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Young entrepreneur helps sports champs master the stage

Seeing how overpaid and under-performing athlete speakers were, Steinhorst set out to help protect champions’ legacies and help events get quality speakers.



Promentum Group Dallas

Promentum Group Dallas

Inspiring career path of a driven entrepreneur

Do you remember in high school there was that one guy or gal who knew what they wanted to do with their life? They wanted to be a vet and dedicated themselves very early to it, joining every club possible to make it happen, and now own a massively successful chain of clinics? Most people go to school when they’re young, and even during college to simply get out, and a career or passion is often lost until well into one’s twenties.

Not Curt Steinhorst. Steinhorst knew very early on that he wanted to be in sports and communications, and has worked tirelessly to combine the two. He chuckles as he confesses he was not built like an athlete, rather was small and slower than the top athletes, so he focused on the communications portion and forged on as a die hard sports fanatic rather than participant. He went on to become the President of his class at Texas A&M University, further refining his communications career.

Major flaws in the speaker bureau model

[ba-pullquote align=”right”]Steinhorst realized that most speakers were not booked based on the quality of their speaking, and that most lacked basic skills that he says could have been taught to them in just one day.[/ba-pullquote]After college, Steinhorst went on to work for the largest speaker bureau in Texas as an agent booking speakers, but realized most speakers were not booked based on the quality of their speaking, and that most lacked basic skills that he says could have been taught to them in just one day. He learned the market, and found the other major flaw was that the speaker bureau model was based on an era before the internet, before conferences and companies could simply contact a speaker directly.

As the market crashed and Steinhorst saw a massive gap between speakers being booked and events getting quality speakers, he founded Promentum Group, a firm that works with a small number of highly accomplished speaker consultants, speechwriters, and speaker management specialists who collectively have worked in virtually every facet of the speaking industry: from talent management and speaker representation to speech coaching, speechwriting, and even keynote speaking. The company is so much more than a speaker’s bureau that acts as a matchmaker, they write speeches, train speakers, and coach them along the way to make sure they give the best presentation possible.

The company’s focus is currently on Steinhorst’s passion: sports, which he is fluent in and enthusiastic about. Besides his affinity for sports, Steinhorst says that athlete speakers represent the largest gap between quality and compensation, with many athletes booked to speak that lack basic skills and offer little content of relevance. He saw the major need for communications support, so the company has launched an independent division devoted to education of speakers.

A company filled to the brim with talent

[ba-pullquote align=”right”]Steinhorst chooses to surround himself with extremely intelligent and accomplished people like Zig Ziglar’s righ-hand man, a Bush speech writer, and a famous life coach.[/ba-pullquote]While many entrepreneurs believe they are the sole expert in their field, Steinhorst chooses to surround himself with extremely intelligent and accomplished people like team members Erin Vargo, a Standford graduate who was a speech writer for President Bush, Bryan Flanagan, who was Zig Ziglar’s long time right-hand man, Bill Biggs, who has a Master’s in Psychology and spent over a decade as a pastor and life coach, mentoring college students, and even former Philadelphia Eagles veteran, Ken Reeves contributes his talent.

Not shy about his ambitions, Steinhorst says his long term goal is to be the world leader in speaker management, as they will ultimately expand beyond just sports to politicians and other public speaking roles.

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

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  1. JEBtunes

    June 21, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    @curtsteinhorst very cool Curt. You’re still a Sioux though

  2. TexAgsRadio

    June 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    My boy & former roommate tearing it up as owner of @PromentumGroup! Check it out! If you need an Aggie speaker for an event, here you go!

  3. LaurenScruggs

    June 21, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    So proud of you Curtis! ~ “@curtsteinhorst: I feel official now that @agbeat has written an article about me.

    • Cpbeaman

      June 21, 2012 at 9:35 pm

      @LaurenScruggs you are an amazing lady…

  4. BigAssCanvas

    June 22, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    @AustinBusiness Come party @LustrePearl this Sunday for #BigAssParty benefiting @AustinExplore and check out our “business”

  5. AGBeat

    June 22, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    @curtsteinhorst Glad to hear it! 🙂

  6. PromentumGroup

    June 22, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    @justin_bassett thanks for sharing the article! Lunch soon.

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Business Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs: You’re unemployable in your own company, must define your role

(ENTREPRENEURS) Once you’ve built a successful business, it’s time to reexamine your role and determine where you fit in best.



startup optimize to key metric

In my experience, most entrepreneurs are “accidental entrepreneurs.” They happened to be good at something, or they had a unique one-time opportunity to provide a product or service to the market. Then years later, they wake up one day and realize that they’re running a big business.

As an entrepreneur, one of the unintended consequences of building a business is that you become essentially unemployable within your own organization. After living the life of freedom, flexibility and responsibility of being a business owner, it’s difficult to go back to a “nine-to-five” job. This is why many entrepreneurs don’t enjoy staying with their businesses after they’ve sold to other organizations. Within months, they are frustrated that they’re no longer in control and the new owners are (in their opinion) making poor choices.

I see many situations where entrepreneurs are bad employees in their own organization. In fact, they may be the worst team members in the organization by having inconsistent schedules or poor communication skills and/or by inserting themselves into areas that aren’t useful. They can also have too much freedom and flexibility. And while most entrepreneurs insist on clearly defined roles, expectations and goals for all of their employees, they don’t always take the time to define their own roles, expectations and goals.

So why do entrepreneurs become bad employees?

I believe that it’s because they don’t have someone holding them accountable. Think about it: Who do they report to? They’re the owners. Part of the definition of “owner” is being accountable for everything but not accountable to anyone. Having a board of directors, a peer group or a business coach can provide some accountability for them, but another solution is to clarify their roles in the company and then abide by those definitions.

If you find yourself “unemployable” in your business, it’s time to define your role. It starts with outlining your main focus. Do you concentrate more on day-to-day execution or strategic, long-term decisions? Do you consider yourself an owner-operator or an investor?

Most entrepreneurs start as an owner-operator and put in countless hours of sweat equity doing whatever needs to be done to build the business. But over time they reinvest earnings in the business and hire a management team so they can step back and take on a more strategic role. Sometimes it’s not clear when the entrepreneur makes that transition, which can lead to challenges for the entire team.

Focus: Strategic Overview

If your main role is in dealing with long-term, strategic decisions, then it’s important for you to communicate that to the team. Clearly delegate tactical roles and responsibilities to the leadership team.

I’ve seen many instances where owners do more harm than good by haphazardly injecting themselves into tactical decisions that should be handled by the leadership team. Instead of jumping in when they see something they disagree with, I encourage owners to actively “coach” their leadership team to be better leaders. The approach of micromanaging every decision of others will frustrate everyone and lead to an underperforming organization.

I have one client that decided his role was to build strategic relationships and work on a new service offering. He was confident that his leadership team could handle the day-to-day operations of the business. Over time he discovered that being in the office every day was actually a distraction for him and his team. So, he moved his office out of the building.

To maintain his ownership responsibilities to the company, he scheduled one afternoon a week to physically be in the office. Team members knew they could schedule time with him during that weekly window when he temporarily set up office space in a conference room. Not having a permanent office in the building also sent a message to the team that he was not responsible for day-to-day decisions. Sometimes not having an office in the building is better than the team seeing the owner’s office empty on a regular basis.

Focus: Day-to-Day Execution

If you decide that your role is in the day-to-day execution of the business, then clearly define your role in the same way you would define any other team member role. Are you in charge of marketing? Sales? Finance? Operations? Technology? R&D? Or, some combination of multiple roles? Take the time to outline your responsibilities and communicate them to the team.

Just as you define your role, also define what you are NOT going to do and who is responsible for those areas. After all, sectioning off some tactical work does not abdicate you from long-term decision-making. You must set aside time to make the long-term, strategic decisions of the company.

Being an entrepreneur sounds glamorous to those that haven’t done it, but ultimately, the owner is accountable for everything that happens in their organization. It can be quite sobering. And while some entrepreneurs have a delusional belief that they can do everything in a company, it’s not a path to long-term success.

All entrepreneurs have to decide what their role should be in their organization – even if it means that they’re contributing to their “unemployable” status.

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Business Entrepreneur

Startups love pondering inclusion, yet half have no women in leadership

(STARTUPS) Tech startups are a huge part of discussing diversity and inclusion, but something as simple as hiring women in management somehow remains elusive.



women in leadership lean out

According to the Silicon Valley Bank’s annual report, over half of startups have no women on their leadership team. None.

As hard as this fact is to believe, it is also hardly breaking news. Organizations who have surveyed startups and technology companies for the past several years have seen that long-standing trends that disadvantage women and other genders in the tech space are still at play.

Like many other gendered debates about the treatment of women and other minority workers, this problem is seemingly a Catch 22 or a chicken and egg situation. Critics will continue to argue that the reason ladies aren’t in leadership roles is because they don’t have innate leadership qualities or that once their non-male employees have proven themselves, then they will start getting the resources and promotions that they say that they desire.

Like many other myths about women in the workforce, these beliefs only serve to reinforce the status quo by transferring the responsibility for these frustrating conditions onto the marginalized party.

These beliefs are busted not only because they’re tired gender clichés, but because we have hard data that proves the financial and cultural benefit in long-term effects of women leadership in tech.

However, for all the discussion of diversity initiatives, the likelihood of traditional funding going to women-led startups is still small.

For now, startups with women in leadership roles were more likely to get their funding from investing teams that were also led by females. Wouldn’t it be great if other investors began to not only understand that in 2019 it’s imperative that a company’s leadership reflect the diversity of the employees that comprise it? That workers will be more motivated, feel more understood, and have greater buy-in when they identify with their management?

Empowering women is how more get involved in tech. Diversity of leadership helps organizations thrive. And if something as simple as binary gender diversity is such a tremendous challenge, all other diversity issues are still (unfortunately) a large mountain to climb.

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Business Entrepreneur

C. J. Walker: America’s first self-made millionaire was a black orphan

(ENTREPRENEUR) When you think of our nation’s first self-made millionaire, C. J. Walker is probably not the picture that may come to mind, but this generous genius made it to the top, breaking every glass ceiling possible.



These days, it seems like Oprah gets all the bragging rights. I don’t think it’s quite fair that some car-gifting mogul gets to bask in the glory of a path that was paved a century ago. **No offense, O Great Winfrey. You’re cool, too. Please don’t take my Altima back.**

It’s time to pay our respects to the first female self-made millionaire in America. My friends, I’d like to introduce you to your new idol, Sarah Breedlove, better known as Madam C. J. Walker.

This gal had just about every card in the deck working against her. Both of her parents and all of her siblings before her were born into slavery. Her mother died when she was five, and her father passed the following year. Orphaned, she lived with her older sister until she married at age 14.

As if that wasn’t enough, a mere two years after her first child was born, Sarah’s husband died. I mean, she just couldn’t catch a break. Unfortunate event after unfortunate event. She then moved to St. Louis to live with her brothers, working as a washer woman for a mere dollar a day. Classic rags-to-riches stuff.

Her brothers worked at a local barber shop, and she wound up learning a thing or two about hair care while sharing a home with them. This planted the seed that would lead to her working with Annie Turnbo Malone, selling African American hair care products. As she learned more about hair, she must have realized she had a knack for it, because she decided to roll up her sleeves and put some indie elbow grease in.

After moving to Denver to work on her own products, she married Charles Walker, who provided the advertising know-how that would help her venture succeed. She adopted the name C. J. Walker and began traveling and training women in the fields of beauty and sales.

Eleven years later, in 1917, she called her first convention of so-called “beauty culturists” in Philadelphia. Here, she rewarded her top agents as well as those who were the most philanthropic towards local charities.

What I love about C. J. is that as her business grew, so did her awareness of the social climate around her. She never forgot where she came from, never hesitated to give back, and never gave up. She lectured on topics such as women’s independence, helping educate other black women in the ways of business.

Upon her death, it was determined that she was the wealthiest African-American woman in the country. In true C. J. style, she left two-thirds of her future profits to charity.

If I ever get mega-famous, I’m doing it the C. J. Walker way: Keep a level head, educate and help others, and put your community first.

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