Any career contains thousands of S Curves, large and small, and Russ Wheeler’s journey certainly embodies this. He’s the CEO of BBQGuys, a retailer for all things grilling, smoking, and camping, but he’s worked as an executive in the home improvement business for decades. That means many tough decisions about how to balance the needs of his employees, customers, and himself.

But Russ’ core values keep him grounded, even when he’s not sure if his decision is right. As he explains in this candid conversation with Whitney, “sharing the gains” with every member of the team was a way for him to take leaps he was initially skeptical about.

Russ shares the difficult choice to not take the company public, despite years of work to do so, and why he loves hiring people at the beginning of their careers so they can grow into mastery on the job.


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