Top 10 Entrepreneurs Who Are Breaking Barriers and Inspiring Others to Do the Same

1 – Courtney LeMarco

Courtney LeMarco is a highly accomplished entrepreneur boasting an impressive trajectory in the entertainment industry. Despite adversity in his upbringing, including growing up in an impoverished, fatherless household and dropping out of high school, Courtney demonstrated unwavering perseverance. Initially, he became a personal chef for the renowned Boeing family before transitioning to Hollywood. Today, he is celebrated for his exceptional storytelling abilities and profound understanding of human nature, which have secured him a distinguished position within the industry.

Throughout his illustrious career, Courtney has garnered numerous accolades as a filmmaker. His role as the Executive Producer and Showrunner of the Emmy-nominated series Hoarders attests to his extraordinary talent. In 2022, he further bolstered his reputation by winning the esteemed Best Picture award at the California Women’s Film Festival for his film, “Free, Dead or Alive.”

Courtney’s contributions to the entertainment realm are paralleled by his success as the founder and CEO of LeMarco Global, LLC, and working with some of the world’s most influential brands and organizations, such as Amazon, Comcast, and Disney. This remarkable achievement secured him a position on the Leadership Council of the National Small Business Association in 2023, showcasing his exceptional leadership capabilities and business acumen. In addition to his professional pursuits, Courtney is an esteemed filmmaker and guest lecturer at the University of Washington, imparting valuable insights and extensive experience to nurture the next generation of innovators and creators.

Courtney’s forward-looking vision embodies his dedication to inclusivity and diversity. Committed to supporting minority and women producers, he intends to expand his company to produce big-budget feature films and thought-provoking television content while managing a $100 million investment fund. His message of perseverance and determination has inspired countless individuals, proving that with hard work, success is attainable regardless of one’s background or education. Ultimately, Courtney aspires to foster an industry that is not only inclusive but also dynamic and intellectually stimulating.

2 – Rosa Florentino

Rosa Florentino, a seasoned legal professional, is the Principal and Senior Settlement Consultant at Quest Settlements. Hailing from Tijuana, Mexico, she proudly became the first in her family to earn a college degree. The combination of her impressive background in law enforcement and corrections and her desire to help others has led her to build a career in structured settlements. Rosa’s expertise in this industry extends to multiple states across the nation, including California, Texas, and Washington, where she provides invaluable services to attorneys and their clients.

In 2017, Rosa co-founded Quest Settlements with Louis Masry. Within four years, the company has facilitated the structuring of nearly half a billion dollars, cementing its status as a leading figure in the industry. Offering her services nationwide, she generously provides her mediation expertise free of charge, demonstrating her resolute commitment to aiding others. In addition, her profound experience and knowledge in the field enable her to meticulously conduct comprehensive evaluations, assessing the potential requirement for Trusts, Special Needs Trusts, or Medicare Set-Asides with precision and care. Rosa’s dedication to superior customer service and empathy for her clients earned her recognition as one of the Top 100 Business Women of the Year in Las Vegas in 2018.

With the goal of expanding Quest Settlements, Rosa envisions hiring a larger team and expanding the company’s reach throughout the legal industry. As part of her mission, she aims to draw attention to the significant advantages and returns of structured settlement annuities and other investment opportunities the firm offers. Some of her most loyal and enthusiastic clients are attorneys who were previously unaware of these opportunities but were quickly convinced by their potential returns and security. Alongside her professional aspirations, Rosa is equally committed to positively impacting her community. Presently, she is establishing a non-profit organization to support field workers who may face challenges such as injuries or legal issues that may limit their ability to provide for their families.

3 – Candi Kenney

Candi Kenney, co-founder of CareerlyLAB, is a shining example of perseverance and resilience, with a story that inspires many.  Her non-traditional path led her into a corporate career in  Talent Acquisition, Human Resources and Management. Reflecting on her journey, she recognized that managers are often left on their own to figure out how to become effective leaders, and it was this realization that led her to become a leadership coach herself today.

Candi’s achievements in her career includes balancing an accomplished career while raising a family, and successfully building, managing, and coaching high performing teams. She is a certified coach and a board member for a mental health nonprofit organization.

Her and her cofounder both have a background of being corporate leaders themselves and through CareerlyLAB, they’ve combined their expertise with their passion for helping others succeed. CareerlyLAB was built on the belief that coaching should be available for every leader at any stage of their career. The company empowers leaders to succeed at work and in life because professional and personal fulfillment are not mutually exclusive.

CareerlyLAB offers personalized coaching programs that drive transformational change for the individual leader and their companies. As Candi explains, leaders of all levels of an organization, whether a new manager, emerging leader, or seasoned executive, can benefit from leadership coaching.

4 – Taylor Wilson

As a leading figure in the field of addiction and recovery coaching, Taylor Wilson has dedicated his life to helping others overcome their own challenges. Having worked in recovery since 2013, he has helped numerous clients, including high-profile individuals, find their path to recovery. Throughout his work, Taylor believes in a tough-love approach that challenges individuals to step outside their comfort zones and accept responsibility for their actions. Taylor’s journey to becoming a recovery coach began during his tenure as experiential director at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Malibu. In this very place, he crafted a highly effective program tailored for young adults. Fast forward to 2017, he established Active Recovery, exclusively catering to private clientele.

Active Recovery has gained notable success by assisting individuals, particularly those transitioning from in-patient care to the home environment. Taylor and his team recognize that this process can be challenging and offers tailored, comprehensive recovery coaching programs designed to meet each client’s unique needs. Their approach is centered around fostering healthy habits and interests, such as physical activity, art, and music, which can provide a positive outlet for clients as they adjust to their new lifestyle. Moreover, they assist in building a support network based on these interests to help clients navigate their path to recovery.

Despite having traveled extensively around the world and receiving various certifications and accolades, Taylor’s true passion lies in coaching individuals to reach their full potential. He strongly believes in the importance of mindset and encourages his clients to introspect their inner dialogue. As Taylor and the team at Active Recovery continue to progress in their careers, their mission is to expand their coaching services to reach a wider audience and build a community of like-minded individuals. Their ultimate objective is to significantly impact the lives of those they serve and inspire change.

5 – Sally Duplantier

Sally Duplantier, an influential gerontologist, is a testament to the value of determination and fervor in achieving one’s aspirations. Throughout her entrepreneurial endeavors, she has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to positively influencing the world, inspiring everyone who crosses paths with her. Sally’s earlier accolades in the technology training and business process change industries have landed her recognition as one of the Top 50 Women-Owned Businesses in Silicon Valley and rank amongst the Top 25 Women Making Business History.

Despite her age, Sally never considered retirement, as she believes that one’s ability to learn, grow, and positively contribute to society should not be hindered by age. While obtaining a Certificate in Nutrition Science from Stanford and a Master of Science in Gerontology from the University of Southern California, she founded Zing, a startup with a mission to assist older adults in leading healthier lives through better lifestyle choices. One of the company’s most successful initiatives is Sally’s free Wellness Wednesday webinar series, which has attracted over 9,000 registered participants from 57 countries across six continents, providing access to the latest research, thought leaders, and healthcare professionals.

Sally’s message to the world is simple: #NeverTooOld to learn, grow, and make a difference. In the coming years, she plans to continue her research and educational pursuits, with an emphasis on improving the quality of life for older adults. The current focus of her research is on improving the health and well-being of family caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients, who are more likely to suffer from co-morbidities, premature death, and dementia as a result of their caring responsibilities. As part of her mission, she strives to alleviate health outcomes in underserved communities, where individuals often lack the financial resources and support to make healthier decisions. With her passion for gerontology, Sally has established herself as one of the most influential figures in the field for healthy aging.

6 – Matthew Tatham

Matthew Tatham is a prominent figure in the supply chain management industry, having established himself as an entrepreneur and founder of Tatham and Sons through his innovative approach. Matthew’s fascination with logistics and forecasting was sparked during his formative years when he spent significant time at his grandfathers’ vineyard and ranch, acquiring knowledge about farming, business acumen, and hard work. This ignited his passion for supply chain optimization and planning, which he pursued throughout college. After gaining experience in various full-time supply chain roles, he realized the necessity for a universal supply chain planning approach. Utilizing his unique expertise in supply chain optimization and planning, he began to provide consulting services to companies and Tatham and Sons was born. Matthew follows the motto of “Everything you need, nothing you don’t.” which ties in his dedication to offering straightforward and precise solutions to the intricate challenges faced by the industry.

Matthew’s exceptional career boasts numerous accomplishments, beginning with graduating at the top of his class with a Master’s in Supply Chain Management from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. In his debut year of business, he successfully implemented effective supply chain models and business processes, resulting in over a billion dollars in projected order savings for various companies. Additionally, he secured long-term contracts with three multinational corporations, each conducting over 1 billion dollars in annual business. Matthew also directed the overhaul of the end-to-end supply chain transformation for the power sports industry’s largest distributor of aftermarket products and accessories, cementing his position as a highly skilled and accomplished professional in his field.

At the core of Matthew’s professional philosophy lies a dedication to simplicity, focusing on discovering uncomplicated solutions to complicated challenges. As a consultant, he builds profound partnerships with his clients, taking on the roles of both coach and advisor to guarantee their triumph. With his sights set on the future, Matthew’s ultimate aspiration is to establish a team equipped to manage significant global supply chain transformation. Despite his ambitious goals, he holds his roles as a husband and father in high regard and remains dedicated to maintaining a balanced personal and professional life.

7 – Wendy-Lynn McClean

As a highly regarded Product Management Advisor and Coach, Wendy-Lynn McClean has significantly impacted the field throughout her 20-year career. Known for being a force multiplier for teams, Wendy-Lynn has earned a reputation as an expert in simplifying complex concepts where she helps clients strip away the noise to focus on the solution and get to the heart of the problem. While her path to product management was unconventional, beginning as a photojournalist, her extensive experience working at tech giants such as Google, Amazon, Yelp, as well as startups like Bottlerocket Wine & Spirit, has made her an invaluable resource for product leaders at all stages of their careers. Driven by a deep commitment to sharing her knowledge with others, Wendy-Lynn founded, an advising and coaching service that makes private coaching more accessible to those seeking to grow their product management skills.

Wendy-Lynn’s impact on product management is undeniable. With a career that has taken her to some of the largest tech companies in the world, she has had the privilege of coaching over 2,000 product managers to success. Additionally, Wendy-Lynn’s has a passion and is devoted to boosting diversity in tech companies, regardless of their size. Using her frameworks and materials, her clients have obtained positions at prestigious technology companies like Google, Meta, Amazon, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Looking to the future, Wendy-Lynn’s aspirations include continuing to coach underrepresented product managers and diversifying the profession. Her resounding message to fellow professionals is simple yet potent: clarity of communication is key to success. To that end, she coaches mastering the art of the “introclusion,” which involves introducing the concept and stating the conclusion upfront, to capture the audience’s attention and help them prioritize their listening experience. Regardless of where Wendy-Lynn’s path ultimately leads, she remains dedicated to coaching product managers, particularly those from underrepresented communities, to succeed at firms of all sizes.

8 – Bree Jensen

Bree Jensen is synonymous with social impact, and her dedication to driving positive change has undoubtedly made an indelible mark on the world. Having grown up traveling, Bree developed a deep appreciation for various cultures and people, which motivated her to become a social entrepreneur, youth advocate, and, eventually, the founder of The Social Impact Firm. The Social Impact Firm partners with companies, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs to advance their social responsibility. Her numerous positions on education and youth development boards exemplify her dedication to uplifting young people. She also emphasizes the importance of joining communities and building partnerships and not jumping into endeavors alone.

Bree’s extensive list of accomplishments is a testament to her commitment to advancing social change. A particular highlight was her demonstration of empathy and compassion on behalf of the family of the first victim of the Columbine shooting by performing character education training in schools across the country. Moreover, her success as a social entrepreneur was recognized by Pepperdine University by awarding her with the Psychology Social Enterprise Pitch Competition Seed Money Award. Throughout the years, she has built partnerships with non-profit organizations, guided social entrepreneurs in establishing mission-driven start-ups, and developed student leadership programs. In addition to her other endeavors, she has launched a podcast titled “The Social Impact Podcast with Bree Jensen.” with goals of offering a forum for discussion with professionals from diverse backgrounds, including social entrepreneurs, corporate social responsibility executives, non-profit directors, and more. By sharing their experiences and insight, Bree’s guests inspire listeners to leverage their skills and passions to impact the world positively.

Although Bree has achieved remarkable achievements, she remains grounded and approaches every conversation from a learning perspective. She is dedicated to empowering teenagers through student leadership programs and fostering collaboration among social entrepreneurs and organizations on a broad scale to achieve significant and sustainable change. Apart from these activities, she is actively involved in the Pasadena community through youth development and advocacy work, engaging with others through civic engagement. As Bree looks ahead, she encourages other entrepreneurs to take one day at a time and to not allow the hustle to crowd out your joy. Don’t forget why you are doing what you are doing, and let that motivate your drive.

9 – Pooja Malik

Pooja Malik is an entrepreneur and founder of Assuro Consulting LLC, who is known for her unwavering passion for entrepreneurship, perseverance, and hard work. Pooja was born into a military family in India, where she was instilled with values such as discipline and determination, which has served as the foundation of her success. At the age of 21, she earned a Master’s in Business Administration degree in International Marketing and Finance with summa cum laude honors from Johnson & Wales University, where she also made the Dean’s list.

With over twenty years of experience in governance, risk, and compliance, Pooja knew it was time to pursue her dream of starting her own company. Despite being a single mother with two children, she took the leap of faith and began her consulting business in the highly competitive Silicon Valley market. Through her diligent work and perseverance, she has built a successful consulting business, Assuro Consulting, with clients spanning different industries throughout the United States and abroad.

Over the last few years, The Certified Minority Women-Owned Risk Advisory firm, led by Pooja, has built a reputation as a reliable partner for clients seeking to navigate a rapidly evolving and innovation-driven business landscape. Assuro Consulting collaborates with clients to solve complex operational, regulatory compliance, financial, and technical problems. They offer extensive advisory services spanning various fields, including technology and business processes, fraud, and automation, business and IT compliance (SOX), Pre and post IPO readiness. These services help clients address crucial business challenges while aligning their company strategy with their business roadmap. In the future, Pooja aspires to expand her firm’s reach while dedicating time to her family and community outreach efforts by supporting others in their endeavors.

10 – Shanon Beelendorf

Shanon Beelendorf is a leader and entrepreneur in the wellness industry who has left a profound impact on her community through her dedication, passion, and unwavering commitment to helping others. Shanon began her remarkable journey at Tulane University, a prestigious institution in New Orleans, where she overcame challenges to excel academically and athletically. Having been inspired by her mother’s insight to pursue her dreams without limitations and never give up, she pursued an education in holistic coaching and mentoring, enabling her to guide and mentor individuals in all aspects of their lives.

In the world of business and wellness, Shanon has distinguished herself through her significant contributions, as demonstrated by her numerous accomplishments and recognitions. She has been recognized for her expertise and leadership, as demonstrated by her participation in multiple wellness and business panels and as a student-athlete fitness speaker. Additionally, she has lent her expertise to wellness workshops and faith-based retreats, sharing her holistic approach to coaching and mentoring others. Throughout her career, she has coached countless individuals toward achieving their personal fitness and health goals, earning recognition twice as an employee of the month in one prestigious health club and employee of the year in another.

Shanon’s wisdom and inspiring lessons encourage individuals to prioritize faith, loved ones, and compassionate people to attain a clear sense of direction and purpose in life. A key component of her personal growth philosophy is embracing unique qualities, taking risks, and seeking mentorship from others. Looking ahead, she plans to collaborate with non-profit organizations to establish a foundation that serves her local community in Los Angeles and the wider community. Shanon’s passion for inspiring and uplifting others drives her work, where she aims to contribute to their success, explore diverse cultures through travel, and support people globally while prioritizing her well-being. With love and gratitude, she remains committed to pursuing her dreams and impacting the world.

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