Entrepreneurs Rand Stagen and Mark Hess Shape Purpose-Driven Businesses from the Inside
In 1999, Rand Stagen launched the Stagen Leadership Academy to help mid-market companies grow their positive impact in the world. Within a few years, he and his partners had what they termed a “peanut butter and chocolate moment.” They envisioned a future which would combine their existing culture & leadership development offerings with strategy & management consulting to help clients to reach their full potential in a holistic and integrated way.
However, Stagen needed someone to build out the strategy & management consulting capacity, and that’s when Mark Hess, an alum of Stagen’s rigorous 52-week course, came into view.
“Mark had enough of a risk appetite,” said Stagen. “He had an entrepreneurial sort of energy.”
After a six-month courtship, Hess was working with Stagen full-time.
Stagen and Hess complimented each other perfectly, and Hess got to see the impact of his work on clients. That deep connection informed his passion for what Maven Associates, Hess’s mid-market consultancy, ultimately became.
Fast-forward to the present day, Stagen and Hess remain close friends. Professionally, Stagen Leadership Academy refers right-fit clients to Maven Associates. It’s an organic relationship. Both believe in making an impact at the highest level and only work with companies ready to have the hard conversations.
“Maven has created this very innovative and accessible way of getting access to world-class consultants at a cost and availability that you just can’t get as a mid-size business,” said Stagen.
Maven’s ability to deliver value consistently within its niche has built credibility. Clients like Stagen Leadership Academy alums Sunny Vanderbeck and Rugger Burke of Satori Capital and Drew Clancy leverage Hess’s insights across a series of projects. From there, Maven attracts referrals.
Stagen distills Hess’s success into one word: trust.
“The reason we hired Mark as a Principal at Stagen to build out our firm is because of trust, and I would say that trust has multiple dimensions.”
The first, says Stagen, is competence.
“Mark and his team are not only competent but world-class.”
The second dimension is reliability.
“Am I with competent people who will actually do what they say?”
Hess delivers high reliability, executing the agreed-upon plan on time.
The third dimension of trust is empathy, or as Stagen puts it, “the level of intimacy that gets created in the relational space.”
“Mark has the capacity to really appreciate the world that his clients live in. He empathizes with the grittiness, the challenges of being a high-growth mid-market company.”
Like Hess and Maven Associates, the Stagen Leadership Academy works with purpose-driven businesses ready to bring meaning to their stakeholders. They have engineered a distinct operating model that stands adjacent to the training industry.
“We consider what we do development,” said Stagen, who has over 2,000 leadership students enrolled across a variety of programs at any one time.
“The work that we are doing is very deep, psychological, emotional, and spiritual work that requires a much longer-term commitment.”
Uniquely, Stagen has a ‘leaders go first’ policy, and the shortest program for new clients is the flagship 52-week intensive, the same course Hess undertook.
“We are not going to participate in the charade that if you go and do a one or a two-day course on leadership that you are going to be a better leader,” said Stagen.
“That would be like going to the gym and saying, ‘I want to go in for a day, and I want to lose 30 pounds.’ It would be laughable.”
Stagen founded his academy after starting and selling several businesses throughout his 20’s while living in Dallas. He was a consumer of executive coaching, so when he had the opportunity to create a new career, he chose that.
In addition to leading the academy, Stagen is an active volunteer leader in the conscious capitalist movement after being introduced to the concept by John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market.
“We believe that a capitalist enterprise can actually infuse the best of a non-profit and bring that in an integrated way.”
Find out more about Rand Stagen and the Stagen Leadership Academy by visiting stagen.com.
Find out more about Maven Associates by visiting maven-associates.com.