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

I Was Bitten

If I have learned anything from my mother, it has been to be open-minded. So when I received an unsolicited email from Naz Riahi two months ago introducing herself and inviting me to speak at her food trend conference, #BittenLA, I tried to keep an open mind. First of all, I had no idea who she was or how to pronounce her name (“nahz ree-ah-hee”), and I had never heard of her conference. But I loved her friendly, warm writing style so I replied to her. And the following week we … Continue reading

Do You Want to Live to 100?

Like most of us, each year when my birthday rolls around (as it did this past weekend), I reflect on the previous year, how old I am now, and ultimately how long I will live. It’s not a heavy-duty thought process, but as we get older and wiser, it’s normal to think such thoughts. And since I was vacationing on Maui, Hawaii, last week, I had plenty of time to contemplate. While there, I was doing some research for an upcoming speech (which I will talk about in my next … Continue reading

Bold Leadership

A candidate for a leadership position in my company asked me the most interesting question during our recent interview: “Have you changed at all in the last 10 years? I mean, are you the same leader you were 10 years ago?” I’d never been asked that question before and I had to pause to think about it. I told him that I am a big believer in continuing education and, in fact, that’s one of the reasons I belong to an international CEO group called “Vistage.” To continually work on … Continue reading

What Are You Doing for National Kale Day?

Yes, October 5 is National Kale Day. Clearly this is not a “hallmark holiday” since we’re not expected to send cards or gifts to anyone. But it’s kind of fun to have a holiday that is centered around one of the trendiest, healthiest foods around. I actually met the guy who is credited with co-founding, back in 2013, National Kale Day. Dr. Drew Ramsey is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University in New York City, and I met him at a produce conference in Texas in April. … Continue reading