data of our bird tracking data. I use Google Earth almost daily to follow the movement of our birds. While we are out in the “field”, we rely on hand-held Global Positioning System devices for navigating and marking specific locations, like shorebird nests in Arctic vastness.


4. What are your tricks for time management?

Brad: I work well early in the day, and far less effectively later in the afternoon and evening. I try to line up the more detailed work needs in the morning, and tasks like photo archiving for late in the day. I usually have lunch sitting at my desk to take advantage of my most productive time.


5. What was the best advice you received when you started your career?

Brad: I heard from several people when I was young that told me the best way to enter into a fulfilling career is to “follow my heart,” and similar advice came from my dad: “find what you love to do most and see if you can make a living doing it.” I am not sure he ever knew how influential he was on the paths I took to get where I am now, but am very glad that I took his advice.


6. Given the current economic climate, what has been your strategy for building awareness of the Center for Conservation Sciences (in short term and long term)?

Brad: Our work, and the results of what we do as a conservation organization, has positive measurable impacts that we can show. People that get to know us and our causes usually stay involved. To get the word out about who we are and what we do, Manomet has a really good communication team who have been teaching me the value of social media. We have a web page at with links to almost everything we do. Our communications team maintains a Manomet Facebook page, and they have trained me in the value of Twitter (@BradfordWinn and @Manometcenter). We tell the shorebird story to help others understand how incredible these birds really are, and how rare some of them are becoming. Our growth comes from more and more people recognizing the quality of the conservation work we are doing and helping to support our organization.


7. What is your proudest achievement as an accomplished professional?

Brad: I have many proud moments in my career, but those that really stand out involve the outcomes of very long projects that result in protection of critical habitat and broad public awareness and appreciation of the needs for rare migrant species. One proud moment as a conservation leader, was achieving wide-spread public support for protection of five small sandbar islands for nesting birds on the coast of Georgia.


8. How do you achieve balance in your life?

Brad: I guess my life is not very balanced, frequently leaning into “over-dedicated.” But when a project we are working on really gets traction, and begins to show that return on investment I mentioned earlier, the reward is immeasurable and deeply satisfying.


9. Your top 3 book recommendations?


1) “Moonbird: A year on the wind with the great survivor, B-95” by Phillip Hoose.

2) My sister’s book “Mrs. Somebody Somebody” by Tracy Winn, and

3) “The World of the Salt Marsh: Appreciating and Protecting the Tidal Marshes of the Southeastern Atlantic Coast” by Charles Seabrook.


10. What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

Brad: That is a very interesting question but I need to twist it a bit. I work for one of the oldest and most respected not-for-profit conservation organizations in the country, so I would have to say that fostering relationships with people who want to do good things for bird conservation is the most rewarding charitable involvement I have.


11. Who has influenced your career the most? 

Brad: I can name three people who have influenced my career the most. My grandfather for taking us on nature walks in the morning, the Director of a wildlife sanctuary on Martha’s Vineyard named Gus Bendavid for answering the millions of questions I had for him, and then Senior Biologist emeritus here at Manomet, Brian Harrigton, who I replaced am and now trying to emulate.


12. What is your advice for someone interested in starting a business?

Brad: Follow your heart.



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