Share a little of your background, Chris My story is not a “rags to riches” as we often see in network marketing. I was born in Rochester, NY in a middle-class family. In 1971 my father got a big promotion after selling life insurance—a new concept at the time—to the entire Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team. As a results, we moved to Barrington, IL in a very upscale suburb of Chicago. My dad worked literally from sun up, catching the train to Chicago, and came home after sunset. Our family was beyond “provided for,” but the only time we spent together was dinner, sporting events (mainly hockey) and some very nice vacations. I grew up fishing with my dog, playing ice hockey (we lived on a little lake), and riding and racing dirt bikes since age 11.
Sounds like every kid’s dream! I was almost like an only child with lots of freedom, because my brother and sister were five and seven years older than I. It was the tail end of the Hippie days. The spirit of the time affected our family not in the most positive way, and as a result of my anti-authoritarian education, I developed kind of a “chip on my shoulder.” I was so rebellious that my parents, at their wits’ ends, sent me to boarding school in Maine for a year. Seeing the values and lifestyle required to succeed in Corporate America based on how my parents and many friends’ parents lived, I adopted an attitude of, “If that’s what it takes to make big money, you can have it.” I didn’t really want to go to college in New Hampshire, but went anyway because I didn’t have another plan, other than possibly trying to make a living racing motorcycles. I played a little hockey and dropped out after the first year. The deal with my dad was, “Go to school and we will pay for it—or don’t go and you’re on your own.” I chose the latter and he was true to his word. My
dad was a tough guy. He had put himself through college at Bucknell University working in a steel mill in Pittsburgh and playing football.
What did you do after dropping out of college? First I spent seven months walking from Chicago to NYC down to Washington DC on “The Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament.” When people asked me why I was doing this march, I referred to Albert Einstein’s quote, “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything except our thinking.” I ended up in Crested Butte, CO in 1986 and became a ski bum. I was lucky to find a room for $150, which was all I had in my name. I got a job as a prep cook at the Rafters working from 3 PM till midnight four days a week. The job came with a ski pass and food. It felt good to provide for myself for the first time in my life. We had a record-breaking snow season, so I skied almost every day. It was as an amazing year. I didn’t go to school, but I learned a ton. I noticed men and women who were doing the same job for over 10 years. I didn’t want that to happen to me. To my father’s surprise and delight, I went back to college in Gunnison, CO and graduated four years later with a Fine Arts and Communication degree. In 1989 I was back to fending for myself. I did different jobs, fell in love. We moved to Santa Clara, CA and in 1992 I became a father. My wife was finishing up her last year of Chiropractic College and I was caring for our first child as her mom went to school. Looking for something to do from home, I took a telemarketing job for an environmental/political group opposed to CA Proposition 187, the infamous anti-immigrant ballot measure. After the elections, I became an outside account executive for a professional soccer team, the San Francisco Bay Black Hawks.
Our Nov/Dec 2016 issue focuses on Purpose-Driven Business. The story of Onggy Hianata in Indonesia shows how network marketing is a powerful...