Entrepreneurs: drive to thrive
moderated by Deborah Norville, host of Inside Edition
How do entrepreneurs turn an idea into a successful business? How do they turn a not-so-obvious opportunity into a profitable enterprise? In the Entrepreneurs: drive to thrive session Saturday, we heard how three EY Entrepreneur Of The Year winners turned their ideas into reality.
Andrew Mack saw a country that was largely indifferent to tea surrounded by a world that loved it. And he asked: why don’t people in the U.S. get it? And how can we make them get it? Teavana was the answer.
Kevin Reddy of Noodles and Company began working at McDonald’s at 15, and he was quickly captivated by the business. “I think the restaurant business is great. A lot of life happens around a meal,” Reddy said.
And Dr. Alan Ulsifer founded FYIdoctors to help eye care practitioners retain and gain market share. He pitched the idea of building a supply chain to 10 independent practices; his company took off after “they called my bluff,” he said.
As their companies grew, each focused on getting the infrastructure in place to scale their companies. Whether that took the form of a line of credit, private equity or eventually going public, each emphasized that preparation is key, and investment in infrastructure is essential.
Reddy gave the audience this advice: “Do as much as you can when you’re under the radar screen, because once you’re on it, everything’s exposed.”
Veteran journalist Deborah Norville has been Anchor of Inside Edition since March 1995. Ratings jumped 15% the week the two-time Emmy winner joined the series, which is now the nation’s top-rated syndicated newsmagazine. Norville is also a best-selling author. Her latest book, The Power of Respect: Benefit from the Most Forgotten Element of Success, provides a timely explanation of the measurable increases in productivity, creativity and other benefits that result from respectful behavior. The book follows her New York Times Best Seller, Thank You Power: Making the SCIENCE of Gratitude Work for YOU. It is her work in television that’s made Deborah a household name. As Anchor of Inside Edition, she has covered a wide variety of stories and events. She broadcast from Washington, DC, hours after the terror attacks of September 11, was in Rome for the funeral of Pope John Paul II, anchored Inside Edition’s coverage of the funeral of former President Ronald Reagan and the inauguration of President Barack Obama, and is regularly on the red carpet for Hollywood’s star-studded events, including the Oscars and the Emmy Awards.
Andrew Mack founded Teavana in 1997 and has served as the company’s CEO since that time. Mr. Mack led Teavana through a successful initial public offering in 2011 and the sale of the company to Starbucks Corporation in 2012. Mr. Mack continues to lead the Global Tea organization for Starbucks as Senior Vice President in addition to continuing his duties as founder and CEO of Teavana. Prior to founding Teavana, Mr. Mack held various management positions in the restaurant industry. He is a graduate of East Tennessee State University, where he received a BBA in Marketing.
Kevin Reddy is Chairman and CEO of Noodles & Company where he provides leadership for 368 company and franchise-owned restaurants. Under his direction, Noodles & Company underwent a successful IPO and has received several notable awards, including the 2013 National Restaurant News MenuMasters Award for Best Line Extension. Kevin’s leadership has been recognized by Restaurant Business Magazine and Restaurant Finance Monitor, who named him Entrepreneur of the Year and All-Star CEO respectively. He currently serves on the Executive Advisory Board to the Daniels School of Business at the University of Denver. He is an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Rocky Mountain Award winner.
Dr. Alan Ulsifer is the CEO, Chair and Founder of FYidoctors in Canada. The company, which formed in 2008, is a consolidation and vertical integration of independent eye care providers in Canada. The creation of the business required building a robotic optical lens manufacturing facility, an offshore frame distribution business, a business-to-consumer foundation, and general management and marketing platforms. In five short years it has grown to more than 210 locations. Dr. Ulsifer has an extensive real estate background and is a principal and director of Three Squared Properties. He was named the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2012 Canada Award winner.