Barbara Corcoran’s credentials include straight D’s in high school and college and 20 jobs by the time she turned 23. It was her next job, however, that would make her one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country, when she borrowed $1,000 from her boyfriend and quit her job as a waitress to start a tiny real estate company in New York City. Over the next 25 years, she’d parlay that $1,000 loan into a five-billion-dollar real estate business and the largest and best known brand in the business. As a speaker, Barbara brings her front-lines experience and infectious energy to each person in the audience. They laugh, cry and learn how to become more successful. Motivational, inspirational, and sometimes outrageous, Barbara Corcoran’s tell-it-like-it-is attitude is a refreshing approach to success. Barbara is the author of If You Don’t Have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons on Your Pigtails, an unlikely business book that has become a national best-seller. She credits her struggles in school and her mother’s kitchen-table wisdom for her innovation and huge success in the business world. The book is a fresh, frank look at how to succeed in life and business and is as heartwarming as it is smart and motivating. Barbara is the popular real estate contributor for the Today Show and CNBC. She writes a weekly real estate column for the Daily News and monthly columns for MORE Magazine and Redbook. Springboard Press released Barbaras second book, Nextville: Amazing Places to Live the Rest of Your Life, last spring, to amazing reviews.
Kevin Harrington, CEO of TVGoods.com, LLC and co-founder of OmniReliant Holdings, Inc., is widely acknowledged as the pioneer and principal architect of the “infomercial” industry. 2009 marks the 25th year since Harrington produced the industry’s first infomercial; with milestones of over 500 product launches resulting in sales of over $ 4 billion worldwide and 20 products reaching individual sales of over $100 million — creating dozens of millionaires. Harrington’s first company, Quantum International, started in the mid-80’s and merged into National Media in 1991.That grew into $500 million in annual sales with distribution in over 100 countries in 20 languages. Additional entrepreneurial startups included ventures with HSN, Inc. (HSN Direct) and Reliant International; selling the latter to the Koo banking family of Taiwan in 2006. That same year, Harrington co-founded TVGoods.com and Omni Reliant Holdings, raising over $17 million in equity investment capital from a NY hedge fund. The firm recently purchased the controlling stake in Tampa Bay’s premiere production facility, OmniComm Studios, Harrington’s present office location — a 33,000 square foot film studio on 5.4 acres in Clearwater, Florida. Harrington’s philanthropy established two important global networking associations — the Entrepreneur’s Organization (E.O.) and the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA).
Robert Herjavec has lived the classic “rags to riches” story. The son of Croatian immigrants, he earned his incredible wealth by overcoming the odds with pure hard work and intuition. He remembers how his mother, who could barely speak English, lost the family savings to a smooth talking vacuum salesman. Since then, Robert vowed he would never let his family be taken advantage of again. In the early ’90’s, Robert eked out a living waiting tables at a posh Yorkville restaurant. During the initial stages of the dot com craze, he realized that technology was the ticket to serious money. By night, he launched BRAK systems, his first technology company. BRAK soon became Canada’s top provider of Internet security software, worth a reported $100 million dollars. Robert sold his company to AT&T in 2000. But that was only the start. He then helped negotiate the sale of another technology company to Nokia for $225 million dollars. Instead of retiring with his cash, Robert now heads The Herjavec Group, listed as one of Canada’s leading and fastest growing IT security and infrastructure integration firms. His palatial 50,000 square foot Bridle Path mansion hosts luminaries like Michael Bublé and Mick Jagger. For thrills, Robert jets to a private island near Miami or cruises Yorkville in one of his many luxury cars.
Daymond John’s creative vision helped revolutionize the sportswear industry in the 1990s. As founder, president and chief executive officer of FUBU–“For Us, By Us”–John created distinctive and fashionable sportswear and a host of other related gear. FUBU’s phenomenal success made mainstream apparel companies realize the potential for fashionable sportswear that appeals not just to trendsetting urban youth, but to mainstream teens, as well. John was born in the New York City borough of Brooklyn but spent his childhood in the Hollis neighborhood of Queens during the 1970s. An only child, John grew up in a single-parent household headed by his mother, who was a flight attendant for American Airlines but often held more than one job at a time. His first foray into the apparel market came when he wanted a tie-top hat and was put off by the price. John asked his mother to teach him how to use a sewing machine, and he began making the distinctive tie-top hats in the morning and then selling them on the streets of Queens in the evening hours. One day in 1992, he and his friend sold $800 worth of hats and realized their ideas had definite potential. They created a distinctive logo and began sewing the FUBU logo on hockey jerseys, sweatshirts and t-shirts. John lured some longtime friends into the business and asked old neighborhood friend L.L. Cool J. to wear a t-shirt in a photograph for a FUBU promotional campaign in 1993. John and his mother mortgaged the home they collectively owned for the $100,000 in start-up capital. Even more amazingly, she then moved out so the quartet could use the home as a makeshift factory and office space. FUBU officially emerged in 1994 when John and his partners traveled to an industry trade show in Las Vegas. Buyers liked the distinctively cut, vibrantly colored sportswear, and John and his partners returned to Queens with $300,000 worth of orders. FUBU soon had a contract with the New York City-based department store chain Macy’s, and they began expanding their line to include jeans and outerwear. A distribution deal with Korean electronics manufacturer Samsung allowed their designs to be manufactured and delivered on a massive scale. As CEO and president, John guided FUBU to a staggering $350 million in revenues in 1998, placing it in the same stratosphere as such designer sportswear labels as Donna Karan New York and Tommy Hilfiger. Over the last 16 years, John has evolved into more than a fashion mogul. In 2007 the street-smart businessman penned his first book, Display of Power: How FUBU Changed a World of Fashion, Branding & Lifestyle,which was named one of the best business books of 2007 by the Library Journal. Known as the Godfather of Urban Fashion, Daymond is regarded as one of the most sought-after branding experts and keynote speakers in fashion and business today. With multiple business ventures on his resume, John can be seen sharing his knowledge and business genius on numerous business and entertainment television programs.
Kevin O’Leary is opinionated, ruthless, hungers for big deals and loves to take control, yet he made his millions helping children learn how to read. Kevin’s success story starts where most entrepreneurs begin: with a big idea and zero cash. From his basement, he launched SoftKey Software Products. As sales took off, Kevin moved to headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts and went on an industry consolidating acquisition binge. From 1995 to 1999 he bought almost every one of his software competitors, including Mindscape, Broderbund and the Learning Company in the industry’s first vicious public hostile battle. Shareholders love his take-no-prisoners cost cutting style and fueled him with billions to do his deals. In 1999 Kevin sold his company to the Mattel Toy Company for a staggering 3.7 billion dollars, one of the largest deals ever done in the consumer software industry. To keep his money working hard, Kevin took control of his wealth from his lackluster money managers and founded his own mutual fund company, O’Leary Funds. He raised hundreds of millions of dollars from investors who share his “get paid while you wait” yield oriented value investing philosophy. He shares his tips and tribulations with a national television audience and turns the Street upside down in the process. As a self-proclaimed “Eco-preneur,” Kevin looks hardest for investments that make money — and are environmentally friendly. When he’s not squeezing the market from his office in West Palm Beach, he travels the world looking for new opportunities to deploy his capital. He is a founding investor and director of Stream Global, an international business outsourcing company. Kevin is on the investment committee of Boston’s prestigious 200-year-old Hamilton Trust, and is the Chairman of O’Leary Funds. He also serves on the executive board of The Richard Ivey School of Business. Kevin escapes on weekends with his family to his luxurious cottage that spreads over prime Canadian wilderness on the shore of an ancient glacial lake.