So, what’s any of this got to do with running a convenience store? Plenty.
When Gross presents at the 2016 NACS Show, which takes place
October 18-21 in Atlanta, his goal will be to teach attendees how to use
the power of optimism to overcome adversity—no matter how big or
overwhelming the problem.
Gross and his foundation have responded to—and certified thousands
of adults to handle—some of life’s biggest catastrophes, including the
2012 Newtown school shooting, Hurricane Katrina and devastating
earthquakes in Haiti and Japan. To date, over 5,000 certified “Playmakers,”
have cared for more than 350,000 children throughout the United States
When your job title is chief playmaker, it might seem as if life is all good. It might also seem as if you’re living like a young Tom Hanks (from the movie “Big”), that your employer must be Mattel—and that you mostly laugh for a living.
Steve Gross, whose title really is chief playmaker of the nonprofit Life is Good Kids
Foundation, begs to differ. His job is to help inspire kids whose lives are pretty lousy. His
foundation doesn’t make toys, but teaches and empowers other adults to care for vulner-
able kids. And while he does, indeed, love to laugh, his real mission is to give needy kids
a reason to laugh, and the will—if not optimism—to lift themselves up.
Steve Gross’s title at Life is Good is chief playmaker,
but he takes optimism seriously. By Bruce Horovitz