University of La Verne

Do College Students Need More Life Skills?

It all started on the golf course. Early last year, I attended the Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. As I was wandering around the clubhouse, I ran into Mark Brian Smith, the filmmaker who produced and directed “Fear No Fruit,” the documentary about my mom and our family business. He had with him a longtime personal friend Simon, a banker. As per usual, we shook hands and exchanged business cards. So I guess I was a little surprised when six months later I received an email from Simon, who had changed banks, inviting me to be the keynote speaker at a CEO summit. As it turns out, his new bank, Union Bank, is a sponsor of the CEO Summit at the Continue Reading

The Book That Changed My Life

I don’t want to sound too dramatic, but I stumbled across a book a few months ago and eventually got a chance to read it. And it really has changed my outlook. Here is what happened. I was getting ready to take a long flight to London, so I was at my local bookstore, getting a guidebook, and saw this book on display, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” It was on the best-seller shelf and because it was small in size, I figured, what a perfect book to read on … Continue reading

The Power of Purple

I remember the first time I saw the Stokes Purple® Sweet Potato. A sweet potato grower that we buy from in Northern California sent us a sample and asked us what we thought about the potatoes. He said it was a unique variety that he had been experimenting with and he wanted our opinion. And I know why he thought about us. Ever since my mother started our company in 1962, our official color has been purple. It all started when she was ready to launch her business on the … Continue reading

Who Cares if a Drug Company Got Sold?

With so many mergers and acquisitions these days, it’s really hard to keep up. Well, thank goodness my holistic naturopath keeps up. For those who are not familiar, naturopathy is a form of alternative medicine using natural treatments like homeopathy, herbalism, and acupuncture, as well as nutrition and lifestyle counseling. Now that we’re all on the same page, let me tell you what happened to me. About three months ago, I suddenly developed this dry cough. It was like my mouth was suddenly drying out, all day long. It was … Continue reading

How to Change Your Baby Boomer Business Model to Be Relevant to Millennials

Today I had lunch with a woman whom I have admired for more than 20 years: Caroline Cotten. Caroline founded Mass Connections, a shopper marketing firm she built from an idea she had in college and turned into a $100 million business. Her business provides people to do in-store demonstrations for vendors in the grocery business at grocery stores. You know who I mean: those stereotypical, mostly older ladies in black pants and white shirts who hand you samples while you walk around the grocery store. Back when I started … Continue reading