As a kid growing up in the heartland of the midwest (Ohio), I loved sports but wasn’t particularly athletic. I had a great and supportive family, and my parents placed a premium on education and learning - which I embraced. While I played some summer sports and generally stayed active, my focus was on academics and intellectual growth.
As I graduated college and moved into the working world (starting in a cube in a large corporate office), I began to discover the focus, discipline and consistency that I had applied to continuous learning was starting to yield benefits in other areas of my life. The behaviors and habits that I had developed (things like time management, focus, and plain hard work) were manifesting themselves in other areas of my life.
As I got more consistent with working out and eating more healthy, I started to see changes in my physique. As I became more physically fit, my confidence grew both professionally and personally. Increased self awareness allowed me to build better relationships and grow spiritually. My career progressed steadily as I actively sought out challenging assignments and successfully delivered results. I became more strategic and disciplined financially with 401K contributions that kicked off my journey to financial independence. I became better at being present and in the moment while recognizing my limiting beliefs and areas I needed to work on. I began to better understand the immense value of experiencing new and different cultures around the world.
I pursued this growth path for many years as I continued to work, grow, stumble, learn, and ultimately make progress and become a better version of myself.
So, after three decades as a practitioner of this approach what did I learn?
As you might expect, there is no magic formula, no secret plan.
It’s mostly a lot of hard work over a prolonged period of time. It’s making tradeoffs in the present for a better chance at future success. It’s surrounding yourself with people who make you better. It’s understanding your belief system which can either empower or limit you. It’s about making decisions consistent with who you are and where you want to go. It’s about the willingness to take action, fail, learn, and try again (and again, and again, etc.). And probably a hundred other things….
But the most important element to understand is how each of these things contribute to your ultimate happiness, success, and fulfillment - which is unique for everyone.
Look, I’m not perfect and view myself as a work in progress...still learning, growing, and trying to get better. But I’ve amassed a good bit of experience and knowledge through the years that I’d like to share with others….hence the genesis of Fitterest and the art of mind and body conditioning!
For those interested in more background on my professional life, I’ve incorporated more detail below so feel free to read on.
A seasoned digital executive with unique expertise in product portfolio management, marketing, and digital entertainment & media, I’ve been a catalyst for business opportunities at the intersection of media, consumer technology, and e-commerce for over 20 years. I’ve built and led high-performing teams for some of the most iconic brands and have a proven track record of driving business and organizational growth. I also steered the digital transformation efforts for several companies allowing them to evolve their business model and better engage with customers as they shift behaviors toward digital.
Key positions in my career (reverse chronological order):
- SVP of Digital Commerce at Cineplex Entertainment: responsible for the overall vision and strategy of e-commerce and home entertainment across mobile, web, connected TVs and emerging platforms
- General Manager for Best Buy’s digital entertainment services: responsible for the vision, strategic direction and overall growth strategy for both the Napster and CinemaNow businesses operating in multiple global markets
- Chief Operating Officer at Napster: oversaw all operational aspects of the digital music SaaS business to drive company performance and growth objectives. Napster acquired by Best Buy in 2008.
- Vice President, Product Strategy, Design, and Marketing at Blockbuster Online: responsible for driving all elements of the Blockbuster website and the online customer experience
- VP of Product Strategy and Marketing at Yahoo!: responsible for driving the global product vision and the strategic product and service roadmap for Yahoo! Music
- SVP of Marketing and Strategic Planning at Musicmatch: directed the overall product and consumer marketing strategy, including customer acquisition and retention strategies for both free and premium software and subscription services. Musicmatch acquired by Yahoo! In 2004.
- Co-founder and head of product marketing and strategic planning at Kablink, an online photo service company
- Also spent more than 10 years in product management at pioneering companies AT&T and NCR working on data warehouse decision support, machine learning/predictive analysis, and business intelligence/CRM initiatives
And, just to prove I wasn’t kidding about the pursuit of intellectual growth, I received a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame, an M.S. in electrical engineering and computer science from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and an M.B.A. from the University of San Diego, specializing in marketing and entrepreneurial ventures.
Special Olympics coaching
I’m grateful for many things in my life, but I’m truly thankful to have volunteered with Special Olympics. For 20 years I served as the Head Powerlifting Coach for Special Olympics (SO) in Southern California, working directly with the athletes every week to teach basic weightlifting and exercise. The athletes often complete in multiple sports - from floor hockey, volleyball and soccer to skiing cycling, tennis, etc. The North San Diego County “Steel Slammers” and the West LA teams competed in ~3 meets each season, culminating with the Fall Classic Special Olympics games in Los Angeles. One of my athletes even made the US National SO team and completed at the annual World Special Olympic Games. I learned so much through this experience - about myself and the value of community service, but especially from the athletes themselves, who are both fearless and inspirational.