Gary Varnell has 35 years of Corporate Business experience and business ownership experience. He has experience and success at all levels in business, sales, sales management, sales training, public speaking, and ran a company as a Chief Operating Officer. Gary has been a speaker and trainer since 1989 and shared the stage with professional athletes, best-selling authors and top business executives. He has spoken to small and large groups and is very passionate about delivering information, concepts and action steps to help individuals, sales teams, entrepreneurial groups, and companies go to a higher level of success. Gary speaks on success principles, leadership, sales, goal setting and planning. The information Gary delivers is designed to change the thinking or mind set of the people that listen. It also inspires them take immediate action on that change.
Gary is married to the love of his life Donna, and they have four children, Brandon, Steven, Amber and Ashley.
“If you change your mindset, you can change the world around you.”
I grew up in a suburb of San Diego called National City. National City, South San Diego and Logan Heights were a triangle of communities that were considered the inner city or ghettos of San Diego. This area was 95% Hispanic and black. It was filled with gangs, drugs and violence. We lived in a very run down trailer park in an 8ft X 35ft trailer. Based on my parent’s income and our living conditions we would have been considered at the poverty level. The positive is my parents were very loving and supportive. They created a belief in me that I could do and become whatever I chose in life. A lot of young men in these types of areas saw athletics as a way out of the poverty. I was no different. Athletics became my vision of a better life. My parents supported this dream but stressed education even though my dad had an 8th grade education and my mom a GED.
My parents did whatever it took to make sure we had clothes and food. As a family, we would collect cans, bottles, aluminum, copper, and lead to recycle for extra cash. When my dad was out of work, he would wax cars, wash trailers, do handy man work to put food on the table. I learned many great life lessons in my early years like work ethic, responsibility, gratefulness, commitment, persistence, a do whatever it takes attitude.
As I went into my middle school years, we moved to a better area just south of Chula Vista. This area was 60% Hispanic, 10% black. There were still gangs and drugs just not as much. This area had a community center for basketball and other sports. Even with sports as my vision of a way out, my parents couldn’t afford for me to play organized sports. Now with a recreation center, there was an opportunity to participate in organized sports. In middle school, I became very interested in football even though I was only 5’4” and 100 pounds. I watched college football on television and decided I wanted to be a wide receiver. As I went into my 9th grade year of middle school, I had grown from 5’4” and 100 pounds to 6’2” 165 pounds. Now I was more the size of a wide receiver and my vision became clearer. The 9th graders were able to participate in flag football, basketball and track. I played all three. I was blessed with God given skills and excelled in all three sports. I was the leading receiver in football, leading scorer and rebounder in basketball, and the fastest on the track team.
In high school I was excited about my first year for tackle football. Unfortunately, the coaches placed me at defensive safety. I was very disappointed. I kept working hard and I kept a good attitude. Because of this, I was allowed to play wide receiver during the last four games. My first game was a monster game. I caught 4 touchdowns and had 250 yards receiving. In four game, I ended up as the leading receiver for touchdowns and yards. I also did well in basketball and track that year. In the spring of my 10th grade year, the football team had spring drills and position tryouts. In the 40 yard dash, my time was 4.3 seconds which was world class speed at the time. My vertical leap was 42” which was unheard of at that time. These were college or even professional statistics. In the summer, our basketball team played summer league to stay in shape, so I participated. Going into the last game, I felt a pain in my neck and mentioned it to a friend. He said cross your arms and I’ll pick you up and crack your back. When he did this, we heard a pop and a sharp pain went through my back. The adrenalin allowed me to play the game but I collapsed in pain after the game. I was rushed to the hospital. MRI’s and X-Rays revealed that I had broken my neck and had a slipped disc in my lower back. The doctor came in with the news that I would never play football again. I was devastated. This was my way out.
My parents always stressed education and having a plan B. My athletic plan B was to begin focusing on basketball. My alternate plan was to get my college degree and create success in business. That summer I worked every extra hour on my basketball fundamentals and it paid off. My 11th grade year I was voted by Prep Athlete magazine as one of the top twenty five athletes to watch in their senior year. Based on my performance, I had eight college scholarship offers to play basketball. I went to college and played basketball but never achieved the level of success necessary to move to the professional level.
Once I got over the disappointment that my vision of professional athletics was over, I refocused on success in business. My alternate Plan B using my education and creating business success now became plan A. I was hired by the largest consumer products company in the world as a territory manager. Utilizing the same belief, work ethic, commitment and persistence that created my success in athletics, created my success in business. I worked for this company for 15 years and was promoted many times. I knew I deserved more in life and went back to school to get my MBA. This was preparation for the next step toward my ultimate business success. Three years after the completion of my MBA, I was hired as the chief operating officer (COO) of a national camping and sales organization. I was thrilled making it to the C-Level of an organization. Only the top one tenth of one percent of all workers make it to this level. This would be similar to making it into professional athletics. Unfortunately, the owners of the company made some bad financial decisions and after working there for five years, the company went out of business. I was faced with being out of work in a bad economy, over educated, over qualified and getting older. My wife, Donna, suggested that I look at the mortgage industry. She was a mortgage insurance account manager. She introduced me to two companies that she felt had the most integrity and the best training programs. I was hired on the spot as a loan originator. I had to learn a new industry and this was an entry level position. The positive of this job was it had a great financial upside. Within eighteen months, I was making more money than I was running a company as the COO. In 2008, the economy and mortgage industry fell off the economic cliff. With this downturn, I lost ninety percent of my income, half of our house hold income. Donna and I have four children that were either in college or going into college at this time so this was another devastating blow. I applied for work with a lot of companies with no luck getting any offers. I was now in my fifties, over educated, and overpaid for the bad economy. I was introduced to a network marketing company in April of 2008 and got started. Within six months, I surpassed my income as a loan originator. Within fifteen months, I hit a position called Regional Vice President which is the top three percent of the company. In a different type of business, I was able to reach the top of that company.
Due to my success in the networking marketing company, I was used as a public speaker and trainer for the past eight years. This is where I found my passion and experience for what I do today. I am passionate in helping others reach their pinnacle of success. I share information which helps people become the best that they can be. I help people reach dreams and goals personally and professionally.
I have been very blessed throughout my life. My past history should show that in athletics and four totally different industries, I created success. To gain a basketball scholarship, you are in the top 3.4% of all high school athletes. To make it to the C-level of a company is the top 1/10 of one percent. As a loan originator, I was in the top five percent of all money earners in the United States. In the networking marketing company, I reached the top three percent of the company. For you, this means that I have created success my entire life in everything I’ve worked at. If I can grow up in a ghetto with parents that had an 8th grade and GED education and create success, then so can you, and I can help you get there.
I keep my faith first, my family second, and my passion to help others third in my life. I am married to Donna. She is my biggest supporter, my partner, my best friend and the one true love of my life. We have four children, Brandon, Steven, Amber and Ashley. They are all grown up now and have all graduated from college. They are all working and have made Donna and I very proud. I have always lived my life with the utmost integrity. I believe this to be one of the most important qualities in life and in business. My passion to help others succeed is also one of my biggest rewards in life. I love hearing the success stories from those that I have mentored and trained. I believe people today are looking for and in need of hope. Most people don’t believe in themselves. They don’t believe they can accomplish their dreams and goals. They don’t believe they deserve success. I can help you find that belief, become a better leader, build stronger business and personal relationships, and create the success you deserve.
“Be grateful for what you have in life but don’t settle for it! Be happy with who you are, but don’t get too comfortable. To have more in life and be more in life, you must believe more to become more; then you’ll do more, which means you’ll have more.”