Getting into details and combining professional services with fun experiential events is the forte of The Production House Events (TPHE), the company owned by Harry Samuels. In a highly competitive industry and ever-evolving landscape, they set themselves apart by exceeding customer’s expectations and putting people at the centre of everything they do.
Harry had no family experience in running a venture earlier in life, but he has always been passionate about business. He took up a bachelor’s degree in business, majoring in marketing and management at university and going on to finish with a Class 2 Honours degree. After that, he worked in various companies, primarily in the marketing field until he became the CEO of a supply company. His work experience included working in Sri Lanka and New Zealand. In those experiences, he was always involved with organising corporate events.
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When Craig Sanford established Sierra Legal, what he had in mind was something very different to the traditional “ivory tower” law firms in the industry. Thus, he created a boutique firm that provides high quality and commercially focused legal services to its clients, using a close-knit team of friendly and highly experienced lawyers who enjoy a technology savvy and truly flexible working environment. For a boutique firm, Sierra Legal has some great clients, including Medibank, BP, Hisense and Chubb Insurance.
The entrepreneurial route was not something Craig contemplated when he began his career. “In fact, if you ask my friends and the people where I worked at the time, they would have said that I was the last person they expected to jump out on his own,” he claimed.
His family does not have any entrepreneurial background. His parents and those of his wife, Katie, were not entrepreneurs. According to this legal adviser-entrepreneur, “Initially, the scary part was being on my own and not having that support network around me. I’ve been with EO Melbourne now for four or five years. But in the early days, I didn’t have those people available to guide me along my way. I had family and friends I could talk to, particularly my father, who’s always been a bit of a mentor to me. But it was a challenge not having people around me with entrepreneurial experience to give advice.”
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The Gables is an establishment that traces its history since 1902. For Managing Director and Business Owner Jessica Souter, it’s a tough and exciting challenge to preserve a significant piece of Melbourne history. The garden was laid out by no less than William Guilfoyle, the landscape architect of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne.
The Gables has a rich and colourful past, which includes being an illegal gambling house in the 30’s. “It was a sly-grog shop. It was a speakeasy. So, I’m a caretaker of this beautiful venue,” Jessica claimed. In fact, 1920’s famous Australian gangster, Squizzy Taylor, held a lavish 21st birthday party for his girlfriend in this venue. Keeping the genuineness of the place is a tall order for Jessica. As such, “Everything I do, whenever I renovate or do anything around here, I try to do it as authentically and respectfully towards the house as I can,” she declared.
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“The customer is king. Cover your back. Always do what you say you will do.” These are just a few of the business philosophies that Ina McCorkell goes by, Owner and CEO of EasyChef. For over two decades in the business, Ina imparts her grains of thoughts and nuggets of wisdom on how to overcome the challenges of the entrepreneurial journey.
Both of Ina’s parents were self-employed, so taking the entrepreneurial route seemed a natural progression for her. “When you grow up in an environment where people create their destiny, it encourages you to see it as normal. It’s a lot easier if your family are already doing their own thing. Four of my siblings do their own thing,” she professed.
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With a vision for his business in mind, Intralink Wealth Management Owner & Director Paul Sharkey, has come up with a game plan. He’s playing on his strengths while taking into consideration the opposition and the playing field. He builds up his team, anticipates setbacks, draws up a plan B and C, and brings his company forward for a lot of wins.
Paul played AFL as a professional football athlete for about five to six years. He was able to bring to the business arena the principles and discipline of the sport. However, apart from his training in footy, Paul also grew up in a setting where the entrepreneurial spirit thrives.
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All these years, Founder and CEO of KX Pilates, Aaron Smith, has been advocating for physical fitness. As he went about his entrepreneurial journey, he found that he can also help people become financially fit through his business. “Empowering people to make positive changes in their lives is fantastic. That’s why I got into franchising as well. I always have a general nature of helping people. Whether it be in fitness or business, it’s satisfying to me, that’s for sure,” he stated.
Aaron was in his late teens when he got into fitness and personal training. In fact, he majored in exercise physiology during his university years. His passion for travelling, personal training and snowboarding led him to America where he stayed on and off for two years until he moved to London. While in London, he learned of Dynamic Pilates and immediately fell in love with it. “I always had the dream to bring the style back to Australia and create my brand. So, I left London in 2009 and started KX Pilates in February 2010,” Aaron narrated.
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“Verve means full of life,” Verve Owner and CEO Kane McErvale declared. “When we were looking for a name for the company, we wanted it to be about energy because what we do is so full of life. We bring people together. We get them to be themselves in a space where they can connect and engage with each other. That’s where the magic is.”
More of an art person than a businessman, Kane studied music in his early teens. He moved to New York to study acting, eventually becoming an actor and a singer. “I only ever performed in the arts. I was not involved with any other business. I guess I was my own business. I came into the business in 2006. I was recording with Sony Music, and I was doing a lot of touring and travelling. My sister, Holly, had come back from Europe, and she had an idea to set up a photography business in Australia,” Kane began.
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