Orange County Movers and Shakers

I had the enormous privilege to meet with some of Orange County’s top execs and business owners.  They shared their stories and advice on how they got where they are.  These people had the courage to make their dreams a reality.  They put in the time and effort and now have lots to show!  Enjoy!

Mike Sheets: Partner at Provence Wealth Management Group Finance Planner Who Emphasizes Caring About Clients As Individuals.

Mike Sheets’ business career started with a high school job as a valet attendant. Post graduation, he decided to take that job and turn it into his own venture. Mike, now the president of Provence Wealth Management Group, credits his early work experience for his present success and recognizes the importance of working your way up. “It’s a brutal start breaking into the business world, especially finance,” Mike says, “You have to work hard at the beginning and remember that if it was easy, everyone would do it.” Mike emphasizes the importance of treating others fairly. “Lots of people say you can’t waste time on small clients, but my thing is as long as you are willing to work hard, you can treat all clients, whether they are the most successful corporation or just starting out, with the same fairness.” ……

Caterina Hall: Co-Founder/Chief Administrative Officer recently promoted to Chief Executive Officer at InteLED Corp Making A difference in the world with energy efficient lighting.

“Don’t forget to turn off the lights,” is more than just a simple reminder for Co-founder and Chief Administrative Officer of InteLED Corporation, Caterina Hall. It takes her back to her upbringing in the San Francisco Bay Area where her father, an accounting entrepreneur, constantly stressed the importance of conservation, business, and consideration. She was only 18 years old when she left the Bay Area to study industrial design and Brand Marketing at CSU Long Beach with the hope of designing something that could, “make a difference in the world.” After graduation, Caterina began considering the idea of “green” and efficient energy lighting, and became fascinated with the idea of LED lighting, a concept that was still considered uncharted territory in the world of engineering at that time. In 2000 Hall co-founded OptiLED, a company dedicated to the betterment of energy efficient lighting, which was a concept that few were aware of at the time….

Matt Brown: Partner at Brown and Streza, LLP Connecting With Clients As Individuals

Despite a long family history of lawyers, Matt Brown of Brown and Streza, LLP did not aspire for a career in law. In fact, Brown began UC Davis as a Biology major with the intention of attending medical school post graduation. While studying as an undergrad, Matt began taking economics and political science classes and became fascinated by our tax laws. “It’s like a chess game,” Matt says, “You can strategically move other pieces to get to a result a client is happy with without compromising the code. It’s about getting people to understand and produce within their existing structure. It’s challenging from both a technical and communications standpoint, but that’s the best part.” ….

Brenda Brkusic: Producer at PBS Socal Giving 150% In Television Leadership

PBS Socal Producer Brenda Brkusic’s love for filmmaking began when she was thirteen years old with her first role as director for her 8th grade history class. It was a film about the death of Abraham Lincoln and it sparked a passion that would follow her to college where she double majored in dance and film. Her senior thesis, a documentary entitled “Freedom from Despair,” about the Croatian people’s struggle for freedom in communist Yugoslavia went on to win countless awards including a Telly Award and the CINE Special Jury Award and gave her the opportunity to go on tour with the film to 50 cities throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia. Shortly after, PBS Socal President and CEO Mel Rogers asked Brenda to help launch the new OC Channel, a digital channel by which thousands of new programs emerged. “In order to be successful you have to give 150% to whatever it is you want to succeed at,” Brenda says. “The type of stories I tend to lend myself to- are ones that grab me emotionally, and ones that I personally feel need to be told. This line of work definitely requires patience, determination, and attention to detail, while at the same time, each story is a poetic reflection of your own spirit and soul.”….

Lindsay Pavlik Lawrence: Senior Vice President of Opus Bank

A Competitive Personality With Athletic Experience Blended with Successful Banking.

Lindsay Pavlik, the youngest Vice President at Opus Bank and Director of Relationship Integration, didn’t have a set career path in mind when she graduated with a communications major from Northwestern University. “Going into banking didn’t even cross my mind,” she admits with a laugh. In high school, Lindsay played basketball and volleyball, despite her diagnosis with Type 1 Diabetes, a disease that generally renders the patient unable to participate in athletics. Despite her hardships, Lindsay received a scholarship to Northwestern University for volleyball. After graduation Lindsay received a job offer in the sales department at Commercial Capital Bank, where she was able to gain experience in various aspects of banking. Lindsay credits her competitive personality and athletic experience for her success in sales. “Sports can really help in the business world. You get used to setting goals. If you want to start on the court you have to work really hard in practice and constantly challenge yourself. It’s the same thing in business and management.” …..

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