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Successful South Florida Leaders


My Inspiring Interview With Dr. Lanalee Sam

I have seen Dr. Lanalee Sam at many volunteer and network events that I attend.   When it was time for me to choose an OBGYN, it was only natural for me to go with someone I have heard so much about within my inner circles. One afternoon, after an appointment, I asked her if I could interview her for my Secrets of Success Series. I knew she was extremely involved with the community but I had no idea to what extent. Dr. Sam’s story is fascinating and it will motivate you to get involved with purpose, do more, and make a difference.


Dr. Sam’s success does not come by chance. As a young girl, her father taught her the meaning of discipline, respect, responsibility, commitment, and consistency, which has carried with her throughout her life. These five (5) core competencies contributed to her success and helped her persevere in some extremely difficult circumstances.

When it comes to her business, Dr. Sam is passionate about the program she developed called my Elite OB program. This program is a concierge obstetrics service for her patients. Dr. Sam gives her full attention and focus to a small group of women each month. She only allows four patients in the program that are due within the month. These patients have “no wait” appointments, direct cell phone access to Dr. Sam over the course of their pregnancy, and a guarantee that Dr. Sam will deliver each patient herself and be in the hospital during the entire labor. This allows Dr. Sam to provide the right care and administer the outcome patients want and deserve.

Fifteen years ago, Dr. Sam moved to South Florida. While running her practice, Dr. Sam made a decision to get involved in the community and make a difference in people’s lives. She spent some time with the Boys and Girls Club and was a board member for the Women in Distress.

Coming from a dysfunctional marriage herself, she recognized many victims of domestic violence are not your stereotypical victim. Many of these women are educated and come from an upper socio-economic status. She also identified women who are married to wealthy men who threaten them with financial burden if they try to leave. Other women are married to celebrities and athletes.   In these situations, the celebrity/athletes supports the entire family, and therefore, the family discourages them from leaving the abuse for their own selfish reasons. Being on the board for Women in Distress, Dr. Sam could help make an impact and help women gain the courage and strength to leave.


A few years back, Dr. Sam found the Freedom Challenge, an organization that brings to light global human trafficking. According to their website, “The Freedom Challenge is a movement of passionate women dedicated to freeing oppressed and enslaved women and children around the world.” She joined the Freedom Challenge and successfully summited Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa and raised more than $1 million dollars.

Additional scary facts about human trafficking from their website:

  • Every 30 seconds someone becomes a slave.
  • Today 30 million people around the world are enslaved. This is more than all the people that live in Texas.
  • 2 million children are exploited in commercial sex industry.
  • Average age of a modern day slave is 12 years old.

For more information or to get involved with the Freedom Challenge go to their website at https://www.thefreedomchallenge.com/about/

If you get the pleasure to meet Dr. Sam, you will think she is a total extrovert. The truth be told, she is a closet introvert and book nerd. She does not own a TV and would love nothing more than to settle in at home with a great book. You may wonder why she is so active and present in the community. Like most successful people, she has a strong need to make a difference, motivate, inspire, and educate.

Dr. Sam termed this as, “Those who can, MUST!”

Dr. Sam certainly can and I am confident she will continue to influence many lives inside and outside her practice.

The last item Dr. Sam and I spoke about was her involvement with the Unleashed Project.  If you want something that will take you 100% out of your comfort-zone you have to check out this project.  It was created because of the artist’s desire to help women see all their beauty (inside & out).  It is really magnificent and worth checking out here.  Do you dare to be unleashed?

July 12, 2017 1 comment
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build a career around a lifestyle

 How This Executive Coach Found Happiness

I met Laura Berger, Co-Founder of Berdeo Group, a few months back at a networking event. Immediately, I knew I wanted to interview her for my next blog. When I think of highly successful people who are doing it their own way, I think of Laura. Laura is currently a Professional Certified Executive Coach and is a leadership expert in corporate and personal development.  She was determined to build a career around a lifestyle.

In the beginning of her career, Laura had a great job, making fantastic money but she was not happy. At the time she was a Management Consultant and traveling like “mad” like all her other colleagues. She knew that this was not something she wanted to do for the rest of her life. Laura acknowledges that happiness is in the here and now and she was desperately looking for greater happiness in her life.

In her mid thirties, she decided to make a drastic change. Where most people would think she was utterly insane for leaving a six-figure job and big title, Laura explained to me that she was not fulfilled. Even though throughout her life she felt she always went against the grain, leaving a high paying job was risky. To make a radical move like this you have to believe in yourself 100%.

build a career around a lifestyle

Growing up, Laura was center of attention. She focused on achievement and wanted to be the best at everything she tried. She also felt the need to prove to others her ability. Laura experienced a tremendous loss with a family member and a beloved pet and realized that life is too short and she needed to start doing things that were good for her and get out of the cut-throat corporate environment. During those moments, Laura decided she would build a career around a “lifestyle.” Where most of us would be paralyzed, Laura did exactly that; she started to pave her own way.

While listening to her story, it appeared to me that she was just dipping her toe into the water at the beginning of this transformation. It was not until she had a breakthrough and became incredibly focused did she start to realize success and growth. If you are not going to put everything you have into your career, whatever choice that is, you can kiss success goodbye. You cannot just dabble; you have to put everything you got, and then some, in order to realize your full potential. Once Laura got into the right mindset, things began to change for her.

Instead of being center stage, Laura now prefers to be behind the scenes. She helps leaders find their voice. She has come to realize, working with all different kinds of leader, that many people lose sight of who they really are and what they stand for. Laura is passionate about bringing forward her clients thoughts and making them the best they can be. In order to obtain great success in your life, you have to give back to others. In Laura’s role, making leaders find their true potential and giving them the roadmap to success is her unique way of helping others.

build a career around a lifestyle

Not only does Laura give back to people she is also very passionate about animal welfare and is very involved with Best Friend Animal Society. This organization is the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals. They build effective programs that reduce the number of animals entering shelters. To donate or learn more, click here.

Laura’s success is partly due to her personality. Laura is very direct but in a warm way. She describes it as a “velvet hammer.” One of her core values is openness and she talks a lot about full transparency. Laura is compassionate and that shows in her love of people and animals. She is obviously a go-getter, as well

Laura’s advice to new entrepreneur is to be courageous. If you don’t have the courage you will never make the first move to go out on your own. You may be the type to talk about it a lot.   That is just it; it is a lot of talk. You have to take action and action takes courage.   So, get up and get doing! Nothing will happen without action.

Laura has been featured on ABC, Huffington Post Live, The Dr. Oz Show with Deepak Chopra, in CNBC, US News, World Report, Yahoo Finance, Self Magazine, The Miami Herald, radio shows across the country, and now her most exciting feature www.KeriannWorley.com. (Laura did not say that, I did). Laura is also an expert blogger for Psychology Today and the Huffington Post. To add one more, Laura is a best selling Author of Radical Sabbatical, a story about her and her husband ditching their cut-throat corporate jobs for life in a tranquil jungle paradise.

June 30, 2017 1 comment
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Family Business

Jennifer Cramer, Co-Founder of The Spice Lab

Jennifer Cramer, co-Founder of The Spice Lab, wasn’t a single ingredient success story.  One special spice included her husband Brett Cramer, who was fascinated with sea salts. Their story is similar to many other family businesses but this mixture of seasonings heats up very quickly. 

Jennifer was an Interior Designer by trade. Like many young woman she put her career on hold, started a family, and became a full time mom.  Jennifer soon realized she needed more and began to assist her husband with his computer business.  As Brett’s business grew, so did Jennifer’s responsibilities, all along having her daughter Charlotte by her side.  
Family Business

Jennifer told me, “We have always been business-oriented people. We both grew up around family businesses.” Jennifer started working with her father in his insurance office at the age of thirteen and her father-in-law was a contractor.  This husband and wife team understands the importance of hard work and dedication! 

“Work, work, work, work, work-hard, work-smart.  It is not always about the money.  The money will come.  You have to understand the time it takes and you have to be dedicated.”

 Brett had an opportunity to sell his business and the Cramer’s thought they would enjoy semi-retirement for a while.  Once the computer business was sold they thought it would be ideal for them and the family to buy a little retail shop.  The goal was to keep it very family friendly and have the children around.  During this time, Brett’s fascination with salt grew from Holiday gifts to selling products on Amazon.  Before they knew it, they had orders to fulfill and the retail shop would go by the wayside, for now.

 Jennifer describes their partnership as “two halves make a whole.”  Brett is the energetic one and Jennifer is slow and steady.  The fact that they are opposites makes them a great team.  Now that they have grown their business to (50) employees, she is proud her team is a “super tight-knit” family business.  Frequently you will see the Cramer children running around and that is exactly how Jennifer wants it.  Jennifer explained that they have many husband/wife duos, mother/son duos.  In fact, her mother was her very first employee and her brother-in-law also works for the company.  Jennifer feels that all the duos actually help with attendance.

Jennifer and Brett have created a family atmosphere, one that is fun and feels good.  She wants people to want to come to work.  Family is very important to Jennifer and she explained to me that when someone comes to work with her, they become part of the family.  She told me a story about a young man who use to work for her but wanted to get his A/C license.  Instead of holding him back from his dream, she encouraged him to make it happen.  He would bike 20 miles to take classes.  When he was finished the program, he needed help with his resume and turned to Jennifer.  She was proud to say, “He received the first job he applied for.” 

I asked her to give new entrepreneurs advice on what it takes to be successful.  “Work, work, work, work, work-hard, work-smart.  It is not always about the money.  The money will come.  You have to understand the time it takes and you have to be dedicated.”

Family Business

Courtesy of the Pompano Magazine

Jennifer does have flexibility with her schedule but she explained she works a 2nd shift at night once the kids are tucked in.  She expressed there wasn’t enough hours in the day and you have to just keep going.

This past October, the Cramer’s opened their 1st retail shop, which was almost a full seven (7) years after starting The Spice Lab.  Her company is on track to make $10 million in revenue this year, according to the South Florida Business Journal. 

Although Jennifer understands the value of work, she also stated that you have to have fun and you can’t be serious all the time.  Jennifer doesn’t strive to be the most important person in the room; it’s about being part of a team, getting the project done, and making people happy.

Right now Jennifer is passionate about the retail shop.  She loves projects and buying beautiful objects.  I’m sure that is the Interior Designer in her.  When I asked her about her future and what she wants to do next she simply replied, “Jennifer…just keeps moving forward.”   

  • Did you always believe in yourself?  I have always had a good work ethic.  I just keep moving forward no matter what until I get to the end.  Does that mean believing in myself?  If it is not, I think I would have given up long ago.
  • Did you ever think about giving up?  If so, what kept you pushing forward?  Pure willpower keeps me moving forward.  Just keep looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. 
  • If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?  Regrets, I have had a few.  I always try to do the right thing and the kind thing that way I do not keep myself up at night worrying about how I could have been better or done something differently. 
  • What are you extremely passionate about?  My family, our business, and helping the underdog. 
  • If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?  Get a business degree – you are going to need to learn a second language. 
  • What are your secrets of success?  Teamwork, passion, and a great sense of humor.  Somedays if you do not laugh about the “emergency” of the day, you will never get out from under.
  • What do you like to do for fun?  When I am not working, which is virtually every second of the day, I just like to settle in, watch TV, and forget my house cleaning needs. 


June 1, 2017 1 comment
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Why This Leader Always Wanted to be in Charge

Kirsten Nolan has always been extremely driven. Even as a young girl she wanted to be in charge and do things her way. Roughly 12 years ago she followed through on her entrepreneurial ambition by shifting gears and starting her own business.  She cofound  One Parking which currently manages over 50,000 self-parking and valet spaces throughout the United States.

Kirsten, COO of One Parking, revealed that she has always had a passion for business and has developed a number of habits instrumental to success. Most recently, she’s adopted Mel Robbins philosophy of never hitting the snooze button. Following this advice has led Kristen to get a head start on her day by getting up an hour earlier. This extra hour allows her time to establish daily goals and lay out effective strategies to accomplish them. Kirsten has always adhered to the Eisenhower Matrix, which helps her prioritize tasks identifying which are most urgent and important. The additional time allows her to maximize her efforts.

Kirsten’s advice on what it takes to be entrepreneurial –  “A lot of drive,” she stressed.

“You have to be able to see obstacles differently and overcome them.  You cannot be nervous about taking risks, you have to know how to handle rejection and see the tough times as a learning experience,” Kirsten expressed.  She also explained, “You have to get beyond the negative self-talk, be disciplined, and when you don’t want to do something, that’s when you have to do it!”

Kirsten also provided her guidance to new entrepreneurs and people who want to take their career to the next level.

“The road is not easy and will be a rollercoaster.  Things don’t align automatically and it’s never a perfect time.  You have to believe in yourself.  Something will be telling you NO…NO…this is not the right time.  You have to be willing to go against this and just do it!”


What Kirsten likes most about being an entrepreneur is the freedom, independence, the ability to steer the company in the direction she wants it to go.  Also, she understands what she gets out of failure.   In her industry, they could spend a lot of time, money, and effort flying to different cities reviewing properties and not get the business.  She told me that these experiences are important for her to learn from in order to make her company better.  She does not get discouraged since she needs to stay focused on driving new business and grow top-line revenue.

I was fortunate to be at The Commonwealth Institute 12th Annual Award Ceremony honoring top-women lead businesses in Florida. Kirsten was being recognized and sat on the panel discussing a variety of topics.  She was asked to describe challenges she has faced in her career.

Kirsten brought us back to the time before she became an entrepreneur. She had been parked at a large transportation company for 15 years when a few events finally pushed Kristen to pursue her destiny of becoming her own boss.

She reminded the audience that it was a very male dominated industry.  She talked about a time she was in the car with the Chairman and the President of the company.  They asked her to do them a favor.  Eager to help, she said, “Sure, what is it?”  They wanted her to speak to another General Manager about her hair.  They thought “woman to woman” the message would come across better.  Jokingly Kirsten said to the audience, “Clearly, they don’t know anything about woman.”  She never had that conversation.


She explained how the company didn’t really know what to do with her.  She wasn’t like everyone else (male).  She recalls a time when everyone went through testing to identify the next leaders for the company.  She was told she tested the highest but they didn’t believe the results.

Kirsten described another event that was the ultimate tipping point. Kirsten lived in Phoenix and commuted to Las Angeles every week.  She rented an apartment in LA, commuted an hour and a half to work and back every day, and on Fridays would fly back to Phoenix.  She made this commute for 8 years! She told the audience how an executive expressed to her she wasn’t committed because she didn’t live in Las Angeles.  She said, “I always knew I wanted to run my own business but that was the moment I knew I needed to go.”

Of course these days it’s not all work and no play for Kirsten. When time permits, she devotes it to playing golf with her 13-year-old daughter, who no doubt, has quite a drive as well.


For more information on the company she has built, One Parking, go to www.OneParking.com.



May 24, 2017 3 comments
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Kirsten gives her Secrets of Success to New Entrepreneurs.  Kirsten Always Knew She Wanted to do it Her Way!


courtesy of Nearsay.com

May 23, 2017 0 comment
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Find your Purpose

Why Her Love For Animals Made Her Find Her Purpose

When does a part time hobby turn into a full-blown success story? For Deborah Rosenberg it started when she decided it was time to go back to work once her twin daughters hit the 1st grade. The opportunity that would change the course of her life started by helping out a friend.

Although she had no formal training, Deborah had a natural talent for decorating and designing. When a friend needed guidance decorating her home in Weston, she was excited to help out.  The results were phenomenal and lead to more work. In fact, her solid client base grew from word of mouth alone. How did she learn this unique and creative trade?  “Through a lot of mistakes,” Deborah stressed.

After my own search I found many faux items that are durable and look nice.  Here are a few:

Her big break came when one of her clients happened to be in a meeting with the Discovery Network. They were searching for an additional designer for a show. Her client told them they must to talk to Deborah with DiMare Design.  Before she knew it, Deborah was featured as an interior designer on the network TLC.  From there, her business really took off.

Deborah is not just any designer, her story is unique. Her business was thriving; she was working with high profile clients and designing high-end properties.  All the while, she would receive emails about the inhumane and heinous ways the furnishing industry was treating animals.  It only took her to open one email to realize the products she was using went against her morals.

Deborah explained to me that she would never forget hearing the animals scream while being tortured and killed for their skin, fur, feathers, and hide.  She watched a video on dog leather and decided she could no longer do this and she was done.  “It was inconceivable,” she told me.   She was ready to change her entire business.  Deborah’s love for animals made her go faux.

Deborah took a step back and identified the resources she had available.  She was thrilled to find alternatives that are cost effective and extremely durable.  She would no longer use anything that are derived from animals.  According to her website, Deborah enjoys educating her clients about cruelty-free (vegan) design.  “If I can bring awareness to the inhumane treatment of animals by demonstrating that ultra-luxury interiors can be created without endangering the lives of animals, then I am doing my part.”

I asked her what it truly takes to be successful and she expressed, “It’s hard, really hard.  You have to work…work…work!”

Once Deborah started to go down the vegan path, she really found her mojo.  Every day she focused on bettering herself.  She remembers speaking to an older man (90yrs old) who survived the Holocaust, lost his family, lived through three concentration camps.  She asked him how he survived and he told her, “Every day I am going to be better than the next.”  She lives by his wisdom each day.

During her career as a designer, Deborah began to feel defeated, frustrated, and a sense she as missing something.  Deborah felt an awaking with the animals and it stirred something inside of her.   She knew she had to do something to make a difference.  She now had a sense of purpose.

About a year ago, Deborah proudly started a certification course, Certified Cruelty Free, which has truly become her passion.  It is a platform for education to provide cruelty free options to businesses.  Certified Cruelty Free is about becoming a member of a passionate community who are dedicated to saving lives of animals.  Deborah wants to see more and more companies adopting these standards and see such things as vegan clothing lines.  She told me her dream would be to have Stella McCartney have her certification tag on her clothes.  I have no doubt she will find a way to get Stella McCartney to the join the crusade.

What does Deborah see in her future? Deborah would like to have an Advocate Animals building with a strong community of textile designers joining the cause.  In addition, Deborah wants to continue to grow her certification program and make her course global.  She advised me that Australia is the #1 country for animal advocacy and, shockingly, United States is #3.

To visit Deborah Rosenberg’s website, to www.DiMareDesign.com.

To learn more about the Cruelty Free Certification Courses, go to www.CertifiedCrueltyFree.net 


May 17, 2017 0 comment
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Influential Business Woman

Discovering the Secrets of Success one Leader at a Time!

Identifying Successful South Florida Leaders and What it Takes to be an Influential Business Women and Accomplish the Unimaginable. This week meet Express Travel Co-Founder, Olga Ramudo.

What are Olga Ramudo’s secrets of success?

Olga Ramudo and her sister, Cristina Jacomino, were born in Cuba. Shortly after Fidel Castro assumed power, their father sold all their things and moved to Miami. Now successful influential business women, founders of Express Travel, the sisters attribute their business sense and work ethic to their parents.

I recently reached out to Olga and asked her to give me her thoughts on what she thinks it takes to be successful.

“To be successful you must have the ability to multi-task, to be progressive and  to be daring.  You CANNOT be afraid to try.  Creating relationships and being visible has been extremely important in the growth of my company….. in many instances you must sell yourself first, and then sell your product.  Being able to change with the times is also crucial – there is no such thing as staying stagnant:  you either move forward, or you are moving backwards.”

Olga and her sister were stay-at-home moms running their households when they decided to plan a ski trip for some of the families at school. After a couple of years of planning and executing these trips, the amount of people joining them grew to about 500. They thought if they were doing all this work, they should at least get their part of the trip paid for.

Influential Business Woman

The small agency they worked through to coordinate these ski trips noticed their talent and made them independent agents. Luck would have it, the sisters met Rosa Maria Delgado at the agency and quickly became great friends. When one of the skiers asked them to handle the corporate travel for their company they politely agreed to help. Soon they discovered, it was a company with 600 employees.  They seized the opportunity.

In November of 1989, Express Travel incorporated in the State of Florida and the 3 ladies were officially business owners. Since inception, Olga has been recognized for her expertise and business acumen. Olga is a fearless leader and influential business woman who often works 12-14 hours a day. She usually starts answering her emails at 5:30AM. Her philosophy is to do everything and anything, immediately so she can get it off her list of things to do. Olga stated, “I find relief in having one less thing to do.”

Influential Business Woman

Olga also attributes her success on trust. “What I think we sell is trust that we will do the best for our clients,” Ramudo says. After reviewing Olga’s LinkedIn profile, I identified several more reasons she is perceived so positively.  Natalia Sol, VP, External Relations at After School All-Stars wrote, “Olga is a rare breed. Olga is passionate, relentless, resourceful, kind, incredibly strategic, hard-working, smart, genuine, and extremely detail oriented. She is a true leader and we are blessed to have her in our community.”

In addition, Mauricio Fernandez, Airline Professional wrote, “Having known and worked with Olga Ramudo, I can certify that she is results driven, intelligent, loyal, and has a keen business sense that has allowed her and her company to prevail even during the most difficult circumstances. I highly recommend Olga to deliver work of the highest quality.”

Olga has stated that Monday through Friday she basically has no life so the weekends are all hers. She spends her weekends shopping, lunches with friends, going to the gym, massages, and fertilizing her Orchids. She takes advantage of her weekends so she can recharge and face the week ahead.

Olga is also extremely active in the South Florida community and has received several awards and accolades for her contributions. Awards: One of the top 250 Hispanic companies in the nation, #6 largest women owned business in the state of Florida, ASTA award for agent of the year and included in the Florida Trend’s as agency responsible for handling most of the international travel for South Florida.

Influential Business Women

Other distinguished mentions: U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board appointed by Secretary of Commerce. Chair of Hispanic initiatives committee for NTA. Travel Agent of the year award from the American Society of Travel Agents in 2011. Influential Business Women of the year by Commonwealth Institute. ASTA advocacy Award, 2010. Recently nominated to the International Women’s Forum, an invitation only women’s worldwide organization. Governor’s Award in 2013.

If you are looking to start or grow your own business, you can learn a lot from Olga. It takes a tremendous amount of time, strength, and courage to accomplish what she has accomplished. She never wavered on the service she delivered to her clients, which in turn built trust!

Feel free to go to the company’s website at www.Expresstravelus.com to learn more.



April 25, 2017 1 comment
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