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reThink: SUCCESS

reThink: SUCCESS

There’s a meeting at 9 a.m., then a second at 11 a.m. and a third two hours later, so sometime between 2 and 4 in the afternoon works best.

This is how life works for Kristen Hadeed, the founder of Student Maid, a skilled marketer, inspirational speaker and tireless worker whose newest endeavor tackles a subject with which she’s become quite familiar: success.

On July 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Hadeed will host reThink: Success at the Santa Fe College Fine Arts Hall. This first-of-its-kind symposium brings 12 local and national speakers together to discuss the one thing they all have in common:  “They’re successful at what they do,” Hadeed says.

Each speaker will present the audience with one success-building secret from his or her own personal experience, leaving those in attendance with 12 inspirational morsels they can then apply to their own lives.

“Success is something we all care about no mater what our job is,” Hadeed says. “I think the attendees will get a lot of takeaways.”

The symposium is the first for FreshSpark, Hadeed’s new event company. She is quick to point out that FreshSpark is not a departure from Student Maid, but, rather, an extension of her coed cleaning service.

She’s equally quick to point out that this is a collaborative effort, the primary principals of which are Hadeed’s sister, Lauren, and one-time Student Maid employees Allison Kuipers and Amanda Baltzegar.

“It was hard,” Hadeed says. “But we have a really great team, and we’re all passionate about this idea.”

Hadeed and her crew came up with the idea for reThink: Success in March after brainstorming and realizing they couldn’t come to a consensus on one speaker. The hope was a group of diverse speakers, discussing something everybody can relate to, would be attractive to both businesses and start-ups.

“I’m integrated heavily in both communities,” says Hadeed, who expects about 500 people to attend. “And I know that there’s a gap, but I don’t know why. In order for our community to be a hub, to keep talented people here, we have to bridge that gap.”

Hadeed hopes this will start a positive trend, as at least 10 startups will get a chance to showcase their work at the event. And, in keeping with their out-of-the-box mentality, they’ve also turned lunch into a food-truck rally.

But perhaps the most uplifting news to Hadeed and her crew was the positive reception they received from prospective speakers.

“Everyone was gung ho about it,” she says. “I’m confident we can keep this going and have different speakers every year.”

The only question left is if Hadeed, who will emcee the event, is going to share her own secret to success. “I may,” she teases. “I may work it in there.”


Meet the speakers


Sam Tarantino: 

In 2006, Tarantino and partner Josh Greenberg founded the free music-streaming website Grooveshark while he was studying economics at UF. The site now has more than 21 million users. Tarantino was named to Forbes magazine’s annual “30 under 30” list, a compilation of young “disruptors, innovators and entrepreneurs.” 




Dina_Dwyer_Owens_RETOUCHED Dina Dwyer-Owens:

Dwyer-Owens is CEO and chairwoman of The Dwyer Group out of Waco, Texas. The Dwyer Group is the holding company for seven service-based franchise brands operating in 10 countries.  The Dwyer Group recently   participated in an episode of CBS’s reality show, “Undercover Boss.” 


 Q: How is running a successful business different than what you thought it would be?

A: I have found that as business owners/entrepreneurs we touch so many more lives than just our employees, franchisees, and customers.


Q: What’s the biggest thing you struggle with as an entrepreneur?

A: The biggest thing I struggle with is making sure my commitment to God and family come first; it’s so easy to be married to the business.


Jason_Lucash_RETOUCHED Jason Lucash: 

Lucash is co-founder of OrigAudio, which makes premium-quality, portable, eco-friendly audio products. The company, which Lucash co-founded with Mike Szymczak, appeared on an episode of “Shark Tank” in 2009. Its foldable speakers (modeled after a Chinese takeout box) were named one of Time magazine’s 50 best inventions that year. 

Q: How do you measure success?

 A: I measure success in a couple of different ways. First when we launch a product I can measure the success of it when we’re at a tradeshow or an event where our consumers can really touch and feel the product. That’s the point when we get the best reactions out of them and the true honesty if they think our product is amazing. Second, I can measure success based on the viral aspects of our products. We usually build very creative viral videos to go along with each product launch, and I can tell if we’ve succeeded by watching the number of the views on the video go up and up and up.

Q: What’s one helpful piece of advice you were given along the way?

A: One piece of advice that I was given along the way was: Every startup needs [three] important things: A good lawyer, insurance, and a solid bank behind them. It took us a little bit to get all [these] things but we finally did.


Nadia_Kamal_RETOUCHEDNadia Kamal: 

Kamal is principal and CEO of Onyx Creative Group, a Tallahassee-based marketing and business consulting firm. Onyx has been named Tallahassee’s Best Web and Graphic Design firm for two consecutive years. 

Q: How do you define success?

A: This question brings to mind a very poignant quote by Anna Quindlen: “If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.”

How many people do we know that are spending all of their time and energy on someone else’s definition of success? Nothing makes me sadder. But I understand it, because it takes a lot more work to identify your own path. Everything changes when you just stop trying to be anything but what you truly are. For me, success is not about typical fame or fortune. I simply want to help other people grow and affect the world positively as a result. This is my fundamental waking desire for my family, my clients and my employees. When I am able to contribute to the success of others, I feel success in my heart.

Q: What’s one piece of helpful advice you were given along the way?

A: Let your faith rise above your fear. Growing up, doing the right thing, making a difference in the world, this can be scary stuff. But success is mathematical. As long as your faith is greater than your fear, you will be successful.


John_Spence_RETOUCHEDJohn Spence: 

A Gainesville resident, Spence is one of America’s most highly sought after professional speakers and executive educators. The author of “Awesomely Simple,” Spence is an expert at coaching strategic thinking, high-performance teams, advanced leadership development and superior customer service.

Q: What’s one helpful piece of advice you were given along the way?

A: Build your house on a rock; no one can ever take away your education.

Q: Who’s someone you consider successful and why?

A: Richard Branson – not for the money – but it seems like he really has fun in what it does and lives life to the fullest.


Simon_Sinek_webSimon Sinek: Sinek is author of the book, “Start with Why” and the fourth most-watched speaker on A regular contributor to several publications, Sinek also teaches a graduate-level strategic communications course at Columbia University in New York. 






Diana_Kelly_RETOUCHEDDiana E. Kelly: A UF grad, Kelly is founder of Diana E. Kelly, Inc., a Sarasota-based shoe design company focusing on quality, comfort and social responsibility. Ten percent of the company’s proceeds go to charity. 

Q: What’s your most memorable experience (so far) as an entrepreneur?

A: My most memorable experience was seeing photos of our first 6,000 pairs of shoes being loaded onto a container to be shipped to our warehouse and then actually seeing those shoes being loaded onto our shelves at our first warehouse! It was monumental.

Q: What’s the biggest thing you struggle with as an entrepreneur?

A: Hands down it’s balance. Balancing the design aspect of the business with the business aspect and also balancing a personal life with life as an entrepreneur.



Joe_Cirulli_RETOUCHEDJoe Cirulli:

Founder of Gainesville Health & Fitness, Cirulli worked from the bottom up to build Gainesville’s fitness empire. His inspiration: 1) help people become healthy; 2) building a company culture that inspires people to be their best. 

See Also

Q: How is running a successful business different than what you thought it would be?

A: I always planned on it being successful. I can reduce your question to one area. Always Saving Money to build a financially strong business. Once that’s in place you have the mental freedom to think about the company’s future without the stress of how to pay the bills and accomplish the future you dream of.

Q: If you could offer a first-time entrepreneur only one piece of advice, what would it be?

A: Learn everything you can about business by working for both good and bad companies. Look at everything and everyone as a learning opportunity.


Alex_Sifakis_RETOUCHEDAlex Sifakis:

A 2005 UF grad, Sifakis is co-founder and president of Jacksonville’s Wealth Builders, a real estate investment company. JWB purchases, renovates and rents distressed single-family homes, then sells them to their tenants. JWB was named the 12th best real estate company by Inc. magazine in 2012. 

Q: How do you measure success?

A: From an external perspective, I think success is best measured by your reputation and legacy — how are you thought of, and what will people think of you when you’re gone? To me, it doesn’t matter how much money you make or how many awards you win, if you have to break “the golden rule” to do it. From an internal perspective, I think success is measured by happiness. That is what we are all really striving for, right? To be happy? Here is a fun little experiment: Ask someone why they do what they do. After they answer that question, ask them “why” again, and keep doing that every time they answer.  Ninety-nine percent of the time, the final answer is, “to be happy.” For a great book on the subject, pick up “The Happiness Hypothesis,” by Jonathan Haidt.

Q: Your slogan is “Make People Happy,” how do you accomplish that?

A: That’s my personal vision statement — and honestly, that is what makes ME happy! I love connecting people, figuring out ways to introduce two people to create new opportunities, do things for people that will help them — even if it isn’t immediately helping me. What I have learned is that when you do that — help people without asking for anything in return — you end up getting back 10 times more than what you gave. Making people happy is a pretty easy two-step process. The first part is to figure out what they want, and why. It’s very hard to make anyone happy unless you truly understand what they want, and their motivations. The second part is to figure out a way to get them what they want! My business is real estate investments, and I do a lot of networking. Sometimes when I meet with people, we will hardly talk real estate, but during the conversation, we figure out I know someone they would like to be introduced to, or some resource I have that could be beneficial for them. So I will make that connection for them and help them out.


Geoff_Wilson_RETOUCHEDGeoff Wilson: Wilson started 352 Media Group out of his UF dorm room more than 15 years ago. The company now creates websites, software and marketing campaigns for a wide range of both large and small clients. Geoff and his wife, Kim, also manage SocialNewsDesk, a social media management platform for newsrooms. 

Q: What’s one of your most memorable experiences (so far) as an entrepreneur?

A: Since designers and software developers rarely dress up, we decided a few years ago to make our annual employee awards banquet a very fancy and formal affair. I enjoy seeing everyone dressed up, but most of all, I really enjoy giving out awards to our best employees of the year. It’s always emotional and very memorable for everyone involved, and it makes me proud of the great team we have built.

Q: How is running a successful business different than what you thought it would be?

A: I have learned the success of every business starts and ends with its people. At the end of the day, when everyone goes home at night, all I’m left with is an empty office filled with dusty computers, and that’s worth absolutely nothing. It’s what my people are able to accomplish that means everything.


Byron_Young_RETOUCHEDByron Young: Young dropped out of UF’s building construction program in 1998 and started a couple of semi-successful ventures before coming up with CordaRoy’s. Most people last saw Young on an episode of ABC’s “Shark Tank” in which he sold off 58 percent of his company for $200,000. 

Q: What’s your most memorable experience (so far) as an entrepreneur?

A: There have been many great experiences along my 16-year journey, but there’s no doubt that my appearance on ABC’s “Shark Tank” was by far the most memorable … and the most stressful! Not only did I have to memorize everything about my 16-year-old business, but I was also selling part of my business to a complete stranger. Thankfully everything worked out better than I could have imagined, and today my business is growing at a phenomenal pace!

Q: Looking back, what’s one thing you wish you understood about entrepreneurship before you ever got started?

A: I’m bad about always wanting to do things myself without asking for help. A mentor could have saved me a ton of time and money.


Gina_DannerGina Danner: Danner is co-founder of Mail Print, a provider of direct, data-driven marketing and one of the fastest-growing print-service providers in the Midwest. With more than 100 employees, the company is located in a 70,000-square-foot underground facility that houses more than $12 million worth of printing equipment and technology. 

Q: What’s one of your most memorable experiences (so far) as an entrepreneur?

A: There are three experiences that I consider very memorable:

The first is the time my hand shook when signing my first six-figure financing package, roughly 23 years ago.  It took a couple months to put that package together and a lot of second-guessing. The second is the last time I signed a financing package.  It was in the seven-figure range. I didn’t give it a second thought.  I knew where we were going and I knew we had a plan to get there. Since I speak to entrepreneurs, the third happens often. In the last three months, I’ve had several entrepreneurs tell me that I shared a piece of advice with them in the form of a challenge. Each has told me in a variety of ways that this piece of advice changed their lives. I got a chill up my spine. I had an impact on an entrepreneur. That does more to spur growth in our economy than any federal stimulus package ever could.

Q: If you could offer a first-time entrepreneur only one piece of advice, what would it be?

A: Always do what’s right. You know in black and white, at the core of who you are, what is right and what is wrong. You must always do what’s right. It will oftentimes cost you financially, but by doing what’s right, you will sleep at night (well, as much as any entrepreneur sleeps), your team will know that they can trust you and you will do right by them, you will never feel uncomfortable in public or feel like you have to dodge someone, and karma will pay you back tenfold.

Because we live by this philosophy, my team has come through for us personally when it was critical. The first was in 2007 when our father passed away. Essentially, my brothers and partners at the time checked out for some period of time. Our team knew what to do and did it. They took care of us. Recently, our mother passed away and again the team stepped up and followed the leadership we had provided. They cared for us and our clients.




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