As a child, Mike Steadman grew up in a single parent home. Fortunately, he had male role models around him in his neighborhood. Whether in the classroom or at the hairdresser's, he was a sponge when it came to absorbing the information and the example they provided. He had several positive influences, but two men stand out to him as he looks back on his childhood.
"Wilbur Chriss served in the Korean War," Steadman said. “Harold Wert was my algebra teacher in high school. I now know how much they actually helped me.”
There was something else these two men have in common - they both served in the army. Steadman himself attended the Naval Academy Preparatory School, followed by four years at the Naval Academy before joining the United States Marine Corps, where he served as an infantry officer. As a Marine, he would find himself in places like Japan, the Philippines and Afghanistan. Returning from Afghanistan with all his men at his side stands out for him because it would be on this trip that his greatest moment on duty would come.
"When we were able to get everyone out of there and I had that chest bump, I'll never forget it," he said proudly. That feeling was reinforced by the fact that he held a leadership position — a position he doesn't think many military personnel hold.
"There weren't many like me, but I was still able to lead, work with the team and do what we needed to do to complete the missions we were sent on."
Courtesy of Mike Steadman
Captain Steadman would serve a total of ten years in his country's service before his career was over. He also excelled in boxing during this time. A childhood fan of the late Muhammad Ali, Steadman won three national boxing championships and was named Most Valuable Boxer twice. He feels connected to champions of the past through this sport.
“Aside from Ali, the older days of the sport really appeal to me. Guys like Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, those guys were real men and icons," he explained. His connection to boxing and fitness stayed with him long after he started winning titles. w it's part of him.
“Ever since, boxing has been my personal anchor. I train hard and fight hard. I try my best to exercise everyday even if it's just 30-45 minutes, hit the heavy bag and run on the treadmill.”
This love of boxing, combined with his experience in the military, helped Steadman transition to the next big challenge of his life, business. Steadman runs both the IRONBOUND Boxing Academy and IRONBOUND Media in Newark. NJ His gym, which houses his boxing academy, serves a very important purpose.
“Boxing reaches poor children in a way that other sports don't. They spend time learning discipline, they train, they learn courage and resilience. If we're just using this for professional boxing, it's a missed opportunity. To me it's a great sports program for youth and young adults that can help them become champions in and out of the ring."
Courtesy of Mike Steadman
Steadman is also the host and producer of several podcasts, including Confessions of a Native Son and The Transition. He hosts the latter podcast for Bunker Labs, a nonprofit for veterans focused on empowering military veterans and spouses to become entrepreneurs. Both shows provide him with an opportunity to connect with and inform other veterans who wish to distinguish themselves after service. He's also looking forward to his newest show, Dog Whistle Branding.
"It's not a B.S. Marketing and branding guide for veterans who want to own businesses," Steadman shared.
It is evident that the New Jersey man from Texas is aware of his role in both business and society. He thrives in the leadership role that can be traced back to leading his fellow Marines on missions around the world.
"The way we're taught in the military -- it's about extreme ownership and accountability," he explained. "In the military, we were taught to help our team and work together for a common cause."
Between serving his country, his work in boxing, and his contributions to podcasting, Steadman has transformed the lives of many, and it hasn't gone unnoticed. He expressed that he was glad to be in the position he is in so he could pass on what Mr Chriss and Mr Wert have done for him.
"It was pretty humbling. I'm not a billionaire and you haven't seen me on the cover of Forbes, but what strikes me most is that I'm a social entrepreneur. I don't mean that in a cheesy way, but I came into entrepreneurship with a vision to start an amateur boxing program," he said. "It takes the same courage to step into the boxing ring as it does to start a business."
For more information about IRONBOUND Media, visit www.ironboundmedia.com.
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