The Making It! Institute 
For The Advancement of Business 

Superstars of Small Business


This program is a live one-day event with one goal: to help existing and aspiring business owners. Whatever the category of your small business, there are essential principles and how-to’s that make the difference between just getting along and really making it!


At a Superstars event we invite entrepreneur speakers who have earned the Superstars title. That means they have built their businesses from startup to at least $10 million annual gross and are willing to share their knowledge, know-how and secrets of success with attendees. These Superstars provide real-world insights, answers and motivation. These one-day intensive gatherings also include presentations on marketing, finance and growth strategies.


“Learning from the best is the best way to learn.” That’s the big idea. Here’s a list of Superstar speakers from past events.


Superstars San Diego 2011


Gregory L. Craig told attendees to “go big” to get the results they dream of. He is a classic up-from-nothing story, who built his Cook Inlet oil and gas trading business into a multi-billion dollar operation.


Robert L. Blumberg learned the ropes as a venture capitalist before starting SMS Technologies. He built the electronics manufacturing business from zero to 400 employees. Bob’s advice about how to deal with partnerships, develop a sales force and selling a successful business was platinum plated.


Maria de Lourdes, Founder and CEO of Lulu’s Dessert Corporation, devised a unique recipe for building a multi-million dollar business on gelatin! Established in 1982, Lulu’s Dessert® is ranked among the top 500 Hispanic Businesses in the United States. Maria talked about building in good times and surviving in the inevitable tough times.


Maurice Ortega knows about how to manage rapid growth and deal with business volatility. He is Founder and President of A.M. Ortega Construction, a $39 million firm that started in San Diego. He’s a consummate builder, who told the audience about building his business into a categoric success story.


Dr. Mary Beth McCabe has 30 years of radio, TV and digital media experience. She shared details of how to develop your strategies in one of the hottest topics in business – Social Media.


Lawrence Gitman wrote the book on Finance – several, in fact. A former Professor of Finance at San Diego State University, Mr. Gitman spoke in real-world terms about the essential how-to’s of business finance.




Superstars Long Beach 2010


Karen Caplan is President and CEO of Frieda’s Inc., a fresh produce company Founded by her mother Frieda Caplan. Karen gave the audience her secret “rule of three” the method she uses to be more productive. Frieda’s was one of the first wholesalers to attach a brand name to produce, and the first wholesale produce company in the U.S. founded, owned and operated by a woman.


Frank Moran signed up with a head hunter looking for work, and he ended up working for them! A year later, he launched his own full service employment agency, naming it West LA Personnel and then TeamOne. The audience loved his advice on how to recognize and capitalize on opportunities. The company has become one of the largest Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States.


Janice Bryant Howroyd, President of the ACT 1 Group. Using just $1,500, Janice began the group in 1978 and three decades later, the company has offices across the U.S., and has expanded internationally, grossing nearly a billion dollars per year!


Brother and sister team  Helen and Marty Shih, began their first business venture in 1979 when the pair used $500 of Marty’s college tuition money to open a flower stand in a closet-sized space in downtown Los Angeles. They moved on to build an international marketing and property development company grossing over $500 million annually.


John Haskell, aka Dr. Revenue, has written over 400 marketing and sales plans for mid-size and smaller companies. His clients consistently see exceptional sales and profit growth as a result of his prescriptions. Dr. Revenue delivers good medicine for your business.


Kimberly Gross is a successful entrepreneur who led the “Megan Hearts” book launch through the use of social media, including Twitter, Digg, and Facebook. A Social Media Consultant for the Small Business Development Center in Long Beach, Kimi is responsible for advising small businesses on social media and interactive marketing.


Ed Von Leffern, a corporate executive with 30 years of client-focused experience managing credit and marketing functions. Ed is a Business Advisor at Long Beach City College SBDC and a faculty member at Cal State Polytechnic University, Pomona teaching management, marketing, strategic planning, entrepreneurship, critical thinking, international business, and corporate responsibility.