Growing up in the housing projects of Indianapolis, Indiana, Comcast President Steve White was one of four sons to a single mother. Not deterred by external circumstances, White made the decision not to be a victim, and this life lesson became fundamental in shaping the trajectory of his life.
When considering the stepping stones that helped forge the path to where he is today, he said, " Certainly a lot of people gave me a hand up, not a handout, and a handout is obviously, what it sounds like. But a hand up is simply an opportunity to really display my talents."
After attending Indiana University, White experienced success with a company called American Hospital Supply. But after four years of serving as the youngest sales manager in the company's history, he was fired. Although given a lead position, White had yet to learn what true leadership meant.
Believing he had more to offer, a company executive decided to transfer White from Detroit to Chicago. During a seemingly negative situation, he reinvented himself and remembered the importance of providing opportunities for others to achieve success. He credits Darnell Martin's influential mentorship and the transformation he experienced through being fired as a turning point in his career that allowed him to meet a recruiter and be introduced to the cable industry. This connection led to White becoming the president of Comcast. According to White, the company has nearly 30,000 employees, generates $80 billion in revenue and serves almost 13 million customers.
Opportunity and finding a purpose compelled him to join the cable industry. With this in mind, he moved to Denver and assisted in creating The Denver Scholarship Fund. White partnered with the Denver Public Schools and The Diversity Scholarship Foundation to help ensure that underprivileged youth, in particular, would have access to resources and connections. The program offers guidance for high school students interested in going to college.
After reflecting on his life experiences, he said, “So when much is given, much is expected. I was smart enough to realize that I may not reach that point by myself. There were a lot of men and women that helped me along the way. What better way to pay it forward than to help others along their journey?"
White not only pays it forward by helping local youth but also through writing a book to give others a guide for success. Also, his book is a thank you to everyone that had a positive impact on his life. He makes his author debut with the book titled Uncompromising, which is available now and can be purchased in audio and hardcover.
"I share with my readers seven pathways that have worked for me in helping me live a life of impact and legacy," he explains. "Number one is to find your fight. Pathway number two is once you find your fight, focus on the real prize, and don't allow yourself to be distracted by sideshows. Number three, live life as a learning lab. Number four think and act like a business. Number five, you can only own your attitude and effort. Number six, get comfortable with navigating uncertainty because there is no straight line to success. The line to success is actually crooked, not straight. And then number seven, commit to road dog relationships."
He continues by adding, "The book is not just for business leaders. It is for that high school student who's a senior maybe or a junior trying to figure out where to go with their life. It's there for single mothers trying to figure out how do they raise their children by themselves. As for the successful business leader, who might feel stuck and trying to find, you know, their next path, it could be for somebody who's very, very successful but looking for more meaning in life. So the book is not just a business book. It is a book, I believe, for everyone that everyone can benefit from. Because all of us should be on a journey to identify our purpose in life, so we can make a difference."
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Photo Credit: Comcast Corporation