Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Biggest Influencers (cross-posted from

As I transition out of my current role at Mzinga, I'm selectively cross-posting some of my more memorable posts on this site. Don't worry, I've obtained the blessing of the higher-ups at Mzinga (their a cool bunch). More to come!

Cross-posted on (original post date, January 16, 2008)

Like Jake Mckee aka "The Community Guy, I too got tagged with a cool meme by my good friend, Mukund. As a result of being tagged, I'm now on the hook to share my life's three biggest influencers. Not an easy excercise by any stretch but I'm going to take a shot. Here goes:

  • My Parents - I would be an ungrateful child if I didn't include my parents in this list. I know, this list is supposed to be thought provoking and impart all sorts of wisdom to the people reading this blog post. But for this choice, I've got to stay grounded. My parents did a bang up job of teaching me life's important values (respect, honesty, integrity to name a few) and for the most part, I think I turned out okay. As a father of three, I now have the pleasure of trying to figure out how I can do the same with my children. Any of you who have kids know that this is not an easy task.
  • L. Ron Hubbard - NOT! I couldn't resist including him, especially given the leaking of Tom Cruise's absolute whack job of a tape. This is a must listen if you haven't heard it already.
  • Ms. Latin - Yup, she was my 11th and 12th grade honors French teacher. At the time, I hated her guts. As it turns out, Ms. Latin realized something about me early on i.e. that was that as much as I was a relatively smart guy -- notice I said "relatively"' -- but I didn't apply myself to school nearly as much as I should. My reward for such behavior? Two to three hours of French homework EVERY night (on top of three to four hours of other homework.) Of course I bucked her every step of the way but as I close in on my 40th year on this planet, I can look back and appreciate the work ethic Ms Latin instilled in me. Most important (and impressive) was that she never gave up on me and for that I thank her.
  • Sean Belka - I met Sean at Fidelity Investments back in 1997. He was the head of our online partnerships group and I was working in the interactive group for Fidelity's in-house ad agency. At the time, Sean was negotiating partnerships with the likes of companies like Yahoo! and Lycos (remember them) and my group was providing the online assets for these partnerships. I didn't know Sean well at the time but I remember being impressed by his wit, humor and ability to target cutting edge companies for strategic partnerships.

    Fast forward to 2003 when I was re-orged into Sean's group right after he was named the head of segment marketing at Fidelity. In no time at all, Sean resurrected a partnership group and tapped me as one of the leaders in the group. As a result, I had the rare opportunity to join Sean and our division president for meetings with luminaries like Eric Schmidt at Google, Jeff Jordan of eBay (he was the president of eBay U.S. at the time) and Dan Rosensweig of Yahoo (their COO.) These meetings left an indelible impression on me and I will be forever grateful to Sean for giving me that opportunity.
  • Barry Libert (I know I said "3" but I couldn't resist) - Barry is our current co-CEO at Mzinga and my partner on the We Are Smarter project. I've worked with Barry for a little over a year and a half and I have to say that to know Barry is to love him. He's hands down one of the smartest guys I've ever met and a more strategic guy you'll never meet. He's also very approachable which is one of the things I like most about him. I won't lie, there have been times over the years that I've wanted to throttle him (I'm sure he's felt the same way about me) but at the end of the day, he's the guy that really pushed me into social media.

Who are your biggest influences? Let's find out from Francois Gossieaux, Nate Ritter, Jim Storer and Dave Wilkins since they've all been tagged!

Francois Gossieaux, Nate Ritter, Jim Storer, Dave Wilkins, Pauline Brannigan

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