Pinnacle Award Recipient interview/profile


 I was a recent recipient of DeVry's Pinnacle Award, and here is a short interview around that with some thoughts on rebooting your organization, your career and hopefully remembering (I occasionally forget) to have some fun along the way!

Pinnacle Award Recipient profile interview with Dean DeBiase:

  Rebooting organizations is about reviving innovation and growth both in good times and bad, according to Reboot Partners CEO and DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management alumnus, Dean DeBiase. “Good times lead to big, fat and slow behaviors that tend to make management teams and companies more lax in their decisions and results. Lean times force companies to be more nimble, quick and reserved–but that’s  not the only (or best) time to reboot. Rebooting helps you become more strategic about growing—and the best time for that is when things are still going well,” he says. “ Don’t wait for the trouble periods to fix things or the next industry downturn.  Reboot before you  need it, before it’s too late, and definately before a competitor does it for (or to) you".

  With a track record of scaling emerging growth companies, turning-around organizations and embedding entrepreneurial-grade talent into multi-national corporations, DeBiase’s business philosophy challenges slow status quo management styles. “I love building, scaling and rebooting companies,” he says, “helping organization expand their capabilities and working with people I really enjoy. I’m pretty obsessed with driving and nurturing entrepreneurial innovation and bringing it back into companies who need it.”

A perpetual learner and guest lecturer at various universities, DeBiase says “never stop learning and teaching”.  Having earned his Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Northern Illinois University (NIU) in 1980 and his Master’s degree in Business Administration from Keller in 1984, he went on to complete the MBA-Plus Executive Program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and the Board Leadership Fellow program at the National Association of Corporate Directors.  He recently became a Senior KIN Fellow at Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management, where he speaks on accelerating entrepreneurial innovation.

With a broad and exciting career, having been Chief Executive of over a dozen private and public companies, as well as Fortune 500 subsidiaries, DeBiase is a serial CEO and in-demand board advisor.  He is the CEO of Reboot Partners – which helps multinational organizations accelerate their growth, and he is the Chairman of Boardroom Innovation – which focuses on building the next-generation of corporate directors and advisory boards, Startup Partners – which helps emerging growth companies scale, and one of the leading crowd-sourced innovation platforms – Innovation Excellence.

Co-author of the best-selling book The Big Moo and a keynote speaker, DeBiase likes to practice what he preaches, and provide audiences with his secrets and stories from the front-lines of business about rebooting everything from their innovation and technology to their organizations and careers. When not delivering keynotes, he's helping leaders and boards reboot their companies and taking them to the next level of market leadership.

“At Reboot Partners, we enjoy helping multinational corporations tap into emerging growth companies (startups) in order to quickly tackle their most challenging issues, seize emerging market opportunities and form partnerships that can scale and deliver on the next generation of growth.”  DeBiase admits his hybrid, often simultaneous, operating/advisement roles are a bit unique and not for the faint of heart, “some call me a CEO’s CEO because when I’m not running companies myself, I’m usually helping others, through board and advisor positions, sometimes in stealth mode as a CEO’s secret weapon or confidant,” he says.

On success he says, “I think success is learning how to enjoy the journey and being fulfilled in the spirited pursuit of your dreams and passions,” adding “Hopefully along the way you can keep your life in balance with a healthy mix of things you love – along with the tough things you need to do, in order to get closer to your goals .”

DeBiase takes pleasure in skiing, boating and traveling with close friends and family. He volunteers and serves on numerous public, private and government boards including 1871, Chicago’s top startup accelerator (DeVry is a sponsor/partner), where he is also a entrepreneurial mentor and startup advisor, and TechNet, a Silicon Valley CEO network that partners with policy makers to advance America’s global leadership in the innovation economy.

For DeBiase, work is about enjoyment. “I think you should work for fun and money, and the more balance you have between those two, the better,” he says. “I enjoy building and challenging teams toward an obsession about helping clients and partners achieve their goals together.  That’s why I like organizations which have happy employees inextricably linked with happy customers, because having one group is considered special, but to have both fulfilled—truly remarkable.”


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