Sage Talks Draws Visionary Speakers

Eight of the best business minds and social visionaries in California brought their ideas to the fourth annual Sage Talks, a signature event in the San Diego region for top executives.

The presentations ranged from economics and new medical trends of IoMT (Internet of Medical Things) to the success stories of entrepreneurs who have built major companies, the lessons learned from being a champion athlete and the challenges of a young woman who overcame being sold into sex trafficking.

Sage Talks is sponsored by Sage Executive Group, a fast-growing, San Diego-based membership network and advisory group for business leaders. More than 100 executives attended the all-day conference on Dec. 4, 2018 at Farmer and The Seahorse restaurant.

The speakers were:

Greg Lucier – “Self Awareness as A Leader” – Chairman of NuVasive, former CEO of Life Technologies.

Terrell Fletcher – “Champion’s Mindset” – Motivational speaker, former San Diego Chargers running back.

Gary London, “Strategies For What Is Now a Post-Peak Economy” – Senior Principal, London Moeder Advisors.

Christine Hassler, “Expectation Hangovers” – San Diego-based author, speaker and coach.

Chris Nielson, “Dare to Suck” (Getting Comfortable with Failing Can Lead to Great Success) – Leadership coach.

Kim Perell, “The Execution Factor” – Speaker, author, entrepreneur. CEO of Amobee.

Oree Freeman, “Invisible Traffic after the Street Lights Go Out” – Social activist. Survivor.

Daniel Haders, “The IoMT Revolution: From Point of Care to Population Health” – Managing Director of

Healthcare Technology, Nex Cubed

SAGE’s value-based philosophy encourages business leaders to put people before profits and learn how to effectively balance business demands and responsibilities to family, community and health.

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Feghali Named to San Diego METRO’s Top 40

Andrew Feghali, a Sage Executive Group member and owner of 12 Little Caesars Pizza franchises, has been honored as one of San Diego’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2018 by the SD METRO Magazine.Feghali, Andrew

In its 19th year, the 40 Under 40 awards program was founded to acknowledge the contributions of San Diego’s young leaders who have potential to shape the region’s destiny. SD METRO selected the honorees from more than 200 nominations based on their personal accomplishments, community involvement and career achievements.

Feghali is the founder of restaurant holding company AMF Foods, Inc. The company has experienced annual sales growth from $1.5 million in 2009 to over $9 million (projected) in 2018. It was listed on the July 2, 2018 San Diego Business Journal Locally-Owned Restaurant Franchisees list. In addition to running his Little Caesars restaurants in Southern California, Colorado, and Texas, Feghali was selected by Jerry Rollins, CEO of Sage Executive Group, to serve alongside him as a Sage Executive Group Forum Co-chair.

“I believe Andrew is an exemplary CEO and corporate citizen. He’s a visionary, educator, and hands-on leader, well deserving of the ‘40 Under 40’ honor,” said Rollins. “He’s enthusiastic and driven to provide his employees with opportunities, as well as finding  time to contribute to the local community.”

“It’s a distinct honor to be recognized by the SD METRO as an under 40 award-winner,” said Feghali. “The awards program encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of young people who inspire others with their leadership and achievement. San Diego is a vibrant community, and the talent, drive and ambition of this year’s honorees was outstanding.”

Feghali was one of the youngest District Managers for PepsiCo – Frito Lay, Inc. Southern California. At 21, he oversaw 20 route sales reps as direct reports and 150 accounts with more than $9 million in annual sales.

Feghali received his B.S. Degree in Business Administration and Management from California State University, Fullerton, in 2007and his Master’s Degree  in Executive Leadership from the University of San Diego School of Business in 2015. He is working towards completing his Ph.D. in Leadership Studies from the University of San Diego.

San Diego-based Sage Executive Group is a fast-growing membership network and advisory group for business leaders. SAGE’s value-based philosophy encourages business leaders to put people before profits and learn how to effectively balance business demands and responsibilities to family, community and health.

Eco Caters Opens Gaslamp Venue

Revel1a            Sage Executive Group member Nick Brune, founder of Eco Caters, introduced his new meeting and entertainment venue in San Diego’s Gaslamp District to Sage members in a social gathering in June.

The venue , “Revel Revel,” features dramatic, floor-to-ceiling photographic artwork by fellow Sage member Aaron Chang, owner of Aaron Chang Ocean Art Gallery in San Diego and Solana Beach. The Revel Revel location is a large, third-floor space with beamed ceiling and brick walls in a historic building at 868 Fifth Avenue.

Brune Nick        Brune, who is head chef of Eco Caters, grew up learning to cook in the kitchens of Louisiana and has built his company into a muti-faceted catering operation in San Diego, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. that offers organic, locally grown cuisine. One of the company specialties is “Simply Lunch,” a ready-to-eat organic meal for companies and their employees at an  at affordable price.

The Thursday evening happy hour was an opportunity for Sage Executive Group members and top-ranking executives to spend time together and enjoy hors d’oeuvres prepared and served by Eco Caters staff.

It was the first of series of spotlight social events planned by Sage Executive Group, which also hosts quarterly seminars and forums on key business issues such as the new federal tax law and the growth of cryptocurrency.

Sage Executive Group, founded in 2012 in San Diego, is a leading peer advisory group whose members work together to address and solve the most critical issues impacting their business and personal lives.

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Sage Member Featured in Forbes

Ray Grainger, founder and CEO of Irvine-based Mavenlink and a member of Sage Executive Group, is featured in a Forbes Magazine profile as one of the thought leaders changing business in, ray
Grainger is a former Accenture partner who founded Mavenlink to bring the skills of world-class consulting to a broad audience of companies competing in the $3 trillion global services economy.
“Ray embodies the drive to grow, improve and succeed that is a hallmark of Sage Executive Group members,” said John Rollins, CEO of Sage. The San Diego-based peer advisory group specializes in working with high-performing, top-level executives.
Grainger explained that in co-founding Mavenlink in 2008, he set out to create a better, less expensive platform that would address the issues facing the modern services company, which require tools to manage shorter duration projects often with people who are working across geographies and who may have never met before or may never meet. His goal was to help those companies optimize their business operations.
For a time after college at Harvey Mudd in Southern California, Grainger was a river guide and also journeyed to the South Pole. Those experiences helped shape his management philosophy.
“Everything I learned there at that young age was foundational to my entire career, this idea of adaptability,” Grainger said in his Forbes interview. “You don’t get to choose the people you work with. You’re all just sleeping in one big bunk house. You’ve got every type of personality you could imagine. You have to learn to get along. Everybody’s got to accomplish the mission.”

Navigating Change for CEO Success

Farnan, JackJack Farnan, Human Resources vice president for HM Electronics in Poway, learned an important lesson about managing change in an unlikely place – the spiritual home of the Dalai Lama high in the Himalayas.
An avid mountain climber, Farnan was on his way to an ascent in Ladakh when he had a chance to spend  time with thousands of Buddhists who had come to hear the Dalai Lama teach at a  monastery in northernmost India, a refuge in exile from his historic home in Tibet now under Chinese control.
The Dalai Lama places a premium on the “importance of personal change in the world,” Farnan said, and that is a message that can – and should resonate – with the chief executive officers charged with bringing change to their organizations.
Farnan, who has 25 years of experience in identifying and developing executive talent, laid out seven key characteristics of a successful CEO in a presentation to members and guests of Sage Executive Group, a premier peer advisory group based in San Diego. Farnan is currently VP of Human Resources at HM Electronics, a global company that designs and manufactures wireless communication products.
His conclusions are based on research on the requisite skill sets for CEOs to survive and prosper.
Most important, Farnan said, is that top leaders are decisive. Research shows that CEOs with this one trait “were 12 times more likely to succeed.” The components of success then flow from the ability to understand how “personal change” is translated into the workplace. Critical characteristics of these top leaders are:

  • They are decisive.
  • They engage for impact.
  • They adapt proactively.
  • They deliver reliably.
  • They hold themselves and others accountable.
  • They are Level 5 leaders.
  • They have a growth mindset.

Farnan said that ultimately successful leaders lead by example, and “we can do so much with just changing ourselves.”

Fast-moving Age of Social Media Marketing

galido-tom Tom Galido has a word of warning for the future of television as a marketing medium.
“The television model is going to fall apart as we know it,” said Galido, CEO of Kaptivating Technology in Los Angeles, in a presentation to San Diego business leaders sponsored by Sage Executive Group.
Galido explained that in today’s digitally dominated marketplace, information comes from all directions in increasingly fragmented ways. “You don’t even know where your customers are these days,” he said.
Rather than going to your TV for information – or to reach your audience – that information is available in your hand. “The most important screen is the screen in front of you,” Galido said.
In his talk, “The New Age of Social Media Marketing, he said those are key challenges for businesses. “We cannot have this level of defection” from traditional marketing methods “without reformatting the industry.”
For success today, “it’s all about being fast.” And over the next five years, he said “it’s not about being big, it’s about having the best data.”
He cited Netflix and its success in mining customer data to guide production decision, and Target, in gaining understanding of what kids wanted in back to school shopping (beauty and style) rather than focusing on what parents valued (computers and backpacks.)
The future of marketing, steeped in social media information, will “combine scale with data to drive action,” he said.
The almost universal availability of information levels the playing field. “The big boys are going to have to compete with the little guys because everyone is the same height,” he said.
Galido, 42, was named CEO Officer of Kaptivating Technology, a provider of next-generation real-time marketing technology, in January.
Sage Executive Group, which provides a peer advisory experience for CEOs, presidents, and partners, as well as for C-level executives in finance, operations and sales. sponsored the talk as part of its quarterly learning events. The talk was held at the Mintz Levin law firm offices in San Diego.
The Sage process has been developed by executives who have over 45 years of collective leadership with CEO peer advisory groups to create an effective and value-driven member experience. For more information, contact Sage Executive Group at (800) 648-1063 or visit

Hady Achieves Top Tier at Sage Executive Group

Sage Executive Group announced today that painting company executive Tony Hady has moved to the peer advisory organization’s top-level CEO group after building his company revenues to more than $6 million annually.tony hady
Hady, the principal at Pacific Western Painting in Escondido, joined Sage Executive Group three years ago as a member of the Ascent advisory group for executives running companies with annual revenues under $4 million. He attended the group’s monthly meetings in which executives work together to solve management challenges and develop strategies to expand their companies.
“Sage Executive Group has given our team the network, the wisdom, the education and the accountability needed to grow successfully,” Hady said. “I highly recommend Sage to business owners as our ROI continues to be priceless.”
Hady, 34, is a third generation painter who joined that company about three years after it was founded in Fallbrook by his brother, Kirby Hady, in 2003. Pacific Western Painting now has about 70 employees and increased revenues from $3.3 million in 2015 to more than $6 million last year.
As a result of the rapid rise in revenue, Hady has been elevated to the Sage Executive Group for CEOs facilitated by Jerry Rollins, who founded Sage Executive Group in 2012 in San Diego.
Kirby Hady, now director of client education at Pacific Western Painting, and Randall Know, director of operations, are both current members of Sage Executive Group and are actively involved in its management development program.
Sage Executive Group operates peer advisory groups for CEOs, presidents, and partners, as well as for C-level executives in finance, operations and sales. The Sage process has been developed by leaders who have over 45 years of collective experience with peer advisory groups.
For more information, contact Sage Executive Group at (800) 648-1063 or visit Sage Executive Group.

Speakers Shine at Sage Talks

pic-1You might expect that 10 speakers at a gathering of more than 100 San Diego-area executives would talk about making money, planning strategy and maximizing profits.
But it was people, not profits that took center stage at the annual “Sage Talks” event hosted by the peer advisory organization Sage Executive Group at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar on Dec. 13.
Overcoming personal adversity and bouncing back from professional setbacks were the broad themes presented by many of the presenters, who modeled their 18-minute talks on the popular Ted Talks format.
Jeremy Poincenot, who lost his sight to a rare genetic disorder at age 19 while attending San Diego State University, said he had to learn the “importance of interdependence” when he could no longer pursue the independent lifestyle of a college student. That interaction in the form of coaching from his dad on every shot, helped him win an international blind golf championship.
Aaron Chang, who was a senior photographer for “Surfing” magazine for more than 25 years, received the painful message from a litany of New York agents that his photography was “unmarketable.” He went on to fame and success and now owns galleries in San Diego and Solano Beach that bear his name.
And Stacey McKibbin hit rock bottom on a street corner in Pacific Beach, abandoned by a boyfriend and betrayed by the alcoholics in her family. She pulled herself up to run her own company and speak to hundreds of business leaders about “the key” to achieving leadership.
Videos of the talks will be posted soon on Sage Executive Group’s YouTube Channel.
Other speakers included:
Peter Scott, founder of Fearless Life Academy: “Fear: The Hidden Cause of Stress”
Dan Negroni, founder of launchbox: “Depolarizing Millennial Madness”
Susie Japs, managing director of Wejungo: “Why You Suck at Interviewing”
Sarah Hardwick, president of Zenzi Communications: “Three Ways to Waste Your Marketing Budget”
Gary London, president of The London Group Realty Advisors: “It’s the Top of the Market – Beware”
Patrick Combs, president, Great Thinking Co. “The Greatest Business Story Ever Told.”
Mark Moses, founding partner of CEO Coaching International: “Make Big Happen”
Sage Executive Group is a fast-growing membership network and advisory group for business leaders. What sets SAGE apart in working with the region’s top executives is a philosophy that emphasizes values, guiding business leaders to achieve greater success in business management and performance while also carrying out responsibilities to family, community and personal health.

Upbeat Outlook for M&A in San Diego

img_0553Four experts on mergers and acquisitions addressed the question of what is happening in today’s “frothy” investment marketplace at a panel hosted by peer advisory organization Sage Executive Group.
There is a “crazy supply dynamic for quality assets,” said Craig Dupper, a partner with Solis Capital Partners based in Newport Beach.
He was joined on the panel, held at the San Diego office of Knobbe Martens law firm on Oct. 18, by Rose M. Thiessen, a partner in Knobbe Martens; Troy Romero, president of Romero Park law firm;  and Kerry Morris, partner in Shoreline Partners:
The question was raised by Jerry Rollins, the panel moderator and CEO of Sage Executive Group, a San Diego-based peer advisory and learning organization for CEOs and other top-level executives.
Romero said he has seen a significant rebound in the number of deals his firm has handled, from 17 in 2007 to zero in 2009 when the recession hit across the country to 14 expected this year.
“Some industries are hot,” said Morris, “valuations are at an all-time high.” But he cautioned that investors need to carefully examine financial analytics and that the customer base needs to be “rock solid,” preferring to use the word “choppy” to describe the M&E climate.
Across the board, panelists expressed wariness about the political climate and outcome of the presidential election. Thiessen said that as an intellectual property attorney,  she is especially interested in “the shape of the Supreme Court” after the new president makes a new appointment, especially on a court that has become increasingly involved in patent decisions.
That led to strong advice to business owners who may be interested in selling, or who might be surprised to find that someone is interested in buying their company.
“Make sure you have ownership of intellectual property,” Thiessen said.
And “if your company is based on a technology, it should be beautifully tied up,” Romero said.
Every company that might be attracting investors needs a playbook that provides short-term tactics, long-term strategy and “valid, timely and accurate financials,” Rollins said. “I have seen $100 million companies without a plan.”
And he noted that with the highly publicized, billion-dollar buyout of Ballast Point Brewing Co. last November, company owners still need to be careful not to have “unrealistic expectations.”
The event was hosted by Sage Executive Group and sponsored by Knobbe Martens and City National Bank.

G.A. Bartick on Leading Leaders

To lead a group of leaders, a top executive will achieve greater success by embracing a philosophy of coaching forward, of looking through the front windshield rather than the rear view mirror, advised sales expert G. A. Bartick in a presentation to Sage Executive Group. IMG_0471
His talk was hosted by San Diego-based Sage Executive Group, a peer advisory organization that gives high-level executives a confidential setting to improve their business performance and enhance their personal lives. His talk at a June 16 breakfast meeting at the Corporate Alliance office in San Diego was part of an ongoing series of learning events hosted by Sage.
Bartick, president of R3 Consultants, urged executives to “quite coaching to the past and start affecting the future.” As part of that commitment, he said that even the most well-intentioned leaders become caught up in the problems of the day and need to practice – and then execute – how to  “catch  people doing more things right and fewer things wrong.”
Looking through the front windshield is not only a metaphor for focusing on what is ahead, rather than what is behind, Bartick said. It also puts a premium on setting  “crystal clear expectations”  for what is coming down the road.
In addition to that forward-looking vision and ability to communicate, the role of leading leaders becomes more effective if the executive takes time to “get in the weeds, to pay attention to what is happening on the field of play.
Bartick likened that management mind set  to being a “conscious, competent coach,” a leader who loves helping their associates figure out how to set up the project, pricing and resources.
That often translates to giving people “the what and the why” of what they need to do to excel in the jobs – and meet the company’s management and personnel goals.
For executives in the room, that is a leadership style they described with words like “insightful,” “aware” and “inspired.”
Sage Executive Group’s identity, and resulting rapid growth, has made it a key player in management training and development in the San Diego area. It  has grown from an initial concentration on CEOs from large and mid-size companies with annual revenues of more than $4 million to a wide range of peer groups for C-level executives and sales and marketing experts from companies with sales of $1 million or more.
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