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ServicesFINALISTThe inspiration from mentors that Heather Sanderson received while developing as a professional didn’t go unnoticed — it helped her become an entrepreneur. While raising a family as a single mother in California, she met other successful women entrepreneurs at networking events, and the wheels began to turn.When she relocated to the Chicago area in 2001, she cofounded Overture Premiums & Promotions based on her desire to start a promotional marketing agency that was more than just a distributor and could act as a creative branch and provide integrated marketing strategies to its clients.Using the financial and operational experience gained…
Can you imagine a world without Oreo cookies? Anyone who has taken one and dipped it into a glass of milk before popping it into his or her mouth to savor the flavor would shudder at the thought of such a scenario. But when Irene Rosenfeld returned to Kraft Foods in 2006, she found that the company was on verge of delisting the Oreo brand in China. “We took a U.S. product and jammed it down the throats of the Chinese consumer,” Rosenfeld says. “We were losing money, and it was a very unattractive proposition. We had a $60 million…
Stacy R. Janiak was not thinking about becoming managing partner of the Chicago office at Deloitte & Touche LLP when she joined the accounting firm in 1992. The graduate of DePaul University just wanted to do her job and make a good impression on the people who had hired her. But it was an impression left on her by a mentor who she had just come to know who shaped both her future and that of the firm in the years ahead. “Within a month of my joining the firm, a woman who I held in high regard who was…
Many employers are beginning to cope with the realities of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as its mandates, confirmed as constitutional by the Supreme Court, begin to take effect. Still, many questions exist, as some of the law’s major provisions have yet to apply.“Complying with the new regulations might be frustrating and confusing for the first few years and employers will have to rely on their trusted advisers and insurance carriers for assistance and guidance,” says Paul Baranowski, Director of Account Management at Benefitdecisions, Inc.Smart Business spoke with Baranowski about the impending reforms and the effects they will…
Saturday, 30 June 2012 20:00

Honoring the best of the best

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Congratulations to all of the nominees, finalists and winners in the 2012 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Midwest Area program. For more than 25 years, Ernst & Young has celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit of men and women who make our economy vibrant. This has never been truer than it is today. The energy and passion from these entrepreneurs is being felt in a dramatic fashion throughout the Midwest right now. It is great to see!Ernst & Young is the world leader in advising, guiding and recognizing entrepreneurs and founded the Entrepreneur Of The Year® Program to recognize those…
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 19:01

How Richard A. Chaifetz helped ComPsych chart new growth path

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 Richard Chaifetz didn’t realize how many troubled people there actually are in the world when he first launched ComPsych Corp. But as the business took off, he got a clearer view of society’s ills.Instead of just focusing on treatment and counseling for things like drug and alcohol abuse, depression, and marriage problems, Chaifetz saw there was even more he could do to help people.“People’s problems don’t stop at those four or five issues,” says Chaifetz, the company’s chairman and CEO. “And in fact, if you have issues related to stress or depression or you’re using drugs or your kids are…
Entrepreneurship arises from the strangest of places.For Talia Mashiach, founder and CEO of Eved, her winding path began shortly after she accompanied her musician husband to a meeting at a hotel where he hoped to generate more referrals for his band.“I come from a technology background,” she says. “But I love thinking about business models. I had done some back-end technology work for his band’s website, and he figured I could help with some ideas that would lead to more business.”The meeting didn’t go as planned.“I went with him, and the hotel executive said, ‘Well, we don’t just want to…
Friday, 01 July 2011 10:28

A lifetime of success

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John A. Canning Jr. has seen success throughout his career. He graduated from Denison University in 1966 and went on to graduate from Duke University’s School of Law in 1969. After graduation, he took a position as an attorney at The First National Bank of Chicago. There, he practiced law as assistant general counsel until 1980, when he was selected as president of First Chicago Venture Capital.He served in that role until 1992, at which point he co-founded Madison Dearborn Partners LLC. Upon founding the private equity investment firm, he served as president and CEO until 2003, and then as…
Tuesday, 30 November 2010 06:37

Turning aspiration into action

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In 2008, Joel Fruendt knew things had to change. Clarke, a global environmental products and services company where Fruendt served as general manager, made it a strong priority to build sustainability into the business in such a way that positively impacted the business.“We were determined to change an industry that hadn’t changed in 50 years,” Fruendt says. “With the implementation of this major initiative, we integrated sustainable, fiscally sound practices in all areas of our business.Because of this, Fruendt was named one of 2010 Smart Leader honorees by Smart Business and U.S. Bank. We asked him about the dramatic shift,…
Monday, 26 October 2009 20:00

8. Take simplicity to the front lines

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Having a senior management team behind an idea doesn’t ensure it will become reality. Rather, it takes a commitment from champions that you create throughout the ranks. “That front line of the business, without them, we can’t execute anything,” says Lyn Kirby, president and CEO of Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc., a 320-store beauty store chain. When Kirby set out to convince team members in Ulta’s then-70 stores that it was time to transform Ulta from a discount beauty store into a retail experience superstore, she knew she had to get front-line employees behind her vision or it would…
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 20:00

The Kirby File

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Born: Sydney, Australia Whom do you admire most in business?I have had some wonderful mentors, and sometimes the mentors have been people I’ve worked for, and sometimes they’ve been three sets removed. Jim Preston at Avon, I was probably five levels below him the years that I was there. I worked for a wonderful woman at Avon by the name of Joyce Roche, a woman out of New Orleans who came from a family of eight kids. Her dad died when she was very young, and she sort of pulled herself up by the boot straps. I then worked for…
Thursday, 25 June 2009 20:00

Celebrating entrepreneurship

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Congratulations to all of the nominees, finalists and winners in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® Midwest Area 2009 awards! Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of our economy. As a leader in guiding these companies, we feel it’s important to honor them and recognize their impact, while encouraging others to follow in their footsteps. Just about everything begins with an entrepreneur, whether it’s an innovative new business model or establishing new industries and trends. Pick a company — any company — and you can trace its roots back to an entrepreneur.As we all know, these are tough times to…
Tuesday, 26 May 2009 20:00

Breaking barriers

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Recent market research findings suggest that women globally fill less than 20 percent of executive-level positions within the transportation and logistics industry. However, as more and more women enter into logistics careers, they are increasingly challenging the prevailing gender imbalances historically seen in the industry. “Every industry has its own individual idiosyncrasies, and I have found logistics to be an extremely male-dominated field,” said Sheri Wozniak, director of accounting services for AIT Worldwide Logistics, Inc. “While bridging the gender gap to challenge those existing attitudes is still a significant concern for women working in this industry, I also believe that…
Monday, 23 February 2009 19:00

The Drake file

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Born: Chicago First job: It was when I was in high school, and it was at the company that I later joined, Dry Storage Corp. Dry Storage was founded by my father in the ’60s, and I worked inventory control and order processing. And, of course, we did everything by hand on carbon forms then. Whom do you admire most in business and why? Nina McLemore. When I met her ... she was running a $500 million division of a well-known clothing company, and I was just so impressed with how she handled herself. Secondly, she combined her career interest…
Tuesday, 26 August 2008 20:00

The Bassoul file

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Born: Lebanon Education: B.A. in business, American University of Beirut; MBA, finance and marketing, certificate in accounting, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University Bassoul on charity: I’m a great believer that there’s more to business than just profit and production. We went out and created a volunteer effort to help single mothers with jobs in manufacturing. We have supported a lot of community colleges and culinary institutes through scholarship and equipment, we have helped battered women in Turkey and Lebanon by providing them with computer classes. It’s fantastic to get the morale going. Now, one of the things we do…
Friday, 28 October 2005 11:08

Disparities in health care

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The population of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States is larger than ever, and is continuing to grow at a rapid pace. This demographic change is reshaping the American work force and, as a result, is having a profound impact on the health-related benefits companies offer their employees. This may seem surprising, because employer-sponsored medical plans often have built-in flexibility to meet diverse needs. Employees can choose their coverage plans, doctors and other plan dimensions. In fact, with new consumer-directed products, employees have unprecedented freedom to tailor a plan to their needs. Studies show that despite this flexibility,…
Friday, 28 July 2006 20:00

Marketing makeover

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 When Julie Smolyansky joined her father’s company right out of college, she dreamed of one day - many years down the road - running it. She had no idea that just five years later, her father would suffer a sudden heart attack, and she would become CEO of Lifeway Foods Inc. at the ripe old age of 27. “There was nobody there to hand it over and give me even two weeks of training,” says Smolyansky. “I truly learned everything on the job, and it was under intense, traumatic, painful times. I had lost my father and our president.” Although…
Tuesday, 27 June 2006 20:00

ADM names Woertz president, CEO

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Archer Daniels Midland Co. named Patricia A. Woertz president, CEO and member of the board of directors, succeeding G. Allen Andreas, who remains as chairman of the board. Woertz most recently was executive vice president of Chevron Corp., in charge of the oil company’s refining, marketing, lubricant, supply and trading businesses in 180 countries, with more than $100 billion in annual revenues and a global work force of 30,000. Woertz was one of the highest-ranking executives in the energy industry. Prior to becoming executive vice president at Chevron, Woertz was president of Chevron Products Co., a position she assumed after…
Sunday, 25 June 2006 20:00

20 years and thriving

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Congratulations to all of the nominees and finalists in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Lake Michigan Area award program. Ernst & Young created the Entrepreneur Of The Year(r) (EOY) award — the Award for Business Leadership — to honor the accomplishments of the great men and women who make our economy vibrant. As we celebrate your stories, we along with our sponsors and patrons continue to be inspired and encouraged by the entrepreneurial business achievements that you share in this program. Entrepreneurs make the world go around. Entrepreneurs see the possibilities for change and make it happen.…
Thursday, 23 June 2005 20:00

Honoring entrepreneurship

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Congratulations to all of the finalists in the Illinois Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award program. Ernst & Young created the Entrepreneur Of The Year award -- the Award for Business Leadership -- to honor the accomplishments of the great men and women who make our economy vibrant. I continue to be amazed and encouraged by the entrepreneurial business achievements that I encounter. Each year, finalists and award recipients demonstrate incredible depth of character as they develop new technologies, create faster ways to distribute goods and services, and improve the quality of life for those around them. Again…
Friday, 20 August 2004 09:42

Movers & Shakers

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Hub International Ltd. Hub International Ltd. appointed William T. Zanoni president and CEO of its Chicago-based hub, Mack and Parker Inc. Zanoni has been serving in a senior management position at Talbot Financial, an insurance brokerage acquired by Hub International in July. Zanoni began his insurance career in 1972 as an underwriter for Safeco Insurance Co. He later joined the Glenview Insurance Agency, a family company founded by his father in 1946. He became president of the company after the death of his father in 1977 and remained with the agency after its sale to Talbot in June 2000.  …
Wednesday, 30 June 2004 12:04

Movers & Shakers

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Motorola Inc. named Michel Mayer chairman and CEO of Freescale Semiconductor, a subsidiary expected to become a separate, publicly traded company later this year. Mayer's appointment is effective immediately. Mayer spent almost 20 years at IBM Corp., most recently as general manager of IBM Microelectronics, which develops and markets customized semiconductor products and services. "After an extensive, global search, we believe that Michel Mayer has a unique combination of operational experience, leadership skills, customer focus and technical expertise to make him the ideal choice to lead Freescale Semiconductor as an independent entity," says Ed Zander, chairman and CEO of Motorola.…
Tuesday, 25 May 2004 06:47

The business of hunger

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For six years, Robert H. Forney was president and CEO of the Chicago Stock Exchange.He still carries those titles, but in a different capacity. Forney now leads America's Second Harvest, the nation's largest charitable domestic hunger relief organization.When he took over leadership at the Chicago Stock Exchange, Forney also began volunteering at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, packing food. He eventually became a board member."I used it as an opportunity to build the right kind of spirit at the exchange with my management team, with our members," Forney says. "I became increasingly aware of not only poverty in Chicago's urban…
The last several years haven't been kind to Chicago's candy-making industry. In 2001, Mayor Richard M. Daley pleaded with Congress to revise the U.S. sugar policy after Brach's Confections Inc. announced it would cease operations at its Chicago confections plant by 2003.Most recently, the Archibald Candy Corp., the parent company of Fannie May and Fannie Farmer candy, closed and filed for bankruptcy in January. Employment by Chicago's candy manufacturers has fallen from approximately 15,000 workers to 8,000 since 1970, according to published reports. Yet, somehow, Tootsie Roll Industries Inc. continues to thrive in a struggling market.Headed by the husband and…
Monday, 26 July 2010 20:00

The Morey file

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Where were you born? A hospital And where was that hospital?Hinsdale, Ill. Education: I have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University. I started back for my MBA on a couple of occasions, and every time I sit down and start looking at the course material, I just kind of chuckle and say, ‘OK, well, I’m doing that already.’ What was your first job? My very first job was delivering newspapers then cutting grass. At 15, I started working here in the factory and my first job was sweeping floors and cleaning toilets. I assure you that at…
Tuesday, 23 February 2010 19:00

Virtual brand builder

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When Chris Dalton co-founded Acquity Group LLC in 2001, it was during the aftermath of the dot-com crash and some people thought he was crazy to launch a new IT consultancy firm. Dalton defied the naysayers. He understood that CEOs sought practical ways to use the Internet as a business channel and recognized where others had gone awry. He incorporated highly tailored and creative integrated technology solutions, providing values to organizations by meeting specific business goals. “I knew that if we put together the right kind of consultancy, based on what defunct dot-coms had not done, we couldn’t lose,” Dalton…
It could be said that the fate of Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc. was changed because Lyn P. Kirby is not a morning person.A finalist for the beauty retailer’s top leadership role in late 1999, Kirby had to catch a 6 a.m. flight to Dallas to meet with the company’s chairman. She had plenty of ideas and materials to review on the flight, but again, it was early.“And I had left all my materials at home,” says Kirby, Ulta’s president and CEO. “I was about to spend four hours with the chairman, so I needed to create on this…