MVP Seminars Keynote Speakers & Business Trainers

Michael Hess

Michael Hess, CBS News columnist, entrepreneur/business owner, advisor

Michael’s company was recently awarded the rare “Elite” customer service designation by the independent testing organization, Stella Service

Keynote Topics: Communication, Creating a winning mind set, and Customer Service,
Business Training Topics: Innovation & Profit, Customer Service, and Brand Management,

Michael Hess, CBS News columnist, entrepreneur/business owner, advisor

Michael’s company was recently awarded the rare “Elite” customer service designation by the independent testing organization, Stella Service

Michael Hess has over 20 years’ experience in sales and marketing, product development, entrepreneurship and executive management.

As a young(er) guy he made his walking-around money any way he could – from pumping gas to flipping burgers, to working as an EMT on an inner-city ambulance, and everything in-between. These jobs gave him incredible perspective, lots of stories to tell, and what may be the largest collection of name tags in Western New York.

Anxious to spend more time arguing with his father, in 1990 Michael joined his family’s well-known photo equipment manufacturing business, The Saunders Group. Saunders had just purchased a major branded camera bag company, and from 1990 through 1994, Michael focused on managing all facets of that new division. He designed new products and lines, managed an in-house factory and established an overseas sourcing and manufacturing base.

Under Michael’s leadership, Saunders’ bag division grew by more than 300% over a 4-year period. That earned him “good boy” status, and he went on to become Vice President of the parent company and its 15 branded product lines. The family sold the 50 year-old business—which it had grown from 5 to 100 employees—in 1998.

After aiding in the transition of the business to new ownership, Michael left at the end of 1999 to start RoadWired, the carrying case company which later became Skooba Design.

Michael also founded and launched the online luggage and travel accessory retailer Journeyware, which he later sold to a major international luggage manufacturer.

Most recently, Michael launched Hotdog Yoga Gear- a new brand of unique accessories for the yoga and fitness market.

He continues to argue with his father, he just does it by phone and e-mail.

Michael also serves as advisor to other entrepreneurs and small businesses, and has been interviewed numerous times on television, radio, print publications and online media. He writes the twice-weekly “Business With Class” column for CBS News Moneywatch, and was also a Certified Expert on one of the original the business advice sites, Michael has even appeared live on QVC a few times to sell his wares… that was a trip.

Michael has traveled extensively, developing close, long-standing relationships with factories and customers in over twenty countries.

B.A. in Political Science, University of Buffalo

Graduate of the intensive Textile Executive Management program at the industry-leading Philadelphia College of Textiles.

When you tackle a significant event…when it’s the first time for the event, there are tons of places to misstep and even fall down. And when your keynote topic needs to be a strong draw, perhaps even the event anchor, selecting the presenter is equally important to the topic!\n\nOur engagement with Michael was perfect! He not only delivered the topic with excellence but he invested himself into and with the audience. 100% of attendees gave Michael rave reviews for his breadth of knowledge, subject command and delivery. His contribution to our event was a critical element of its overall success.\n\nDave Madison and Ed Hanchett\n\nEquaTEK Interactive\n\nBoy, were we fortunate! Michael Hess was the keynote speaker for our recent Creativity: Careers in Motion event here at RIT. This event attracts high profile agencies and Fortune 500 companies from all over the country to network and review student portfolios and includes career-focused programming. Michael's audience included a range of students working towards degrees that will prepare them for a career in the creative industry. His topic was “Creativity and Commerce: The Battle and the Balance”.Thanks to his dynamic presentation they came away with a better understanding of the strengths and potential weaknesses of a creative personality and how that fits with the reality of the business world. Even the savviest student came away with ideas for how to build on these valuable qualities and position themselves for success!\n\nGretchen Burruto\n\nAssistant Director, Rochester Institute of Technology Office of Co-op and Career Services\n\nMichael taught me a great deal about many things; how to handle customers, how to write copy, and even how to deal with stressful situations. He has been instrumental in my evolution as an entrepreneur, and to this day his voice still echoes in my head as I face the daily challenges of running my own business.\n\nBenjamin Scrivens\n\nPresident/CEO, Fright-Rags\n\nMichael has been an invaluable resource on ecommerce, production and fulfillment. He shares his experience and best practices so others can avoid pitfalls while growing their businesses.\n\nJessica Gibaldo\n\nCEO, Harry Barker\n\n\nLucky Audience! Those fortunate to enjoy a presentation by Michael Hess will leave loaded with “takeaways.” Michael presents his fresh, creative take on the world of marketing and customer service with the effectiveness of his written word: Honest. Direct. Terse. Both my staff at the real estate firm I founded and my Board of Directors at the nonprofit I chaired gave Michael the highest grades. If he is available, sign him up. Michael will make the event planner look good.\n\nJudy Columbus\n\nFounder/CEO, Judy Columbus Real Estate and\n\n\nMichael threw me a lifeline when I most needed it – at the startup of a business in a new market. I could ask him anything about naming, branding, web marketing and more; he educated me in the process of our consultation. To this day I can count on him for focused answers that put my business as first priority.\n\nDeborah Roberts\n\nCEO, Snuggapup\n\n\nMichael is simply one of the business leaders who “gets it,” and gets it right. He has repeatedly demonstrated in his presentations to my students and me that he understands the strategic role of design in the global marketplace. Design is the lever that can maximize value for customers and the businesses that serve them, and Michael has put design at the core of his enterprise, with proven results.\n\nAlan Reddig\n\nSr. Lecturer, Rochester Institute of Technology\n\n\nWhen I read your Core Values I was awe-stricken. Even without being familiar with your brand, product or enterprise, reading them, would motivate me, as a consumer, to buy one of your products without the slightest hesitation, and as an entrepreneur, to engage in business with you without a second thought. I rarely write messages like this (In fact I never have before) but I just wanted to let you know I think these values are brilliant to read, but even more so to apply. I will use them in discussions with my clients and will make sure to let them know where they came from.\n\nMark Schilperoort\n\nFounder/Owner, MBC - Interim Management & Consultancy\n\nThe Netherlands\n\nMichael is a class act and sharp as a tack. His product design and marketing abilities are unbeatable. I would work with Michael again in a second.\n\nPhil Alwitt\n\nFounder, Zing Designs (acquired by Hess family business)\n\n\nI attended Michael's keynote at the SHiFt conference, and learned more about PR in that free presentation than in just about every paid event I've gone to.\n\nJosh Crocker\n\nMembership Sales Coordinator, Penfield Fitness & Racquet Club

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