Top 10 Business Leaders & Entrepreneurs to Learn From in 2023

1 – Melissa Tittl Melissa Tittl is a creative professional known for her background in producing and writing for major networks. A fierce passion for humanity’s roots and the unknown has led her to establish Hathor Studios, where she is currently serving as CEO and Executive Producer. Melissa’s content creation […]

1 – Melissa Tittl

Melissa Tittl is a creative professional known for her background in producing and writing for major networks. A fierce passion for humanity’s roots and the unknown has led her to establish Hathor Studios, where she is currently serving as CEO and Executive Producer. Melissa’s content creation approach breaks traditional production houses’ mold, delivering fresh, high-quality content that captivates and challenges audiences. Using her unique worldview and expertise as a storyteller, she has earned recognition in the film industry and established her place as a trailblazer.

Through her leadership, Melissa has positioned Hathor Studios at the forefront of storytelling, establishing her as a true visionary in her field. She believes the key to success in the media industry lies in blending creativity and innovation with a sound business strategy, a balance that has earned recognition for the company’s films, “Black Knight Satellite: Beyond the Signal” and “Code 12,” at film festivals. In the coming year, Hathor Studios will further solidify its reputation by releasing three more films and several TV series on major networks. Melissa places equal importance on incorporating authenticity, empathy, and kindness into her work as she does on intelligence and artistry. By seamlessly integrating these values into her creative process, she strives to produce content that showcases her technical prowess while embodying her unique and compassionate worldview.

Harboring ambitious plans for the future, Melissa envisions Hathor Studios’ expansion to encompass a diverse array of offerings, including big-budget scripted films, which she aims to both direct and write, as well as smaller original content for SVOD platforms, scripted television programs, and films, documentaries, and a distribution division. Melissa’s ultimate goal is to create meaningful and impactful content that inspires change and helps people think beyond their current reality.

Instagram: @melissa_tittl

2 – Brandon Michaels

Brandon Michaels is a talented and accomplished entrepreneur whose deep-seated passion for designing groundbreaking solutions has made him a rising star in the business world. From a young age, Brandon recognized the power of creative problem-solving and has been relentlessly pursuing it ever since. At the tender age of 16, he created the innovative Veza wristband, an elegant accessory that raised funds for various charitable organizations. It quickly became the number one ranked charity wristband, a testament to his ability to create unique, high-quality products that resonate with customers.

As the founder and CEO of Lucky Break, a brand that offers a new take on the hard seltzer space, Brandon is making waves in the alcohol industry. With Lucky Break, he’s taken on the challenge of reimagining the hard seltzer market by addressing the discomfort that carbonation can cause. His low-calorie, low-sugar, and no bubbles alternative is quickly gaining popularity among consumers who want to enjoy alcoholic beverages without the unpleasant side effects.

Brandon‘s overcome numerous challenges as a young and ambitious entrepreneur, and he remains steadfast in his belief that the path to success lies in identifying a problem that affects not only oneself but also others and crafting an innovative solution to address it. For him, embracing challenges is crucial to learning and growing. Brandon has grand ambitions for the future of his brand, Lucky Break. Among his strategic goals is to expand the brand’s reach beyond its current borders to encompass a national and international audience. An entrepreneur with a strong desire to positively impact the world, Brandon also plans to launch new businesses that address a number of issues. [Photo taken by Jake Cloobeck]

3 – Marcos Cline-Márquez

Marcos Cline-Márquez is a name that’s become synonymous with progressive thinking and a commitment to inclusivity. As a producer and entrepreneur, Marcos has been at the forefront of a movement towards a more diverse and accepting society that celebrates our differences and encourages mutual respect. Throughout his career, he’s been passionate about the power of multiculturalism. By embracing diversity, he believes we can build a more inclusive society that values and respects everyone, regardless of their background. As an advertising and entertainment executive, Marcos has worked to promote this message throughout his career.

For Marcos, the term ‘General Market’ no longer accurately describes the mainstream. The US market is now heavily influenced by and reliant on multicultural groups, and acknowledging this is crucial for progression. Through ALTERED.LA, he’s been leading the way in advancing this message, bringing together advertising and entertainment to bridge the gap between cultures and promote unity. Marcos has received numerous awards for his work, including the Cannes Lions Grand Prix, Gold and Bronze awards from ADC, and the Bronze pencil from The One Show. Recognition of his work and dedication to promoting a more diverse and inclusive society, these awards reflect the impact of his career.

Looking to the future, Marcos has big dreams and aspirations. He wants to grow his revenue stream by continuing to invest in developing original content and expanding his commercial production division into additional markets. Moreover, he plans to consolidate his company’s leadership in the production and services divisions, particularly in Mexico and Colombia. During a time when there is a growing divide within our society, Marcos stands out as a beacon of hope and inclusivity. In essence, Marcos’s message is to embrace diversity, acknowledge what makes us unique, and accept what makes others unique as well.

4 – Jillian Clark

Jillian Clark, Founder, and CEO of Roboro has made a significant impact in the sustainable textile waste solutions industry. After becoming disillusioned with the wasteful practices of the film industry, Jillian established Roboro, a company that upcycles discarded fabrics and clothing to create unique, sustainable products.

Over the years, Roboro has expanded its impact beyond upcycling discarded fabrics and clothing to also include consulting and innovation in the sustainable textile waste solutions industry. Jillian has been instrumental in driving the company’s growth in these areas, working with engineers and recycling facilities to develop new technologies for recycling fibers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Roboro’s focus shifted to producing masks, and through a sponsorship program, the company was able to donate thousands of masks to hospitals in need. In addition to their work with recycling and upcycling, Roboro also consults for sustainably-minded brands, including a new, sustainable children’s toy company, co-founded by actress Amanda Seyfried and two friends.

While Jillian’s dedication to sustainability and waste reduction has earned her recognition and awards in the past, one of her most memorable moments was seeing a sustainable dress she helped create on the Oscar Red Carpet. It was an incredibly fulfilling and validating experience for her to witness her values, activism, and mission being represented at such a prestigious event.

Despite her successes, Jillian remains focused on the future, currently in the process of expanding Roboro to the East Coast and establishing partnerships across the country. Jillian’s passion for sustainability and reducing textile waste has led her to become an inspiration to future entrepreneurs. Her mission to create a more sustainable future for the fashion industry is one that we should all get behind. With her humility, hard work, and perseverance, Jillian Clark is a true innovator and leader in her field.

5 – Sabrena Gartland

Sabrena Gartland is a self-made entrepreneur and the driving force behind Frogman Media Group, Content Splash, and Peninsula PR. With over 16 years of experience in the industry, Sabrena has built a reputation as a respected leader in the field of Digital Marketing and PR, known for her innovative approach to building successful companies. Starting her career as a receptionist, she quickly rose through the ranks and eventually landed a corporate job in marketing. However, after the birth of her first child, she realized that the long hours and demands of the job were not conducive to balancing motherhood. Determined to find a solution, she formulated a plan to leave her job and become a stay-at-home mom. But her entrepreneurial spirit proved too strong to be held back by this decision. Within a week of leaving her job, she landed her first client and her business began to flourish.

With her vast expertise, Sabrena has worked with over 300 brands and has played a key role in helping them launch and execute successful marketing strategies. One of her proudest accomplishments is her work with The Comfy, which went from $0 to $50 million in its first year of business, and now boasts over $250+ million in sales. Sabrena is eager to share her wisdom on the importance of delegation, learning from mistakes, self-compassion, and carving out dedicated time for weekly tasks. In the next few years, she hopes to get involved in more business ventures, invest her time and money into fun projects that she is passionate about, and continue to help her current clients grow. Ultimately, Sabrena wants to build a stable life full of love and amazing memories for her two girls and husband, and make them proud.

6 – Leila Quraishi

Leila Quraishi is a dynamic and successful entrepreneur who established Nudesox, a premier athleisure sock brand that offers a variety of nude hues. Launched back in 2015, Nudesox offers five shades of athleisure socks in skin-matching tones that create a flawless appearance. Leila saw a need in the market and decided to address a common issue and improve women’s lives globally and founded her company. With the sock industry having a global market of $36 billion, she seized the opportunity to bring a one-of-a-kind product to fruition. Despite encountering initial difficulties, such as finding a manufacturer as a start-up, Leila’s determination and perseverance have driven the growth and success of Nudesox.

Her impact on the fashion industry has garnered widespread recognition, commencing with her inclusion in reputable publications such as Forbes and being accoladed as a trailblazer in promoting inclusivity by a reputable Australian publication. As a testament to the popularity and prosperity of Nudesox, she orchestrated a triumphal pop-up shop in Los Angeles, relying solely on the power of word-of-mouth marketing.

Leila has ambitious plans for the future of Nudesox, with a vision to bring the athleisure sock brand to a global audience and seamlessly integrate her passions for innovation, e-commerce, and branding. As a member of the Growth team at Tapcart, a start-up that specializes in creating custom mobile apps for Shopify brands and is backed by Shopify, Leila is poised to attain her aspirations and reach new heights in her career. Leila advises others to be resourceful, cultivate a strong sense of self and identity, and make the most of their potential. In her view, envisioning oneself reaching the culmination of their aspirations is a powerful motivator and driving force toward attaining success.

7 – Pankaj Kumar

Pankaj Kumar is a seasoned entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in technology and business. Having witnessed internet’s impact on both businesses & individuals, Pankaj noticed how in personal lives technology can at times hurt. The social media proliferation and its contribution to distraction, bullying, rumors, and peer pressure is one example of such undesirable impact. Throughout his career, Pankaj has demonstrated an exceptional ability to leverage technology for business transformation. In his role as co-founder of Ignify, Pankaj built a preeminent e-commerce platform that generated over a billion dollars in revenue. In his last role, he held the position of co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Unify Dots, where he spearheaded the creation of pioneering solutions that equipped companies to excel in the digital era. In his entrepreneurial journey, Pankaj boasts a series of noteworthy accomplishments, including the acquisition of Ignify by HITACHI Solutions, helping Lotus Petal Foundation with their mission of providing “life of dignity through education” and more recently enabling Spiritual Wellness through an internet platform.

Through Pankaj’s help, Lotus Petal is developing and implementing an “Assisted Education” program to address acute shortage of high-quality teachers. Over the past two years, Pankaj has focused on creating a place that prioritizes truth, kindness, and compassion over profits. He co-founded, with Om Swami, a former technology entrepreneur who has renounced the world of material possessions. Ultimately, he hopes will provide spiritual guidance and become a companion for people in their life journey. Pankaj is also working on a platform to provide spiritual or faith-based guidance to reduce spiritual distress when faced with big life events such as a chronic health situation that can suddenly shift the lens through which you look at your daily life.

8 – Lee Dyson

Lee Dyson is a well-known name in the entertainment industry, owning and DJing at Hey Mister DJ, Lee and his company have won multiple awards and nominations for their outstanding DJ services. Lee’s journey started with a passion for music that helped him overcome a difficult childhood filled with bullying. Over the years, he’s entertained crowds at some of the most significant events in Los Angeles, including the Oscars, Emmys, and fashion shows. During his career, he also had the chance to open for numerous top musicians, including One Republic, Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Mayer, and David Chapelle. With an in-depth knowledge of music, he’s able to blend music genres seamlessly and read crowds to ensure the vibe is always on point and leaves everyone satisfied.

Lee believes in being humble and grateful for every opportunity that comes his way and frequently draws inspiration from the book, “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. In the future, Lee plans to focus more on his hosting, MC, and speaking work as well as the launch of his new Live Game Night for corporate events. Lee’s journey of taking a hobby and turning it into a thriving business inspires many. Despite facing complex challenges, he always retained sight of his passion and has come a long way in the entertainment industry. Lee‘s story is a testament to the fact that anyone can achieve their dreams with hard work, perseverance, and a positive attitude. The lessons learned and wisdom gained throughout his journey hold valuable insight for those following in his footsteps and pursuing their passions.

9 – Colin West

Colin West is a native of Los Angeles and a seasoned entrepreneur. Born in Santa Monica, he spent his childhood and teenage years in the Pacific Palisades, attending Paul Revere and Loyola high school before moving to Northern California for college. With a lifelong passion for animals and nature, Colin was introduced to the world of dog psychology when he watched “The Dog Whisperer, with Cesar Millan.” He became obsessed with working with dogs and learning about dog behavior, eventually adopting two dogs of his own and becoming the primary caregiver for three black Pit Bulls in college.

Upon his return to Los Angeles following his graduation in 2009, Colin faced several challenges, including the effects of the economic recession on his family and a job market that made finding employment difficult. However, in a moment of introspection, he was struck by the idea of starting a dog hiking business. Despite initial doubts, Colin was driven by his determination and passion. He persisted with the venture and fully dedicated himself to his entrepreneurial aspirations. Driven by a desire to use his expertise and influence for the betterment of the world, Colin strives to create a supportive and empowering environment for dogs and their owners. He is committed to educating people about canine behavior and communication, providing them with the tools to establish a deeper connection with their furry companions. Through his unwavering dedication and passion, Colin hopes to inspire others to follow their dreams and become entrepreneurs, leveraging their passions to impact the world positively.

10 – Chris Lee

Christopher Lee is an exceptional figure in the IT industry, standing out from the typical background of his peers. After earning a Philosophy degree from UCLA and considering a career in law, Chris’ path to tech wound through several unusual turns such as being a motorcycle messenger and selling life insurance. Nevertheless he always had a natural affinity for technology – such as figuring out how to hijack his neighbor’s phone lines to keep his computer online 24/7 during the dial-up days. This early ingenuity helped kick start his journey during the first Dot-Com boom, first as a telecom installer and then moving to network engineering and finally as department head in corporate IT and managed services. Today, he’s the founder of Hexpistol, a successful IT on-demand team.

Chris boasts over 13 years of experience in IT infrastructure and networks across various industries, including fashion, entertainment, hospitality, and medical. He has a proven track record of implementing cross-platform solutions to support business growth and has been responsible for IT technologies, infrastructure, and cybersecurity at multiple fashion and consumer lifestyle brands. Chris’s expertise in the field has also earned him recognition as a speaker on cybersecurity and technology compliance topics in front of professional associations such as the Pasadena Bar Association.

Chris sees himself as an enabler of technology for small and midsized companies, which he considers the backbone of the American economy and society. To achieve this goal, he founded Hexpistol, which specializes in helping companies without internal IT staff access the support and expertise they need to stay competitive. With a focus on improving business agility through cloud adoption, legacy system extension, and smart technology investments, Chris is determined to help companies reach their full potential. His unique background, combined with his years of experience in IT, make him a valuable resource for businesses seeking to navigate the ever-changing tech landscape.

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