Lendistry CEO Everett Sands Gains National Attention

Lendistry, a Southern California lending company founded by CEO Everett Sands in 2014, has been in the national spotlight as a major partner with companies in under-served communities hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sands, a member of the peer advisory organization Sage Executive Group, has been featured in a CNBC interview and was named to a Fortune-sponsored panel on “Banking While Black.”

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Sands started the company, which is based in Brea near Anaheim, with the goal of helping promising small business owners in struggling communities get approved for the funding. His goal is to offer the latest fintech with a quick, online application process.

Sage Executive Group, which serves business leaders in San Diego and Orange counties, provides executives a confidential forum for identifying and finding solutions to leadership issues, both professional and personal.

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Sage Group Featured in San Diego Business Journal

Sage Executive Group was featured as one of San Diego’s top executive training companies in the San Diego Business Journal’s Book of Lists published in May.

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 The annual review of businesses in more than 80 categories highlighted executive training as “becoming vital as change dominates the workplace.”

Sage Executive Group CEO Jerry Rollins, who was interviewed for the story, said the average company in Sage has $22 million in annual revenue and about 100 employees, and that Sage’s mission is to help make good companies even better

A former professional hockey player, he described leading a business as not unlike running a pro sports team. “In hockey and business, a great leader with an adequate plan and talented players will win,” Rollins said. “A great athlete playing under a bad leader with no plan doesn’t stick around. That person will likely leave for another team. A’s don’t work for C’s.”

Sage Executive Group is a peer advisory organization that puts a premium on confidential discussions in a group of about 12 CEOs who aspire to better management, higher profits and an improved work-life balance. More information is available at https://www.sageexecutivegroup.com

Sage Survey: Economic Outlook vs. Coronavirus

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Sales and profits are likely to decline, but a majority of top San Diego business leaders still plan to avoid layoffs and even increase hiring as the country struggles to contain the Coronavirus, according to a poll by San Diego-based Sage Executive Group.

As a measure of the regional outlook, three-fourths of the 45 Sage respondents, including CEOs and executives of a broad range of companies from real estate, finance and technology services to hard-hit restaurants and breweries, said they expect sales to decrease in the next six months.  About 6 out of 10 expressed little confidence in achieving profit growth.

Despite the concerns, more than half of the business leaders expect to avoid layoffs or even add workers, reflecting the diversity of the San Diego economy.  In the survey, 20 percent expected to add workers; 31 percent foresee no change; and 49 percent anticipate a decrease in their workforce.

The overall sentiment of Sage’s members in San Diego and Orange counties is “most expect results to be less than originally forecast, but most are confident of surviving this crisis,” said Sage Executive Group CEO Jerry Rollins. “They don’t know when the recovery will occur, but they want to be positioned to take advantage when it does.” He added that “amid all of the negative news, some companies are thriving and actually increasing their head counts.”

The state-mandated measures to battle the Coronavirus have affected every company, and for two out of three firms, more than 75 percent of their employees are currently working from home.

The foremost concern for more than 70 percent of the executives is how Coronavirus will affect their economic growth this year. Other challenges followed far behind as a “great concern” –  regulation, 30 percent;  political uncertainty, 27 percent; cyberattacks, 24 percent; and trade, 18 percent. Climate change followed far behind at 6 percent.

The results show just how dramatically the economic outlook has changed since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has affected more than 90 percent of the Sage businesses. Last June, two-thirds of Sage Executive Group members were highly confident of achieving profit growth and executives across the board had no plans for layoffs. A top concern was finding skilled workers for new jobs. Just two months ago, economic policymakers and business leaders made cautiously upbeat predictions for global economic growth at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

Sage member Damian McKinney, founder of San Diego commercial real estate firm McKinney Advisory Group and how head of the San Diego office of Toronto-based Avison Young, said that “certain industry sectors are impacted more than others in a negative way, but very few in a positive way.” He added, “If you’re a restaurateur or owner of a hotel, the glass is half empty. But if you’re an essential service provider, then your glass is half full.”

The financial landscape has changed so dramatically, he said, that business leaders and investors have “a whole new career ahead of them now,” and it will take about 90 days to sort out how the available capital will be allocated.

In the survey, three-fourths of the executives ranked the Coronavirus as their major management challenge, ahead of dealing with a skilled labor shortage and global and local competitive threats. Almost half said their most important goal for the year will be to sustain operations. And 53 percent of the company leaders said they planned to provide sick pay for an extended period to workers who come down with the virus.

The financial climate is changing rapidly, and the poll was taken just as Congress was putting together a $2 trillion economic relief package. Even before that action was taken, almost a quarter of the Sage executives said they had applied  for financial assistance. And more than two-thirds said they planned to pay workers for an extended period if they come down with the virus.

Sage Executive Group provides top executives in the San Diego and Orange County areas an opportunity to meet monthly in peer advisory groups to address and solve the most critical issues impacting their business and personal lives.

For more information, contact Sage Executive Group at (800) 648-1063 or visit www.sageexecutivegroup.com.

Fifth Year for Sage Talks

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Sage Talks Simon Bailey
Simon Bailey: Author, speaker, coach

Sage Talks John Heffner
John Heffner: CEO of Drybar
Sage Talks Scott Duffy
Scott Duffy: Author, speaker, coach
Sage Talks Rose Schindler
Rose Schindler: Speaker, Holocaust survivor
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Drew Canole: Author, coach, founder of Organifi
Sage Talks Gary London
Gary London: Senior Principal, London Moeder Advisors
Sage Talks Tony Anscombe
Tony Anscombe: Cybersecurity expert

Wagner Profiled in Bangalore, India

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Steve Wagner, President of Stone Brewing

Feghali Honored as Top Business Leader Under 40

Andrew Feghali, CEO of AMF Foods and a Sage Executive Group coach, has been honored as one of San Diego’s NEXT Top Business Leaders Under 40 by the San Diego Business Journal.

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Andrew Feghali, AMF Foods CEO

In its second year, the journal established the awards program to recognize the contributions of San Diego’s young business and community leaders. Judges selected 40 winners from 400 initial nominations and 127 finalists. They were selected based on their accomplishments, community involvement, and career achievements.

Feghali is the founder of AMF Foods, a restaurant holding company that operates 14 Little Caesars restaurants. It has experienced annual sales growth from $1.5 million in 2009 to projected $13 million this year. Little Caesars corporate recently awarded Feghali the 2019 Operational Excellence Award for a 10-plus restaurant domestic operator. In addition to his Little Caesars accomplishments, Feghali co-facilitates three Sage Executive Group forums and continues to work on his Ph.D. in Leadership Studies from the University of San Diego.

“It’s truly a great honor to be recognized by the San Diego Business Journal,” said Feghali. “The award is a testament to Little Caesars corporate support, my family, my advisors and mentors, and my employees—for, without them, my success would not be possible. Thank you!”

Sage Executive Group CEO Jerry Rollins, who nominated Feghali, said: “With experience and achievements beyond his years, at 33, Andrew is an outstanding young business leader…. His is an inspiring success story, one that ambitious 20 to 30-year old individuals need to hear, so they too can see it’s possible to set their sights on creating a brilliant future as a successful entrepreneur.”

In a letter of support, Thomas Deverell, CEO of Esteemed Consulting Inc. said, “Finding business leaders that live to the letter of the character, integrity, and commitment they profess is hard to find. Andrew lives his business and personal life to these standards each and every day. I am impressed by this young man! He is certainly deserving of this recognition.”

Feghali’s 15-plus years of food industry experience dates to his years as 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. He led the district to three record-breaking quarters in 2008 during the height of the Great Recession.

Feghali received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management from California State University, Fullerton in 2007