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Help from a personal assistant can be a half world away

More than 2,200 miles separate New York City architect Alfredo Munoz from his personal assistant, Karen Cohen, who is based in Panama.

They’ve never so much as shaken hands, and yet he trusts her with everything: his credit card numbers, his worldwide travel, his research. She schedules his business appointments in Spain, India and the U.S. She also buys flowers for his family and friends. (She has even screened a few online dates for him, too).

“It’s a 24/7 challenge,” says Cohen.

A mother of four, she stresses that a virtual assistant gig allows her to enjoy the perks of working at home. Plus, she loves working with a U.S. client because of the time zone match between Panama and New York City. “Its easier to schedule appointments and to deliver on time,” she says.

After more than three years, the arrangement is working out beautifully, says Munoz, the founder of Abiboo Architecture. “It’s funny what globalization can achieve.”

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From their parents’ basement, sinking startup makes bold comeback

In February, 2011, Tishan Mills and Ravin Shah decided to leave their corporate jobs for Mr. Shah’s parents’ basement, where the former University of Waterloo computer science classmates started their tablet-based survey company, TabbleDabble.

They gave themselves six months to earn a profit on their self-funded venture before they would consider rushing back to the safety of the corporate environment, so they knew they were running out of time after 12 long months without a pay cheque.

“We asked ourselves the same question every month, which is ‘how much longer can we go? Is this business going to make money?” Mr. Shah says. “Every month we would push ourselves just a little longer, burn through as little cash as possible, just to keep going.”

read more Top 10 Consultants

A few months ago, we announced that we were searching for the top 10 consultants across all industries. We are excited to announce that we’ve found the consultants who have actively utilized their expertise, leadership, and talent to build companies that achieve success by helping their clients reach — and exceed — their goals.

The “Top 10 Consultants” is a list of today’s leading consultants whose expertise spans from startups to big businesses across industries ranging from mobile to entertainment. They allow their passion to fuel their creativity and excitement, and their dedication to their industries makes each of the individuals some of the most sought-after experts in their respective fields.

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Rocks, Paper, CEO: Finding The Best Leader For Your Startup

When the three female founders of Y-Combinator alum career site The Daily Muse incorporated back in 2011, the McKinsey alums knew that formal roles would be critical to the success of the company. “Which founder should be CEO is the first of many important decisions you’ll make as co-founders,” says COO Alex Cavoulacos.  “If you can’t align on that as a team, consider it a red flag; you’re going to have trouble down the line.”

The red flags of staffing were familiar territory. “We’d seen first-hand the consequences of having an unclear leadership structure,” Cavoulacos says. After a previous venture ended in disaster, the women of The Daily Muse were experienced with what could happen when cofounders disagree on roles and responsibilities. This time around they were determined to avoid a similar fate.

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Why It’s Important to Invest in Your Employees

It’s no secret that top talent makes businesses go. Whether you are a startup or a Fortune 500 company, you want and need top talent to grow and add value to your company. Company culture, productivity, and overall employee happiness stem directly from how much training, responsibility, and empowerment someone has at their current company.

With the growing need for top talent and the escalating trend of high turnover rates, it’s more important than ever to be investing time, resources, and money into your employees. Instead of spending endless amounts of dollars to hire and retrain new employees, businesses need to focus more on how to hire and retain top talent.

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From rags to riches to rehab: Is there a lesson in Ted Williams story?

As Ted Williams, the ‘man with the golden voice,’ heads off to celebrity rehab in Los Angeles, his whirlwind rise and fall is a cautionary tale for corporations and media who fell in love with his story.

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Meet With Industry Players To Succeed

Michelle Randall went from backpacking in Southeast Asia to teaching Fortune 500 executives how to boost their businesses on an international scale.Her company, Enriching Leadership International, has a client list that includes IBM (IBM), Kaiser Permanente and Deutsche Telekom.

One of her goal-achieving secrets: her business-benchmarking group. At least twice a year, Randall gets together with others in her industry to talk success, down to the decimal point.
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Network shares it know-how

“An international virtual community of small consulting firms has formed a network to share their expertise and win business.”

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American Comebacks

“When things do turn around, the leaders who do this have created a more trusted team than ever before…”


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Gut Check: Is your Business Being All That It Can Be?

Matthew Linklater, certified practitioner and coach of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, expert in Time Line TherapyTM, hypnotist, speaker and author, recently published an article on his website ( about the reasons why commitment to financial success is the key to longevity in any company’s lifetime. The article, titled “Gut Check: Is your Business Being All That It Can Be,” suggests that without the right sales, marketing and communication strategies, your talented team might not succeed.

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Can Employers and Employees Be Friends?

Relationships, whether personal or professional, are never easy. Just ask the legions of social workers and psychologists who counsel millions of people on just that topic. But managing relationships in the workplace is its own special challenge — especially when it comes to the employer-employee relationship.

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Biggest challenge for Foster Bank: cultural shift

After two decades of steady growth, Foster Bank is facing a challenge not related to its financial statements, but to its culture. It is time for “a philosophical shift,” says James Gorst, Foster Bank’s senior vice president and chief operating officer.

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4 Tips to Learn a Foreign Language in College

Thanks to the proliferation of advanced communications technology, international borders are rapidly dissolving in the professional world. American businesses are now focused on tapping massive emerging markets in China and India, and leaders in those markets have their eyes peeled for young talent who can immediately flourish in a foreign setting.

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Worst New Year’s Resolutions For Your Wallet

Like unclear resolutions, plans that are too strict will also be too hard to accomplish. Executive coach Michelle Randall warns against making inflexible resolutions.

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Goldilocks Companies: Women Owners Strive for ‘Just the Right Size’

Michelle Randall, who runs Enriching Leadership International, a Silicon Valley Management Consultancy, “size is a male obsession, and a less-relevant measure for women’s success. Fulfillment may be harder to measure, but it’s far more appropriate…”

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Contract Process Full Of Pitfalls For Small Firms

Valerie Lilley’s Navy coat contract was part of a government set-aside program aimed at growing small businesses. Since 1997 Congress has had a goal of awarding 23 percent of government contracts to small businesses.

But a study by a business credit card unit of American Express found that on average it takes a small business nearly two years of trying before it wins its first contract.

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Green Building at the Lumberyard

In most parts of the country, it’s difficult to find a lumberyard that doesn’t sneer when you ask for green products. Yards that do stock one or two token green products have a poor selection, and there’s rarely a knowledgeable person at the counter available to answer your questions. Until now, the only other option has been “green boutiques” specializing in products that are good for the earth but cost an arm and a leg.


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Seeing The Forest For The Trees

With reverence and awe, we admire the forest primeval, with its towering boughs of green and massive columns reaching skyward. Beacons of sunlight filter through the dark and mysterious labyrinth of ancient life, giving us more and more reason to clamor to preserve its ageless beauty at almost any cost.

We are jolted back to reality when we learn that only 5% of North America’s old growth forests are still standing. Over the past decade or so, builders have come to recognize that the future of homebuilding may not necessarily continue along the same paths followed by our parents’ generation, with the systematic rape of old growth mountain tops for our immediate gain.

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