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ABOUT STEVE

SK REEL

GALLERY

Some of Steve's Accomplishments:

  • He actively helped raise 2 great kids coaching many youth sports along the way.

  • He built one of the nation’s largest marketing firms from scratch before selling it several times.

  • He then played a leadership role in the sale of the publicly-traded entity for what was at that time an industry record-smashing $2.1 billion.

  • He was featured on ABC’s Secret Millionaire where he volunteered uncovering heroes helping their communities and donating to their efforts.

  • He’s owned 30 businesses across a variety of industries and sold 26 of them.

  • He wrote two New York Times bestselling books, Bag the Elephant (Business Book of the Year) and Be the Elephant.

  • His books are available in over 10 languages and 40 countries around the world.

  • He built a business from start-up to an organization with 1300 employees in 29 international offices.

  • He received a “Best Musical” Tony™ nomination for the Broadway musical Leap of Faith, starring Raul Esparza with music by Alan Menken.

  • He toured our nation’s universities helping tens of thousands of students prepare for success.

  • He completed a climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest freestanding mountain in the world.

  • He served on the Executive Committee for EuroRSCG, which set strategy for its 176- company conglomerate.

  • He ran with the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain.

  • He travels around the globe speaking to groups on success and achievement.

  • He is a founder of The Kaplan Family foundation dedicated to helping across a variety of causes.

  • He toured Afghanistan where he presented thousands of troops with strategies to get jobs and start businesses upon redeployment.

  • He built a new professional sport from the ground up for today’s marketplace by co-founding and serving as President of the World Armwrestling League. In just 10 short months, Steve took this sport from concept to the fastest growing sports league in the world with 21 primetime hours of coverage through 61 countries on ESPN- the largest sports network on the planet.

Steve's Story

Steve’s first business was a snow shoveling company that he built and sold to a large landscaping company. The sale was for $48 … he was 10 years old. Years later, Steve has become a self-made multimillionaire who has built, bought and sold over 100 businesses and helped thousands more around the world identify and realize their dreams. One of Steve’s proudest accomplishment is the fact that he helped make over 100 people millionaires in their own right.

An average student, Steve wanted to play football, so he attended Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. He transferred and graduated from Bradley University with a major in Political Science before receiving an MBA from Rosary Graduate School. During this time, Steve worked a variety of jobs as a waiter, construction roofer, landscaper, factory laborer, and an adjunct faculty to mention a few.

In his mid-twenties, Steve hit his first big success with a marketing company called SCA. He didn’t have any business mentors or financial backing, so Steve was forced to learn on the fly. Possessing street smarts, a ton of passion, a solid work ethic, and of course some luck, Steve lived the trials of the small business owner. With limited resources, Steve used many cash flow conservation tactics such as sleeping in his car versus buying a hotel room, borrowing friends’ cars to take out clients, and more. These experiences along with many others allow Steve to easily relate to all walks of life. He knows what it’s like to stay awake all night agonizing over a decision he made 12 hours ago. He also knows the psyche and dynamics of the business owner, their families and employees both on the national and international scale.

Steve quickly realized that if his small marketing company was going to make it big, he would need to get a lot of business from Procter & Gamble, the biggest marketing spender in the industry, so he set his sites on P&G. He didn’t know anything about big companies, nor did he have any connections whatsoever, so he had no choice but to learn along the way. After many disappointments, Steve landed his first P&G client, a $10,000 order from Scope Mouthwash. Fast forward 5 years, and Steve was working with over 50 P&G brands and billing them over $25 million per year. He was able to replicate his big customer success at many other companies and was on his way. Fast forward a few more years to Steve’s first book Bag the Elephant™ and notice that the forward is written by John Pepper, Chairman and CEO of P&G. Steve was able to build his relationship at P&G beginning with a receptionist and climbing all the way to the CEO level.

Steve built SCA into a leading target marketing/database company before selling it to Snyder Communications NYSE SNC for tens of millions of dollars.

Steve stayed on with Snyder as Group President where he had 1,500 employees throughout the U.S. and U.K. He grew this division 225% in two years by growing and acquiring smaller businesses throughout the US, Europe, Asia and Australia, and then led the growth strategy initiatives for these businesses. This was a large public company consisting of many smaller businesses around the world. Steve then played a leadership role in selling the public entity (Snyder Communications) to French owned Havas Advertising for an industry record $2.1 billion a few years later. Steve stayed on as President & Chief Executive Officer of Bounty SCA, the business he started and built to huge levels.

At age 35, Steve decided to leave his position at a public company to spend more time with his children. Even though he wasn't an experienced writer, he decided that it was important for him to help others succeed by sharpening their learning curve so that they could avoid the mistakes that he had to learn firsthand. It didn't take long for him to realize that the same principles applied to achieving success in both business and life. These were the books that he wished were available when he was building his businesses, and family.

 

The process of getting the books published was challenging, especially as a first-time author. Going back to the same principles he used in his early days of business at P&G, he started knocking on doors. Following his own advice, he went out on his own, and with a solid plan and a lot of persistence, he placed the book with a publisher. The book Bag the Elephant™ was a huge success and hit the USA Today, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and New York Times Bestseller lists as well as the number one seller slot on Amazon's daily list. Steve went on a 30-city speaking and media tour to support the book, helping people along the way. Publishing Steve’s next two books was a different story. With the success of his first book, the same agents who once blew him off approached Steve. Steve signed with a top agency, and received the largest advance for the genre that the publisher had ever contracted.  The books are now available in many languages around the world.

 

Steve Today

Today, Steve is the authority on success and achievement whose no-nonsense, hands-on, innovative approach to success has helped empower and teach tens of thousands across the globe. Steve regularly appears on a variety of media (including MSNBC, NBC, CBS and Fox Television) to discuss his experiences. He wrote the forward for the book "Conversations with Shark Tank Winners," and he is a featured expert along with Tony Robbins, Zig Ziegler, and Martha Stewart in "Masters of Selling." He and  Dale Carnegie are featured experts  in "The Sales Gurus." Steve’s books, products, consulting sessions and keynotes are full of proven tactics, tools, and techniques to help foster success in life and business.

 

Steve believes that both life and business should be an adventure, pursued with passion and vigor. Some of the adventures Steve has been fortunate enough to experience include: scuba diving with hammerhead sharks off the Galapagos Islands and Cocos Islands; running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain; body sledging in New Zealand, white-water rafting; hot-air ballooning over the Masai Mara; and rappelling down water falls in Costa Rica. It is this infectious passion and determination that has impacted every individual and business he’s touched.