During my life, I’ve been a drug addict, dropout, thief, homeless, rich, poor, unemployable, entrepreneurial, depressed, suicidal, and thankfully… enlightened. Much of this evolution was brought about by caring people in the community who helped me understand I had more to offer the world (and vice versa). Thanks to their intervention, I’ve had an illuminating journey.
My descent began at the age of nine when I was approached by older neighborhood kids to break into houses. It was around the time home alarm systems were gaining popularity, resulting in a precipitous drop in neighborhood break-ins. After a wee bit of problem-solving, BOOM we had a new business model! Thus started my career as a criminal. At the time, I was in heaven – endless candy and a killer comic book collection. However, Marijuana, Cocaine, Hash, Acid, Heroin, Bazooka (Crack), and my all-time-absolute-personal-favorite Angel Dust offset those ups. I struggled with drugs until the age of 19 when I had my ‘Come to Jesus Moment’ (you can learn more about that in my TEDx Talk).
I wish I could say life after addiction got better; it did not. Between the ages of 19 and 25, I was married, divorced, had a child, and a nervous breakdown. From 26 to 35 was no picnic either - I found myself lost, and attempted to take my life on several occasions. In the midst of all this, I found employment at a Social Enterprise, where I worked 18-years helping to build the organization from a startup into a national brand producing an excess of $50-million in annual revenues. Getting there was the fun part. I served as in a variety of roles including Education Coordinator, Marketing Director, Community Outreach Director, Author and Subject Matter Expert, Spokesperson, Strategist, and all-around ‘Go-To-Guy.'
In 2013, I founded a strategic consultancy focused on revenue and profitability solutions through the discovery of what ‘customers’ want, what they do not, and what they are willing to ‘pay for.’ With a command of this data, I worked with stakeholders to build strategies yielding a larger likelihood of success; earning my clients a collective 68% increase in revenue and multi-million dollar awards. My entrepreneurial journey taught me one thing – I’m no fan of being a one-man gang. Sensing depression's grip tightening, I decided it was time to get back inside of a team.
Both my personal and professional experiences instilled in me the desire to help people reach their full potential, and I’m lucky enough to pursue this passion through public speaking and my career. As someone who has overcome adversity, I know all about falling off the horse getting back on. My time in Corporate America exposed me to the damage created by telling leaders what they ‘want’ to hear. And, as an entrepreneur and consultant, I understand the challenges of starting and scaling a business. These aren’t lessons I take lightly.
I share my insights as an expert resource and am privileged to have been featured in media outlets such as Forbes, MarketWatch, The Huffington Post, Fox Business, and others. I’m also an award-winning philanthropist, volunteering as a board member for Suit Up Springfield, and supporting the business community as a facilitator for Valley Venture Mentors, Producer and Host of The Engine on NewsRadio 560 WHYN, and a member of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission’s Plan for Progress Committee.
I’ve worked with Silicon Valley-based startups, ‘Mom and Pop’ shops disrupting ‘Main Street’ foot-traffic, and established businesses on their way to becoming multimillion-dollar ventures. Throughout it all, I’ve maintained the philosophy that people are transformed through lovingly-critical feedback and supportive services imbuing them with the power to become the best version of themselves. It’s worked for me.