Lessons Learned from an Aussie Fundraising Expert that can catapult your Business

Meeting a businessman with a genuine heart to help others and desire to help children in need is a rare occurrence.

Tim Conolan is more than your ordinary business owner, but also a social entrepreneur, philanthropist, and expert of fundraising whose mission is providing support for sick kids and their families across Australia.

In 2014, Tim was nominated the “Australian of the Year – Local Hero” and the EY 2014 Social Entrepreneur award in the Southern Region. He’s also an Australia Day Ambassador.

Tim’s influential leadership within his own organisation, TLC for Kids, is testament that a thriving and reputable business venture comes from a powerful vision an enduring passion for helping those in need, the opportunity to leverage on strategic partnerships, and the harnessing of the spirit of the community to create a lasting legacy.

Measuring Social Impact

Part of Tim’s success hinges on his broad knowledge of fundraising and solid career within the non-profit sector for over 25 years. In an interview with Tim on InspireTalk Radio, I uncovered the true essence behind his legacy and noble pursuit.

In an opening statement, he said that his success is based on hard work, having respect for people, and doing the things that you enjoy the mostThis philosophy is commonly shared amongst many social entrepreneurs around the world, whose drive and passion is actually about the welfare of the community, rather than the interests of its internal stakeholders.

Another well-known social entrepreneur whose cause is to help sick children is TOMS founder – Blake Mycoskie. His core mission is providing shoes and eyewear to sick or injured children in third world countries. Over 60 million pairs of shoes have been distributed since 2006, as well as restoring sight to over 400,000 children since 2011.


Collaboration, New Currency of the 21St Century

Back in 2016, I had an insightful encounter with Brazilian social entrepreneur named Julio de Laffitte, who claimed that the “new currency” of the 21st century is “collaboration.” He said that collaboration is worth more than money, as in an effort to emphasize the critical importance of working in unison with third-party organizations, with a common goal in mind, whether it is about saving the planet from environmental destruction or sending human beings to planet Mars.

In an effort to raise capital through fundraising activities, Tim has been highly instrumental in forming strategic partnerships with high-profile organizations, including IKEA, Kmart, Toll, just to name a few. Over the past 9 years, TLC for Kids has raised close to $14 million dollars in revenue.

“It’s all about working for the same purpose and cause to fix a need, and working side by side in a co-operative environment,” Tim said.

The Immeasurable Value of Integrity

All business owners are well aware that to build a thriving organization, it requires an ‘x’ venture capital, an ‘x’ amount of sales per month, a specific dose of advertising, and other factors that can be measured. However, when it comes down to ‘integrity’, how can this be measured effectively within the role of a business leader?

According to Tim, integrity is the number one ingredient when it comes to influential leadership. “It’s about keeping true to your vision, and not being misled by external factors, distractions, the media, or your skeptics.”

Part of this involves shaping your service model with integrity, aligned with your core organizational values. For Tim and TLC for Kids, this means unrestricted compassion and support, with a service model to match. When they say that ‘a sick child should never have to wait or qualify for the help they and their families need’, they really mean it. It’s about walking the walk.

This philosophy is also shared by influential leader Hillsong Church Founder Brian Houston, whose core values are underpinned by what the Bible has to say about integrity and authenticity shaping your destiny. He said, “Don’t be afraid of vulnerability and transparency. People respond to authenticity.” Brian’s success as a Global Pastor has been hinged around his tenacity, integrity, and care for others, despite the constant adversity he faced over the span of his 40-year career within Christian ministry.

After all, the absolute true test of integrity is about consistency, love and care for others, and long-term perseverance and tolerance during turbulent periods of adversity and failure.


This article has been exclusively written by Federico Re for Silicon Valley Globe magazine for the May, 2017 online edition.


It’s not often that I come across a well-known chef and meet a celebrity ‘restaurateur’ with a proven track record of success within the food and entertainment industries. Such individuals are hard to come by, due to their demanding lifestyle, schedule, and reputation that prohibit them from reaching out to journalists. Meeting him was one of the most inspiring moments in my journalism career.

I’ve always been fascinated about food, especially because of my Italian heritage and family roots in the heart of Sicily. Without a doubt, the Mediterranean is an epicenter of culinary delights and cooking is an integral part of everyday life and its culture.

For quite some time, I’ve been inquisitive about the new-age term ‘restaurateur,’ and how this profession is represented among popular TV shows like MasterChef, My Kitchen Rules, and Hell’s Kitchen. My curiosity about this word also makes me think of the possible affiliation with the word ‘entrepreneur,’ and the character traits that these successful individuals possess in the world of food, entertainment, and business.

In an attempt to satisfy my curiosity, I did an interview with celebrity restaurateur George Calombaris on InspireTalk.

During my 30-minute discussion with George, I was able to explore how ‘love’ and ‘passion’ for food inspired this Aussie icon to establish his reputation as one of the 40 most influential chefs in the world. Some of his accomplishments include appearing on MasterChef, as well as building his restaurant/food empire with The Press Club, Hellenic Republic, Jimmy Grants, Gazi, etc.

I also looked deep into the insights and experiences of this humble and passionate man and closely explore the journey he has taken as an entrepreneur within the food industry, as well as how he draws his inspiration from his Greek and Cypriot heritage.

The secret formula


Making an appetizing dish requires the correct mix of ingredients, a careful balance of herbs and spices, and a proven recipe. Best known for founding the fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken, Colonel Harland David Sanders was well known for his famous quote “The 11 Secret Herbs and Spices.”

This American businessman leveraged his reputation around this quote and built a global food franchise empire. By the time of Sanders’ death 1980, there were more than 6,000 KFC outlets in 48 countries worldwide, with $2 billion ($5.8 billion today) of sales annually.

Apart from a healthy recipe, I soon discovered that George’s talent, expertise, and cultural background were even more critical factors in preparing a ‘master’ dish, which would appeal to the majority of culinary judges or food critics.

Without a doubt, George has mastered this art that explains his global reputation. So what does it take to master your career, become an industry influencer, or simply build a world ranking brand?

His ultimate recipe for a successful career, hinges around these ten common threads:

1. Never stop dreaming and love what you do
2. Embrace leadership and invite others to support your vision
3. Influence those around you and create your community
4. Nurture your people and empower them to achieve their success
5. Don’t be afraid to stretch yourself and work outside of the comfort zone
6. Work hard with a sense of purpose
7. Believe in yourself and don’t be discouraged by the skeptics
8. Have a point of difference and know your target market
9. Be authentic and have integrity when dealing with people
10. Make a difference in the world and care for others

While many skeptics would argue that ‘luck’ plays a crucial part in achieving ultimate success, I have the simplistic view that ‘mastering’ your career, is really about perseverance and hard work.

As Gordon Ramsay once said, “Put your head down and work hard. Never wait for things to happen. Make them happen for yourself through hard graft and not giving up”.


This article has been exclusively written by Federico Re for Silicon Valley Globe magazine for the March, 2017 online edition.

The Disruptors - unveiling the minds of 5 Aussie Entrepreneurs that have disrupted their Industry

Back in the 20th century, we witnessed many great pioneers that revolutionised our world and brought opportunity and commodity to the everyday person, including Henry Ford with his motor vehicle; Thomas Edison with his incandescent light bulb; and let’s not forget the Wright brothers with the mighty aeroplane.

Nowadays, the pioneers of today are commonly referred to as the ‘Disruptors’. This buzz word seems to pop up all the time, especially in the world of entrepreneurship and within the start-up community across the globe. We are witnessing a paradigm shift in innovation, technology advancement, and a new mindset and attitude, across a range of industries.

A Mindset Experiment: 

In an effort to understand what drives these disruptors, I was compelled to initiate an experiment that would examine the common threads amongst these unique individuals. In particular, I was curious to know what inspired these individuals to go against the grain of common practice; what challenges they faced in their earlier efforts to launch their new ventures; how they managed to compete and remain ahead of their game; as well as the importance of leadership, strategic partnerships, and venture capital. I was also interested to look into the future of disruption, and how this will manifest itself across the globe, and what changes are likely to take place and the impact this will have on the ecosystem.

To accomplish this goal, I interviewed five Aussie Disruptors across five sectors, including Education, Food and Agriculture, Technology, Health and Wellbeing, and Social Entrepreneurship.  My endeavour was to identify their key traits, philosophies, experiences, insights, values and beliefs around the subject of ‘disruption’, which I could summarise with around 150 words for each candidate.  My contingents included:

Omar De Silva (Education – ‘The Plato Project’):

Avoid red tape; work outside the comfort zone; engage in trial and error; go against the grain; implement new delivery mechanisms; engage in mindful leadership through demonstrated authenticity; have compassion; leverage on your entrepreneurial spirit; provide  education that is relevant; deliver value; have self-awareness and apply strategic thinking; foster social entrepreneurship instead of trading social value for a commercial outcome; build strategic partnerships to leap frog progress, build awareness and shared value; cash is the lifeline of new business; remain pragmatic about the outcomes achieved from the investment made; it’s difficult to achieve success on a grand scale without a close team and community support; success hinges around influential leadership;  hard work beats talent; invest your time in constant learning; self-awareness, passion, and dedication is key to success; focus on your own niche market; private and nimble businesses can best manoeuvre around competition; help others achieve success;

Phillip Bradley (Food & Agriculture – ‘Applied Permaculture Design’)

Develop a culture where humanity is complimentary to the human environment; engage in creative and regenerative methodologies to promote production; make a positive contribution hinging on one’s passion; make a difference by restoring harmony within the local environment; rise to the challenge; collaborate with partners that share the same ethos and are willing to tackle the same issues; vision cannot be achieved as an individual but as a team and through collaboration; disruptors present, discuss and disturb traditional practices; to disrupt you need to demonstrate the ‘reality’ instead of talking ‘concepts’; engage in crowd funding using shared interest and shared passion; skill, application and practice is key to success; talent is key especially with effective communication; innovation must happen at grass-root level within the local environment; engage influencers within Government to take interest in the local community; 

Stephanie Moroz (Technology – ‘Nano-Nouvelle’)

Bring technology into practical existence; solve global problems using technology; implement renewable energy sources that can match demand; disruptive thinking is essential to overcome barriers; take a leap to find a different solution; strategic partnerships is most important for securing venture capital; create something that fits the customer’s need; a talent for science and relevant education is necessary; opportunities are endless; broader population ideally should have stronger education in science and critical thinking; renewable energy and energy efficiency have made enormous strides; bring technology to people in ways that can dramatically improve their lives without the harm to the environment;

Diana Bordean (Health & Wellbeing – ‘YOUnique’):

Help clients overcome barriers and empower them to find their wellness; to disrupt you need to serve the wider community with a greater purpose; make a difference; see a gap in the market using a holistic approach; work together and bridge the gap to serve the community; use technology to provide accessibility and convenience to people around the world; to compete, strategic partnerships are key; you can’t beat people skills; have the right connections and serve people with their core needs; a holistic approach to providing wellness to clients is key; it’s best to function with inner peace and gratitude; a happier person makes a happier workplace; governments should provide the necessary resources within the community for people to live a better lifestyle which will promote wellbeing and a healthier mindset;

Mia Munro (Social Entrepreneurship – ‘Miako Social Enterprises’):

Correct humanity’s imbalance through social enterprise using a profitable and sustainable structure; educate all humans from design to manufacturing to purchasing; demonstrate and activate transparency and sustainability through social innovation, education, and sustainability; build global partnerships with fair exchange that honors culture, values and worth; create new choices for customers through blockchain style technology; build a transparent economy; encourage charities to become sustainable commercial enterprises; create new choices through education; reverse the old cycle to reduce drain on humans emotionally, physically and financially; strategic partnerships are essential to disrupt; engage in crowdfunding; consider bringing on aligned investors; communicate and influence others in a gentle and non-confrontational manner; determination, passion, integrity and persistence; gaining real world knowledge is the greatest gift; allow innovation and creativity to manifest; serial entrepreneurs must respect humanity; support humans to make new choices that serve them, their fellow humans, the environment and the animal kingdom; avoid egotistical greed; build ethical businesses and provide exceptional education on the new paradigm;

The Common Thread
So, is there a common thread amongst serial disruptors and what is their formula to success ?  Based on the experiment, this all depends on the interpretation of their philosophies and values, as well as the industry sector they represent.  For me personally, a shared vision, combined with passion and determination, and a collaborative spirit amongst key stakeholders are still my favorite ingredients to achieving ultimate success in whatever shape or form.  


This article has been exclusively written by Federico Re for Silicon Valley Globe magazine for the February, 2017 online edition.

How a Young Aspiring Entrepreneur is disrupting Heavy Vehicle Maintenance

There is no doubt that Lindsay Fox is an Aussie icon and magnate within the transport and logistics industries.  Lindsay is now the 10th richest man in Australia, and his name is synonymous with Linfox, the Australian logistics company he founded in 1956.

Lindsay’s monumental success was largely attributed to his entrepreneurial instincts and determination to pioneer the transport sector, which was limited by a few regional operators. At the time, the industry was stagnant and needing a serial entrepreneur with a powerful vision to innovate a decaying sector.  Starting with just 1 vehicle, his fleet has grown to over 5000 trucks.   

Fast forward 60 years, a new kid is on the block – Sandro Tranquim.  This young aspiring entrepreneur is disrupting the ‘heavy vehicle maintenance’ trade with his family run operation (Tranquim) based in West Melbourne.    


Humble Beginnings to Industry Pioneer:

Born in Mozambique and raised in Zimbabwe, Sandro’s humble beginnings; business mentorship from his Father in the auto-electrical trade; combined with his formal training as an Engineering Technician in the UK; equipped him with the necessary skills and ambition to establish his small business in Western Australia.   In late 2015, Sandro relocated to Victoria, and has since been on a mission to rebuild his business from scratch, to deliver an unbeatable service.

Since this time, Sandro’s humble operation has achieved exponential growth and is now dominating his niche sector. Tranquim’s specialty services combine auto-electrical, mechanical, and air-conditioning repairs to heavy vehicles and plant machinery, across the waste management, haulage, and earth moving industries. In just 12 months, Tranquim is now employing 4 full-time staff, has 3 fleet vehicles, and is servicing major accounts like JJ Richard’s, Shredex, and other industry players. 

Entrepreneurial Instincts:

In a recent interview with Sandro on InspireTalk, I was able to dig deep into his mindset and explore the elements to his success, and what inspired him to take unparallel risks to heavily invest into his business with technology, vehicles, people, and a business mentor.  Sandro openly claims that a key motivator to grow his business, was his instinct to provide for his family and help fund a health issue of his younger child.   
From a commercial perspective, Sandro saw a golden opportunity to pioneer and disrupt his niche sector in Victoria. From his point of view, the industry has been stagnant and needing a complete overhaul, especially with regards to technology, customer service, and team culture. His company slogan is that “no job is too small or too complex.  We are here to remove your pain “.

In a bold attempt to please his customer, Tranquim operates ‘day and night’ across all regions of Victoria.  His mobile vehicles are equipped with state of the art technology and tools to make every customer smile. Sandro’s mission is to ‘take the pain away from the customer !’.

Disrupting a Stagnant Industry:

According to Harvard Business Review, the success of an industry sector in the 21st century will be hinging on managers [or entrepreneurs] ‘who can effectively lead businesses that compete in stagnant industries’.  In fact, growth opportunities must ‘emphasize product quality and innovative product improvement; systematically and consistently improve the efficiency of their production and distribution systems’, etc. 

In the US, a recent fleet maintenance management study conducted by TMC has revealed that ‘innovation’ is playing a key role in disrupting the next generation of truck servicing and mechanical diagnostics.  For instance, wearable technology and digital aids will transform technician productivity, giving them more powerful and efficient diagnostic tools to manage repairs more accurately and responsibly.  This will include the usage of mobile apps for smartphone and tablet devices.  

For this reason, Tranquim is now looking at adopting this form of technology in 2017 to enhance productivity and accuracy levels of his mobile technicians, and ultimately deliver a highly competitive and professional service.  


Service with a Difference:

Apart from technology, Sandro is also leveraging on his natural leadership capabilities, and Christian values to foster a healthy entrepreneurial / friendly culture across his team.  He is of the opinion that ‘quality customer service’, which is typically found or expected in other major sectors like retail, real-estate, hospitality, etc, is severely lacking in the ‘mechanics’ trade.

His simple methodology to combat this issue is to offer good quality service based on good values, healthy conduct, and ‘serving’ the customer – a fundamental philosophy adopted by Christians.  This implies training his technicians to act professionally, patiently, and with kindness. His philosophy has so far proven effective in terms of customer retention and satisfaction levels. 

Pioneers of the Future:

Just like with the transport industry revolution of the 50’s (thanks to Linsday Fox), society has since witnessed a paradigm shift in the way we do business on a day to day.  This is thanks to serial entrepreneurs, like Richard Branson, Travis Kalanick, or even Mark Zuckerberg, who have pioneered their industry sector and had the courage to go against the grain to disrupt the way things are done.

I have no doubt therefore that the future disruption of the ‘heavy vehicle maintenance’ trade will rest on the shoulders of Sandro Tranquim and other young aspiring entrepreneurs entering the workforce.


This article has been exclusively written by Federico Re for Prime Mover magazine for the February, 2017 online edition.

How to Awaken the Entrepreneur within: from 'Ordinary'​ to 'Extraordinary'​

Just had an insightful interview with Michael E. Gerber this morning on InspireTalkRadio. Michael is the author of 27 E-myth books, and nicknamed the 'Godfather of Business Systems'.

I discovered today that to achieve 'success' in whatever shape or form ultimately requires:

'Inspiration', 'Education', 'Application', 'Implementation', and 'Continuous Improvement'.

I also learnt that to be a true entrepreneur, you ultimately need to be: a 'Dreamer', a 'Thinker', a 'Storyteller', and a 'Leader'.

Michael talks about this philosophy and formula to success in his latest book Beyond The E-Myth: The Evolution of an Enterprise. A book worth reading if you are an aspiring entrepreneur !

I will be sharing more of my thoughts about Michael in an editorial I will be compiling for a US entrepreneurial magazine in early 2017.

Click here to listen to podcast of this interview with Michael.


How Passion for Horticulture ignited an Entrepreneurial Career of Success for Jamie Durie

Earlier this week I had a one-on-one encounter with international designer / TV Host / serial entrepreneur - Jamie Durie.

I was given the exclusive opportunity to interview Jamie at the private Qantas Chairman's Lounge at Melbourne airport. It was during that 1-hour encounter that I was able to dig deep into the mind of a Aussie icon, and discover the elements to his entrepreneurial success, spanning over 25 years.

Jamie Durie - profile image-small.jpg


Some of Jamie's accolades include being the author of 9 international best selling books; hosting or being featured on popular Australian TV shows like Backyard Blitz and The Block; appearing regularly on The Oprah Winfrey show; engaging in humanitarian work in Uganda to combat HIV Aids; collaborating with US vice-president Al Gore and being an advocate for environmental conservation; winning 7 Australian TV Logie Awards, and the list goes on.

Despite so many accomplishments and public praise, I soon discovered Jamie's humble side and his willingness to share his story to me about his diverse / entrepreneurial career path. He was in no hurry to give me a few pointers to take away, or even praise himself for that matter. On the contrary, he really wanted me to embrace his passion for horticulture; his legacy to his humanitarian work; and his genuine willingness to support environmental causes through sustainable practices.

What also appeared certain about Jamie's career, was that it was not a straight road. Just like for many serial entrepreneurs, the road was jagged with plenty of sharp turns and failures along the way; countless efforts to re-build his reputation and est ablish his brand-name across new industry sectors, etc.

In a nutshell, I discovered that Jamie's formula to success hinged fundamentally around three core areas:

  1. Resources and Knowledge hinging on talent, education, and connections;
  2. Personal Attributes including passion, tenacity, and perseverance;
  3. A Philosophy that is underpinned by his commitment to diversity, disruption, collaboration, and compassion.


In the New Year, I will be sharing more of Jamie's career insights and tips for success, through an exclusive Editorial which I will be compiling for a US Entrepreneurial magazine.

If you have an interesting story, an innovative product or service, and you would like to be interviewed by Federico, please contact Federico via email:  federico@creativeentrepreneur.com.au, or via his mobile: +61 408 510 378.


Failure - a temporary Resting Place to begin more Intelligently

Most people argue that ‘failure’ is a dirty word and something you should avoid at all costs, especially in the world of business. Contrary to this popular belief, Robert Kiyosaki was once quoted saying that “Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.” 

Across the media, we are constantly bombarded with cliché images and stories of how ‘successful’ people have accomplished fame, wealth, and ultimate success in their line of work. Some of the common beliefs include that having ego, pride, self-confidence, and other traits pivoting around self-importance is the key to success. To make things worse, if you experience ‘failure’ in any shape or form, you are seen as a misfit, or a person with limited potential.

Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success

The sad truth is that the media is misguiding the public, especially young aspiring entrepreneurs, and intentionally ignoring other key ingredients that constitute the path to success.  These would have to include having humility, passion, conviction, and tolerance to failure, as well as the willingness to put in the ‘hard yards’. As an entrepreneurship coach, I am all too familiar with the reality that today’s generation of business owners are particularly impatient and intolerant to setbacks, as they pursue this journey.

The Jagged Road:

The path for any aspiring serial entrepreneur is a long-term prospect, most often ending abruptly with no rewarding outcome. It’s a lonely jagged road, full of challenges, fears, and painful experiences. I recall my early humble years in business, and the constant challenges I faced. Just to name a few, this included dealing with the sceptics; the dirty tricks my competitors played to force me out of the industry; the avalanche of staffing issues, etc. Without a doubt, my patience, tolerance, and desire to be a successful entrepreneur myself was tested time and time again.

It’s a lonely jagged road, full of challenges, fears, and painful experiences

In a recent interview with Aussie serial entrepreneur Janine Allis, I was able to mirror these experiences with those of Janine, and intimately explore her successful 16-year career within the retail industry. I was curious to understand her positive philosophy to failure, and how she embraced it whilst building her fame and fortune in the business world.

The Entrepreneurial Spirit:

Without a doubt, Janine Allis is an icon within the Australian business community, having built her Boost Juice business from her home, into a global juicing empire across 13 countries. Janine’s retail investments, comprising also of Salsas Fresh Mix Grill and Cibo Espresso, yield $2.0 billion dollars in sales annually. Her story to success is testament to her tenacity, determination, and entrepreneurial spirit.

During my discussion with Janine, I discovered that effective leadership is about having humility, being accountable to mistakes, be willing to sacrifice and serve others, as opposed to having hubris or narcissistic traits. We discover this common thread amongst many other great serial entrepreneurs. Some of my favourites include Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Oprah Winfrey. 

A catalyst to Innovation:

In 1985, Steve Jobs was the man who soon became known as ‘the entrepreneur that hit rock bottom’, after his failed attempts in Apple. He was marginalized and exiled to a virtual office he called ‘Siberia’, and was also quoted saying that he was ‘a very public failure’. His story of failure was not uncommon, but clearly illustrating the realities and hardships that serial entrepreneurs face.  

Despite such humiliating circumstances, Jobs returned to Apple with a new attitude and the rest is...‘iHistory’. He discovered the importance of humility and effective leadership on his endeavour to rebuilding his empire and his reputation.

So what can we learn from this story and those of others, and the impact ‘failure’ has on innovation and achieving long term success ? As Janine stated, ‘if things didn’t go wrong, I wouldn’t be the person I am today; I wouldn’t have a business with the right culture, systems, products, etc…… you have to make mistakes [to innovate]”.

Education is Paramount:

Whilst we observe time and time again numerous case studies and testimonials from successful people about the importance of failure, as educators, teachers and mentors, we must teach our youth how to interpret and manage failure, as well as accepting it in life and within our careers with a positive attitude. 

It is my view that a successful career shouldn’t be just about going to university and securing the right qualification for the right job. In contrast, educators must encourage students to also learn within real workplace enviroments. This philosophy is shared by education provider Ducere. Students are encouraged to experiment and adapt their thoughts within a real commercial environment, as well as develop their skills to best handle setbacks whilst pursuing their commercial endeavours within the company. 

we must teach our youth how to interpret and manage failure, as well as accepting it in life and within our careers with a positive attitude

In Australia, we must go one step further and also tackle the ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’, which is prevalent within corporate workplace culture. This issue has derailed many aspiring intrapreneurs, as well as prevented innovation and new product developments to flourish through ‘fail testing’. 


This article has been exclusively written by Federico Re for Entrepreneur.com magazine for the October, 2016 online edition.

Copyright [2016] by Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

Being Daring and Disruptive is how Great Pioneers Conquer Their Industry

When I think about the great pioneers and disruptors of the past, I begin to imagine the character traits of these heroic individuals who have completely revolutionised the way we live today.  Some of my favourites include Walt Disney, Alfred Hitchcock, andLeonardo da Vinci.  Amongst them, they disrupted the animation and film industries, as well as the arts, science, music, and religious sectors.

Not only were they daring and disruptive, but also determined, passionate, humble, risk-takers, courageous, visionaries, and highly imaginative.  In other words, they possessed the common traits of your typical serial entrepreneur of the 21st century.

great pioneers are determined, passionate, humble, risk-takers, courageous, visionaries, and highly imaginative

‘Daring’ and ‘disruptive’ are two words to also best describe Lisa Messenger – Aussie serial entrepreneur and founder of Collective Hub. It was during a recent interview with Lisa, that I discovered the real qualities and attributes of this game changer, as well as her numerous accolades from her solid entrepreneurial career within the publishing and education sectors.


Why we need to Disrupt:

In today’s complex world, disrupting an industry sector is part of every-day life, and a critical component to survival for any business.  For companies to remain competitive and ahead of their game, company founders need to look deep into the emotional DNA of their customers, and needs of society as a whole; as well as identify the ‘gap’ between what has been conventionally offered to the marketplace in the past, and what consumer trends are now dictating.

We are witnessing a constant paradigm shift in the way our generation behaves on an everyday basis.  This includes our reliance on new mobile technologies; our expectation of environmentally conscious solutions from manufacturers to combat global warming; smarter and more efficient ways to do our shopping, travel, communication, education; as well as engaging in social entrepreneurship to combat 3rd world poverty, hunger, and other social issues.  Initiatives of this kind are nowadays largely driven by privately funded entrepreneurial enterprises and their founders, like Elon Musk (SpaceX), Travis Kalanick (Uber), and Bill Gates.

Welcome to the Digital Revolution:

Since starting her publishing career over 15 years ago, Lisa Messenger has witnessed a revolution in the print media industry, which is now largely dominated by the online digital space and social media. This change is as pivotal to society as the industrial revolution of the 20th century.  In fact, statistics show that if ‘Facebook’ alone was a country, it would be positioned number 4, after China, India, and the US, in terms of the number of people it attracts !

Gone are the days where print magazines dominate retail shelves in bookstores, newsagents, airport lounges, and other consumer environments. Today, online magazines and newspapers dominate the arena, as does Collective Hub, a multi-media platform for people with big dreams and entrepreneurial spirits, and encompassing business, design, tech, social change, fashion, travel, food, film and art.  According to a TEDx presentation by marketing expert - Michael Drew, “24 of the 25 largest newspapers in the US are experiencing record declines in circulation”.

The Entrepreneurial ‘Grit’:

To be seriously disruptive, you need to go against the grain of conventional thinking; expose yourself to unprecedented risks; ignore the sceptics; and follow your dreams and passions. Lisa describes this phenomenon as the entrepreneurial ‘grit’ – a core constituent of the mindset of serial entrepreneurs and disruptors.  So how do you develop this trait, and is it something you can learn through education and experience, or does it come from your DNA ?  


Lisa Messenger    Founder & Editor in Chief at Collective Hub

Lisa Messenger

Founder & Editor in Chief at Collective Hub

My experience in life has taught me that ‘success’, in whatever  shape or form, hinges on a resilient mindset; one that is able to tolerate daily struggles, set-backs, and even failures over the long term.   Looking at individuals like Lisa and many other great pioneers of the past, I firmly believe that ‘entrepreneurial grit’ can be acquired from adaptive learning and practical education that encourages creativity, thinking outside the square, and even failure.  A childhood upbringing that promotes entrepreneurial thinking, combined with an ongoing positive influence from parents, peers, mentors, and other close connections, is also a powerful constituent for developing that entrepreneurial grit.

Some people might argue that your family DNA or gene dictates your overall ability to be daring and disruptive.  According to Lisa however, ‘we are limited only by our own belief systems, our own ways that we perpetuate self-sabotage’. The good news therefore, is that every aspiring entrepreneur or pioneer has the power to leave an imprint on society and within their industry sector for future generations to come.


This article has been exclusively written by Federico Re for Entrepreneur.com magazine for the August, 2016 online edition.

Jack Delosa disrupting Business Education with 'Dreaming Out Loud'

Dream out Loud”, says Jack Delosa, founder of ‘The Entourage’, Australia’s fastest growing provider of business and entrepreneurship education in Sydney.

I recently met Jack whilst attending his book launch for “Unwritten” in Melbourne. What struck me about this Aussie serial entrepreneur was his humble character and thirst to motivate and inspire the young entrepreneurial community in Australia. Jack’s mission is to help individuals achieve ‘success’, to ultimately develop their dream business or career path.


Jack’s presentation began with the story about Martin Luther King‘s famous speech in 1963 (“I have a dream“), which resonated strongly in my heart. As Jack described this epic moment, I kept thinking about my earlier humble years in business, and the ‘visions of grandeur’ I had about becoming an entrepreneur myself. My ultimate vision was to do something out of my life that I would love, feel passionate about, and essentially ‘live my own dream’.

By the time I was 30 years old, I had built my first multi-million dollar business, with a humble designer stationery product.  I share this story in a video titled “An Intimate Moment with Federico Re”.  


After my initial encounter with Jack, I was compelled to read ‘Unwritten‘, and explore Jack’s deeper thoughts around his vision and mission for ‘The Entourage’.  Within just 48 hours, I had completed this task, as a result of the invaluable and inspiring content being shared by Jack in his book.

Jack’s book was packed with words of wisdom, famous quotes of philosophers, explorers, pioneers, and countless stories and experiences of Jacks during his 20+ year career as a disruptor of business education. I could not resist the urge to take plenty of notes, and absorb Jack’s steadfast belief-system, pivoted around imagination, spirituality, the importance of failure, self-love, and other core constituents. My complete absorption into his book was in preparation for a forthcoming interview on the ‘InspireTalk’ radio show.



As Jack was being introduced by co-host Laura Huxley on a Google Hangout, I reminded myself of the achievements of this extraordinary man; a person who only just recently had the privilege of spending a week with Sir Richard Branson on Necker Island, as a result of his numerous entrepreneurial accomplishments. I must confess that I still dream to have this opportunity as well !

Jack’s book was packed with words of wisdom, famous quotes of philosophers, explorers, pioneers, and countless stories and experiences of Jacks

As my opportunity emerged to ask Jack some questions, I was keen to explore why the Sistine Chapel in Rome, inspired Jack to write his book. I could relate well to this question, because of my actual birthplace in Rome. I was also keen to learn how every person can develop an ingenious mindset of successful people like Richard Branson, Elon Musk, and Einstein.


After a precious and insightful half-hour encounter with Jack, I was able to piece together his formula to success.

Some of his top items included: taking ownership; leaving a lasting legacy; applying innovation and maintaining individuality; applying creative thinking and using intuition; having curiosity and not being afraid to change and explore the boundaries of possibility; and fundamentally having a clear vision, mission and set of values that underpins the purpose of your life or business.


My ongoing effort to interview ‘game changers’ like Jack, and other pioneers that have left a lasting legacy on humanity, has enabled me to really understand the core drivers of such individuals, and why they need to ‘disrupt’ societal trends.

During a recent TedX talk at Macquarie University by Jack, the future of ‘education’ was revealed, and his insights shared to an audience of aspiring entrepreneurs, academics, and leading experts.

A core question was asked about the real ‘value’ of modern day education at university. Jack challenged the traditional thought process and claimed that “tertiary education is no longer a ‘golden ticket’ to a successful career”; rather, it creates a false sense of promise and hope that they will have the perfect job or a rewarding career path. The side-effects include disheartened students, unemployed graduates, and a skills gap in our workforce.

tertiary education is no longer a ‘golden ticket’ to a successful career


According to Jack, the best approach for Millennials entering tertiary education is to offer training that combines academic learning with practical/hands-on mentoring from established businesses, experienced coaches, mentors, or entrepreneurs.

Without a doubt, Jack’s movement through ‘The Entourage’, now comprising of 300,000 members, is shifting the trends of education; creating a community of aspiring entrepreneurs; equipping them with the necessary business tools, and fuelling their passion and purpose to build their ‘dream’ business.


This article has been exclusively written by Federico Re for Silicon Valley Globe magazine for the July, 2016 online edition.

The Simple Dynamics of Live Speaking


Public speaking is no simple task whether your audience is made up of 20 or 200 people.  I know this fact from past experience, especially during my earlier humble years of motivational speaking at trade exhibitions, business conferences, and other public venues.   

Public speaking is no simple task whether your audience is made up of 20 or 200 people

The simple fact is that fear from public scrutiny and the lack of experience, can totally cripple your ability to think clearly, communicate effectively, and deliver a powerful / thought-provoking message to your audience.  I often call this problem the ‘paralysis’ of public speaking !

The good news is that public speaking is a skill that all people can accomplish in no time, and even master with a few years of experience.  The basics of how ‘simple’ this process is, was demystified by industry expert, Laura Huxley, from ‘Speakers Little Secret, during a Google Hangout show on my ‘InspireTalk’ radio program.   I was also joined by my colleague and co-founder Ranil Rajapaksha.

Achieving Mastery:

Laura explains how mastery of public speaking can be achieved by considering and implementing  the factors below:

  1. Who’s your Audience ?

It is essential to know the people you are communicating with, and then zoning into their needs, feelings, values, and beliefs.  If you are speaking to the younger generation, ‘humour’ and a down to earth language can go a long way.  If your audience are professionals or seniors, a more composed and formal style of presenting is perhaps more appropriate.

  1. What is your Message ?

A powerful presentation can be best achieved by having clarity behind your message, and then learning the art of articulating that message further.  Laura explains that ‘it is important to know why are you speaking to these people, and what specifically are they trying to learn or understand’.

  1. Manage your Fears

To combat the paralysis of public speaking, I personally recommend leveraging on your passion and speaking from the heart. Laura goes a few steps further by stating that if you ‘take the focus off yourself’, as well as know that ‘your audience is really there to cheer you on’, you will find the process a little easier and comforting.

Breathing slowly and consistently’, is also a subtle way of massaging your nerves, and by doing so, you can best minimise the ‘ummms’ and ‘aahhs’, during your presentations.

take the focus off yourself......your audience is really there to cheer you on
  1. Prepare and practice

Laura’s philosophy is that ‘practice makes perfect’. Training your brain and preparing for an event beforehand will have a significant impact on your delivery.  She even recommends talking out loud, and rehearsing in the shower, or wherever the opportunity arises. 

Skill or Talent ?

I am generally of the opinion that success in public speaking really hinges on acquiring the key skills through practice, rather than being ‘born’ with such skills or inherent traits.  I am also of the opinion though, that great modern-day speakers like Barak Obama and Anthony Robbins, possess natural abilities in public speaking, which not all people possess. 

Structured versus Spontaneous ?

In a conclusive statement made by Laura, I discovered that achieving ultimate success in public speaking, is learning the art to being spontaneous, having fun, getting the audience involved and ‘playing with them….putting yourself in a slightly vulnerable position, where your true personality comes out’. From personal experience, the adrenalin of working outside the comfort zone and improvising your speech, is a powerful motivator in ensuring you perform at your best.


This article has been exclusively written by Federico Re for CEO Magazine for the February, 2016 print edition.