Submitted by: Lauren Hirshon,  Fels Institute of Government

That’s a lie.  I actually really liked Steven Singer and I’m not just saying that because he gave everyone a gift at YPN’s first Know the CEO program.  As he welcomed us into his conference room for the event, he suggested helping ourselves to coffee.  He was right when he claimed that we would need plenty of energy to keep up with him. 

Singer entered the jewelry industry when he was just seventeen years old and at twenty-two he became the youngest person to open a retail store front on Jewelers Row.  During our hour-long informal question and answer session he talked about the challenges he faced as an entrepreneur (being younger), the personality traits that helped him to succeed (curiosity, courage, and an ability to grow beyond the “herd mentality” among other things), and strategies to stay ahead of the curve (“try a lot and keep what works”).

The Know the CEO program series is designed to give YPN members the chance to talk to regional CEOs in an exclusive setting and learn how they can become successful leaders in their fields. Over coffee, pastries, and fruit from DiBruno Brothers, our intimate group of twenty or so YPN members got the chance to pick Singer’s brain about the jewelry industry and how to make the leap from being a smaller store to a national leader.  We discussed personal branding, learned what he looks for in employees and how he helps them to develop, and saw first-hand the kind of personal, genuine, welcoming approach that distinguishes Steven Singer stores from other jewelers. 

As our program was coming to a close one YPN member, who is ready to start ring shopping, snuck in a final question about finding that perfect diamond, and Singer offered the men in the room advice on engagement and marriage.  But, I’m afraid you’ll have to go in to see him for that insight….

View pictures from this event.