8:30 a.m. Pacific standard time

Chasing their dream, moderated by Deborah Norville, Anchor, Inside Edition

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Session recap

Chasing their dream, moderated by Deborah Norville, Anchor, Inside Edition

On Saturday, past winners of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award, including the winner of the 2013 US Entrepreneur of the Year, Hamid Moghadam, shared their stories and a few of the lessons they’ve learned while chasing the dream.

In the interview with Deborah Norville of Inside Edition, Moghadam said that when he met other national winners at the 2014 World Entrepreneur of the Year Event in Monte Carlo, he realized that nearly all shared one common trait: “I didn’t meet anyone who has had a straight ride up the ladder. There are always setbacks, setting the stage for the next level of success.”

Moghadam also said the entrepreneurs he met excelled at “identifying pain points” and then turning them into opportunities.

Sheila Johnson, CEO of Salamander Hotels and Resorts, recognized that opportunity in 1979 when she realized “there was no one to advocate for African Americans on cable TV” and founded Black Entertainment Television (BET). Johnson later sold BET to Viacom for $3 billion in 2003 before founding hospitality company Salamander.

Johnson and the other panelists also agreed that successful entrepreneurs can’t do it all on their own. “You all have to have the same vision. You have to live and breathe it every day,” she said.

For Jim Nixon, who bought the company that later became Varel International Energy Services, making sure that his employees and management team shared his vision was an integral part of his company’s success.

“We set audacious goals to become a globally recognized brand in the oil services industry,” he said, noting that his small company had to compete against some of the largest companies in the world to do so. To give everyone the opportunity to take their own steps toward helping the company, “we share monthly dashboards with all employees,” Nixon added.

The desire to create jobs, especially in distressed communities, is another trait often shared by successful entrepreneurs. Andra Rush, Chairman and CEO of the Rush Group Family of Companies, said her company, which manufactures and delivers supplies to automotive companies, opened a business in the Detroit area in 2012.

“We now have more than 800 employees and their passion is unbelievable,” she said.


Deborah Norville speaks at EY Strategic Growth Forum

Deborah Norville
Inside Edition


Sheila C. Johnson speaks at EY Strategic Growth Forum

Sheila C. Johnson
Salamander Hotels and Resorts


Hamid Moghadam speaks at EY Strategic Growth Forum

Hamid Moghadam
Chairman & CEO


Jim Nixonspeaks at EY Strategic Growth Forum

Jim Nixon
President and CEO
Varel International Energy Services


Andra M. Rush speaks at EY Strategic Growth Forum

Andra M. Rush
Chairman and CEO
Rush Group Family of Companies