Headquartered in Tampa, Ideal Image is North America’s No. 1 rapidly growing, digitally powered, direct-to-consumer aesthetics brand with over 20 million treatments performed.
I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a few life-changing years in Nigeria where my father, who was a school administrator, took a teaching post. At the time, the country was in the middle of a war and felt nothing like home.
One of my fondest memories is of my mother, who was a schoolteacher. She would home school my brother and me every day with Dr. Seuss books and daily worksheets for math and spelling to make sure my brother and I never fell behind. We communicated with our grandparents through reel-to-reel tapes we recorded and sent back and forth to the U.S., which was quite advanced at the time.
Daily life was hard since the country was at war. Violence was everywhere. There was limited refrigeration for food, the power was out almost every day and there was always a big snake or scorpion in the yard or house. Despite that uncertainty, we enjoyed our time with an optimistic and caring group of Nigerians who lived in a beautiful, but difficult place. When I think back on those years, these were experiences that really taught me resilience.
When I grew up, I wanted to be the governor of my home state Wisconsin or go into business. I spent my youth involved in politics believing I could make a change for the better. Not sure of my path, I met with every businessperson I could – mostly while caddying at our local country club – to learn what it takes to be in business.
My greatest accomplishment is being a father to two amazing daughters who make me so proud every day. As a parent, I always felt my most vital role was to help them find their passions and soar. They are now in their early 20s and give me so much positive energy for how they are living their lives, what they believe in and how they care about others and the world around them. Both have taken their own independent paths to a successful life. I’m continually impressed by their commitment to making the world a better place and I have learned so much from both of their experiences.
The best advice I ever got was you can never have too many friends, working smarter is better than working harder and to embrace the struggle as you experience the joy of life.
My favorite thing about Ideal Image is our amazing team of people who are committed to helping our clients look and feel their best every day. We say confidence changes everything and we are making a difference. It is fun to be building such a special and notable company right here in Tampa.
As the CEO of Ideal Image, I am 100% focused on building great teams who want to change the world and keeping everyone focused on the most important person – the customer.
Before Ideal Image, I was an active investor and CEO in a number of consumer-facing businesses, including Smashburger and Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, Inc.
My career has taught me many things, including anything is possible if you dream big enough, we are better together, to always be learning and to be prepared for the unexpected. I have seen success over and over despite conventional wisdom saying it was not possible. I like to make it fun for my teams to win together.
My advice for young leaders is to find a mentor – or two – who cares about your success, be an “expert” at something, embrace a diversity of thought, be ever curious and set your sights high and see how far you can fly.
I spend a lot of time stretching my comfort zone by learning innovative ideas, technologies and business models to be a better partner to our teams. After 30 years as a CEO, managing every major crisis our country has faced, we made it through by preparing for the unexpected and emerging with innovative ideas.
My perfect day is waking up to the ocean or mountain air, then getting a meditation and a long bike ride in, then spending the rest of the day with my family or friends experiencing a new adventure and ending the day with an amazing meal, a glass of epic wine and an episode of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” or “Saturday Night Live” for a few laughs.