The NoVA Business podcast is a stream of interviews with NoVA's leading entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives.
Northern Virginia is America’s best-known secret. With Ranking #1 in the nation for workforce and education and #3 for business friendliness, NoVA is a hotspot for the world’s top talent and entrepreneurs. There's no question why companies like Amazon and Capital One call NoVA home for their headquarters.
On this podcast, we will share the inspiring stories of leaders who are shaping the community around us. Listen to the challenges they have overcome, the lessons learned, and the vision they have moving forward. Get ready for a series of epic conversations!
The NoVA Business Podcast is sponsored by The Business Benefits Group.
What Spins The Wheel with Len Forkas, Founder of Milestone Towers
https://www.linkedin.com/in/lenforkas/ (Len Forkas) has over 20 years of experience leading businesses across Northern Virginia. His early rise in Real Estate Development led him to Wireless Communications – but he’s also an author, a passionate philanthropist, and https://www.lenforkas.com/speaking (motivational speaker).
In 2001, Len founded https://milestonetowers.com/ (Milestone Towers), a Wireless Tower Company that specializes in developing partnerships with Schools, Municipalities, and Utility Providers across the Mid-Atlantic. Milestone helps to bridge wireless gaps by helping to create value for property owners through creative solutions in order to merge wireless communications into existing spaces, thus expanding wireless coverage, boosting profitability, and more.
Len is also a published author, leadership speaker, and endurance athlete. He has climbed Vinson, Elbrus, and Kilamanjaro - but also in 2012 he competed in the http://www.raceacrossamerica.org/about.html (Race Across America), an endurance cycling event where he traveled over 3,000 miles in less than 12 days. This experience served as inspiration for his book, https://www.amazon.com/What-Spins-Wheel-Leadership-Lessons/dp/0996096906#:~:text=What%20Spins%20the%20Wheel%20is,his%20own%20life%20changed%20forever. (What Spins The Wheel). In his book, Len covers his journey in Race Across America – but also as a determined father, and entrepreneur - helping to apply the lessons to life, business, and more.
The funds that he raised for this event were then donated to https://www.hopecam.org/ (HopeCam), Len’s other passion in life. HopeCam was developed after his own nine-year-old son was diagnosed with leukemia. HopeCam helps to bring wireless technology and communication to children who are struggling with Pediatric Cancer in order to overcome social isolation and connect with their classmates. Interestingly enough, Len was ahead of his time with HopeCam as we find ourselves in an era of social isolation today.
In this episode, Len shares his story – which covers his background, the role that Milestone plays in wireless, as well as the current environment around broadband - but also his experiences and passions, and powerful stories about perseverance and endurance.
Hungry to Learn with Stefano Marzano, Founder of MightyMeals
Born into a family of chefs, Stefano Renato Marzano of Fairfax, Virginia, knew that food and beverage was in his blood. He started working at his parents’ restaurant at the age of 12, and by age 15 had made his way into the kitchen as a cook at his family’s fine dining Italian restaurant, https://www.osteriamarzano.com/ (Osteria Marzano). Stefano wasn’t the best employee; in fact, his dad and sister suggested that he should experience other kitchens. He went on to intern at Tosca, working for free for six months, training under their chef, while still working at Osteria Marzano. He then worked at Cities Restaurant, but was fired after only four months. This ended up being a blessing in disguise as it was just the motivation he needed to focus solely on taking MightyMeals to the top!
When he was just 20 years old, MightyMeals was born after meeting his co-founders, Dan Graziano and Alex Lebonitte. Together, they shared a vision of creating a meal prep company that bridged the gap between quality and convenience. But it still took Stefano 18 months to buckle-down, get serious, and lose his ego. He didn’t follow the traditional route; however, he worked extremely hard to turn his passion for food into a successful career.
Stefano is proud that MightyMeals creates consistent, delicious, healthy meals in-house, from scratch. His passion is providing a top-quality product that is affordable and helps people better themselves and their health. Stefano runs the culinary team at MightyMeals, but also enjoys helping direct the marketing and social media side of the business.
Highlights of the episode:
Getting into the food business
Going from ‘rebel kid’ to entrepreneur
Working for https://www.stellinapizzeria.com/team-member/matteo-venini/ (Matteo Venini)
Meeting Dan Graziano and Alex Leonitte, the co-founders of Mighty Meals
Starting Mighty Meals with $5000
Year 1 of hustling in the kitchen—cooking, packaging, and delivering a thousand meals per week
Struggling with fast growth
Using the crisis of the pandemic to give back to the community—https://eatmightymeals.com/mightymovement/ (MightyMovement)
The future of dining
Connect with Stefano Marzano:
Making the Most of Every Day with Kerry Wekelo, COO, Author, and Founder
Kerry Alison Wekelo is Award-Winning Author, Chief Operating Officer at http://www.actualizeconsulting.com/ (Actualize Consulting), Founder of http://www.zendoway.com/ (Zendoway), and Creator of http://www.zendoway.com/store/c6/Cubes.html (Zendoway Cubes). She also is author of Culture Infusion, a yoga teacher, and a life coach. Her book and programhttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B076CTKD55/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1 (, Culture Infusion: 9 Principles for Creating and Maintaining a Thriving Organizational Culture), is the impetus behind Actualize Consulting being named Top Company Culture by Entrepreneur Magazine, a Top Workplace by The Washington Post, and Great Place to Work-Certified.
Kerry’s newest book, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B089NYDKWY/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0 (Gratitude Infusion: Workplace Strategies for a Thriving Organizational Culture), helps business leaders create workplace strategies to develop a culture of gratitude throughout the organization.
Kerry has been featured on ABC, NBC, NPR, The New York Times, Thrive Global, SHRM, Inc., and Forbes. She lives in Reston, Virginia with her two children.
Highlights of the episode:
Growing up in the Shenandoah Valley
Following your passion vs obtaining skills
Changing the culture of a company
Thinking of gratitude as a gift
The impact of COVID-19 on the workplace
Solving Mental Health in the workplace
Connect with Kerry:
2021 Business Outlook for Virginia with Mark Warner, US Senator of Virginia
https://www.warner.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/ (Senator Mark Warner) was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2008 and reelected to a third term in November 2020. He serves on the Senate Finance, Banking, Budget, and Rules Committees as well as the Select Committee on Intelligence, where he is the Chairman. During his time in the Senate, Senator Warner has established himself as a bipartisan leader who has worked with Republicans and Democrats alike to cut red tape, increase government performance and accountability, and promote private sector innovation and job creation. Senator Warner has been recognized as a national leader in fighting for our military men and women and veterans, and in working to find bipartisan, balanced solutions to address our country's debt and deficit.
From 2002 to 2006, he served as Governor of Virginia. When he left office in 2006, Virginia was ranked as the best state for business, the best managed state, and the best state in which to receive a public education.
The first in his family to graduate from college, Mark Warner spent 20 years as a successful technology and business leader in Virginia before entering public office. An early investor in the cellular telephone business, he co-founded the company that became Nextel and invested in hundreds of start-up technology companies that created tens of thousands of jobs.
Senator Warner and his wife Lisa Collis live in Alexandria, Virginia. They have three daughters.
Highlights of the episode:
Senator Warner’s history as a venture capitalist
Advice for business owners and entrepreneurs
The pandemic impact on small businesses
The expansion of the digital economy
Creating a business and people friendly state
The affordability of housing, healthcare, and education
The future of the gig economy
Portable employee benefits
Connect with Senator Warner:
https://www.warner.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/officeinformation (Office Information)
https://www.linkedin.com/in/markrwarner/ (LinkedIn), https://www.facebook.com/MarkRWarner (Facebook), https://twitter.com/MarkWarner (Twitter)
Navigating the Retirement Maze with Courtenay Shipley, President of Retirement Planology
Chief Planologist, Courtenay Shipley, has a diverse background in the retirement plan industry providing a unique foundation for her clients in the areas of fiduciary responsibility, investment analysis, and participant education. During her career she has provided institutional investment consulting to qualified retirement plans, developed business strategy for a boutique third party administrator and recordkeeper, conducted over 9,000 education meetings to groups and individual employees, and served the nonprofit market.
Courtenay is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, and is licensed as an investment advisor representative (Series 66). She holds the Accredited Investment Fiduciary™ (AIF®) designation through the Center for Fiduciary Studies, the Chartered Retirement Plan Specialist (CRPS) designation from the American College of Financial Planning, the Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor (CPFA) from National Association of Plan Advisors, and the Certified Health Savings Advisor (CHSA) designation. Since 2015 she has been featured in the Financial Times Top 401 Retirement Plan Advisors annual list, named a Top Women Advisor All-Star by the National Association of Plan Advisors (2015, 2017-2019), and named a 2018 NAPA Young Gun: Top 75 under 40.
Highlights of the episode
Top money mistakes for employers and employees
What does a financial wellness program consist of?
What do employees want in a retirement program?
Indexed funds vs actively managed funds
Tesla, Bitcoin, and the outlook for ‘hot’ stocks
Fintech—where is it at and where is it going?
Financial Resources for companies and employees
Get in touch with Courtenay:
Retirement Planology on LinkedIn
Websites mentioned on episode:
Mr Money Mustache
Mad Fientist- The path to Financial Independence
The value of investments may go down as well as up and investors may not get back the full amount invested. Views contained herein are not to be taken as advice or a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The podcast does not contain sufficient information to make an informed investment decision and should not be relied upon for making investment decisions. Any forecasts, figures, opinions, investment techniques or strategies set out are for informational purposes only, based on assumptions and current market conditions, and are subject to change without prior notice. All information herein is assumed to be accurate at the time of production.
Lessons from the Battlefield to the Boardroom with Chris Fussell, President of the McChrystal Group
Chris Fussell is a Partner at the McChrystal Group. He is the author of One Mission: How Leaders Build a Team of Teams, and a co-author of the New York Times bestseller Team of Teams, the first book in the series. He was commissioned as a Naval Officer in 1997 and spent the next 15 years on U.S. Navy SEAL Teams around the globe. He then served as Aide-de-Camp to Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal during McChrystal’s final year commanding a Joint Special Operations Task Force fighting Al Qaeda around the globe.
Since leaving active duty in 2012, Fussell has also served as a Senior Fellow for National Security at New America, sits on the Board of Directors for the Navy SEAL Foundation, is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and teaches at Yale University’s Jackson Institute. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his family.
Chris co-hosts the No Turning Back Podcast with Stan McChrystal. They have interviewed leaders like Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart; Simon Sinek, Author & Speaker; and Molly Joseph, CEO of UnitedHealth Group.
Derek and Jessica have the most fascinating guests!
Every week brings a new and incredible story and I can’t wait to listen to these rockstars interview! 🤘🤘🤘