Dan Gibbons and his wife Jean.

Kit May helping in the kitchen at Denver Rescue Mission.

Nicole Stewart, Rick Duspain and Helen Marek at Denver Rescue Mission.

Barbara Roeckel touching up at the Denver Rescue Mission.

Team helping at The Crossing in Denver.

Dan Gibbons knows what it takes to be a leader—starting with leading himself out of a difficult childhood and taking control of his life. Having grown up in an abusive, violent household, Dan first took his anger to the streets of Chicago.

“I was not a very good kid,” he says, and he goes on to relate how he was shot at age seventeen while robbing a house.

“I knew if I stayed in Chicago I’d either be dead or in jail, so I packed up and moved to California. Somehow I made it through high school without ever reading a book.” A year later, when he turned nineteen, he read his very first book: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Inspired by the success principles in this timeless classic, Dan got to work to create a different kind of life. By the time he was twenty-two he was able to purchase his first house, just three blocks off the ocean in Seal Beach, California. At twenty-four, he launched his first company. Six years later, his company boasted sixty employees and twenty-five million in revenue.

“I applied what I had read in Think and Grow Rich,” says Dan, “and it changed my life.”

Now, thirty years later, he joins top leadership trainers Bob Proctor, Vic Conant and others in Malaysia to tell his story to students of the Napoleon Hill World Learning Center. It isn’t the first time he’s addressed personal growth enthusiasts. For more than twenty years, Dan has led high-level personal development programs. In 1990, he began working with PSI Seminars, becoming its Western Regional Director. He headed PSI’s division of Pace-Setters Leadership Dynamics (PLD), directing ninety-day advanced leadership programs in more than twelve major Western North American cities. Under his leadership, his home town of Denver became the top ranking producer for the company.


“I met a huge number of network marketers at these PSI events,” says Dan. “More than 10,000 people in Denver alone have attended these seminars. As you can imagine, I was hit up for every network marketing business opportunity under the sun.”

Network marketing did not impress Dan; it seemed as though no one who was attempting to recruit him was making or had made any money. So when his friend Peter Greenlaw showed up one day, looking better than Dan had ever seen him, he was shocked to learn that Peter had been taking network marketed products. Dan told Peter, “I want to try the products, but I don’t want anything to do with the business.” Fifty days later and thirty-five pounds lighter, Dan says that “All kinds of people were asking me what the heck I was doing. ‘Just ask Greenlaw,’ I told them, ‘he told me about this stuff.’ So they called Peter—and he enrolled probably twenty of my best friends.”

That was July 2003. In January 2004, Dan and Peter formed a partnership with another friend, Matt Rockwell.

“The only reason I would touch network marketing was that the product worked,” claims Dan. “We also did something different. We formed a partnership, sharing one position in our company, because all three of us had complementary strengths.” While Dan’s strong suit was training, Matt’s was in business systems and technology and Peter’s in presenting and promotion.

Three years later, their business had earned over two million dollars, reaching the number seven position in their company and showing the highest retention rate.

“I made a lot of money for PSI Seminars,” Dan reflects, “and they’re still making millions from my efforts. But I never made residual income from my work with them.”

Building Leaders

The key to success in this business is to build teams and develop business leaders within those teams.

“Networkers who struggle are typically spending time with the wrong people,” says Dan. Not bad people, just people who aren’t committed.” That’s why leadership is essential and why Dan felt compelled to develop a customized ninety-day leadership program for his networking business. After over twenty years of seminar facilitation as a leadership trainer, Dan says he saved his best work for this program.

“After someone has spent ninety days in the leadership training program, I have a solid idea as to whether they’re willing to do what needs to be done to be successful,” says Dan.

When asked by a prospect, “Do you think I can be successful in this business?” Dan tells them he’s seen all sorts of people from all walks of life become successful. Then he redirects them with a different question: “Will you do what it takes to be successful?”

“Building your own business is the third most challenging event in life,” says Dan. “It takes the same kind of commitment to build a successful business as it does to stay married and to raise a family. Most people take it too lightly and aren’t willing to do what it takes.”

Enter Dan’s leadership development program. Having customized it to his networking organization, he now offers it to his distributors and also to cross-line distributors who resonate with this style of leadership development. “Network marketing is really a personal growth course disguised as a business,” he tells new recruits.

Ready to Grow

Distributors in Dan’s organization prepare themselves for his ninety-day leadership program by earning one of their company’s first leadership levels and attending a personal growth seminar. Presently, prospective students can attend either Brian Klemmer’s Personal Mastery or PSI’s Basic. Both provide an insightful program that guides students to discover and address many of their limiting beliefs and behaviors.

“You can have everyone agreeing that you have the best product in the world,” says Dan, “yet people can still sabotage their success with negative thoughts and beliefs about their abilities or attitudes toward network marketing. Their thoughts will influence their behaviors, and ultimately their results.”

Case in point: Cathy Hellwig’s business approach a few years ago could have led the casual observer to believe that she could not be successful. Dan’s very first student, she came across as exceedingly shy, introverted and analytical. Dan recalls driving away from a meeting at her home thinking, “I wonder if she will make it.”

Sure enough, her first year was a struggle: she worked hard and by the end of the year was barely earning $1,000 a month. Over the next two years, Cathy participated in personal growth seminars and workshops and the results began to show.

“Cathy started believing in herself, taking risks and becoming outwardly focused. She seemed more alive,” says Dan. The people on Cathy’s team took notice and soon joined her by taking on their own personal growth quest. As a result, her organization and business exploded, and today Cathy earns more than $10,000 per week. Cathy’s life is now quite different and soon she will be facilitating a ninety-day leadership program herself.

Community Service

The ninety-day leadership program brings people from all over the US and Canada to Denver for three weekend seminars. During their first weekend, they set goals and are coached by successful people in their business. The second weekend focuses on the team’s award-winning business systems while continuing the personal development component, a duo that Dan claims compresses time, leading to quicker, easier success.

The third weekend is unique to most professional and even personal development programs. Participants actually go into the community to offer their time, energy and talents to make others’ lives better. At one senior center, distributors sang and played music for hours, delighting the residents.

“I believe that what you put out, you get back,” says Dan. “I have found over the years that when I’ve been down or things aren’t going my way, it’s usually that I’m too inwardly focused. So I think about how I can be of service to others. When I contribute to others, things have a way of working out.”

Give and Receive

A recent recipient of his program’s community service is the Denver Rescue Mission, which provides shelter, food, clothing and support to individuals in need. Dan’s team focused on two of the Rescue Mission’s projects, Champa House and The Crossing.

At The Crossing, a new transitional facility for homeless families, the team went to work to transform the institutional feeling left by bare, white walls. They delighted in bringing joy to the residents by buying and placing paintings and plants in the main building which houses the cafeteria, meeting rooms and game rooms.

At the Champa House, where single women and their children are offered a safe, loving home and help toward self-sufficiency, Dan’s team help-ed to spruce up their studio apartments. Tearing up old, dilapidated flooring, they laid new linoleum in kitchens and bathrooms, increased lighting, hung new blinds and replaced rotting stairs.

“It was pretty neat to be there when the moms and their kids returned home. The kids’ eyes got really big and they squealed with delight at their new surroundings,” says Dan with a smile.

Although the course participants’ time and energy was greatly appreciated, the biggest value for both recipients and givers came at mealtime. While most volunteers at the Mission would segregate themselves during meals, Dan’s team sat right down with the residents. At first, some of the residents said, “No, no, no,” and started to move away, perhaps thinking that these outsiders had made a mistake. But Dan’s team made it clear that they were interested in these people’s lives. They drew them out and ultimately some of the residents stood up in front of groups of people to share their heart-wrenching stories.

Touching Peoples’ Lives

Community service days moved participants to focus more on what they are grateful for, realizing that even when they struggle, their lives are better than many.

As for the residents, Dan says, “They were clearly moved by how we cared about them. They were not used to being treated as equals.”

Denver Rescue Mission Work Therapy/Volunteer Coordinator, John Gallegos, was especially appreciative of the mealtime interactions and the generosity of Dan’s team.

Leadership program participants say that their community service experience is life-changing and many continue to offer their time and energy to their communities back home.

“I believe in the adage, ‘To whom much is given, much is expected,’” says Dan. “When you are successful in network marketing—like Cathy, who is making more money than she had ever dreamed of—it is good to give back. It’s wonderful for people to contribute, not out of compliance or ‘have to,’ but out of want to.”

Whether it’s in their business or personal life, Dan’s ninety-day leadership program guides his distributors to make a difference, touching people’s lives forever.