Frequently Asked Questions
Steve Weber the Speaker
Three years ago, Steve began speaking and talking about life's simple truths. He discovered these truths over the 10 previous years as he sat and talked to millions of tourists in Monterey and San Francisco while impersonating Forrest Gump. Experiencing the love and joy of everyday people who where touched, moved and inspired by the movie Forrest Gump, Steve realized that Gump was extraordinary.
While working and traveling, seeing new cities and watching new businesses start up, Steve began using the inspirational messages from the movie for more than just entertainment and promotional purposes – he realized the themes and inspirational messages of the movie were the primary keys for success in everyday life for ordinary people. Sparked by that realization, Steve developed a series of topics that are relevant to success in business and in life.
Steve both desired and felt the need to share this insight with others. That is when he transformed from a guy simply chasing opportunities to a guy pursuing his dream. Steve's teachings follow his belief that ultimate success and happiness are both congruent and the same as pursuing one's dream...passionately!
Today, Steve uses the wit and wisdom of Forrest Gump to help companies and organizations improve individual and organizational performance.
Individual Responsibility is the unifying theme for all of Steve's topics.
“Speakers who talk about what life has taught them never fail to keep the attention of their listeners.”
- Dale Carnegie
The rest of the story
Steve Weber is an entrepreneur, speaker, business-consultant, writer/aspiring author, and wanna-be actor/showoff. He can't help himself...he was born that way!
In 1996, Steve started working for Bubba Gump Shrimp Co as their impersonator and corporate Gump spokesman. During the past 13 years, Steve has helped open 22 USA restaurants for BGS and 8 of the 12 International BGS restaurants. He continues working with Bubba Gump on holiday weekends and special events.
Since 1991, Steve has worked exclusively as a contract business consultant and/or commission-only sales representative. He began his sales career in 1987 as high-tech parts and semi-conductor capital equipment sales representative in the Silicon Valley. Prior to that, he was a Facilities Manager for a Chemical Research Company. He started his work career straight out of high school when he joined the union working four blue-collar years as a journeymen metal fabricator/welder in his hometown of Philadelphia.
Steve returned to college at age 21 and kept after it for 13 years on a part-time, evening basis. He obtained his B.S. Business (Marketing) from San Jose State University in 1993.
In 2006, Steve moved to Hamilton, MT which is located 50 miles south of Missoula and in the heart of the beautiful Bitterroot Valley. Steve enjoys hiking, bicycling, fly-fishing, cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, woodworking, home remodeling and simply being outdoors.
“Like what you do, if you don't like it, do something else.”
- Paul Harvey
“Now you know the rest of the story.”
- Paul Harvey
Steve's business philosophy and business model are fairly simple. He believes in getting paid for services rendered, and paying for services received. Consequently, Steve's Associates are independent contractors and advisors who work closely with Steve and fundamentally understand his business, his business goals, and his business objectives. The Associates are his life-line and provide essential support on a regular, ongoing, and as-needed basis.
Steve's most important Associates are the network of Speakers Bureaus, Agencies, and independent Agents with whom Steve partners. They are critical since they fulfill the needs of Steve's clients on an on-going, continuous basis. Not only when they recommend Steve to a client, but when they recommend other speakers and consultants more appropriate for a client's immediate and specific requirements. They allow Steve's expertise to be utilized when appropriate and ensure the long-term needs of his clients. It's a win-win.
His professional associates include a speaking coach, speaking & writing business consultants, graphics design, web design, video production and printing services.
Steve’s business associates include his legal council, banker, accountant, bookkeeper, insurance and financial advisors.
Steve values the expertise of each and every one of these talented people, and ensures that they live up to his expectations and quality at all times.
“The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.”
- C.S. Lewis
All the topics leave the listeners thinking, learning and laughing as each has been carefully crafted to fulfill a specific need. The goal in developing the various topics was to allow each company or organization the opportunity to choose the topic most suited to their organization's unique and time-appropriate needs. All the topics share the common theme of Personal Responsibility and use the inspirational themes from the movie Forrest Gump. This creates a memorable presentation that packs a punch each and every time.
With that said, Life is Like a Box of Chocolates (Dealing with Uncertainty / Mastering Change) has been especially popular and timely during turbulent economic times and business re-alignments that have taken place world-wide in recent times. Run Team Run and That's All I've Got to Say About That! are always popular since they deal with the timeless topics of Team Building, Communication, Listening Skills and Building a Positive Workplace. Genetic Luck deals with Leveraging Your Own Strengths and is popular among organizations and groups of autonomous people such as realtors, insurance agents, teachers, and medical professionals, just to name a few.
“If you're holding out for universal popularity, I'm afraid you will be in this cabin for a very long time.”
- J. K. Rowling
Because each of Steve's presentations is custom tailored to each unique client, sufficient communication is required and occurs prior to the presentation. There is agreement between the client and Steve about the goals and objective of the presentation prior to the presentation actually being delivered. Steve prides himself on his commitment to being prepared and understanding the client's specific needs. Consequently, his programs do meet the expectations of the client and are received favorably by the audience.
Steve has never not met, or even significantly under-met a client's needs in the past. But, Steve is willing to refund the professional fee, whether partially or entirely, if the client were to demand it. He is 100% committed to giving each client what they expect and following through on what was agreed upon. Steve only desires the opportunity to be compensated for services satisfactorily rendered.
“Before you agree to do anything that might add even the smallest amount of stress to your life, ask yourself: What is my truest intention? Give yourself time to let a yes resound within you. When it's right, I guarantee that your entire body will feel it.”
- Oprah Winfrey
If Stanford, Harvard, Yale, UCLA, UC-Berkeley and Princeton Universities all offered a degree in Gumpology, Steve would have the equivalent of an Honorary Doctorate from each of them. Of course, his Ph.D. would be from the University of Alabama.
The reality is Steve has been portraying Forrest Gump since 1996 and has literally engaged in millions of conversations with ordinary people about the movie. He estimates he's been photographed more the 3 million times as Forrest. He has watched the movie from beginning to end over 40 times and has seen portions of it hundreds of times. It's this boots-on-the-ground or grass-roots foundation from which he developed his speaking topics. He realized the themes and inspirational messages of the movie were also the common denominator for everyday success in life.
Steve has personally developed all of his speaking topics with appropriate professional help and guidance from his Associates and Mentors. The topics combine Steve's experiences, research, learning, and passions.
Since his late teens, Steve has been a student of motivational psychology and philosophy. Steve has read all the masters including Napoleon Hill, Zig Ziglar, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, Dale Carnegie, Earl Nightingale, Og Mandino, & Dottie Walters. Some of the contemporary Hall of Fame speakers/authors whose books sit on Steve’ shelf include Stephen Covey, Tom Peters, Brian Tracey, Tony Robbins, Denis Waitley, Ken Blanchard, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, Mark Victor Hansen, and Jack Canfield. Finally, Steve has gained inspiration in recent times from Jim Loehr, James Gilmore, Joe Pine, Steve Zaffron, Dave Logan, John Assuraf, Murray Smith, Eckhart Tolle & Gary Zukav to name just a few.
“We ought not to judge of men's merits by their qualifications, but by the use they make of them.”
- Richard Cecil
Steve has professionally worked as Forrest Gump since 1996. He has a B.S. in Business-Marketing and has worked in marketing and sales since 1987. He has been self-employed and all of Steve's earnings since 1991 have been through contracted fees and commission-only sales. He believes Personal Responsibility is the key to individual, group, and organizational success.
To learn more about Steve's background, read his complete bio in the FAQs “Who is Steve Weber?”
“America has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens.”
- George W. Bush (Inaugural address, 2001)
Steve only charges travel, meal and lodging expenses in addition to his professional fee. The most significant of these travel related fees is airfare and hotel lodging.
Steve travels to/from Missoula, MT (MSO) and most frequently uses Delta (via Salt Lake City or Minneapolis) and United (via Denver or Chicago). He flies coach and does not require any special treatment beyond standard, convenient schedules and service. No transportation charges from Steve's house to MSO are charged.
The hotel room is frequently reserved and paid directly by the client, especially when the meeting is being hosted in a convention center or hotel conference area. Steve is also happy to make these arrangements for himself as needed.
Steve can invoice the client for each individual item including direct travel, lodging, transportation and meals. Alternately and more typically, an agreed upon flat fee to include all expenses can be determined. In that case, Steve will be responsible for all expenses and the client knows their exact expense obligation at the time of the contract.
Steve typically handles all his own travel arrangements.
“A hotel isn't like a home, but it's better than being a house guest.”
- William Feather
Steve will travel almost anywhere to deliver a presentation for the right client. The right client is one who will benefit from Steve's expertise. The right client is also one who Steve will be capable of fulfilling their needs and expectations.
Steve works predominately in the continental USA. He has also worked professionally in Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, the Philippines, Hawaii, Mexico, and South America.
Steve is not fluent in any languages other than English, however his gumpisms have been uttered in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and Russian. His German, Swedish, Danish, Dutch are even more limited – but it gets a good laugh from his ineptitude and attempts.
Steve's love for travel, adventure and experiencing other cultures has taken him to Brazil, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, England, Scotland, and Germany on personal trips. AND, Steve has been to all 50 US States and Canada.
“One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.”
- Henry Miller
Steve lives in Hamilton, MT and travels from Missoula International Airport (MSO).
“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.”
- George Moore
To ensure Steve's availability for your next convention or corporate meeting, the date should be reserved as far in advance as possible. It's not unusual to advance book Steve for 6 or 12 or even 18 months in advance.
Having Steve speak at your event involves three simple steps: agreeing on a date; putting the date and details into a contract; and making a deposit to hold the date, Steve is then committed to your event. He will not entertain other offers once the contract and deposited are confirmed.
“Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.”
- Napoleon Bonaparte
Once a date is determined, agreed upon and a contract signed, a 50% deposit of the professional fee is required to confirm and hold the date.
If for any reason the client wishes to cancel the agreement, Steve will return ½ of the deposit 6 months prior to the engagement. No refund will be given within 6 months of the engagement.
The balance of the professional fee and any previously agreed to expenses (i.e. travel, hotel) is due on or before the date of the presentation, performance or appearance.
“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
- Benjamin Franklin
Steve's first professional speaking gig as Forrest Gump was in 1996. Over the next 10 years, Steve's speaking engagements were primarily as an entertainer and marketer. Three years ago, Steve completed the transformation to full-time professional speaker and part-time writer, entertainer, and actor. The marketing never stops.
“First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.”
- Napoleon Hill
The movie came out in July of 1994. That October, Steve was Forrest Gump for Halloween. If it were not for the nurse with the stethoscope, Steve would have won the costume contest.
Steve's first day as a paid professional portraying Forrest Gump was March 29, 1996. And believe it or not, they put his picture on the front page of the newspaper above the fold.
“All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning.”
- Albert Camus
Experience has shown that when the average keynote or meal function presentation is 45 minutes long, 3 or 4 key points fit perfectly into that time frame. That allows ample time to thoroughly address each key point and provide several different examples. There will also be sufficient time to expand each key point so that it is clear, concise and memorable.
Human nature is such that in this type of a forum, most people will only remember 2 or 3 things even if much more is presented.
During Breakouts, Seminars and Workshops, there is more time available to fully explore topics in an in-depth manner. Feel free to consult with Steve about one of these more detailed sessions.
“The ability to focus attention on important things is a defining characteristic of intelligence.”
- Robert J. Shiller
Charming, intelligent, handsome, witty & modest all instantly come to mind...
...on the other hand, this most important question has its own entire section on the website dedicated to providing many excellent reason for booking Steve. Please see the Why Book Steve page.
“Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.”
- Henry David Thoreau
All of the topics have been designed to fulfill a specific need. Steve's suggestion is to glance at the Keynotes & Topics page and find the one or two titles that most correlates to the need your specific group or organization is looking to fulfill. Based on your instinct or initial reaction, Steve suggests you read more about that particular selected topic. If it strikes a chord with you as you read the detailed one-sheet topic brochure, then that is the topic for you.
Remember, each of Steve's presentations is customized for your particular organization. The topics were intentionally designed as a tool to get both you and Steve focused on your specific needs. This enables Steve to design and prepare the perfect presentation for your unique organization.
“It's choice - not chance - that determines your destiny.”
- Jean Nidetch
Like most professional speakers, Steve bases his fees on availability, topic, audience, size of audience, amount of preparation, location and relationship with client. With that said, Steve tries to work within all budgets.
More importantly, Steve's fees are value determined and Steve always attempts to provide more value to the client than the fee earned.
“Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.”
- Albert Einstein
“Surely there comes a time when counting the cost and paying the price aren't things to think about any more. All that matters is value - the ultimate value of what one does.”
- James Hilton
Clients sometimes believe that working directly with a speaker will result in a reduced fee. Steve almost always works with clients through a Speakers Bureau, Agency or booking Agent. So the fee paid by the client is the same whether booked directly or through a Bureau or Agent.
More importantly, the client benefits by working through the Speakers Bureau or Agent for the following reasons: Speakers Bureaus and agencies work for the client; hence, the client receives the best speaker available for their unique and special event (not necessarily Steve). Bureaus and Agents have access to hundreds of different speakers and are experts in the speaker's market.
Speakers Bureaus and Agencies are paid a commission against Steve’s standard professional fee. Steve fully believes that the client is better served by using a Speaker’s Bureau or Agency. In the long-term, both the client and Steve are better served using this arrangement.
“Believe one who has proved it. Believe an expert.”
Over time, Steve has developed a nice balance between Forrest and Steve. A typical presentation starts with Forrest and uses humor and some memorable lines from the movie to set a tone. As the presentation develops and delves into the topics, a more serious tone and more of Steve will emerge. But to keep things interesting and off-balance, Forrest is never far from the center.
Steve typically likes to take off the mask briefly towards the end of the presentation, but only for credibility and facing reality – We do live in a real world and we all must face reality! Once unmasked, Forrest is able to graciously return and finish with a flurry!
“The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man.”
While Steve enjoys telling cheesy jokes as Forrest Gump and making others laugh, the heart of every presentation is a serious message.
Steve believes a serious message delivered in a light-hearted, jovial manner is more effective and received more favorably then the same message delivered in a sober or austere manner.
“Be simple in words, manners, and gestures. Amuse as well as instruct. If you can make a man laugh, you can make him think and make him like and believe you.”
- Alfred E. Smith
Steve has contracted regularly with Bubba Gump Shrimp Co (BGS) since 1996. This allowed him to expand from predominately an entertainer and promotions guy to a motivational speaker. Steve does operate under the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. license from Paramount Pictures. He is obligated to regularly inform BGS of his schedule including the company or organization that he’s contracting to speak and the topic. BGS also retains the right to approve any new speaking topics or substantial changes to his existing speaking topics. When BGS & Steve are in doubt about a potential project or opportunity, they both check with Paramount prior to proceeding.
Having said that, Steve operates autonomously, and with the highest degree of integrity and confidentiality. Any specific knowledge learned in his service with one company is treated as confidential.
Paramount and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. acknowledge the long-term value in the continued positive promotion of both the Forrest Gump and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. brands. It is in the spirit of protecting and promoting each brand in which Steve operates his business.
“Among the individuals, as well as among nations, respecting the other people's rights leads to peace.”
- Benito Juarez Garcia
No. Steve readily acknowledges his license agreement and continued active involvement with Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. However, Steve has always been an independent contractor and continues to operate his Speaking Business in the same manner.
Steve has designed all of his speaking topics first and foremost as business and personal improvement subjects. Forrest Gump is the primary vehicle that Steve uses to bring the topics to life, but never the primary purpose behind the message. Forrest Gump is the example and sometimes the focal point for telling business improvement stories in a straightforward, easy-to-understand manner.
Any stories or references to Bubba Gump Shrimp or Paramount Pictures are told only as examples relating to the client's specific topic. They are anecdotal and are told only to support a theme.
“Diluting your product to make it more 'commercial' will just make people like it less.”
- Hugh Macleod
Steve has designed and developed numerous customized presentations tailored to the unique needs of his clients.
Please see the How it Works page for a description of each of his different presentation forms.
“A person has three choices in life. You can swim against the tide and get exhausted, or you can tread water and let the tide sweep you away, or you can swim with the tide, and let it take you where it wants you to go.”
- Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider