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Marsha Ralls

Marsha Ralls is the Founder and CEO of The Phoenix Wellness Retreat, a place for personal inspiration, growth, and life transformation. She is an entrepreneur and has been a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) for over 20 years. Marsha has held many roles in leadership, such as chapter president, director of the women’s group, and her current role as an External Relations Subcommittee member.


Dave Kerpen

Dave Kerpen is the Co-founder and Chairman of Apprentice, a platform that connects entrepreneurs and business leaders with intelligent and motivated college students looking for real-world experience and mentorship. He is a serial entrepreneur, a New York Times best-selling author, and a global keynote speaker. Dave is one of Entrepreneur magazine’s top 10 up-and-coming leaders and served as the president of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) of New York City.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • How Marsha Ralls got started with a leadership role in Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO)
  • Dave Kerpen shares how EO positively impacted his business
  • The evolution of an organization to help entrepreneurs achieve success
  • How young entrepreneurs are shaping the world for the better through business
  • Dave describes the energy and experience at the Global Leadership Conference (GLC) in Macau
  • Marsha talks about the business opportunities and a lifetime of friendships that EO offers

In this episode…

If you’re a young entrepreneur, where can you turn for tools and advice on building your brand? Are you an entrepreneur looking for support, mentorship, and connections?

Marsha Ralls and Dave Kerpen are both leaders in their industry, and they are successful role models for young entrepreneurs. They know through experience the impact a community can have on a business — growth, education, leadership, and a shared goal of support. They are here to share their experience with you.

On this episode of the Rising Entrepreneurs Podcast, John Corcoran is joined by Marsha Ralls, Founder and CEO of The Phoenix Wellness Retreat, and Dave Kerpen, Co-founder and Chairman of Apprentice, to discuss how they forged their roles as leaders in the Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Together they discuss how the organization has evolved over time, the importance of investing in young entrepreneurs, and their experiences at global conferences.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:02

Welcome to the Rising Entrepreneurs Podcast where we feature top founders and entrepreneurs and their journey. Now let’s get started with the show.

John Corcoran  0:13

Hi, welcome everyone. John Corcoran here. I’m the Co-host of this show. Check out some of our past interviews. We’ve got all kinds of great episodes with smart CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs of companies and organizations like Netflix, Kinkos, YPO, EO, Activision Blizzard, Lending Tree and many more. I’m also the Co-founder Rise 25, where we help connect b2b business owners to their ideal prospects with done via podcast and content marketing. And this episode is actually part of our EO GLC series. So Entrepreneurs’ Organization Global Leadership Conference is what that stands for. The Global Leadership Conference, or GLC is a conference for emerging business leaders is put on by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization each year. My guests here today and myself all belong to EO Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s amazing organization. And we will be attending this year’s event so it’s going to be this year in person and virtual in person in Washington DC, April 23-26th 2022. And in Barcelona, Spain, and virtually it’s open for all EO members worldwide go to To learn more about that. Alright, my two guests here today. Marsha Ralls is a former art gallery owner, she now owns a wellness retreat in Asheville, North Carolina. It’s called the Phoenix Asheville, the 16,000 square foot retreat center, go take a look at it, Google it or check the show notes so you can check out a link to that facility. She’s been a member of EO for over 20 years, amazing involvement served in just about every different role, leadership, chapter president, all that kind of stuff. And we’re going to talk about her experiences attending previous GLCs and also Dave Kerpen. Dave. Second time, I’ve interviewed Dave. He is from New York, serial entrepreneur, New York Times bestselling author, global keynote speaker, investor, writer, he’s the CO-CEO of Apprentice go check it out. If you need an apprentice. That’s where you go, you go to Apprentice. So check it out. Alright, you guys, I’m so excited to have you both here. Now you both have been longtime EO members, and you’ve attended a Global Leadership Conference. So we’re going to talk about that. Marsha, let’s start with you. So you joined in 1998. And you’re from the Washington DC chapter, and you attended GLC in the Washington DC area. But before we get into that, first, talk a little bit about how you got into EO in the first place, what drew you to join the organization?

Marsha Ralls  2:31

Great. Well, thanks for having me, John. I joined in 1998, I was giving a talk to YPO about collecting art. And someone came up to me afterwards and said, oh, you should really join YEO, because we were young entrepreneurs. And I went to recruiting event. And it’s been a huge part of my life since I joined. And now I could president in that the time was Luke Chung for EO, DC or why you at the time and he said, Well, you joined my board. So right away, I became a part of leadership back then most of the GLCs were in Washington, DC. But I had no idea that journey I would begin in 1998.

John Corcoran  3:20

That’s great. 20 plus years with the with the organization attending various different GLCs. And Dave, I want to turn to you. So you joined, EO, I believe it was in 2011. And you’ve gone through the path of leadership and president of your chapter. Likeable Media. Was your company at the time would you send sold? What drew you to join Entrepreneurs Organization when you joined?

Dave Kerpen  3:43

Yes. So our first business that we started, I started with my wife called Likeable. And we were really kind of accidental entrepreneurs. And we found ourselves with a business that was doing a million dollars and we had absolutely I speak for myself, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. And somebody recommended EO and I just it was love, it’s love at first sight. And, boy, I got I’ve gotten so much a business school education and a whole lot more for me over the years. It’s been really one of the one of the two or three most important decisions of my life for stroke was joining me.

John Corcoran  4:23

Really cool. And Marsha back to you. So the first GLC you attended was in Washington, DC. So take us back to what the early GLCs were like when they were few fewer people attending this year? I think they’re projecting multi 1000s of people attending. But what was it like in their early days?

Marsha Ralls  4:41

Some of the other early days, it still seemed like a lot of people it just that we weren’t as large of an organization. I mean, I’ve been a member so long. I remember when we hit 5000 members, and now we’re closer to 15,000 members, and it was like a big celebration for everybody. but it was still a large group, not as many officer positions, I think we’ve evolved so much. And a really positive way as an organization. I mean, it was really the chapter positions, the president Forum and the learning, and all the typical chapter places. And then we’ve launched Accelerator which are very close to when GSCA and mentorship and my yo and a leadership committee and I just I feel like the organization is such a perfect place for any like for, you know what you just said, Dave, all of us, you know, many people didn’t have a business background, they had a passion about something they believed in that they really wanted to do. And they became successful. And once they became successful, they were like, Okay, now what? And for me, EO has given me incredible leadership skills and access to great speakers and the access to peers, where I’ve been able to discuss all types of whether it’s problems or and challenges or to celebrate the wins in my multiple businesses. I’m also a serial entrepreneur who’s had a couple of qualifying EO businesses, so but it was young was just as much fun then. But I just would say one thing, back in those days, I don’t know that they sold it. Like I think GLC is a huge benefit, whether it’s virtual, because, like last year, to me, that was when the best GLC is our learning. Department did an off the charts that back committee, right, like they delivered such good content to us. And and throughout the year, they deliver great content, but I’m excited that we’re doing both.

John Corcoran  6:53

Yeah, I think a lot of people are, you know, tired of doing things online. But having said that, the quality has gotten better because you can get virtually any speaker you can get some really high caliber, you know, he has had Magic Johnson in the last year. Malala No, John Legend and all these Sara Blakely, some amazing people speaking. You mentioned GSCA global student entrepreneurship awards. You’ve been really involved in that. And that was, you know, there’s a there’s a documentary actually, which is on Disney plus, which I watched, which was about the GSCA in Macau. Dave, imagine maybe you were in the room there.

Dave Kerpen  7:28

I was in the room. And not only that, I mean, I spoiler alert, the winner was from New York.

Marsha Ralls  7:34


Dave Kerpen  7:36

And was actually mentored by our current president, Debbie. And so we were we were so proud of her. I actually made a very, very short cameo in the movie on was that the back of your head I thought that was the back. I really had to freeze frame and work hard to find it but I am definitely in it. I was in the room. Anytime

John Corcoran  8:03

you need to update your IMDB entry for sure the based on that you get an entry there.

Dave Kerpen  8:09

For sure, for sure. But um, I think the GSCA competition itself is a really, really awesome. One of the things I get to do at apprentice which is amazing is to see like all these young college kids that are so driven and so full of energy. And with GSCA That’s what you get, you get these brilliant young entrepreneurs, just all with nothing but energy and sort of that change the world mentality that you know, many of EOers still have, but I will say that EOers as they age out, get, lose a little bit of that.

John Corcoran  8:42

Lose the scrappy edginess that they had once right?

Marsha Ralls  8:49

new startup and I

John Corcoran  8:51

need to go buy a 16,000 square foot retreat center, then then that mid that then you get your edge again.

Marsha Ralls  8:59

Especially during a pandemic, right. A wellness retreat.

John Corcoran  9:03

Right, right. Exactly. Now and Marsha, you there was another GSCA participant who you mentored Danya Sherman, I think was her name. Talk a little bit about her. She was in one of the different competitions.

Marsha Ralls  9:19

So Danya, Sherman said she, it was a year I was chapter president, and she won for the US that year or made it in the finals. We were trying to get her to Toronto, and anybody that’s listening remembers but the weather lots of chapters were like carpooling, getting in cars and driving from, you know, all over the country because they didn’t want to miss it, which should tell all of those members who have never either logged on to GLC or participated with their chapter leadership. The fact that these chapter boards are driving because they didn’t want to miss this incredible GLC. And what that looks like, she did make it she has some of the beginning and she was in the finals. And I am still very close to her. I’ve mentored a lot of our, our GSCA students, I was very involved from the beginning of the program. And they inspire me. I mean, they are they keep me young, and they are all you know, they’re they, as you said, there, they have all this energy, but they also are doing good, like doing good as part of their business. And when I joined EO, I think we talked more about profit, profit, profit. And at this stage, people profit and planet, like, we can do all three and still be an incredible, you know, still have the bottom line. In fact, my experience is helped my business have a better bottom line. So one of the things I love about the students, I’d like from the beginning, all these incredible entre young entrepreneurs. That’s a big part of the I mean, it’s all part of their business and some of their businesses, it’s their mission is changing the world. I mean, it’s just not a byproduct, or they’re donating or they’re giving back, if they’re in the business is something that’s really shifting and good for the environment doing good things. So I’m always inspired.

John Corcoran  11:21

Yeah. Dave want to turn to you also. So you attended Macau. You were I believe President Elect elect. So you were going to be president have your chapter, the year and a half later, something like that. When you attended, talk a little bit about what the experience was like for you.

Dave Kerpen  11:38

It was amazing. It was like a rock concert for entrepreneurs. I mean, we kind of literal rock band, their Journey performed as well, our GLC, I mean, how amazing was that? But just the way we talked about energy. I can’t think the New York City Marathon I ran the New York City Marathon, that would be the closest thing I can get to the energy at GLC in Macau, it was just I remember thinking, I was really excited. I’m like a cheerleader. Right? For my businesses, my family, EO, and so I went thinking I’m going to bring I’m going to rile up my team. And you know, get my board all all excited. And what I what I learned was, I got I got riled up and all excited by I mean, I was like, I remember Canada, EO Canada, God bless them. Because they are just an add another level in terms of their energy and their singing the Canadian national anthem, and and just the networking that goes on the fact that I was able to meet people from for I met for somebody from Saudi Arabia, who I’ve done some business with. It’s really, it’s hard to fully use words to describe how powerful and experience it was, for me, it was just really amazing. And by the way, I never would have gone, never would have gone to, you know, one of our core values boldly go I never gone to Macau had it not been for GLC. And I’ve been to Barcelona, where one of the look in the field. I mean, Barcelona is an amazing city. So if you’re listening and you haven’t been to Barcelona, this is a incredible excuse to get there. Yeah.

Marsha Ralls  13:33

DC can’t You can’t go wrong. It’s a great city to

Dave Kerpen  13:38

capital of our great nation as well, Marcia.

John Corcoran  13:43

Speaking of interesting locations, so I know we’re running a little short on time. But Marsha, you also attended one of the GLCs in Bangkok. And on that trip, you did a side trip with some attendees going to Angkor Wat, which you said was really impactful for you. You also saw Jack Welch speaking one of the different GLCs to talk about those experiences.

Marsha Ralls  14:03

So one of the early GLCs Jack Welch spoke in Washington, DC, and I just remember looking around the room because we’re all pretty young back then. And it were much more diverse as an organization. Some of us, you know, we’re just so grateful. We’re still entrepreneurs that we’re still sticking around. But he was fantastic. The, you know, I’m the founder of Women MyEOs So I have to say that when we go to each GLC, the champions that have been leading after me, we always have something we always have our own party this year. At the GLC Devi talk about the Canada House, everybody wants to get the bracelet and get invited into their party. This year. You want to be at the Women’s house, because you’re hosting and after our event

John Corcoran  14:58

and how does Wanna get a bracelet for I

Marsha Ralls  15:01

know that you’ve got to know the right people, but you’re both in good company. So I’ll make sure you get a bracelet. We’ve got some other things planned. But But yeah, I mean, Thailand that afterwards, a group of us many of us did not know one another. But this is the beauty of this organization is you become close because we have the same core values. And we went into Angkor Wat, and got up at six to see the sunrise and this had been on my bucket list for many years. And it’s probably a highlight to this day, getting to see this extraordinary beautiful building to and that was, you know, there hasn’t been out in the years since they found these ruins and they’re actually in beautiful shape. And I think all of us became very close because yeah, together

John Corcoran  15:56

very cool. All right, in 30 seconds or last Dave for someone who’s listening to this, considering going to GLC What do you say to them? What’s your pitch?

Dave Kerpen  16:06

An experience like no other and you know, if you’re gonna if you’re gonna be an EO member, you’re probably somebody that wants to learn and grow. So what why wouldn’t you take this amazing opportunity to learn and grow GLC

John Corcoran  16:19

and Marsha same question to you 30 seconds, what’s your sales pitch?

Marsha Ralls  16:22

So I would say whatever your position is, you’re going to be a better leader that tracks will make you go back to your chapter are to your global committee and you will lead better and the experiences will be a lifetime of friendships. And the growth is nothing compares to come join us.

John Corcoran  16:43

And for both you want to find out where people can go to learn more about you starting with you, Marsha, and then Dave Marsha where can people go to learn more about you? If you

Marsha Ralls  16:51

go to Phoenix Wellness Retreat at the Phoenix Asheville you can find the wellness retreat that our elite This is here we have a gorgeous gallery as well. And leaders from around the world come here. Most of it we have had from outside of the US scaring the pandemic. But please come join us you’ll leave feeling amazing.

John Corcoran  17:13

Very cool. And Dave, where can people go for you?

Dave Kerpen  17:16

So many places so little time choose is our apprentice company and is my author and speaker site and and I’m the only Dave Kerpen on the internet. So feel free to reach out and I love, love, love connecting with fellow EOers.

John Corcoran  17:33

Very cool. All right, thank thank you both.

Marsha Ralls  17:34

Thank you, John. Thank you. Thanks for

Outro  17:38

Thanks for listening to the Rising Entrepreneurs Podcast. This episode is powered by Rise25 Please subscribe and check out future episodes.