Mitchel Rothschild – CEO, Vitals

Mitchel “Mitch” Rothschild brings two decades of entrepreneurial experience to his role as co-founder, chief perfectionist, and CEO of Vitals. Prompted by personal medical experience that could have turned out badly, Mitch helped found Vitals. Today, Vitals helps more than 150 million people annually make intelligent decisions about choosing the right healthcare provider. Combining deep data, millions of patient ratings and out-of-pocket cost calculation tools, Vitals allows patients to find the highest-quality, lowest-cost providers.

Prior to Vitals, Mitch founded Raspberry Red Marketing, Awards.com, NetWorks, Tuff Rhino, RUSS CandyBears and Time Warner Viewer’s Edge. He has also been involved in the rapid growth of Popcorn Indiana, Blue Moon Mexican Cafe, and IT’SUGAR.

1. How do you define success?
Accomplishing whatever you set out to do, with an inner sense of satisfaction that you’ve done it.

2. What is the key to success?
Persistence, shifting the methods you need to get to your goal as situations change, and the ability to recognize when you’ve gotten there. Luck, too.

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
No, of course not. You try your best, are optimistic that you can accomplish it, have confidence that you can, but you can never be sure until it actually happens.

4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
Eye on the goal, sense of perspective, and not letting the bad moments get you down.

5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
It is far easier to get forgiveness than permission. It works in business, less so in marriage.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Keeping my brain and curiosity active with new and exciting things to do, and with friends and family.

7. What makes a great leader?
Clear sense of vision, clarity about how to get there, ability to inspire others to follow, and exuding a clear sense that no obstacle will stand in the way.

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Decide what you really like to do with your work time, whether you prefer interacting with people, data, or things. Your first job may not get you there, but your third should.


This interview is an excerpt from Success: 30 Interviews with Entrepreneurs & Executives by Jason Navallo.

Mike Albanese – CEO, Galore Media

Mike Albanese serves as the CEO of Galore Media: a talent driven media company for the creative and daring Gen Z girl. Previously, he served as president of Observer Media: the publisher of The New York Observer, Betabeat, VeryShortList, SCENE, and other digital and print titles. Prior to joining Observer Media, he was the publisher of SPIN Media, where he oversaw a 25-site digital network, and the sale of SPIN to Buzz Media (re-named SPIN Media). Mike is also an investor/advisor in Galore Media and other startups, including Chefsfeed, Topcoder, and Suitey.

1. How do you define success?
Creative and financial freedom.

2. What is the key to success?
If I had to make a laundry list, it would be a) always taking pride in work, b) knowing your strengths and weaknesses, c) challenging yourself and the people around you daily, and d) leading by example.

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
Success is incredibly relative, and I really feel it’s more of a process rather than an end. Try to get better at something every day, treat people well, and the rest will take care of itself.

4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
I don’t like failing or losing, so more times than not, it’s less of a conscious choice and more a reflex to push onward.

5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
I learned at my first job, which was at a startup magazine in San Francisco, that there is no pre-ordained roadmap for businesses or people. Anything is possible, both positive and negative. It’s a simple insight (something I probably could have picked up in Philosophy 101 had I paid more attention), but a very powerful (and empowering) realization.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I am a photographer and also invest and advise in start-ups. I also love dinner and brunches with friends, and a good steam on weekends.

7. What makes a great leader?
A great leader is able to get different people, with different backgrounds and different individual goals, all driving toward the same place with passion and vigor. A great leader is able to attract great people, and hold everyone, including themselves, to account.

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
When I started at The New York Observer, Jared (owner) shared with me his philosophy about being “long-term greedy.” That is good advice. Be patient in the near term, find opportunities where you can pick up experience, learn from great people, and be associated with something worthwhile. And when opportunities open up, seize them!


This interview is an excerpt from Success: 30 Interviews with Entrepreneurs & Executives by Jason Navallo.

Mark Peter Davis – Managing Partner, Interplay Ventures

Mark Peter Davis is a venture capitalist, incubator, and author of The Fundraising Rules. He’s the founder of Interplay Ventures, a venture partner at High Peaks Venture Partners, and a co-founder of Kohort, DevSpark, Founder Shield, and Venwise. Prior to that, Mark was a venture capitalist at DFJ Gotham Ventures, where he invested in information technology companies. He has a B.A. in Economics from Duke University and an M.B.A. in Venture Finance from Columbia Business School.

1. How do you define success?
Obtaining happiness.

2. What is the key to success?
This is a difficult question, but I suspect it’s a mix of 1) understanding what dynamics make you happy, and then 2) pursuing a life structure that facilitates those dynamics.

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
I’m an optimist, so I always assumed I would be. “Assuming” and “knowing” are, however, very different things. While there were times when I doubted my assumptions, in general, with enough persistence, I expected a good outcome.

4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
When I was younger, I was motivated by achieving a goal. I aimed to overcome to reach an arbitrary destination. Now, I fight to continue doing what I enjoy most: innovating.

5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
Difficult to pick the greatest, but here are a few things that have formed my approach to life and business: “The more you give, the more you get.” “Say what you’re going to do and do what you say.” “Nothing is business, and everything is business, if you’re in the right business.”

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Entrepreneurship is my hobby—and it also happens to be my job. I consider all of my time the same. I’m either working on one passion or another—just some other people would call it work. What I enjoy doing includes spending time with my family, starting companies, reading, playing Rockband, and writing.

7. What makes a great leader?
I’m not sure that I am one. If the question was, “What makes a great leader?,” then the answer is most definitely supporting the team in their effort to achieve a common goal.

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Until you know what you want to do, obtain generalist skills. Once you know what you want to do, back into a plan to get there. Out-hustle anyone who tries to hold you down.


This interview is an excerpt from Success: 30 Interviews with Entrepreneurs & Executives by Jason Navallo.

Mark Casady – Chairman, LPL Financial

Mark Casady is chairman of LPL Financial. He joined the company in May 2002 as COO, became president in April 2003, and became chairman and CEO in December 2005. Previously, Mark was managing director, mutual fund group for Deutsche Asset Management, Americas (formerly Scudder Investments). He joined Scudder in 1994 and held roles as managing director, Americas, head of global mutual fund group and head of defined contribution services. He was also a member of the Scudder, Stevens and Clark board of directors and management committee. He is former chairman and a current board member of the Insured Retirement Institute and serves on FINRA’s board of governors.

1. How do you define success?
By how we help others be successful. Sort of the network effect of joint success. The more success my customers, employees, or my family has results in more success for me.

2. What is the key to success?
Hard work. Knowing what you are trying to accomplish with others and not stopping until you attain your goal or beyond.

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
I have always been very focused and have tried to give any activity my all. I am still wondering if I will be successful!

4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
My motto is “one step forward.” I don’t worry about getting all adversity solved today, just some part of it. Eventually, you overcome it by pushing ahead.

5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
Be good to others. Nice guys and gals do finish first, so keep your elegance and humanity.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love spending time with my family and friends. Boating on Cape Cod or taking long walks wherever I find myself are enjoyable. I also like to travel, especially to new places, to understand other cultures and people.

7. What makes a great leader?
Awareness of others’ needs and goals. Getting alignment and trust are critical to leading.

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Look for experience in areas where you are passionate. Try it, and if you don’t like it, you can always change later. Your early career is all about getting experience, so get as much as you can the first few years out of school.


This interview is an excerpt from Success: 30 Interviews with Entrepreneurs & Executives by Jason Navallo.

Maria Clawe – President, Harvey Mudd College

Harvey Mudd College (HMC) is led by Maria Klawe, HMC’s fifth president, who began her tenure in 2006. A renowned computer scientist and scholar, President Klawe is the first woman to lead the college since its founding in 1955. Prior to joining HMC, she served as dean of engineering and professor of computer science at Princeton University. During her time at Princeton, Klawe led the School of Engineering and Applied Science through a strategic planning exercise that created an exciting and widely-embraced vision for the school. At Harvey Mudd College, she led a similarly ambitious strategic planning initiative, “HMC 2020: Envisioning the Future.”

Maria joined Princeton from the University of British Columbia (UBC) where she served as dean of science from 1998 to 2002, vice president of student and academic services from 1995 to 1998, and head of the Department of Computer Science from 1988 to 1995. Prior to UBC, Maria spent eight years with IBM Research in California, and two years at the University of Toronto. She received her Ph.D. and B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Alberta.

Maria has made significant research contributions in several areas of mathematics and computer science, including functional analysis, discrete mathematics, theoretical computer science, human-computer interaction, gender issues in information technology, and interactive-multimedia for mathematics education. Her current research focuses on discrete mathematics.

Maria is one of 10 members of the board of directors of Microsoft Corporation, a board member of Broadcom Corporation and the nonprofit Math for America, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, a trustee for the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, and a member of both the Stanford Engineering Advisory Council and the Advisory Council for the Computer Science Teachers Association. She was elected as a fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery in 1996 and as a founding fellow of the Canadian Information Processing Society in 2006.

1. How do you define success?
I’m very goal-oriented so, to me, success is making progress on my key goals.

2. What is the key to success?
It’s a combination of picking the right goal (namely, something important), creating a strategy to achieve the goal, assembling a team or network to work on the goal, persisting in the face of difficulty (everything important is hard to achieve), being willing to re-evaluate the strategy when needed, and asking for help from others.

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
When I was young (under 30 or so), I was sure I would be successful. As I grew older (and became more successful), I developed the imposter syndrome which was exacerbated by a serious head injury at the age of 43. So, these days I feel like a failure most of the time, but I don’t let that stop me from constantly trying to make the world a better place.

4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
It’s a combination of having a strong support system (my husband, my children, my sisters, and my friends) and an intensely stubborn nature. The easiest way to get me to work on something is to tell me that it’s impossible.

5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
That I learn more from failure than success. I hate failing, but over time, I have recognized that each time I fail, I have to learn new skills and approaches to overcome the failure.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Watercolor painting, kayaking, hiking, reading, bird watching, being with my family and friends, and being with my cats.

7. What makes a great leader?
A leader creates a community and a vision that empowers everyone to do their best work and to support each other in jointly making progress toward the vision.

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Choose a workplace with a mission you believe in and that has a supportive environment and a manager you respect. Try to help others be successful. Volunteer for projects that will help you learn new skills and knowledge. Build a professional network outside your workplace. Don’t let fear of failure stop you from taking on ambitious challenges. Mentor more junior colleagues or students. You will learn as much from them as they will from you. If you can’t find work that inspires you, learn some new skills that will increase your opportunities. For example, no matter what your area of interest is at the moment, learning some computer science will make you more desirable as an employee.


This interview is an excerpt from Success: 30 Interviews with Entrepreneurs & Executives by Jason Navallo.