I became responsible for myself at the young age of 14. This early independence came with massive learning opportunities. Many lessons were often trial and error, with no experience being a waste, as I was always absorbing knowledge along the way. My inspiration of holding to my core values was instilled in me by my grandmother, a vital role model in my life. I was lucky to have some amazing mentors starting at a young age. One was a hard-working longshoreman that helped instill a deep work ethic within me. Another was a businessman who taught me principles of business management, basic accounting, business communications, principles of marketing, personal finance, entrepreneurship and the art of negotiating. Having been self-employed for over half of my lifetime and owning successful businesses to this day, I attribute my success to the standards my grandmother planted within me, the values I have held and to my unwavering work ethic.