So here’s a fun fact I just read this week, via Yahoo: Ted Leonsis was the very first person to ever sent an AOL instant message.
If you don’t know who Ted Leonsis is here’s a quick run-down of just some of his achievements:
- He was a senior AOL executive for 13 years
- He is the co-CEO of Groupon
- He is a founding member of the Revolution Growth Fund
- He is the majority owner of the Washington Capitals, the Washington Mystics, and the Washington Wizards
- He’s on the Board of Directors for American Express
- He produced the award-winning documentary Nanking
- He is the author of The Business of Happiness
- He was born in Brooklyn, NY, and raised in Lowell, MA
- He currently lives in Potomac, MD, at Marwood, previously owned by Franklin Roosevelt, Joseph P. Kennedy, and Al Gore
- He mentors through the Hoop Dreams program
Successful people are often thought of as ruthless and privileged, but Ted Leonsis is a self-made millionaire who follows his heart. This is the promotional copy for The Business of Happiness:
When the plane he was on prepared for a crash landing, Ted Leonsis asked himself the crucial question, If today is my last day on earth—will I die happy?. . . and realized the answer was no. Despite having achieved massive business success—he was a self-made multi-millionaire at the age of twenty-seven—he realized he would die unfulfilled. He told God that if he survived, he would turn his life around, give back more than he took, and pursue happiness. After walking off that plane, he got to work.
And while I mentioned Nanking above, I should also point out that his other documentaries are equally about social justice. Kicking It is a documentary narrated by Colin Farrell about the issue of homelessness, and A Fighting Chance tells the motivational story of Kyle Maynard, a wrestler who was born without arms and legs.
Ted Leonsis and the stories he helps get to the public are examples that no matter what our circumstances we are all capable of achievement.