Who knew my chamber job would occasionally rub my elbows with those of celebrities. It’s happening more often lately as we host nationally recognized guests with messages our business leaders want to hear. On June 16, our celebrity was Bill Rancic, the tall, dark and oh so debonaire Chicagoan who won Donald Trump’s first season of The Apprentice.
Rancic wowed the crowd with a mix of his oft-told stories of his original business ventures and nuggets of wisdom he’s picked up from some of the most successful business leaders in the world. The guy was classy and struck me as one who lives one of the mantras he shares: “Good leaders realize they have to check their egos at the door.”
He wasn’t all business. When asked about his current goals, Rancic talked about all the ways little people are shaping his life these days.
Rancic wants to instill the entrepreneurial spirit in young folks. His book “Beyond the Lemonade Stand,” is designed to teach kids how to respect money with all proceeds donated to at-risk youth. He’s also done a lot of work with Haitian children, most recently with the Starkey Hearing Foundation.
Rancic has personal plans for his work with children as well. “We’re in different cities a lot,” he said of his wife Giuliana. “But that is going to change. We’re going to start a family. That’s definitely our end goal.”
As for his reality tv career, he says he doesn’t do anything he wouldn’t want kids to see, adding, “our show is a show that makes marriage look cool again.”
Rancic warns of the dangers of what’s become known as helicopter parenting, sharing disheartening stories of youth teams no longer keeping score and discouraging competition, a phenomenon he’s sure will have a detrimental impact on entrepreneurialism in the future.
He shared the words of his parents that encouraged him to pursue a life in business: “It’s ok to make mistakes. It’s ok to have failures. But it’s never ok not to try.”
My few minutes with Rancic was full of congratulations and best wishes on the bundle I’m very obviously carrying these days. When are you due? Do you have others at home? Is it a boy or a girl? Is your son excited to be a big brother? His genuine interest and big smile almost made me forget I was talking to the guy I religiously watched strut his business stuff weekly on The Apprentice… almost. I’m sure I swooned more than a little bit.
He did his swooning over our little piece of prairie paradise. “This is a place I want to live,” Rancic said of Fargo. “It’s pretty good here! The billion dollar surplus you have here… not bad!”
He cautions the crowd not to be hypnotized by the glittering lights of Broadway.
A few more bits of business wisdom from Rancic:
- Practice Practical Execution – Actions speak louder than words.
- Fear is learned.
- Everyone is born with the currency of potential. Understand the power of potential.
- There has never been a better time to start a small business.
- Do what you love and the dollars will follow.