Lee Prosenjak is the Managing Director of Valentines Resort & Marina, an all-suite hotel, marina, and restaurant located on Harbour Island, The Bahamas. He also serves as a Senior Partner at Hesse Partners, overseeing operations and offering clients actionable advice based on his work with thousands of entrepreneurs and leaders in more than 30 countries.
Lee and his wife Stephanie owned and operated Cherry Creek Dance, an instructional dance studio for children and adults, in Denver, Colorado, for 23 years. They later moved to The Bahamas and started a luxury resort where they continue to create art to inspire others.
In this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, John Corcoran is joined by Lee Prosenjak, the Managing Director of Valentines Resort & Marina, to discuss entrepreneurship and working in rock concerts. They also talk about Lee’s experience running a business with his wife for 23 years, working with Simon Sinek, and how he started a luxury resort in Harbour Island, Bahamas.
Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:
- [02:29] Lee Prosenjak’s entrepreneurial ventures as a child and how he got into doing lighting design and rock concerts
- [06:55] The best rock concert Lee ever attended
- [11:25] How Lee met and started working with his wife
- [14:22] The business challenges Lee faced running a dance studio
- [24:49] How Lee supported his clients when the pandemic hit
- [30:12] Lee talks about meeting and working with Simon Sinek — and his reasons for moving to The Bahamas
- [39:11] The peers Lee acknowledges for their support
Resources Mentioned In This Episode
- Valentines Resort & Marina
- Lee Prosenjak on LinkedIn
- Lee Prosenjak’s email: [email protected]
- Hesse Partners
- Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO)
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Welcome to the revolution, the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, where we ask today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution, John Corcoran.
John Corcoran 0:40
All right, welcome everyone. John Corcoran here, the host of this show. And if you’re new you haven’t heard any of our episodes before, of course, first start with the archives because got great interviews with smart CEOs, founders, and entrepreneurs. All kinds of companies. We’ve got Netflix, we got Kinkos’, YPO, EO, Activision Blizzard, we had GrubHub recently, got all kinds of good ones. And of course, this episode is brought to you by my company, Rise25, where he help b2b businesses to get clients, referrals, and strategic partnerships with done for you podcasts and content marketing. And if you’re listening and curious about it, go to our website, Rise25.com. You can learn all about it.
And my guest here today. I’m excited. His name is Lee Prosenjak. Lee’s a highly experienced facilitator and strategist. He’s got a couple of decades of experience working with entrepreneurs and leaders across dozens of different countries. And he holds various different roles and in facilitating different groups like EO Entrepreneurs’ Organization, groups, and retreats and things along those lines, which as you know, if you listen to this show before, I’m active there, but he also has a long time, a lot of experience in entrepreneurship. He and his wife, Stephanie, have owned and operated a dance studio in Denver, Colorado, for 20 plus years. And so they have been running that. And one of the interesting story about him, first of all, he started his career, doing lighting design in the rock world, rock concert world. So that’s really interesting to ask him about that. But he also set a goal of going and living part time in the Bahamas, which is where he joins us from today in The Bahamas. So he splits his time between Denver and Bahamas and who doesn’t want to live that beautiful life. He also is a master trainer, of course with EO and is partners is the other organization that he’s facilitated with. He does consulting and facilitation through that. Lee is such a pleasure to have you here today. And I love to ask people about how they got started in entrepreneurship. Especially if you did it as a kid. I know that you were out there hustling you had some little side hustles when you were growing up, so tell us about them.
Lee Prosenjak 2:44
Thanks, John. Really appreciate being here. And that’s it’s such a fun and funny question. I love it. So I’m glad that we’ll get started with that. My best friend Kevin and I were hustlers. I think since the since inception, I’m not sure. But Kevin lived four houses away from me. We were together and basically, you know, on unseparable that’s the right word. I don’t know. Inseparable. Yes. One of those, you know, since since very early age, and at some point, we must have been about 14 or so. Yeah, I guess I had the paper route and that sort of stuff. But the right around 14, we had a friend this guy Chris, and he had a moped. And that’s when we saw unlimited possibility. And so Kevin and I would go around and deliver things to people, much like Uber Eats. But we did candy and all sorts of other things. You know, just around two people that we knew half so we could joy ride on this moped. But the second half was because we we figured out stuff that we could sell easily. And you know, at this point, we had zero transportation costs. So that was that was a really good bonus. So we like to call that pure profit. And And honestly, we were not so good to Chris as as a friend. Because we fully took advantage of his moped moped, so you’re
John Corcoran 4:12
ahead of your time. I mean, I live near here in San Francisco, there’s tons of mopeds doing right food delivery all over the place.
Lee Prosenjak 4:18
Not super trendy, right? Like you’re just Yeah, so you know, whatever. That’s UberEATS got their start from us. That’s fine. That’s cool.
John Corcoran 4:26
So you sounded like a budding entrepreneur at a young age, but then you found yourself into lighting design of rock concerts.
Lee Prosenjak 4:34
What was that world like? Yeah, I grew up in the theater. So I was constantly at theater in my in my hometown, Youngstown, Ohio. Shout out to the Youngstown Playhouse that’s where I got all my starts. And so many great life lessons that came from that and the teamwork and camaraderie and my my best friends from today are still people that I knew and loved from from growing up. So found that The found that love at the very early age of like 11 that I got involved in my first show and lots of great skills that came from that. So I loved the lighting department and I had a great mentor there. guy called John Rankin. And, and John and I were like fast friends. And so fast forward a little bit few years later, and my family moves to Denver. And what I realized, after being in Denver for, I don’t know, six months or something like that is that I had no real passion in my life, I was going to high school, I didn’t really, you know, like I was, I was good in school, but I could care less. And I, you know, didn’t really like to take books home or study or any of that sort of stuff, and still sort of figured out how to pull A’s and B’s, which seemed like good enough for me. And, and so I went and found an internship at the Denver Center Theatre Company. And it was an amazing place to work. And I had no idea how great that would be for me and got me some side work too. So in addition to the theater stuff, to, to be able to do some rock concerts on the side, and then that’d be it’s been a whole new, you know, a whole new love for me with the live music aspect. And all the I love the live performance of all of those things. And that was really, it was really super fun. So just being out there and, and being able to like different bands, or to tour or to go do a bunch of dates with the different people and stuff. And it was just every night was a new adventure. And it was it was just really cool. And I think the best part was, for me was the very, you know, the first cue of every show, in that world is to turn off the house lights in the arena or at the stadium or whatever, you’re the guy. Yeah, like on that dude, right? Like, I push the button, and I get the first applause of the night. And
John Corcoran 6:48
that’s me. That’s me guys right here.
Lee Prosenjak 6:50
I could go home now. Like, I got huge applause and that was that was awesome. That was definitely an addiction.
John Corcoran 6:57
Give me the craziest. You know, only in the Rockstar world story that you have. You don’t you can keep it anonymous if you like. But if you reveal their identity, it’s probably even more fun.
Lee Prosenjak 7:09
I had a i this will tell you how good this was. But the we had a triple Bill one night and we were in Vail, Colorado and at Dobson Ice Arena. And I can’t tell you who the opener was. And I can’t tell you who the headline, okay, okay, the story is gonna be good. Because I just don’t remember, okay, because the middle band was a band called ozone Motley. And then those spectacular, and they put on such an amazing show that started from the moment that the first band opening band, you know, like we they that was their last song, they played the road over there. 1520 minutes, they were done, I turn on the house lights, I call for the crew, I’m like, set change. Let’s go. Let’s try and keep this to 10 minutes or less. And everybody starts to swarm the stage. And from the back of the room, I hear all this commotion and I turn around. And it’s the band and they’re out there with marching band instruments. And they they I call a radio on like, I don’t know what the heck’s happening, but you guys, everybody else go to stage, get this set change. I better stay here just in case, because who knows what’s going on. It was the best introduction that I think that any band has ever done ever. That’s how they came out there in the crowd. They work the crowd with these marching band instruments. So just a single snare drum, a trumpet, a trombone. And the lead singer had a megaphone, and they work that crowd all the way up and around, they came and sat right in front of the sound mix and the lighting board where I was, and they they like they stopped in the middle there. And they got the whole crowd, like the whole crowd was just full of emotion. And everybody was cheering it was just this huge thing. And they just kind of like they started to bring the level down and they got a little softer, and they got a little softer. And, and everybody sat on the floor of this arena. And had this had
John Corcoran 9:00
them in the palm of their hands.
Lee Prosenjak 9:02
Oh my gosh, like you could hear a pin drop at this moment. And like the lead singer was just just do a little hush over the crowd sort of thing. Completely sitting on the floor, barely making a noise. And the trombone player just jumps up and starts to play the first couple notes of the Hokey Pokey, but not dot dot, dot dot dot data. The crowd just erupts with like joy and laughter and fun and excitement. And everybody starts dancing and they let a conga line up to the front of the stage and without missing a beat. The set change had been completed already and they walked right up onto the stage and the drummer, took off the snare drum and sat down at the drum kit and just started playing and the trumpet player stands at the microphone and just starts going and the lead singer starts singing into a microphone and I turn the house lights off and the whole party had already been going for 15 minutes during the set change. Amazing. And it was it was such an incredible, incredible set. They played that night and they played up until the minute that they you know, they had the whole setlist and done. And I gotta tell you that like I was blown away by this band incredible. And at the very end of their set, like I, I turned on the house lights as was normal again to go to set change for the for the for the, for the headliner, and I gotta tell you, it was a huge letdown because there was like, that was it. Like, for me, that was the end of the concert, we everybody could have walked away at that moment. And the headliner, who whoever was so so you know, they didn’t make an impression on me to this day. Like what it felt like a letdown compared to that an amazing experience. And
John Corcoran 10:42
that’s the magic of live music. Right. It’s like that to see a working band like that, which I’ve heard of I know, as a modeler, maybe you’ve seen them at some point. Yeah. You know, but they’re not a household name. But they’re a working band, right? You know, to see a band like that put that kind of effort in is just magical. Yeah.