Wednesday, November 12, 2008

From Project S.A.V.E. to Kenya, with love.

Check out this fantastic group of hard-working volunteers, based in Chico, CA.

From Chico to Kenya with Love

Friday, August 8, 2008

Ronald Cassoni - Bio of the Week

My last post on Sergeant Larry Walls reminded me of another one of my favorite Bio Reviews, Ron Cassoni. A few of the many highlights from his bio follow. (Those are my words, not his. Like many super-accomplished people, I found Ron to be very unassuming and down-to-earth.) The first and last sentences are my favorites, and illustrate the numerous reasons I found him to be such a like-able guy.

About Ron Cassoni...

Favorite Business Motto: One good thing about working in the business world is that no one dies by the decisions we make.”

1975 - Commissioned as a Marine Officer, serving on Active Duty until 1986. Chosen to form the Marine Corps Anti-Terrorist Command in 1979 as a Captain. Served in a special operations role for most of my career, and in the Marine Corps Reserve until medically retired in 2008. Achieved rank of Lieutenant Colonel. I attribute my business tactics to the basic Marine Corps theme of initiating, adapting and overcoming all obstacles.

1992 – At Dell, grew revenue 127% and was the first company in history to go from $950M to over $2B in one year. Of this $2B, the Federal line generated in excess of $800M, $125M of which was generated in the last 2 weeks of the year! (Nothing the sales force likes better than a little year-end pressure!)

Acted in an advisory role to the incoming Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee on terrorist organizations and methods.

Board Member of the Austin Film Festival, and an Advisory Member of the Texas Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation. I helped establish Chefs for AIDs Research, a series of private dinners across Austin that now generates over $1M during the two-evening dine in.

And finally...

I have two daughters who started a new school the same day. One started kindergarten and the other started college! I drove them both.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Sergeant Larry Walls - Bio of the Week

Most of my Bios of the Week are people I've met through the Bio Review process I offer on my website.

This week however, I wanted to feature a man I met only very briefly over the weekend when we sat next to each other on a plane from San Francisco to Chico, California. I was on my way home from a convention in Southern California. He was on his way home, for good, from Iraq. (Photo courtesy of KHSL TV, Chico, CA.)

It had been a long journey home. Someone said they hoped he hadn't lost his luggage along the way. "I don't care," he said, "I'm home."

Here's his story, and yes, I did cry when I saw him hug his wife and baby daughter.

Thanks for everything, Sergeant Walls, and welcome home.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Wayne T. Smith - Bio of the Week

Wayne T. Smith is the co-founder and C.O.O. of New Zealand-based Orca Technologies, where he oversees new product development and manufacture of underwater repellent devices. He is also founder and president of Scientific Divers Limited of New Zealand, a company that develops and produces underwater signaling devices for Scuba divers.

Smith is an inventor and engineer who holds a patent on the Buddycall®, Scientific Divers primary product ( He is also the lead researcher and designer of the Orca®, the new shark repellent device for Orca Technologies. In addition, he has worked for more than 35 years in the film industry designing, art directing and creating special effects for some of the industry’s biggest companies and senior directors.

Smith is also owner/manager of the Art Ranch Limited NZ, a company specializing in production design of T.V. commercials for the US and New Zealand markets.

Born and raised in Los Angeles California, Wayne is now based in Auckland New Zealand, a country he first visited in 1992 aboard his 40-foot sailboat while on a sailing adventure where he crossed the Pacific Ocean. Having fallen in love with New Zealand, and has lived there ever since.
An active Scuba diver who's been diving for more than 40 years, he’s also a fanatical fly fisherman who enjoys diving, fly fishing and mountain biking with his two sons.

Monday, April 21, 2008

To all the heroes at Project S.A.V.E.

Please watch the video below to learn more about Project S.A.V.E. (Salvage All Valuable Equipment), a Chico, California-based charity that donates medical, dental and other equipment and supplies to those in need around the world.

Janice Walker is SAVE's Project Director. Look for her in the photo where the container doors are being closed, the beginning of a long journey to Nairobi, Kenya. The American flag hangs in the back, and will be the first thing the grateful recipients see... a message of hope and love from their American friends.

Thanks to Janice and hundreds of willing and hard-working volunteers like her, 26 countries have received shipments of live-saving and life-giving supplies since 2004. Thousands of lives have been changed for the better, too often beyond words. Many local charities have benefited as well. I'm proud to be working with Project S.A.V.E. on a new website. I'll let you know when it's up and running.

All the best to a truly remarkable group of people.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Robert Allen - Bio of the Week

I truly enjoyed getting to know Robert Allen through my bio review process. It's immediately apparent that he is a hard-working and deservedly successful businessman, as well as a devoted family man.

Robert and his brother, Gary, have a new company, LUMA Resources, that is getting rave reviews in the renewable energy resources industry. (You can see one of their solar energy products in action on this YouTube video.) Congratulations, Robert, your dad would be very proud.

Here'a little bit more about Robert...

Robert Allen is an experienced businessman who co-owns LUMA Resources and Allen Brothers Inc. with his brother, Gary. Robert and Gary Allen have been business partners since 1986, when they inherited the roofing company their father, Don, started in 1950.

As a boy growing up Robert spent his summers working for his father and learning trade secrets from the expert. By the time Don Allen retired and turned the company over to his sons he had built his roofing company’s name reputation up to the highest quality standard for workmanship in his industry. Robert remembers many long, hard summer days working with his father, who was known to tear down a job that was just finished because it wasn’t quite right.

Robert said the first thing you’d see was the look on his face, then the words "Okay, boys now you can tear those shingles back off and put new ones back on and get them straight this time."

Robert has been married to Nicole Allen for 26 years. They have three grown children who are all currently attending college. Robert and Nicole have attended the same church their entire married lives, where Nicole works as the bookkeeper.

Robert has many hobbies outside of work and family, including playing tennis, fly fishing, scuba diving, upland bird hunting and gardening. He also takes pride in his talent for amateur photography.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Sean Haines - Bio of the Week

I reviewed this father's bio this week - a very special person, as you'll see. This photo of Sean and Matthew was taken shortly before Matthew passed away, and is understandably priceless to his father.

Sean Haines first became involved with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society while raising donations for the ‘Light the Night’ yearly fundraisers in honor of his son, Matthew, who was then battling Leukemia.

After Sean’s eight-year-old son, Matthew, pictured here, passed away from cancer in 2005, he created the Matthew David Haines Foundation which is dedicated to bringing hope and happiness to children with cancer. Since 2005, the MDHF has donated over $20,000 in toys and funding for the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Arizona, and Give Kids the World Village in Florida.

In 2006, Sean became a published author. The book “Matthew Haines – Gift from God: A life of Unconditional Love” details Matthew’s journey and the beautiful ‘life lessons’ he left us with. The book is available through Dorrance Publishing or

Sean’s family includes wife Debbie, son Chris, and twins Michael and Jennie.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Dan the Firepit Man - Bio of the Week

Dan lives in Washington state, and is a truly gifted guy in a lot of ways. He's also intensely private, so that's the most I will say about him here.

Dan has a full-time job as a welder, but he also makes these beautiful firepits in his spare time. The detail and worksmanship is incredible, as you can see.

If you would like to talk to Dan about how to get a hand-crafted firepit of your own, please contact me and I'll put you in touch with him.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Susan Gunn - Bio of the Week

My friend, Susan Gunn, is a hoot. She's also from Texas. She's also an expert on using QuickBooks. I don't know if those three things are related or not, maybe some of you can tell me.

Being from Texas and all, Susan is no stranger to less-than-perfect weather. Tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, droughts... you name it and she's been through it at some point in her life.

A few weeks ago Susan was speaking at the Hinman Meeting in Atlanta. The Hinman is one of the premier dental conferences in the US, and it's quite an honor to be asked to be a part of it. Susan was thrilled to be there, as you can imagine. She was staying at the Omni Hotel, on the 15th floor. After a full day of speaking and dinner on her third night there, she happened to turn the TV on to watch Kentucky play basketball. Moments later the TV went black, and an eerie pressure, accompanied by a noise that Susan has not yet been able to accurately describe, descended on the room.

Seconds later the windows shattered, spewing glass and debris throughout. Fortunately, Susan's Texas instincts had already kicked in and she was in the bathroom, having a serious conversation with God. Susan is a deeply religious person and talks to God a lot, so that wasn't cheating, I'd like to make that clear.

She escaped without injury, thankfully, evacuating her room in what she describes as "less than professional attire." She was flabbergasted, and still is, that there was NO WARNING of the impending disaster. "In Atlanta, for crying out loud, are you kidding me?"

Susan has now been asked to do some promos for her local weather station, who covered her story for two nights following the tornado. She has done what she always does - take adversity and turn it into lemonade. (You know what I mean.)

Welcome home, and Happy Easter,


Monday, March 17, 2008

Jenn Snyder - Bio of the Week

Jenn Snyder is a quiet hero. She wouldn't agree with that statement, but hey, who's writing this story?

Since July of last year, Jenn has been involved in a fund raising project for Blake Davis and his grandmother, Patty Porter. Blake is the young boy whose mother and unborn child were killed by his father in June of 2007. It was a tragic story, and America's heart went out to the young boy and his grieving family.

However, while most of us soon went back to our lives, thankful that our own husbands and wives, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters were safe and well, Jenn decided that just wasn't enough. Something more needed to be done to help, and she was going to be a part of doing it.

And boy, did she! Since last July, Jenn has not only helped raise thousands of dollars for the "Blake's Bright Tomorrow" educational fund, but she has been the leading force in getting Blake and Patty a new home, completely furnished and paid for.

Jenn would want me to point out how many hundreds of kind-hearted people have contributed to this fund-raising effort, and I'm happy to do so. You can read more about all of "Blake's Heroes", including Jenn, at

You'll see what I mean. A quiet hero.

All the best, Jenn. Oprah's got nothing on you, Kiddo!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

New - Bio of the Week

In my last post I told you about my new e-product, a "Professional Review" of your bio when you purchase my e-book, "How To Write A Great Bio."

These bios are so interesting, I thought it would be fun to share some of them with you, so I'll be posting a "Bio of the Week" starting today.

Some of them are bios I review, some of them are just interesting people I come across as I bob and weave around the internet - which I do on a regular basis.

My first bio belongs to Jack Payne. Jack is a neighbor of mine here in Paradise, but until recently, I didn't know much about him. Then he invited me to visit his blog:, or the "Con Man's Blog".

When I did, here's what I found out about Jack:

Jack Payne was the founder and first editor/publisher of the newsletter, Business Opportunities Digest. His 55 business books have sold over 1.1 million copies, and his best-selling "How To Make a Fortune in Finders Fees" remained in print 25 years. Known for his intensity, his first legal thriller novel, "Six Hours Past Thursday", explores, in-depth, the workings of the con man mind. The first two chapters of "Six Hours Past Thursday" are available to read free online, along with a story summary of the book, at

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Do you have an interesting personal bio?

Dear All,

My new website has been up and running for a few months now, and I have been amazed at the number of interesting people I am meeting, and the interesting reasons people need bios.

I now offer a "Professional Review" of your bio for just $10. These reviews have been a lot of fun for me, and a great way to e-meet some fascinating people.

Today I reviewed a bio for David, from New Jersey. David needed a bio for his college application, written as though it was the year 2022.

Last week I reviewed a bio for Frank, who needed it prior to a dinner meeting with Prince Andrew.

What's your story? I'd love to know.

All the best,

Jill Townsend
Author, "How To Write A Great Bio"