A Changing American Business Environment

Friday, March 21 2014

Some of the biggest names in leadership and business gathered at the second annual OC Business Summit at Saddleback Church in Lake Forrest, California on March 8th. The list of powerhouse speakers included: Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post Media Group, bestselling author and writer Malcolm Gladwell, Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, Rich Karlgaard of Forbes Magazine, and Eric Spitz of Freedom Communications and the Orange County Register.

arianna-huffingtonOrange County many times is overlooked as an innovative and entrepreneurial location as it sits below Los Angeles’ tech savvy Silicon Beach. However, with the University of California at Irvine thriving in the technology and medical field, big and mid-size businesses such as Google, Blizzard Entertainment, Microsoft Corporation, INK Agency and Column Five are putting Orange County on the map for creatives and large conferences such as the OC Business Summit.


The Summit drew business owners and professionals from across Southern California. Aileen Danley, a financial advisor and resident of Orange County, shared her experience with Womenalia: “I was excited to see and hear from the high caliber speakers, in particular, Malcolm Gladwell. I learned from him that despite overwhelming odds, sometimes a little imagination, courage and faith, can bring about success. I also liked Ariana Huffington's message on redefining success to include a life of well-being… and not to forget to sleep!”

A recap of the most memorable pieces of advice from the speakers:

Arianna Huffington explains the importance of rest and sleep in her upcoming book Thrive.

  • On slowing down and valuing rest, Arianna created nap rooms at the Huffington Post head offices in New York for her employees because, “We don’t pay people for their stamina. We pay people for their judgment.”
  • On building an organization with lasting prosperity: “When building a business, we forget the distinction between succeeding and thriving.”
  • On mastering her To Do list: “You can complete a project by dropping it.”

Rick Warren talked about building Saddleback Church into an international organization:

  • On setting priorities: “Sometimes you need to stop doing things in order to be innovative.”
  • On Customer service: “Every complaint is an opportunity to grow loyalty.”
  • On interviewing and building a team: “When hiring, you don’t build loyalty to yourself. You build loyalty to the cause.”

Malcolm Gladwell on his book, David and Goliath and utilizing one’s spirit within to overcome any battle:

  • “It’s not about the number of IQ points in your head…smarts isn’t your IQ. Smarts is your integrity, perseverance and grit.”
  • On David’s inner strength over Goliath’s physical strength, “We are too easily misled by appearance. What really matters is what is in our hearts.”

Eric Spitz on adding authentic value to your product:

  • “Recognize your product is only a piece of what you are offering your customer.”
  • “Newspapers are institutions of their communities. We are here in the service of Orange County. We believe that our mission is to serve the community.”

Rich Karlgaard on his book, The Soft Edge:

  • “You cannot have executive hypocrisy. Real trust is brutal honesty delivered with love.”

By Sarah Barbod - Find her @SBarbod, and on her blog.

Photo credit: Flickr c2mlt

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