Exeleon Magazine

Steve de Laveaga: An Epitome of Forward-Moving Personality

Steve De Laveaga_Exeleon Magazine

An American Lebanese-Jordanian businessman and motivational speaker Nido Qubein once said, “Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” This quote touches upon the psychological toll, circumstances can hold on a person. And while many believe that circumstances define our life, the truth couldn’t be far from it.

For Steve de Laveaga, such life-changing circumstances turned up when he was only thirteen years old. His father walked out on the family, leaving much responsibility on him and his mother. He had to get a job alongside his mother and take care of his grades and grab sports scholarships to go to college.

However, Steve did not surrender to his circumstances. Instead, he rose to the moment and took on the battles at the forefront. While his athletic journey drove him to be the all-time leading scorer in Australian Basketball Association history, his thirst for moving forward led him to be the Founder and CEO of R.I.S.E, Real Intelligent Sales Engagement.

Initial Hardships

Recalling his childhood, Steve mentions, “Until I was 13, there wasn’t anything terribly remarkable about me or my solidly middle-class upbringing in San Ramon, California.” However, as his father’s drinking issue got worse, it ultimately resulted in losing their small business. Soon, this led his father to walk out on the family. Steve’s mother wasted no time in rendering reality in front of her two children. She took the mantle of ‘tough love’ for Steve and his brother.

She explained why Steve must take a job, get good grades, and play sports if he wants to attend any college. Any troubles that they caused would land them both to military school. If they fail to obtain scholarships, they can’t go to college, and thus would have to move out and provide for themselves when they were 18.

Getting full-athletic scholarships was another tough row to hoe. His mother pointed out that only one percent (0.25%) of high school athletes go to college on an athletic scholarship. Steve still remembers her mother’s words, “This means that when you are at the movies, some other person is out there working at their sport or studying. When that coach or university has to make a choice about who to give that money to, for a scholarship, they will beat you out. Make your mark. The world is yours, but you must seek it.”

These words drove Steve every day. Until he matriculated at California Lutheran University on a four-year, full-athletic scholarship. There he became the leading scorer, in Basketball, in the university’s history, with over 2,500 career points and setting 25 school records. Not to mention, he was CLU’s only ever 3-time all-American.

Thus began Steve de Laveaga’s professional basketball journey. While he did try out and not make the Los Angeles Lakers, he joined Australia’s professional league. During his 10-year sporting career, he was an 8-time All-Star and 7-time Scoring Champion. He said goodbye to professional basketball in March 2000. To this date, he’s still the all-time leading scorer in Australian Basketball Association history with total points accumulated to 10,000.

Steve tributes all the success he had to his mother’s words. These words became the backbone of his sports career. And to this day, he carries the same mindset into business, every day.

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After his professional basketball career, Steve de Laveaga wanted to establish something for his own. He was asked to be the captain of the ship,, but all along, he preferred to be the one who builds the ship. His visionary personality wanted something that could be in his control, brand, and his message. He wanted ownership. That’s how he came up with R.I.S.E., Real (For Real Estate), Intelligent, Sales, Engagement.

Steve had his primary set of challenges when growing up. But with R.I.S.E, he looked at himself as the roadblock. He understands that the ability for the business to flourish is in direct proportion to the talent and willingness to the growth of the leader. Hence, he needed to get better for the business to get better. So, he became proficient at learning, acquiring talent for teams, and engaging more enterprise clients.

For the company’s services, Sales come as a significant part of the working pipeline. According to Steve, Sales is the heartbeat of any growing business. You must be intentional, intelligent, and purposeful about the customer and your engagements with them.

As such, he makes sure that there is a high-level stakeholder accountable for the client experience and their ROI success. On the other side, he also feels that if you can’t save a client time and/or money and have the ability to grow their business, you shouldn’t sell them anything. This is something Steve, and the firm takes very seriously.

Communication and Progression Became the Key Factor

Steve’s mother clearly communicated hardships to both of her children at the right time. Hence, it’s no wonder Steve points out that communication skills represent one set of transformational leaders. According to him, this skill teaches you how to communicate with clients, partners, and employees to get the best out of them and the business.

Steve also recognizes that an all-in-one communication model does not work in today’s multi-faceted, multi-cultural workforce. Hence, he integrates quality, intentional and thoughtful communication into his leadership. He says, “You can’t take something back once you say it. So be intentional about what you say and how you say it. You can be honest, rather than gentle with your team, as long as you have earned the right to have that conversation because you have invested first in the person you are speaking to, then in the message you are delivering.”

The same process goes on in his day-to-day activities as a CEO of the company. He wakes up every day making sure the company communicates and retains key stakeholders. It doesn’t matter whether they can be clients or employees; at the end of the day, it’s about adding additional partners and clients.

It is also the same advice Steve gives to aspiring and emerging business leaders. He says, “Figure out your superpower first and core competency strength, then find a business where you can use it, at its highest and best use. Then find people to fill in your largest blind spots around you!”

Future R.I.S.E

For the forthcoming years, Steve de Laveaga and the company seek an opportunity to partner with Patient Capital perceiving the amount of public money, SPAC’s, etc. This ‘Offensive’ minded entity embraces growth and a leadership team that understands the importance of revenue in their business. Steve believes that there will be multiple quality partnership opportunities over the next 18-24 months, and he’s looking after the same for the future.

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