From Westmont Grad to CEO of Two Successful Companies: The Career of Danny Stepper
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Meet Danny Stepper, ‘94: entrepreneur, CEO of beverage company L.A. Libations and Hollywood producer. On top of all of these titles, Stepper is also on the Westmont Board of Advisors.
Stepper majored in Communication Studies and minored in Spanish. Upon graduating from Westmont , he realized that he had the looming presence of college debt over his head, and needed to find a position in a company that would help him get ahead.
Stepper’s first job was working for a company that sold Chia Pets. He realized after a few months that he wanted to excel in business beyond sales. Stepper left Chia sales, deciding that the best way for him to make the most out of his education was to find a prominent company in the Los Angeles area.
Stepper interviewed with the Coca-Cola Company in Los Angeles and was hired as a merchandiser in Oct. 1994. He did not stay put for long. In the nine years that Stepper worked for Coca-Cola, he was promoted 14 times to various positions in brand management and marketing.
Stepper developed a close relationship with some of the world’s largest retailers including Costco, Wal-Mart and Target. Coca-Cola even put him through Pepperdine University to earn his MBA.
After working at Coca-Cola for nine strong years and going through graduate school, Stepper realized his potential outside of the company.
“I’m an entrepreneur, not necessarily a corporate guy,” Stepper stated.
Stepper left Coca-Cola in 2003 and became a producer in Hollywood with Oscar-winning Film Producer Lawrence Bender. He produced a Disney soccer trilogy called “Goal!” and went on to work with Adidas and FIFA in the entertainment and film industry.
About five years ago, Stepper collaborated with two of his friends to start a new beverage company called L.A. Libations. He is now the company’s CEO and Co-Founder, and works from Beverly Hills.
Just this year, 25 percent of L.A. Libations was sold to Coca-Cola and now has become an incubator for one of the biggest beverage companies in the world. The company has various products including aloe vera water, chia seed drinks, relaxation drinks and probiotic soda.
In addition to his success in the beverage industry, Stepper is also the CEO and Co-Founder of a media company called Madvine Relativity. The company is a leading global media and marketing firm that focuses primarily on movies, television, sports, fashion and music.
Madvine is designed to be a way to stay plugged into the the film industry. Relativity Media also does all of the digital brand marketing campaigns for every drink and food owned by L.A. Libations, which are owned in collaboration with Relativity.
When asked about his partnership with L.A. Libations, Stepper says that each member plays a vital role in the company. The three founders, all previous employees of the Coca-Cola Company, have done a significant amount of work to rise from entry level positions at giant companies in Los Angeles.
Stepper emphasizes that L.A. Libations is a company built upon the bond of friendship and the ability to work hard as an entrepreneur. He assures, “Without all three of us in the partnership, L.A. Libations would not have happened.”
When asked about his hope for Westmont students, Stepper said, “I see that [lack of career direction] happens often with Westmont graduates, and I wish they had the inspiration to go out and see what it takes to make it in the world.”
Stepper’s hope is that Westmont students will work hard in school, aspire to greatness by learning skills from internships and different jobs, form strong networking relationships while at school and later go on to make something of their education and the opportunities they have as Westmont alumni.
Photo courtesy of L.A. Libations