Sonia Graham

Sonia has been an on-and-off entrepreneur since she was a child. Her first real business was a used-book store that she purchased at age 17. Her dream (in 1984) was to build a bookstore/record store/ coffee shop. Her timing and idea was right, but she was not. Sonia spent the next couple of decades mixing attempts at entrepreneurship with corporate life. She started a college radio station in 1988 which she is proud to say is still running and plays on Cable TV in San Diego. In 1995 Sonia started a business to teach people how to use computers and various software programs. She teamed up with a small business that custom built computers from scratch and offered free classes with each computer purchase. Again, the idea was the right idea at the right time, but Sonia was clueless in regards to driving the business to growth and success. Besides some side consulting stints, Sonia focused on her professional corporate career for the next decade. She worked as a manager of a Market Research department for a publisher, as a management consultant for Towers Perrin, as an HR Manager for Readers Digest. After a couple of years earning her MBA (during which she worked at Honeywell in marketing), Sonia worked in the prestigious Retail Services Leadership Development Program at J.P. Morgan Chase Bank as an Associate V.P. After ‘graduating’ from the Retail Services Development Program, Sonia worked as a project manager for Chase Home Equity – a truly ‘intrapreneurial’ position during a go-go real estate time. Sonia was laid off from Chase. When Sonia was offered a job similar to her Chase position with iCrossing, she realized that she could not sit in another cubicle. Thus Maximum Business Advantage was formed. Sonia had discovered her passion for customer experience enhancement as she consulted for companies as an MBA student. Maximum Business Advantage was formed to help organizations deliver a consistently excellent customer experience. Sonia’s husband, Jim, quit his job at IBM to work with her at Maximum Business Advantage. On January 30, 2009, Jim heard Peter J. Burns, III, serial entrepreneur and founder of Club Entreprenur (Club E) speak. Something that Peter said sparked Jim to create Start Up Now - a one-day interactive workshop where a group of strangers form a business in one day. Peter embraced Start Up Now from the first spark of an idea and the Grahams became involved with Club E. In July, 2009 Sonia and Jim approached Peter and asked if they could manage