Saturday, July 31, 2010

Want to know the secrets for success? Entrepreneurial equations

Aside from NAAAP-Seattle, NSHMBA, Tutta Bella, Chen Communications also helped organized this panel.

Want to see more photos from this event? Join NAAAP-Seattle on Facebook.

Some fifty entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, and those who just wanted to be inspired squeezed into the back room of Tutta Bella on Stone Way on July 29 for NAAAP-Seattle’s second collaborative event with the National Society of Hispanic MBAS this year, which was entitled, "Entrepreneur Panel, Secrets of our Successes."

The three guest panelists who founded their own companies included Murthy Kalkura "MK" of 4AM Corp; Rachel Valdez of 16 Copenhagen; and Beto Yarce of Cinti Fine Mexican Jewelry. The session was moderated by NAAAP-Seattle President Gil Gido, who also has his own company, Ulysses' Social Media.

For an hour, the panelists shared their secrets and stories with the attentive audience. Before starting their own business, they had all worked in the corporate world.

Yarce came to Seattle from Guadalajara, Mexico seven years ago. One day at Westlake Center, he passed by Something Silver jewelry store and thought, "I can make jewelry too!"

He asked his mother to send him silver and beads from Mexico and he began to sell his jewelry to his co-workers at the restaurant where he worked as a bus boy.

Yarce's parents were visiting from Mexico and sat in the front row. And Yarce also now sells his jewelry wholesale to Something Silver.

Valdez said that she started her own full-service design agency after decades working in the corporate world because she wanted to spend more time with her family and her relationships.

Because Valdez is responsible for all the creative, financial, and technical strategy for her company, sometimes running a business can get stressful.

"My own mental state can be measured like a speedometer," said Valdez. "On one end, there's possibility and on the other end, there's panic. Sometimes when you feel like you in panic mode, you have to conscientiously work yourself back to possibility."

Kalkura also said he decided to started his own company because he wanted to be there to see his last child grow up. The very name of his company reflects his dedication to his family: four members have names that start with the letter "A" and his name starts with the letter, which together forms "4AM."

Kalkura, who has a degree in chemistry, said, "I like to think of things in terms of equations."

"The key to your personal success is very simple," said Kalkura. "There are three 'N's": Niche + Network = Network."

He advised everyone to get "Linked In" with each other by the end of the evening, because "you never know where you'll get business from."

The entrepreneurs also talked about how they manage their own team of employees.

"I try to encourage a fun atmosphere at work," said Yarce. "You have to listen to what your team needs so that they can be creative and productive. If they need a refrigerator so that they can store their lunch, get them a refrigerator. If they would like a little bit of wine while they work, it's not so bad to have some wine...within limits of course!"

The audience was sated with stories and secrets of success and slices of Tutta Bella pizza.

Ed Alipio, former NAAAP-Seattle board member, and Flora Li, NAAAP-Seatttle member, said they found the panel to be 'inspirational and educational."

Carolina Martinez said, "I really liked what Rachel said about passing on your passion and experience, so that people can believe in your cause."

Inspired by her long time friend, Beto Yarce, Martinez too wants to open up her own business, which would be a organic/local food restaurant.

NAAAP-Seattle member, Heidu Yu, is already an entrepreneur, with her own IT outsourcing company.

"It was a great, easy way for people to learn about being an entrepreneur," said Yu.
"I think it's inspiring, especially for new immigrants, to see their success."

Yu added, "I like being an entrepreneur because of the flexibility and money!"

Yan Xiang, a NAAAP-Seattle member, said, "You can read a book and get theoretical information, but it's great to hear ideas and stories from real people."

The audience also impressed the panelists.

"Everyone was very enthusiastic and attentive," said Kalkura. "And they wanted me to repeat my message, which means they were listening!"

This won't be the last time NAAAP-Seattle and NSHMBA partner.

"Our partnership with NAAAP has been terrific. At NSHMBA, we value team work and collaboration among different groups coming together to roll up sleeves towards achieving a common goal," said Geraldize Rodriguez, NSHMBA Board Member – Community Relations. "In this case, working with NAAAP allowed our entrepreneurs and those aspiring to connect outside of their traditional circles of network and create new partnerships and clients. Working with allies helps an organization disseminate a message to a larger and diverse audience, reinforces positively the importance of team work, diversity of thought and efficiency."

Come join NAAAP and NSHMBA at the next event they co-host, "Career Transitions Panel Event Speaker Series" on September 7. National Black MBAs Association will also help organize the event, which will be sponsored by State Farm Insurance.

Photos by Julie Pham: top, Richard Cheng, Heidi Yu, and Yan Xiang; middle, Geraldine Rodriguez, Rachel Valdez, Beto Yarce, Murthy Kalkura, Gil Gido, Richard Velazquez; bottom, audience at Tutta Bella Stoneway.


  1. Niche + Network = NetWorth.......

    "four members have names that start with the letter "A" and his name starts with the letter "M", which together forms "4AM."

    Thanks for the great evening

  2. who doesn't want to know the secrets for success? I'm also thinking to start my own business as soon as possible. I would like to meet famous entrepreneurs like Yuri Mintskovsky or Mark Zuckerberg. I can learn so many important things from these great people!