IN THE NEWS: Smart Company magazine features Steven B. Wiley in article, "Building Leaders"

Building Leaders: Meet Steve Wiley, Keynote Speaker for Frederick Leadership Speaker Series

By Jennifer Mellace

Today’s economy is tough and the anxiety it fosters can be even worse. We worry about job stability. We worry about paying our bills. We worry about what lies ahead for not only us, but those we care about. For many, the odds seem insurmountable. So how, in fact, can anyone be expected to lead or forge ahead in conditions like these? Not only can you lead — but you can inspire those around you to be the best they can be, says Steve Wiley, president of The Lincoln Leadership Institute at Gettysburg and featured speaker in January for the City of Frederick Economic Development Office’s Leadership Series.

A proven entrepreneur, author and highly acclaimed speaker who has influenced and entertained tens of thousands of top executives worldwide, Wiley speaks from his own experiences and from the experiences that helped shaped our country during the great Battle of Gettysburg. After graduating from Gettysburg College, Wiley launched a Gettysburg-based historic exteriors restoration business that quickly boomed from one office to 130 locations in three countries. But that all changed in 1989, when this successful business suddenly lost $4.7 million. Wiley mustered all his business skills and determination to turn the company around.

“After going through my experience in 1989, I realized that it was just a cake-walk next to the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863 — the most important battle ever seen. In the end, there were 51,000 casualties and 10,000 dead horses. If we really stop to think about this, it helps put things into perspective for us and helps us realize that what we’re facing today is nothing next to this. If these soldiers could reach beyond these loses to victory, then we too can march forward and lead those around us through just about anything.”

Using the battle as a metaphor, Wiley reminds us that there were no leaders when the Civil War began. A battle like this had never been fought, so resumes didn’t exist. “The Civil War was the Katrina of their time,” he says. “They needed to find leaders to lead 100,000 people and medical personnel to treat those people. And how about feeding them? No one was prepared. So it took ordinary people to step up to the plate and get it done. These people led in a rapidly changing, stressful and sometimes frightening time with limited resources. But they did it. And so can you.”

Through this comparison, Wiley hopes to engage business owners and help them gain knowledge from the past. “There’s such a powerful message to be learned from the battlefields of Gettysburg,” he says. “The soldiers of the past can help us put things into perspective as we learn how they walked 18 miles with no shoes and no water. I believe people can take this message and use it to lead not only in the workplace, but in their personal life, their community and their church.”

As one of the most sought after speakers in the country, Wiley has lead meetings for numerous public and private sector organizations, including Apple, Pfizer, Black & Decker, ExxonMobile, the Department of Defense and Homeland Security. And it’s this experience combined with his personal history as an entrepreneur, author, sales executive and franchise founder from which he imparts his strategies — imparting leadership lessons from the past to help today’s business leaders navigate modern-day challenges.

Sign Up Today!

Frederick Leadership Speaker Series
Featuring Keynote Speaker Steve Wiley

Jan. 5, 2010 (Jan. 12 snow date)
Hood College Rosenstock Auditorium, 401 Rosemont Ave., Frederick
Program, 6–8 p.m.
VIP Reception, 8–10 p.m.
For costs and other information or to register, call the City of Frederick Department of Economic Development, 301-600-6360.