Adam Milstein is a Managing Partner at Hager Pacific Properties, a company that he helped start about 30 years ago. He has quite the knowledge of the real estate market and how to broker deals between investors and agents. He is also a Jewish philanthropist whose efforts have led to the establishment of several Israel and US public relations organizations, and an active involvement in educating Jewish communities across the US. He recently sat down with Ideamensch, a blog offering advice and information to aspiring entrepreneurs to talk about his life’s work and where he has gotten ideas from.
Milstein has built quite a company along with his partner and friend, David Hager. But he wasn’t always a business success, as he told Ideamensch one time he tried to start an art sales business that seemed to have promise but didn’t turn into the success he thought it would. But he did remain resilient in his studies, and he got the idea to go into real estate and start his own company because nobody else offered him the career he was looking for. Milstein certainly has no problem going out and doing things on his own, something he does frequently when he needs to solve a problem. But he believes if you don’t get attached to any specific goals, you’ll have more freedom to do so.
Adam Milstein was born in Israel in 1952 to Jewish parents who had immigrated to the new nation-state from Latin America. His father’s job as a building framer had Adam and his family moving some as a young man, and Adam would later learn the job and work alongside his father for a few years. Adam served in the military for a few years, including a tour during the Yom Kippur War of 1973. He got his bachelor’s degree in 1978 from Technion Israeli Institute of Technology, and his MBA from USC in 1981.
Adam Milstein is married to Gila Milstein and has three daughters. Their foundation has three pillars that drive the work they do in active philanthropy, path life impact, and philanthropic synergy. His work promoting peace through a strong Israel with organizations like AIPAC, the Israeli-American Council, Hasbara Fellowships, Birthright Israel and StandWithUs has earned him a ranking at 39 in the Jerusalem Post’s Top 50 Most Influential Jews list.
During their senior year as undergraduates at Georgetown University, Nathaniel Ru and his friends experienced difficulties in finding healthy places to eat. This led to the Georgetown business school seniors considering opening up an eatery to serve the local community with fresh and healthy food. Their idea gave rise to Sweetgreen in 2007. A farm-to-table style restaurant with over 60 stores in operation in the United States.
A distinguishing moment for the company came in 2009 when the founders got a bigger space near Dupont Circle, in the middle of Washington. They invited their parents and investors for the opening, but no customers showed up during the event and for the next two weeks. Instead of panicking, the founders came up with the idea of playing music every Saturday and Sunday outside the store. Their main aim was to connect music and food. This idea brought in customers and gave rise to sweetlife. Sweetlife has become the region’s largest music and food festival, attracting as many as 20,000 people.
Sweetgreen markets itself not just as a place to buy food but as a why? Company. Theresa Dold, the company’s head of digital marketing, likened the company to Apple in that they first think about why before thinking of the what. In pursuit of this ambition, the company has come up with five values that are posted in all its stores. First, Sweetgreen concentrates on a win, win, win which gives the customer and the community a stake. Second is the idea of thinking sustainably hence building for the long-term. Thirdly, they focus on keeping it real, this puts emphasis on authenticity of operations. The fourth is making it sweet and finally making an impact.
Sweetgreen engages in tribal marketing initiatives to help its customers feel connected to a community according to Dold and Ru. The customers can pay through the company’s mobile app which helps them contribute to sweetgreen in School, a program dedicated to teaching underserved students healthy eating habits. Another marketing initiative is to partner with other healthy lifestyle businesses in the community.
As the company expands, the founders ensure that it remains focused on its goals and initial aims. Thus, each of Sweetgreen new stores has its architect and a unique design that reflects local tastes. Every store has a food sourcing blackboard to show which ingredients came from local vendors.
Nathaniel Ru graduated with a BS in Finance from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business in 2007. He is a co-founder and currently a co-CEO of Sweetgreen. He has been recognized as a key innovator in food and business and awarded various accolades. Among them, named to Fast Company’s 50 Most Innovative Companies, Food & Wine’s 40 Big Food Thinkers 40 and Under and Forbes’ 30 Under 30.
The 2016 U.S. election cycle may have been seen as a less than successful one for Democrat’s following the victory of Donald Trump in the Presidential election; however, major Democrat donor George Soros can be pleased his attempts to help liberal candidates succeed in state level elections proved successful across 2015 and 2016. Politico reports George Soros invested around $25 million in the campaign of Hillary Clinton, but also provided around $3 million in funding for the campaigns of criminal justice candidates from the Democratic Party.
During the 2016 election cycle George Soros was reported to be more engaged and excited about the political events of the world than he had in many, a return to the political coincided with a return to investing with his own Soros hedge fund on nytimes.com. After rekindling a 25 year political relationship with Hillary Clinton that had cooled after George Soros backed the candidacy of President Barrack Obama in 2008, the Hungarian born hedge fund expert with a personal fortune estimated at $25 billion began working closely with Clinton to discuss and form policy for her expected Presidency; George Soros eventually provided around $15 million for the Hillary Clinton campaign fund, and a further $10 million for Super PAC’s around the country campaigning on her behalf.
Despite the large sums of money donated by George Soros and other wealthy donors the 2016 Presidential election was eventually won by Republican Donald Trump, who George Soros had earlier in the campaigning season been accused of doing the work of ISIS. The Trump victory on nybooks.com has been seen by George Soros as being a major problem for those looking to protect the legacy of President Barrack Obama, which was a major topic of discussion for attendees at the Democracy Alliance event organized in the days after the election. The three day event for a group of wealthy donors had not originally been on the agenda of George Soros, but became a major aspect his diary as he looked to form a plan to stop the plans of the Republicans and bring the Democrat’s back to power.
The Democracy Alliance event saw George Soros detail plans for targeting a number of state and local level elections in 2017 and 2018, which is a plan Soros and his advisors at the “527” group have already put into practice. Throughout 2015 and 2016 a number of criminal just positions at state and local level have come to the ballot and been the subject of heavy backing from George Soros across six states. The aim of George Soros in targeting these lower level elections and the provision of major donations to candidates from minority groups have been made in a bid to create a fairer criminal justice system in the U.S. by taking control out of the hands of the dominating white male group of the current time period.
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Nathaniel Ru has built his restaurant chain to 40 restaurants, with more to follow. The first restaurant was in Washington DC, established in 2007. Since then it has expanded to New York and California. There are more restaurants planned for Boston and Chicago. The restaurant was started with a number of new ideas that have helped it grow and gain business.
Sweetgreen, the restaurant chain Ru has grown, is dedicated to providing nutritional salads at a reasonable price. Unlike the vast majority of restaurant, in particular fast food places, these restaurants provided food that is actually good for you. Even better is that the salads are substantial and filling and so serve as an excellent choice for lunch or dinner. They offer a variety of salads that are sure to appeal to most people.
Sweetgreen has a unique way of sourcing its food. When it decides to enter a market the first thing it does is talk to local farmers. Ru wants to know what the farmers are growing rather than dictating what they want. In this way they can obtain ingredients that are new to customers. This also has the added benefit of reducing food waste as they are buying what is actually being grown. An example would be broccoli, where the leaves of the plant were being tilled back into the earth the farmers as nobody wanted them. It turns out their just as healthy as the crowns so Ru made a deal to buy these which saves on food waste and gives customers something they haven’t had before.
Their real estate strategy relies on the sequencing of new stores. They open stores in upper class areas of the city in order to be near where people live, rather than where they work. In this way they want to be able to sell not just for lunch but dinners and weekends as well.
In 2007 Nathaniel Ru obtained a bachelors degree Finance from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. That same year he opened Sweetgreen with two other individuals. The goal of the company is to provide local, sustainable food that is healthy and well priced. In 2010 Ru and his partners also launched Sweetlife, which is a music festival. One of the goals of the festival he established is to be carbon neutral and also celebrate healthy living.