Steve Johandes wants to pass on his learning and insights to a new generation of leaders, business executives and entrepreneurs.
After serving Empire Moulding & Millwork for 27 years in various executive positions, including owner and partner, he retired in March 2017 with one question on his mind: How can I make a difference in other people’s lives?
At that point, he had recently sold Empire, which he and his partners had owned since 1993. “I wanted to do something different. I was sitting on two companies’ boards of directors and wanted to leave a legacy,” he said.
He then started 100X, an advisory firm which focuses on helping “legacy-driven” family offices, CEOs, owners, private equity firms and executives to be more intentional, visual and transformational, “by Digging Deep, Thinking Fast, Failing Fast and helping them to determine What’s Next?” as his company’s motto states.
His time with Empire was marked by significant growth, as the company grew from 100 to almost 800 employees and the business from $40 million to $400 million, producing a shareholder return of 10,000%, or 100X, hence the name of his firm.
However, return for him is not only measured in financial terms. “I like to think of ‘Value and Value$’. My goal is to help clients think about their legacy. A big part of legacy is measured both ways. It’s not necessarily how much money you make, but how you transmit your values.”
Steve continues, “I usually like to think of what I do in only these three concepts: work with people on life, work with people on leadership and work with people on legacy. That really defines what I do.” Most of the companies he works with have a bigger purpose, which can be a combination of faith, family, leadership development or community.
He also serves, Under the 100X umbrella, as chair of Vistage Executive Peer Group, a business advisory and executive coaching organization, and leads two active groups in West Michigan. “I launched my first group of CEOs about a year ago. I started with 6 members and today there are 14,” Steve added. Six months ago, he launched his second group, and now he has 9 people. His goal is to reach to 13 or 14 members in that same group.
Johandes said he takes inspiration from the relationship-based approach of Vistage as he works with 100x clients. “Vistage is all about growing personally to serve the family, professionally to serve employees, and enhancing commitment to the community.”
He keeps his skills sharp by sitting on the boards of Comfort Research and Feyen Zylstra and is a past board member of Kamps Pallets. Collectively through Vistage, the board service and the 100X advisory practice, he works with around 35 to 40 executives in total.
Additionally, he is an active member of Start Garden, a local business incubator which aims to encourage, enrich, and build the generation of ideas for start-up businesses in the community. “Start garden this year has been really focused on how to be more inclusive with regards to minorities, on how to bring in Hispanics and African-Americans and integrate them as an active part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” he said.
Steve is delivering a 100X experience in West Michigan. His goal is to have an impact on 10,000 employees. “While doing that I want to serve in an inclusive and diverse way, one that revolves around life, legacy and leadership,” he added.
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