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Wednesday, Dec 7, 2022
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Views on Mentors, Challenges, Pride, Doing Better

The Business Journal posed four questions to various 40 Under 40 nominees. 1. Who is your greatest mentor? “I’ve had several mentors throughout my career. I always look upon my father as my greatest mentor. He’s the ultimate entrepreneur. He’s persevered through many industries.” David Brauer, Grobstein, Horwath & Co. LLP “A Wells Fargo regional president.” Patrick Parhami, Wells Fargo San Fernando Valley Community Bank “That’s not a specific person. I just try to take the best qualities from people I admire and that’s several people.” Rudy Cedillos, Alliance Bank “Rodney Craig from Nations Bank.” I was just at my first job, and he really shared a lot of experience with me that was very useful. Jason Horstman, Bank of the West “My step-dad. He’s always pushed me to the next level. He taught me about a lot of different aspects of life.” Timothy Gaspar, Timothy Gaspar Insurance Services “My first marketing director, Ken Gray. He put a lot of himself into the job. He was very approachable. He reminded me a lot of my mom in the way he was able to be a leader and a friend. He was very inspiring.” Sarah Richardson of Westfield Topanga & Promenade “My business partner Leslie Kaz has helped me be more organized. And the Jaycees allows me to learn from my peers on matters of running a board, time management and speaking public.” Max Haghighi, Syndicated Insurance Agency, LLC “I’ve had two types of role models, some outstanding role models whom I emulate every day,and I’ve learned a lot from negative people,one by teaching me to get things in gear. Of the other type, Bill Browning, Andy Griffiths and Don Lafler: they were great at teaching diplomacy.” Steve Masterson, Grant Thornton LLP “My grandmother taught me to take pride in what you do.” Jill Jackson, Dessert Alert “David Gurnick was a franchise lawyer who taught me the ropes and led me to be better and think outside the box.” Tal Grinblat, Lewitt, Hackman, Shapiro, Marshall & Harlan “My father has been the biggest influence and mentor in my life. Being the son of a corporate attorney who is more a business owner than a practicing lawyer, I feel that I have learned by osmosis for nearly three decades.” Blake Johnson, Capital Network Leasing “I had an amazing public relations professor at California State University, Northridge. Her name was Lori Baker-Schenna. She really empowers her students and taught me I could accomplish any goal I set for myself. She told me to never apologize for being young, ambitious, and smart.” Jessica Freude, City of Santa Clarita “There are two of them. It’s my parents, frankly. My father has given me the opportunity to learn. He always told me if you don’t try you will never succeed. My mother always wants the best for the people around her. She is very fair, very humble and those are the values we built the company up with.” Daniel Khakshouri, Pacific Realty Ventures “It’s my father. He was an integral part of my growth and development as a young person. I give him a lot of credit for setting a good example for myself and my siblings.” Chad Charton, FMS Financial Partners Inc. “My mother. She always pushed me to do more. She always worked hard in her career.” Elana Edelstein, College of the Canyons 2. What has been the greatest challenge of your career? “Life/work balance. Trying to be a father and a husband as well as a successful business person has been my greatest challenge.” ~Brauer “Being able to manage a large sum of people. I manage 40 people. I try to do a good job.” ~Parhami “To consistently produce results year after year. It’s much easier to have an isolated good year.” ~Cedillos “My greatest challenge is to anticipate industry challenges and adapt. It’s not just one challenge. It’s an ongoing challenge.” ~Horstman “As a young professional, getting people to take me seriously.” ~Gaspar “A challenge as a young manager is you have to learn from and respect the people you manage. You have to have comfort in your skills.” ~Richardson “It was a challenge working for older people who were behind on technology and it’s one of the reasons we started on our own business.” ~ Haghighi “The challenge of managing people, be they younger, older or your peers, is to respect them and listen and you’ll come to the right answers.” ~Masterson “It’s a challenge just learning as I go along.” ~Jackson “When I was 30 and younger people didn’t take me as seriously, but now most interactions are over the phone so the age barriers aren’t what they used to be.” ~Grinblat The biggest challenge is to find the right people to bring on to the team and once they are on the team, keeping everyone headed in the right direction and at the right pace. ~Johnson “I believe one of the biggest challenges I have faced to date is learning to balance being a career-driven professional with being a mom. It really is a balancing act and one I work on everyday.” ~ Freude “When you are young there are pros and cons. The con is that everyone is always skeptical. It takes time for them to get to know you and that you are a sound and serious business partner.” ~ Khakshouri “I have to say age bias. A lot of folks assume that because you are a young person you lack the expertise and experience.” ~ Charton “People being intimidated (and thinking) that because you are young you can’t do the work, that you don’t have the experience that they do.” ~ Edelstein 3. What is the thing that you are most proud of in your career? ” Being able to succeed in an area I’ve really enjoyed and helping other people with the services I’ve provided.” ~Brauer “Moving up within our corporation, being able to promote people to different positions and grow them in their career.” ~Parhami “I think I’m most proud of my integrity. I keep my word. I try to provide a great service to my clients.” ~Cedillos “The relationships that I’ve formed personally and professionally. I’ve established a great deal of reliability and that’s been valued by those professional relationships.” ~Horstman “I was with an agency for four-and-a-half years, and I created my own company after that.” ~Gaspar “I am proud of working with non-profit organizations in the area. It’s wonderful to work for a company that allows time to work in the community.” ~Richardson “Strive to turn things over to others and delegate more, letting others handle some things.” ~Gaspar “I’m proud of starting my own business and the local Jaycees chapter.” ~Haghighi “I’m proud to see people I’ve managed like Justin Hendrickson and Jeff Sacks grow and move up through the firm and make partner.” ~Masterson “I’m proud of the relationships I’ve created in life and pursuing my dreams.” ~Jackson “I’m proud of how much progress I’ve made from graduating law school until now, like being the incoming franchise chair of the state bar.” ~Grinblat ” They include starting my first sales company, Puppy Dog Tails, Inc., at age 7; working on a cattle ranch 6 days a week, in 120 degree heat, performing very strenuous manual labor every non-school day of my life growing up; selling pigs to finance a portion of my schooling. ~Johnson “There is not one accomplishment … at least not yet. I would have to say I am proud today of the variety of work I have enjoyed as a young professional, and my receptivity to new experiences, challenges, and opportunities.” ~ Freude “There is a gentleman named Arturo Nunez. He bought the first condo I ever sold a few years ago. He later sold it for $314,000 and bought a 4-bedroom house. That has since gone up in value When you see how good home ownership has been for him, that is the most satisfying thing in the world.” ~ Khakshouri “I was honored to serve on the California Student Aid Commission on behalf of California and California students. It was a tremendous honor and a tremendous responsibility.” ~ Charton “Raising $3 million for my last employer.” ~ Edelstein 4. What is the No. 1 thing that you will strive to do better? “I’d like to be more active in the community and charities. I’m involved in charity work now, but I’d like to extend that to others.” ~Brauer “You always learn things every day. I’d like to learn things to improve my knowledge and not think I know everything.” ~Parhami “I think to expand your network of professional advisors and to continue to build my referral network.” ~Cedillos “Managing time and being more efficient with time. Getting the most out of every day”. ~Horstman “Just being all around more useful to my clients.” ~Gaspar “I want to do more for the community and learn to manage more efficiently.” ~Haghighi “I strive to be not so hurried and rushed and as I age I’m learning to take things in perspective. I want to let things occur and digest the wisdom that comes in due course and focus on every day.” ~Masterson “Since I’m a perfectionist at heart, I strive to get better at everything.” ~Jackson “I will strive to be even more involved in the community, doing pro bono things.” ~Grinblat Everything! Everything in my life can be better and everything I do can be done better. The list is too long! ~Johnson “I am learning every day to be a better manager, working with colleagues to complete projects, versus thinking I have to do accomplish everything myself. Delegation sounds so easy in theory, but the reality is, it takes work.” ~ Freude “We are always, always, always striving to better our operation. The way we manage to make home ownership affordable is through a multi-pronged strategy of cost cutting. For example we have in-house construction crews, in-house design teams, in-house entitlement teams. We are always looking for ways to make the operation more efficient.” ~ Khakshouri “We all could do better in giving our time to better our communities, to better ourselves on a whole host of levels whether it be our personal lives, our relationships.” ~ Charton “I want to raise [more money] in the year to come.” ~ Edelstein

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