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Posts tagged ‘CEO’

Sheryl Tuchman, Founder & CEO of Tools2Succeed


Sheryl Tuchman

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, is the founder and CEO of Tools 2 Succeed, a training and development company focused on improving performance, developing leaders, and engaging employees.  Tools 2 Succeed creates high-performance organizations in which every employee feels and acts like a partner in the business and is excited to contribute to its success.  She coaches people to reach their goals and dreams.  Her wide variety of business and technical experience includes more than 25 years working for major corporations and managing large IT teams and budgets. During her corporate career, Sheryl designed and implemented planning and governance processes for the IT departments of multi-billion dollar corporations, including Baxter Healthcare, Global Crossing, J. Walter Thompson Advertising, and Transamerica Financial Services. She provided leadership for IT in the areas of Organizational Development, Program Management, Process Improvement, Governance, and Mergers and Acquisitions.  She designed and built the worldwide internal IT infrastructure of Global Crossing and Transamerica Financial Services. Sheryl has managed large international IT teams, including employees in Australia, Asia, Latin America and Europe. Midway through her corporate career, like so many others, Sheryl suddenly found herself moving from a hands-on technical position to managing people.  She says that she learned the “hard way” how to hire, fire, motivate and empower her team.  In her corporate positions, leadership training was either not offered at all or was given at most once per year.  A short time after the training, it would be forgotten.   This experience led Sheryl to launch “The Compass Series”, a 12-month workshop series designed to teach managers and supervisors to lead, empower and motivate their employees. Each month, Sheryl and her trainers reinforce the skills learned last month.  Participants keep in touch throughout the series and help coach each other.

Sheryl holds a B.A. cum laude in Linguistics and Psychology from the University of California at Los Angeles and a State of California Multiple Subjects lifetime teaching credential.  She has been certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) by the Human Resources Certification Institute.  She is a Certified Professional Coach and a Registered Career Coach.  Her technical certifications include Novell Certified Network Engineer (CNE) and Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP).  Sheryl was awarded the Competent Communicator designation by Toastmaster’s International. Sheryl is the Webmaster and Communications Chair for PIHRA District 9 and Director of Career Services for the NHRA Ventura County. She was named the PIHRA District 9 “Member of the Year” for 2011.  Sheryl is a volunteer for Junior Achievement of Southern California, inspiring young people to succeed in life.

Tools 2 Succeed provides business training, consulting, and coaching services to facilitate organizational growth and change. With more than 25 years of global business and technical experience in multiple industries, Tools 2 Succeed can provide you with the right tools to help your business to succeed.


1. Please share with us how you got started with Tools 2 Succeed?

Sheryl: After 25 years in the corporate world, I was laid off one too many times! As Director of IT for several major corporations, I realized that over the years, I had learned so much about supervision and leadership and wanted to share my skills with others who had also been promoted from a staff level position to management. As I had previously taught elementary school and hold a lifetime State of California Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential, teaching comes naturally to me.


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

Sheryl: My most exciting days are those that I spend teaching. As an example, I am currently facilitating a leadership workshop series for the management team of a hospital in Los Angeles. Once a month, I leave my house at 6:15 AM, arrive at the hospital at approximately 7:45 AM, and prepare to facilitate the morning workshop from 8:30 AM to noon for 16 managers. Our sessions are fun and interactive, with lots of laughter, exercises, games, role-play, as well as serious discussions on how to apply the topic to the workplace every day.  At the end of each workshop, participants write performance plans, pick “accountability partners”, and are given a homework assignment to be completed by the next workshop. At the next workshop the following month, we review the homework assignments, topics are reinforced and the concept of “a high-performance team” is discussed at each workshop. When we review the homework assignment, I feel a sense of pride in the accomplishments of the participants.  When the morning workshop ends at noon, I straighten up the room, set out the materials for the next workshop, take a quick lunch break, then repeat the workshop for another group of 16 managers from 1 PM to 4:30 PM.  Although it has been a long day, I am excited to have shared my knowledge and watched the changes in the participants.  After straightening up the room, I drive home in the LA traffic, thinking about next month’s workshop.


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

Sheryl: I use Dragon Naturally Speaking for hands-free dictation which helps relieve my sore hands after 25 years in IT!

4. What are your tricks for time management?

Sheryl: I constantly ask myself, “What is the best use of my time right now?” I make sure to schedule time for those things that are most important to me in the long run, as well as those things that must be done to keep my clients happy every day.


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

Sheryl: I was advised to spend time on “high–payoff activities” every day — those activities that would lead to new business.


6. Given the current economic climate, what has been your strategy for building awareness of Tools 2 Succeed for short term and long term growth?

Sheryl: Targeted advertising, exhibiting at conferences, SEO strategies, consistent branding, and lots of networking have helped to build awareness of Tools 2 Succeed.


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

Sheryl: Hearing about the positive changes taking place in an organization after a series of Tools 2 Succeed workshops makes me proud and keeps me passionate about my work.


8. How do you achieve balance in your life?

Sheryl: I am still working on the balance, but it is getting better!  My husband helps by encouraging me to plan fun activities and vacations well in advance.


9. Your top 3 book recommendations?


  • [amazon_link id=”0066620996″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Good to Great[/amazon_link] by Jim Collins
  • [amazon_link id=”0385504357″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Managing for the Short Term: The New Rules for Running A Business In A Day To Day World[/amazon_link] by Chuck Martin
  • [amazon_link id=”B003D7JTI6″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Middle Class Millionaire: The Rise of the New Rich and How They Are Changing America[/amazon_link] by Russ Allen Price and Lewis Schiff


10. What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

Sheryl: I serve on the Board of Directors for several Human Resources associations and use a lot of what I teach to help the leadership of these organizations.


11. Who has influenced your career the most?

Sheryl: I can’t say that a single person has significantly influenced my career. Over the years, I have learned so much as an employee, as a manager, and as an observer in many organizations. I ask for feedback and use it to learn and improve.


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

Sheryl: Learn as much as you can by talking to others in your desired field.  Write a detailed business plan, but realize that things may turn out quite differently than you originally planned. When something doesn’t work, analyze the situation and figure out whether you need to stop it completely or change it to make it work.

Hilary DeCesare – Co-Founder

Hilary DeCesare’s BIO

Hilary DeCesare

Co-founder of, Hilary DeCesare is an award-winning entrepreneur, experienced in all aspects of launching and growing a business and is a digital parenting expert. Hilary developed the Everloop platform to give kids under 13 a safe, online homebase to connect with friends, play games, share pictures and music, discover new talents and learn using the most powerful online privacy protection and technologies available. A digital parenting expert and technology leader, Hilary was invited to The White House Conference on Bullying Prevention and is a frequent contributor on major news outlets. She has been a chapter director for Tweenangels, a division of WiredSafety that educates and empowers kids regarding Internet safety. She was recognized as one of AlwaysOn’s “Top 25 Women in Tech to Watch” in both 2010 and 2011 and was honored with the prestigious 2010 DEMOgod Award. Previously, Hilary co-founded White Space Ink, a management-consulting firm that specialized in technology start-ups. She also worked at Oracle Corporation, a multinational technology company, where she garnered more than 100 worldwide managerial sales awards. Hilary is a mother of twin boy and girl teens and a tween. She is on the board of directors for the Max Cure Foundation, dedicated to finding medical cures that save children’s lives. Hilary is graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a B.A. in Psychology. More information about Hilary DeCesare can be found here:


1. Please share with us what prompted you to create White Space Ink &

Hilary: I first left Oracle, after 10 years, to start White Space Ink which provided strategic guidance to CEO’s and entrepreneurs, especially in the technology space. During this time my kids were beginning to use the computer more and what I was seeing is that a lot of sites they were visiting were created for adults – so I grew concerned about their safety and privacy. I started with two other co-founders to create a safe site, specifically for kids. With all the cool technology and features they were looking for, such as social connections, but in a safer, secure environment just for them. We started around a passion to keep kids safe online and across all devices.


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

Hilary: Seeing as I am not only an entrepreneur but also a “mom-eneur,” my days are a little bit longer than one might expect. I typically work from about 4 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. doing business and then at 6:30 I switch hats and put my mom hat on until my kids leave the door at 7:30. The rest of the day is incredibly fast-paced until I come home to have dinner with my kids around 7 p.m. and then work another couple of hours once they are asleep. My schedule is nonstop. Once you put my kid’s schedules with mine, some would call it chaos… but I call it love.


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

Hilary: Clearly as a business woman, many of my apps revolve around business – so of course calendar and email. We are in are Series A which requires me to travel for fundraising and meetings with strategic partners so the navigation apps are extremely useful. I use several news and technology information apps to quickly stay up-to-date on trends. YouTube is great to stay up-to-date with what is popular and the ease of Instagram has been great for keeping in touch and seeing what is going on quickly with friends and family.


4. What are your tricks for time management?

Hilary: You have to be incredibly organized and focused. I am a list person and I use technology as much as I possibly can to help manage my time. I have the app on my phone so I can join meetings from wherever I am. As a CEO of a start-up business, it’s a tough balance to be connected to every aspect of the business, so I do my best to find ways to be virtually connected whenever I can. I also have a great team. So by having clear objectives and goals I am able to delegate and know that we are all on the same page and what needs to get done will get done. But of course, I wish there was more time in the day.


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

Hilary: The Wayne Gretsky quote “Don’t look at where the puck is, look where it is going”. Technology is changing things today at such a rapid pace. CEO’s and entrepreneurs need to have good vision and not just see where things are but where they can and will be.


6. Given the current economic climate, what has been your strategy for building awareness of for short-term and long-term growth?

Hilary: First and foremost it is having the right product. You need to really understand who you are creating your product for and make sure you are making the best product for that audience. This also helps when you don’t have a lot of money as the audience helps build awareness via word of mouth. So you need to have a team that understands grassroots and the viral capabilities in your industry. It’s also really important to be willing to partner with others to have joint campaigns/activities so you can with a bigger name presence.


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

Hilary: I have been fortunate in that I have set out to accomplish several things and have been able to achieve key milestones which have allowed me to set even greater goals. I was extremely proud of launching Everloop, and then EverText, which became the first ever moderated texting feature for kids and was approved by all major carriers. But one of the things I am most proud of is that that I wanted Everloop to help make a difference in kids lives and help prepare them to be safer, responsible digital citizens before they go out onto older-skewed sites that do not have as many safety tools for them. Through our moderation, safety and training tools we see kids are really learning what is acceptable online and what could get them or someone else in trouble. We have great case studies of kids making mistakes or doing something that could have really got them in trouble on the outside web and instead learning from them and ending up being excellent contributors to the Everloop community.


9. How do you achieve balance in your life?

Hilary: Is there such a thing? (Laughing) But if i have to say there is balance … You have to set your priorities. You have your business, you have your children and family and you have your health. You have to make time for all of them and you have to prioritize them – your family is really the number one priority because without them you really have nothing. I’ve seen a lot of people that get caught up with working 18 hours a day and they miss that. I strongly encourage people to set their cell phones down and turn their desktop off and really enjoy what is right in front of them because you don’t want to miss those moments


10. Your top 3 book recommendations?

Hilary: Of course being heavily into technology I enjoyed reading Walter Isaacson’s biography on Steve Jobs. Another would be Guy Kawasaki’s most recent book, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. And the third one is Blue Ocean by Kim and Mauborgne


11. What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

Hilary: I strongly believe in giving back and do a lot of volunteering and charitable work, especially regarding children’s charities and causes. My most rewarding charitable involvement would have to be my work with Max Cure, an organization dedicated to finding medical cures that save children’s lives. I also have an incredibly strong connection with the three charities that I worked with during my time as ABC’s Secret Millionaire, and those charities are New Hope, Shoestring City Ranch and Love in the Mirror.


12. Who has influenced your career the most?

Hilary: I have been incredibly blessed to have some great mentors from Ray Lane, the chairman of the Board at HP, to Kay Koplovitz, the former President of the USA Network. Mentors like these individuals have helped me bypass some of the mistakes that they made, have always been there for me to bounce my ideas off of and have helped to really make me who I am today.


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

Hilary: My biggest piece of advice is document what you think you have in a one page summary and share it with 5 trusted advisers. Ask for their opinion and what they think you should do next. Too many people get stuck in a rut with what they think is a great idea and never ask others for feedback. Trust your mentors. They may be able to help you get to the end faster than you would be able to without them.

Elvira Grau – CEO and Founder of

Elvira Grau’s BIO

Elvira Grau

Elvira Grau is a Russian immigrant who built her business from scratch starting in Englewood, New Jersey. A happily married mother of 4, Elvira proves that women really can have it all and is a firm believer that hard work can lead to the “American Dream.” She founded Space Odyssey USA in 2005 when she discovered an empty, 26,000 square foot warehouse and envisioned a one-of-a-kind, fantastical entertainment and private events space. Entering into its 7th anniversary this September, Elvira has hosted over 7,200 events at Space since its inception. The destination for some of the biggest and most outrageous celebrity events, birthday parties and celebrations, Space Odyssey USA is run by Elvira with her husband, Emmy award winning television producer Jim. Prior to creating Space Odyssey USA and launching her entertaining career, Elvira was a successful marketing and public relations executive, handling Fortune 500 clients. More information about Elvira Grau can be found here:


1. Please share with us what prompted you to create

Elvira: As a mother first and foremost, it was initially for my own personal need and my desire to create a safe, clean and controlled environment for my own children. Having 4 kids who ranged, at the time, from 4-12 years old, I wanted to design an entertainment space filled with a diverse array games and attractions that would appeal to all age groups. Space Odyssey USA is a 26,000 sq. ft. galaxy filled with the most high-tech video games, laser tag, paintless paintball, glow in the dark bowling, a 3 level indoor playground, a train ride and even a Studio 54-like nightclub.

Space Odyssey USA combines the best aspects of a catering hall, a nightclub, and a gaming arcade; it’s conducive for both kids and adults. We’ve created endless fun for kids and an elegant venue for adults.


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

Elvira: People often say to me “Elvira, you work so hard. You put in so many hours,” etc. I always tell them that if you really love what you do, you don’t consider it work and you certainly don’t count the hours. An entrepreneur is someone who thrives on creativity, and who takes pleasure in launching a product or service that others will benefit from.

When I came up with the concept for Space Odyssey USA, it was an original and organic development. I didn’t buy a franchise, so no one told me how to do anything or how the business model was going to work out. I had to figure it all out on my own. Trial and error was the way I learned what worked and what didn’t.

I grew my business one party at a time, treating each event as if it was for my own family. It’s how I plan every party to this day; I operate with pure intentions and high integrity.

I wake up every day and ask myself, “What can I do today to make my business better? What more can I do?” As an entrepreneur, it’s always about what’s next. You have to be on top of your game.


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

Elvira: I can’t live without my iPhone. For a while, I couldn’t live without my Blackberry. For years I wouldn’t give up the keyboard- I write a lot so I was a “crack berry” user. When I finally switched to an iPhone, it became my most valuable tool for business. I’m able to do everything on it! It’s my office on the go!


4. What are your tricks for time management?

Elvira: Luckily I’m in a creative industry so whenever I have an idea or thought, I share instantly with my staff. I’m big on texting and emails; communication is everything! I’m not one for “once a week meetings.” I have a million ideas every day, so I need to communicate frequently. Instead of waiting on scheduled times to handle different aspects of business, I manage my time best by communicating an idea or concern as soon as it comes to me or is brought to my attention.


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

Elvira: This will sound like a cliché, but honestly I tell all my young staff “find something that you truly enjoy doing, and then figure out how to make money doing it.” It’s something we’ve all heard at one time or another, but it’s true and it’s what worked for me.

When I was younger, I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up. I knew that I was very creative, but it took awhile for me to figure out how to capitalize on it. Another key piece of advice that influenced me when I was starting my career was to “just stick to it.” Eventually it will find its way. When people jump around too much, they never accomplish anything.  It’s like a relationship… You have to invest time into anything that you want to grow and accomplish.


6. Given the current economic climate, what has been your strategy for building awareness of for short-term and long-term growth?

Elvira: Reputation is everything! You’re only as good as you last party. I tell all my staff, there are no second chances, and we only have one time to get it right. It’s like a Broadway play- the curtain opens and we’re live. As long as we continue to give our clients everything they want and more, we will do well. Happy clients refer business, and whether the economy is up or down, people still need to celebrate the milestones in life. I also work with clients on their own budgets.


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

Elvira: Repeat business! I’m now hosting parties for the siblings, friends, and other family members of my current clients. I love when families come back to me for parties for their second and third child after a birthday, bar/bat mitzvah or sweet sixteen. It’s the biggest form of a compliment to me. They trust me, and that’s priceless!


8. How do you achieve balance in your life?

Elvira: It’s not easy; I try to be the best that I can be at everything I do. If I’m home, it’s all about the kids and my family. When I’m at work, it’s all about my staff and my clients. I’m a wife, mom, daughter, friend and boss. I balance it all by prioritizing each at the right time.


9. Your top 3 book recommendations?

Elvira: Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of spare time to read! I started 50 Shades of Grey, but didn’t finish it.


10. What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

Elvira: American Cancer Society, Chrons  & Colitis, UJA & Kabbalah Centre of NY.


11. Who has influenced your career the most?

Elvira: My husband. I adore him. He’s the most supportive husband and my best friend. I couldn’t do it without him. He’s my ROCK!


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

Elvira: Never give up! If you have tenacity, perseverance, a true desire to succeed and passion for what you do, you will go far. I was told many times to give up when I first started. People said my idea wouldn’t work. Space Odyssey USA is celebrating its 7th Anniversary this September. I didn’t listen and I didn’t give up….it works.

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