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    Steven Schussler is a master at multi-tasking as the world’s premiere branding expert, consultant, entrepreneur, restaurateur and creator of Rainforest Cafe, teacher, motivational speaker and national bestselling author of It’s A Jungle In There, Inspiring Lessons, Hard-won Insights and Other Acts of Entrepreneurial Daring.

    Passion and imagination are the two most powerful engines of success. Steven has breathed life into his restaurants, retail, attractions and entertainment venues worldwide by combining persistence and an unwavering belief in his dreams.

    Steven started his entrepreneurial career early with a paper route at 9 years old and reinvented himself many times with more than a dozen jobs before his sixteenth birthday. As an executive in the television and broadcast industry, Steven learned to sell concepts and the intangible. A creative type all his life, Schussler has a passion for conceiving concepts that appeal to the masses. His career in the restaurant industry began with the development of Jukebox Saturday Night, a nostalgic restaurant and night club with 8 locations in Chicago, Illinois; Des Moines, Iowa; Springfield, Massachusetts; San Francisco, California and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

    Well-known as the creator of one of the most successful themed restaurants in the world, Rainforest Cafe (A Wild Place to Shop and Eat ), Steven opened the first at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota in October 1994 Steven and his public company owned and operated 45 Rainforest Cafe restaurants in seven years, on three continents and sold the chain to Landry’s Restaurants in 2000, but not before receiving more than 40 awards in six years including:

    • Fortune Magazine’s Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies in the U.S.A. (named to the list two consecutive years)

    • Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 100 entrepreneurs in the country
    • Nation’s Restaurant News’s Hot Concept Award

    • Orlando Magazine’s Best Theme Restaurant
    • the National Retail Federation’s National Retailer of the Year
    • and Chicago Tribune’s Best Restaurant for Kids.

    Steven Schussler founded Schussler Creative, Inc. in 2000, where he leads the creative vision and overall strategic direction of the organization. Steven has created, built and owns multiple restaurants and attractions.

    Steven Schussler is a graduate of the FBI Citizen’s Academy. The Academy engages citizens in the process of protecting their communities and country. He has been involved with charitable and civic organizations that include the Leukemia Society, American Lung Association, Minneapolis Youth Connection, LifeSkills Center for Leadership, Special Olympics, Neighborhood House, and the Animal Humane Society.

    Mr. Schussler played the lead role in the commercial for Clemmy’s Ice Cream, an all natural sugar free and gluten free ice cream which won the American Advertising Federation’s Gold ADDY award. In addition, Steven appeared in September 2010 as a judge on Food Network’s 24 Hour Restaurant Battle.

    Committed to inspiring and educating fellow entrepreneurs, the nation’s future business leaders and business professionals alike, Steven Schussler has taught an entrepreneurial class for the Carlson School of Business Management at the University of Minnesota.

    Steven has served as a columnist for Minnesota Business Magazine, where his monthly “Backtalk” column motivated and educated readers by sharing new and fascinating stories, advice and experiences from nationally and internationally recognized business leaders.

    Steven Schussler is the national best-selling author of It’s A Jungle In There: Inspiring Lessons, Hard-Won Insights, and Other Acts of Entrepreneurial Daring, which is published by Sterling Publishing, a Barnes & Noble company. Giving back to the community is also one of Schussler’s passions and 100% of the author’s book profits are donated to Smile Network International, an amazing organization that surgically repairs cleft lips and palates of impoverished young people around the world.

    As a founding member of Smile Network International, Steven continues to be a lifetime advisor of the Board of Directors. He is on the Board of Directors for Kona Grill, Inc. which owns and operates 24 upscale casual dining restaurants in 15 states, in the United States. Steven is also the Chairman of the Board of Schussler Creative, Inc.


Steven Schussler Speaker Videos Back to top

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Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


    Suggested Programs:

    • Innovation: Innovation Takes Time. Why Research and Development are so important and underestimated for bringing a successful concept, service or product to market
    • Passion: Passion +Ambition Yields Success … (It P.A.Y.S.)! Conceiving, Believing and Achieving
    • Sales/Marketing: It’s a Jungle In There! Customers won’t buy what they don’t know exists
    • Entrepreneurism: I Dream… Therefore I Can: Five P’s for Success. Personality, Product, Persistence, People and Philanthropy


Steven Schussler Speaker Testimonials Back to top

    "The energy and passion you have was immediately transformed to our group. They were all blown away with everyone’s creativity, knowledge and pride in what they are doing. The incredible thing I observed is that everyone in our group took away something different which they could personally relate to; whether it be prototyping, risk taking, repeated success, setting your sights on what you really want and going full steam, etc. My personal goal is to find my own “crate” or ′ship.′”
    Sean Roberts, Director Foodservice at General Mills

    “Steven’s ‘out of the box’ approach to self-promotion and sales inspired our Advisors to tap into their creative side and reignite building their practices. His relentless pursuit of success is inspiring, and his presentation leaves you motivated to take it to the next level.”
    James D. Wright, Vice President/Sales Manager, Merrill Lynch

    “Thank you again for sharing your experiences with our team members at Best Buy. We try to create an environment where our employees can contribute their ideas and passions to serve our customers. Your life journey and persistence were a great example and model for us of what is possible.”
    Ryan Robinson, SVP Finance & Domestic CFO and Enterprise Treasurer, Best Buy

    “Thanks a million for speaking to Disney at our Worldwide Sales and Travel Operations Leadership Conference. Your story is a Horatio Alger role model that inspired everyone!”
    Randy Garfield, Vice President of Worldwide Sales Walt Disney World Company

    “Thank you very much for sharing your message with us at our joint STAR Collaborative Best Buy speaking event! As entrepreneurs, we very much take your lessons to heart, and find inspiration in your stories. I know our friends at Best Buy were motivated by your presentation, and we’re excited to see what collaboration your companies may create together in the future. Your presence and message greatly strengthened the brand of our fledgling speaking series and I know that we will ride the wave of interest created by your highly inspirational and engaging presentation.”
    Dan Olson, Star Collaborative

    “Thank you for joining us on ′The Hill′ and for sharing your entrepreneurial spirit with our campus. Your energy, sincerity, and accounted exploits captured the attention of all involved and made for an extremely enjoyable evening.”
    David Rossow, VP Events St. Olaf College Entrepreneurial Program

    “Steven Schussler was an instant choice when I was asked to invite a speaker to the 84th Annual Cornell Hotel Ezra Cornell (HEC). Steve is the essence of Hospitality and Leadership! He is full of innovation and bursting with entrepreneurial spirit. Steve was an outstanding speaker. Guests and students took away significant educational value. His high level of experience in the industry made him a true highlight of the program.”
    Elizabeth Blau, Elizabeth Blau & Associates

    “You were a Hit! The panel presentation was insightful, informative, wonderfully presented and well received by everyone in attendance. Thank you for making this a pleasurable experience for me and your fellow panel participants. Your perspective on the industry is unique. Your accomplishments in the restaurant industry are unparalleled.”
    Chekitan Singh Dev, Professor of Marketing, Cornell University

    “Words cannot express how appreciative we are to you for coming to our event, for speaking so eloquently, for your generosity in donating the books and fabulous raffle prize, and for helping to create an excitement for a JCC program that we rarely see to that degree. The feedback we are receiving on your talk and on the event is fabulous. In terms of creating a positive feeling for the JCC and bringing the community together for a lively, entertaining, and meaningful event, it was a slam dunk. Thank you for building the connection between your philosophies for success and the important role the JCC plays in people’s lives and in the community.”
    Sabes Jewish Community Center Program

    “Thank you very much for volunteering your time to be with Entrepreneur Club students! It was clear from the student’s enthusiastic participation that they were enthralled with your story. Your message of the importance of integrity and the key to long-term relationships was very valuable for our students."
    Mary Schmidt, Development Officer, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota

    “You definitely Wow’d us all!!! I had so many people come up to me and tell me how much they enjoyed your talk. I absolutely loved your great stories and all the advice. You definitely let your passion shine through!"
    B.J. Durtsche, President, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota




* Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

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    "The energy and passion you have was immediately transformed to our group. They were all blown away with everyone’s creativity, knowledge and pride in what they are doing. The incredible thing I observed is that everyone in our group took away something different which they could personally relate to; whether it be prototyping, risk taking, repeated success, setting your sights on what you really want and going full steam, etc. My personal goal is to find my own “crate” or ′ship.′”
    Sean Roberts, Director Foodservice at General Mills

    “Steven’s ‘out of the box’ approach to self-promotion and sales inspired our Advisors to tap into their creative side and reignite building their practices. His relentless pursuit of success is inspiring, and his presentation leaves you motivated to take it to the next level.”
    James D. Wright, Vice President/Sales Manager, Merrill Lynch

    “Thank you again for sharing your experiences with our team members at Best Buy. We try to create an environment where our employees can contribute their ideas and passions to serve our customers. Your life journey and persistence were a great example and model for us of what is possible.”
    Ryan Robinson, SVP Finance & Domestic CFO and Enterprise Treasurer, Best Buy

    “Thanks a million for speaking to Disney at our Worldwide Sales and Travel Operations Leadership Conference. Your story is a Horatio Alger role model that inspired everyone!”
    Randy Garfield, Vice President of Worldwide Sales Walt Disney World Company

    “Thank you very much for sharing your message with us at our joint STAR Collaborative Best Buy speaking event! As entrepreneurs, we very much take your lessons to heart, and find inspiration in your stories. I know our friends at Best Buy were motivated by your presentation, and we’re excited to see what collaboration your companies may create together in the future. Your presence and message greatly strengthened the brand of our fledgling speaking series and I know that we will ride the wave of interest created by your highly inspirational and engaging presentation.”
    Dan Olson, Star Collaborative

    “Thank you for joining us on ′The Hill′ and for sharing your entrepreneurial spirit with our campus. Your energy, sincerity, and accounted exploits captured the attention of all involved and made for an extremely enjoyable evening.”
    David Rossow, VP Events St. Olaf College Entrepreneurial Program

    “Steven Schussler was an instant choice when I was asked to invite a speaker to the 84th Annual Cornell Hotel Ezra Cornell (HEC). Steve is the essence of Hospitality and Leadership! He is full of innovation and bursting with entrepreneurial spirit. Steve was an outstanding speaker. Guests and students took away significant educational value. His high level of experience in the industry made him a true highlight of the program.”
    Elizabeth Blau, Elizabeth Blau & Associates

    “You were a Hit! The panel presentation was insightful, informative, wonderfully presented and well received by everyone in attendance. Thank you for making this a pleasurable experience for me and your fellow panel participants. Your perspective on the industry is unique. Your accomplishments in the restaurant industry are unparalleled.”
    Chekitan Singh Dev, Professor of Marketing, Cornell University

    “Words cannot express how appreciative we are to you for coming to our event, for speaking so eloquently, for your generosity in donating the books and fabulous raffle prize, and for helping to create an excitement for a JCC program that we rarely see to that degree. The feedback we are receiving on your talk and on the event is fabulous. In terms of creating a positive feeling for the JCC and bringing the community together for a lively, entertaining, and meaningful event, it was a slam dunk. Thank you for building the connection between your philosophies for success and the important role the JCC plays in people’s lives and in the community.”
    Sabes Jewish Community Center Program

    “Thank you very much for volunteering your time to be with Entrepreneur Club students! It was clear from the student’s enthusiastic participation that they were enthralled with your story. Your message of the importance of integrity and the key to long-term relationships was very valuable for our students."
    Mary Schmidt, Development Officer, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota

    “You definitely Wow’d us all!!! I had so many people come up to me and tell me how much they enjoyed your talk. I absolutely loved your great stories and all the advice. You definitely let your passion shine through!"
    B.J. Durtsche, President, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota


    Suggested Programs:

    • Innovation: Innovation Takes Time. Why Research and Development are so important and underestimated for bringing a successful concept, service or product to market
    • Passion: Passion +Ambition Yields Success … (It P.A.Y.S.)! Conceiving, Believing and Achieving
    • Sales/Marketing: It’s a Jungle In There! Customers won’t buy what they don’t know exists
    • Entrepreneurism: I Dream… Therefore I Can: Five P’s for Success. Personality, Product, Persistence, People and Philanthropy


Demo Video