Steve Grossman, Former MA Treasurer and DNC Chair, and now the CEO of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, discusses running his family business for 25 years, reflections on both failed and successful campaigns, his advice for candidates, building trust as the new DNC Chair, leading the Democratic Party to pick up Congressional seats in the midterms (the first time in a President’s second term since 1822), depositing over $300 million of Treasury funds into community banks, how the ICIC is working to tackle the racial wealth gap, and advice from his grandfather that changed his life at 17.
Listen to the end to gain insight into walking with his wife during the pandemic, as well as his advice to be a great listener and follow your passion.
Top Three Takeaways:
#1 It may seem like tired advice to follow your passion, and it’s easy to brush it off. But I want people to pause for a moment and recognize that we must be hearing it so often for a reason. As Adam Selipsky, the CEO of AWS, told us in episode 7, it’ll be an uphill battle to go into work and compete with people who are passionate when you’re not. Don’t feel pressure to find the “one thing” for you, but try to find things that you’re capable of being passionate about.
#2 Steve told us that to be successful in politics, you’ve got to authentically listen to the people you serve, understand their challenges, and show a genuine interest in improving their lives. Listening is also incredibly important to gaining trust and buy-in as a leader. As DNC Chair, Steve asked team members for their opinion on how the organization can improve, and truly listened to their responses. When he incorporated their feedback into his plan, everyone felt excited to go execute the plan because they had helped build it!
#3 Another thing I notice about Steve is how deeply he cares about improving the community around him. Whether it’s central to your day to day job or something you do outside of work, it can bring you great joy, and it obviously benefits the community, when you’re involved in giving back.
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As CEO of ICIC, Steve leads a dynamic and growing team of professionals dedicated to achieving economic prosperity in America’s inner cities. Prior to joining ICIC, Steve served as Treasurer of Massachusetts from 2011 until 2015.
Prior to taking office, Steve served for 35 years as President of Grossman Marketing Group, a fourth-generation marketing communications firm started by his grandfather. Steve has been an active leader in many civic, philanthropic and political organizations. These positions include former board chair of Brandeis University, former national chairman of the Democratic National Committee, former president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), founding board member of MassInc and life trustee of the Museum of Fine Arts.
Steve graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Business School where he was a Baker Scholar. He is married to Dr. Barbara Wallace Grossman, a theater historian and director, who is a professor of Theater at Tufts University. Steve and Barbara have three sons, David, Ben and Josh, and six grandchildren.
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