The world is brimming with individuals who excel in their respective pursuits. A singer, an entrepreneur, a self-help mentor, a financial advisor, a real estate agent, or an entertainer, people have found their niches within a dynamic society. To effectively function in the roles they elect to act on, these people are always moving forward – learning as they go and sharing their gifts to the community. NY Weekly has chosen 20 of these individuals, hand-picked among hundreds of others:
1. Gary Vaynerchuck
Gary Vaynerchuck is a man of many wonders. He holds key positions in the Vayner group of companies, including VaynerX, VaynerMedia, and VaynerSports. The mogul serves as the chairman of VaynerX, a communications holding company, and CEO of VaynerMedia, a 360-degree advertising company working with several Fortune 100 companies in four locations across the country.
Aside from his entrepreneurial venture, Vaynerchuck is a public speaker, 5-time New York Bestselling author, and a media personality. He is featured in an online documentary series titled DailyVee and he is the host of the top 100 global podcast called “The GaryVee Audio Experience.”
2. Christopher T. Gonzalez
Christopher Gonzalez is a Father and Entrepreneur from Bronx, New York of Puerto Rican descent. Chris is an automotive professional of over 20 years who has climbed his way from pizza deliveries and working on fishing boats. Now, he is one of the highest respected phone calls in Cars and Credit Repair.
Chris Gonzalez and his team handle each client with care no matter what background or income. Everyone needs help in America. And Chris and the team he leads help anyone. Some believe Chris Gonzalez will create a New World for auto buying and community altogether. People will be keeping tabs on him for a long time to come.
3. Steven Ridzyowski
Steven Ridzyowski is CEO and Founder of Ecommerce Marketing Agency, a firm that helps clients efficiently create streams of income. From start to finish, Steven and his agency will make sure to guide business men and women to entrepreneurial success. Creating a store, analyzing and applying market trends, marketing the products, network building until the actual sale, Ecommerce Marketing Agency handles everything – a one-stop-shop for entrepreneurs.
With Steven’s commitment to serving others, he leads Ecommerce Marketing Agency and is slowly becoming the prime full-service Ecommerce agency in the country. This is not surprising since Steven and the team are made up of the top Ecommerce and media buying experts with more than 13 years of experience. The experts specialize in web design and development, digital marketing, and Ecommerce consultancy assuring any businessperson top-notch quality.
4. Joseph Lang
Joseph Lang is an entrepreneur, tax professional, and owner of Tax Emperor who has over 7 years of experience as a tax professional. The company’s mission is to provide clients with the best accounting, tax, and consulting services by expanding their knowledge and practice of their businesses’ financial functions. “The more you learn, the more you earn” is a concept Joseph likes to enforce at Tax Emperor.
Joseph has helped thousands of business owners save large amounts of money on taxes by providing efficient tax education, monthly tax planning, and unlimited consultation sessions with his team at Tax Emperor. They even have an international team that can handle clients in other countries including Canada and Europe.
Facebook: Tax Emperor
5. Chris Graffagnino
Chris Graffagnino is a New York born entrepreneur, world traveler, and business influencer. He has developed global business on and off Wall Street and has co founded his own successful global risk solutions company.
Chris is a former law enforcement officer and combat veteran and has taken his experience in security and risk mitigation to the private sector where he has developed niche market areas in crisis management such as security evacuation and repatriation services. He has traveled the world developing his reputation as a subject matter expert in risk and risk solutions often consulting celebrities and high profile public figures, simultaneously proving himself as a fast growing and highly successful entrepreneur.
Specializing in risk and business development, Chris has taken his passion for helping others and launched his first philanthropic project. Aimed at mentoring young entrepreneurs, Settle4Success provides a collaborative platform to help startups. Chris was named by Yahoo Finance as Top 10 Most Influential People in 2020 and Top 10 Mentors to Follow.
6. Viviana Puello
Viviana Puello is an award-winning artist, writer, entrepreneur, Founder/CEO of ArtTour International, a revolutionary multimedia artist platform that reaches 205 countries. The platforms include print and digital publications, and an award-winning TV show with 10 million viewers.
Recognized for her work as an international arts advocate, Viviana Puello has helped hundreds of artists and art activists build lucrative, entrepreneurial careers to generate a living by pursuing their passions.
Founder of Create4Peace, Artists For A Green Planet, and Vivid Arts Network, Viviana has been featured on CBS, Medium, ABC, Fox, The NY Weekly, The Washington Post, LA Wire, NY Wire, and The American Reporter.
Facebook: Viviana Puello
ArtTour International Website: www.arttourinternational.com
7. Shawn Fair
Shawn Fair is a leader in the motivational speaking and training industry. He is a renowned expert in the areas of corporate leadership and Corporate Management. He has impacted countless lives across the United States, Canada, and Europe helping individuals come to the realization that change is necessary for their personal and business growth.
Shawn has a unique ability to engage, motivate, and inspire leaders of all levels to achieve their vision. Shawn has created and delivered World Class Award Winning presentations on large stages within corporations, conventions, and events. In 2020 his leadership training has stretched as far as Budapest Hungary and headed to France and South Africa. His personal leadership and management experience in Corporate America allow him to speak with passion and power to all leaders.
Shawn Fair is taking his Leadership Experience Tour from the Movie Theaters and Major venues to Digital TV. Starting October 1, 2020, Shawn will have his own digital network on the Onstage Plus and Roku Network where he will be displaying other prominent leadership speakers.
Facebook: Shawn Fair
LinkedIn: Shawn Fair
8. Eric Cabrera
Eric Cabrera is an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, real estate investor and author. He is also a TV personality in some of Colorado’s popular shows like Fox21’s Morning News segment called Fitness Fridays and the morning show, Loving Living Local. Born and raised in New York, Eric came from very humble beginnings. He understands the value of hard work to achieve goals. He is a retired Lieutenant and prides himself with 23 years of experience in the fire service.
In his career, Eric has built and sold several businesses. He opened his first real estate firm that produced a total of $6.2 million in sales and acquisition in nine months before selling it on the market. He is on the executive board of two non-profit organizations and owns two health club chains.
Eric is currently working on bringing a brand new functional training studio franchise called Blitz45 to Colorado and the western half of the United States. His first Blitz45 location in Colorado Spring is set to open summer of 2020. He recently co-authored the Power of Mental Health with best-selling writers Johnny Wimbrey, Heather Monahan, and Les Brown. Eric has coached numerous individuals in real estate, motivation, and business development and personal growth. Eric loves to expose the fact that one’s weaknesses are really their strengths and show the value of their self-worth. He plans to widen his reach through his coaching company and YouTube channel called Generational Increase.
9. Martino Cartier
Celebrity stylist and philanthropist, Martino Cartier, is a fixture in the beauty industry. His humble beginnings have led him to many successes including his top rated 50-station salon in New Jersey, his organization Wigs & Wishes that supports women and children battling cancer, his brand Martino by Martino Cartier that became the #1 hair brand on HSN, and that’s just the top of the iceberg. Wigs & Wishes provides over 25K wigs to women battling cancer each year at absolutely no charge and grants wishes to children. The organization operates with no red tape.
Martino Cartier overcame adversity and bullying during adolescence. His adoption story is inspirational.With overcoming so much in childhood, he’s built an empire along the way, becoming the largest hair tool brand on HSN with his brand Martino by Martino Cartier, running a successful salon in New Jersey that has been top rated in the country, as well as changing lives through his efforts with his organization Wigs & Wishes.
10. Tony Robbins
Tony Robbins is perhaps one of the most well-known influencers in the world today. As a Chairman of seven companies and five holding companies, Robbins has had the opportunity to impact the lives of over 50 million people from 100 different countries across the globe.
He is a serial entrepreneur, philanthropist, life and business coach, and a New York Times bestselling author. His entrepreneurial works have allowed him to touch the lives of many and make things work for them. Robbins’ humanitarian work, Anthony Robbins Foundation, has reached out to more than 50 countries feeding over two million people every year. Tony Robbins is a man of honor, excellence, generosity, and more.
11. Pretty Weird Blonde
Sophia Rose aka Pretty Weird Blonde is sparking quite the buzz with her wild creative content and stories of being from an extraterrestrial planet. Established as an award-winning SAG actor, SESAC musician, and television writer/producer, Pretty Weird Blonde is on the up and up as a multi-hyphenate entertainer who creates professional content to inspire audiences outside of their comfort zone. She captivates her escalating fanbase with her transparency around mental health, unhinged comedy sketches, galactic insights, and soulful original music.
Ordinarily blonde, she occasionally morphs into her alien persona via otherworldly appearances. If you want an experience unlike any other, Pretty Weird Blonde is guaranteed to inspire you with her bold weirdness and unique perspective on the current world crises. Keep an eye out for her upcoming TV series, MediKate, as well as her new genre of “inter-dimensional” music.
Spotify: Pretty Weird Blonde
IMDB: Sophia Rose
12. Myra Durani
MobileyMe Inc. CEO and founder, Myra Durrani, takes pride in the fact that MobileyMe has no competition. Unlike other cloud systems, MobileyMe assists in making up for the flaws of other cloud services, which makes it unparalleled in the industry. “MobileyMe will bridge the gaps by adding features that will greatly enhance what is currently on offer and quite simply inadequate for today’s communications needs,” she reveals. Durrani adds, “Our product is for every smartphone user in the world. Now we have the solution to gain better control over your device instead of it controlling you.”
13. Grant Cardone
Grant Cardone is a magnet of entrepreneurial success. He has immense contributions in several areas in sales and marketing to companies across the globe. Grant’s published works, The 10X Rule and If You’re Not First, You’re Last, to mention a few, serve as blueprints for any entrepreneur who wishes to succeed in any planned business venture.
As an entrepreneur, Grant has experienced a lot of roadblocks. But his mindset and hardwork has allowed him to build Cardone Capital, a $1.8 billion company from scratch. To date, he strongly holds seven private companies, published 21 best selling books, and influenced millions from hundreds of countries.
14. Tyra Grayson
Tyra Grayson, better known as TGD or TGD Shot It, is a 22-year-old concert/entertainment photographer, graphic designer, and videographer located in Birmingham. TGD stands for Tyra Grayson Designs which signifies her graphic design services. She has shot shows for artists such as Moneybagg Yo, Lil Baby, DaBaby, Boosie Badazz, Drake Bell, Billie Eilish, Cardi B, Travis Scott, and more.
She does freelance work for labels/and their producers and artists, with labels such as Quality Control Music, SouthCoastMusicGroup, and more. She is a current Graphic Design Bachelor’s student at Full Sail University and currently for hire. Tyra is looking forward to growing and expanding her brand amongst working with other brands and making a difference in the creative community and entertainment or music industry.
Facebook: Tyra Grayson
YouTube: Tyra Grayson
15. Adonte Fontane
The musically innovative rapper, Adonte Fontane, has proven himself extremely versatile and one of the best to come from his region in the last 10 years. Hailing from Oakland, CA, he has begun to take the internet and music industry by storm with his hit singles “Upgrade”, “Way It Is” and newest single “Winners” which received a massive amount of traction in the beginning of 2020. His energetic vocals, thoughtful lyrics, and insanely selective beats are a remarkable combination that will make you rise out of your seat every time you listen.
Spotify: Adonte Fontane
Apple Music: Adonte Fontane
16. Faro Alier
Faro Alier is the Founder of Weedies The Brand, the hippest and hottest cannabis brand to ever hit the market, first produced in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles and 100% minority owned.
The brand aims to be by the people and for the people who have been mostly affected by the war on drugs. Its designs are unique to their brand and its focus is on the urban hip hop community. What separates them from others is its commitment to helping the lower class, unlike other cannabis-based brands who are trying to benefit from the poor.
FlockDonSmoke is an up and coming hip-hop/rap artist from New York. With a natural feel for the game and the ability to turn any beat into a hit, FlockDonSmoke is one of the hottest new names in the industry. Since he first started making music in 2010, FlockDonSmoke has been able to link with some of the biggest names, including the iconic DJ Self. He’s also attracted support from names like Kodak Black, Young Dolph, Black Youngster, Rich The Kid, Mike Tyson, Adrian Broner, and Floyd Mayweather.
FlockDonSmoke’s sound and style usually features heavy drum beats and hard-hitting flows. This style is featured on his Season 1 EP, a collection of tracks released in November 2019 that are a perfect intro to who FlockDonSmoke is as an artist. Currently, FlockDonSmoke is preparing to put out some more hits which he expects to drop over the coming months.
18. Ryan Engh
Ryan Engh is a jack of many trades. He is a serial Entrepreneur, owner of multiple businesses e-commerce amazon stores, author, speaker, travel hacker, digital marketing consultant, Instagram growth company, and real estate investor.
He was born in Dagsboro, DE and graduated at Indian River Highschool in 2016. Ryan used to play football and baseball for Indian River High as well as travel baseball for the Evoshield Canes and Crabfest All Americans. He wanted to pursue baseball as a career, not until Ryan was introduced to digital marketing in college that he decided to venture into the path. He realized that he wanted to make his own schedule and be his own boss.
His first big break was his investment into real estate and began networking. He’s since leveraged his credit lines to invest and grow other businesses and help mentor others to do the same. He now owns multiple businesses including a digital marketing company and e-commerce stores.
19. Kathy Murphy
Kathy Murphy is an energetic life coach, leading a movement called The Rising Tide. She is passionate about helping people create a more empowered life experience, by connecting them with who they really are, seeing how the mind works and creating a new reality they never thought possible. Through coaching, mentoring, online programs, and workshops she helps people to find their way when they do not see a way. She helps people to rise out of circumstances and into a life they love. She has a contagious energy and loves to help people move through fears, and into the power inside, they have not yet seen.
When people see how their life experience is created, they are able to shift every aspect of their life and connect with their joy in rhythm with life. Stress, worry, overwhelm are replaced with peace and calm. It is not hard work, because on the journey everyone discovers they already have everything they need inside. It was just lost in the noise of the world.
LinkedIn: Kathy Murphy
20. Josh Gorra
Josh Gorra is a passionate entrepreneur himself, managing partner for Gorra Financial Group and an entrepreneur coach. He is well-known for his 10-principle mindset that has propelled his latest company he founded in 2019, Destination Driven LLC, to international acclaim. His determination to help others sprang from a childhood tragedy. Clinically dead for 3 minutes after a hit & run accident, he was brought back to life by the mercy of God. Now with a newfound clear-cut appreciation for life, he implores sales professionals & leadership that work/life integration is critical. Since then, he’s helped countless entrepreneurs succeed in their businesses both personally & professionally. He emphatically says, “there is no such thing as balance, we have to integrate both work & life to be fulfilled. We can always make more money, but we have a finite amount of memories & time to create them with the people we love. I created a system, these 10 principles to empower people to become the best version of themselves & for that I’m thankful. Now I have an obligation to pay it forward!”
Mr. Gorra graduated from Johnson & Wales University in 2004 with an AS in Entrepreneurship and a BS in Financial Service Management. His technique derived from the experiences he has personally faced and overcome by following his daily principles. It’s gratifying for him to help organizations build awareness around purpose vs growth by helping sales professionals become the best version of themselves. His book “Start with Gratitude, 10 daily principles to maximize EACH day” is scheduled to be released this summer. His mantra, “Be thankful for what you have in pursuit of what you want.” Mr. Gorra empowers other entrepreneurs to focus on their biggest competition, which is themselves. “It’s you vs you, that’s how you win the long game.”
When COVID-19 began it disrupted everyone economically, personally & professionally, Josh created a Facebook group called “Start with Gratitude, daily principles to maximize EACH day.” His goal is to help as many people as possible have awareness around being thankful. Josh says, “It’s easy to focus on the negative and forget how truly blessed we are. Instead, we need to spread optimism and remind ourselves that life is finite, nothing is forever. However, while we are here, make gratitude a core belief. We can not let any win or loss we experience, distract us from having a grateful mindset.”
If you’d like to receive one of his first 50 books for free when his book is released, tag him on Instagram @mindset_driven & use the #youvsyou. If you don’t use Instagram, you can text Josh at +1 (617) 286-3757. Simply text him #youvsyou & you will be put on his list to receive a personalized copy.
“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” Jim Rohn
Facebook: Joshua Gorra
Opinions expressed by NY Weekly contributors are their own.