Lifestyle Personal Lines the December 2023 issue

Steve Sublett

Senior Director of Employee Experience and Engagement, CBIZ
By Chris Hann Posted on December 1, 2023
You grew up near Chicago. Obviously, the first question: Cubs or White Sox?
Cubs. I bleed Cubbie blue.

Favorite Vacation Spot: St. Croix (“It has not been victimized by overdevelopment yet. It has a quaintness of history. And it’s got turn-of-the-century architecture. It’s a fascinating place.”)

Three Favortie Motown Musicians: Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder (“who I do a wicked impersonation of, by the way”), The Temptations

Favorite Movie: True Grit (“The original.”)

Favorite Actor: Robert DeNiro (“I love old gangster movies, and there’s not a better gangster ever born than De Niro.”)

Favorite Book: The Onion Field, by Joseph Wambaugh

Favorite San Diego Restaurant: The Poseidon, Del Mar, California

Favorite Dish At The Poseidon: “All of them.”

Tell me about growing up in St. Charles, Illinois.
I always joke that I was born incarcerated. My father was the superintendent of a local state juvenile penitentiary. We actually lived on the grounds for the first 12 years of my life.
What do you think was important about growing up in that environment as opposed to growing up in some cul-de-sac in the suburbs?
It was focused on rehabilitation. It was not punishment based. My dad was a big advocate of turning kids’ lives around. And it served me in a lot of things that I have become interested in in my adult life.
Tell me about that.
I’ve been chairman of the board of one of San Diego’s largest nonprofits, Promises to Kids. Underserved, underrepresented children who, through no fault of their own, have had experiences in their lives that were awful—broken homes and abusive parents, whether it be physically, mentally or even sexually abused kids.
You sing the national anthem at local sporting events. Tell me where that came from.
My degree from the University of Iowa was in communications, but I had a minor in film and broadcasting and theater arts. I had my own radio show back in the day, and I’ve done a lot of plays and theater and singing. There was a minor league baseball team in the town next door, and they put out this audition for national anthem singers. So I did it, and it went well. It’s a very difficult song to sing and sing well.
You also sing the national anthem at the local high school, where you’re the public address announcer for the volleyball and basketball teams. How did that happen?
My daughter was a sophomore, and she got pulled up to the varsity. All you heard was the squeaks of gym shoes and balls. No music, no environment. It was really boring. And now my wife is the head volleyball coach for the girls, so she won’t let me quit. The kids really appreciate it, doing the introductions and the music. I think it gives us a true home court advantage.
Very important question: who chooses the music?
I do. It’s funny that you ask that question, because I used to have very heated conversations with the kids. A couple of times I had to ask them, “If your grandmother came to this game, would you want her listening to what it is you want me to play?”
At CBIZ, you’re the senior director of employee experience and engagement. Tell me what that means.
People who are going to come and work for an organization need to feel confident that a company understands them and what they need. We focus on retention, we focus on reward and recognition and really putting together a system where you can listen to the employees.
What’s something your co-workers would be surprised to learn about you?
I guess I exhibit a level of extrovert. But I really like, at times, to not be around people. I think that’s one of the ways that I recharge, and people would probably be surprised to hear that.
What three words would your co-workers use to describe your management style?
Supportive. Somewhat demanding. Appreciative.
What gives you your leader’s edge in the industry?
That vulnerability to be willing to continue to grow even at the late stages of your career.
Chris Hann Associate Editor Read More

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