Three Bay Area business leaders took home top national honors in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Awards program.

The national overall winner is Hamid Moghadam, CEO of Prologis; Tom Bedecarré, CEO of AKQA, was named top entrepreneur in the Media, Entertainment and Communications category, and Nicholas Woodman, CEO of GoPro, won in the Retail and Consumer Products category. EY announced the 11 national honorees Nov. 16 in Palm Springs; the list of winners is here.

These winners were chosen from a group of more than 250 outstanding entrepreneurs from across the country. It was a very strong showing for Northern California—direct evidence that the region continues to be an innovation engine that produces new companies, technologies and ideas.

All nominees, as in all the years that I have been involved with this program, are diverse. The companies these entrepreneurs lead are a mix of public, private, family-owned, nonprofit and women-owned businesses.

Many candidates are serial entrepreneurs and have made fortunes; even though many of them don’t have to work, they wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. What drives them and makes them so successful? Among the traits I’ve seen, a strong work ethic and family are most meaningful to these CEOs.

Some of the other common traits of these high-impact performers include:

  • They address business problems by being flexible and focusing on core strategies.
  • They recognize the value and strength of honest communication and transparency.
  • They have vision—and they stay focused on that vision.
  • All share a sense of action. As one said, “You can’t just talk your way out of situations, you need to take actions. That is what employees and customers are expecting.”
  • They take risks. Part of being a risk taker is having a strong belief in yourself, your ideas and the people you work with. This was evident with everyone. It’s easy to look back and say you took a risk and it worked, but what separates these folks from most is that they did take the risk.
  • They know how to attract and retain talent. This was a universal trait; it’s a key indicator of success for any business.

Much is said about the ripple effect of the work and efforts of these job creators, and I believe the world is watching them and the organizations they build. We do this not out of envy, but because they are the role models for what it takes to be successful in the 21st century.

They bring the best ideas to market, build the strongest teams and deliver the best products and services, and their companies energize the economy and promote stability and long-term growth. Recognizing these achievements is a key reason RoseRyan is proud to be a sponsor of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ program, which is in its 27th year.