Venezia’s View: Beazley the Change Agent

Barb Venezia-2014-11-1825786
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Feeling stuck?

Want to change up your life?

Maybe a life coach is the answer, at least that’s what former OC Fairgrounds CEO Steve Beazley suggests.

His new business is called Lean Forward Coaching.

“Where are you- and where would you like to be? You and I take steps to the transition which is a key word in coaching,” he tells me.

Beazley says life coaching is very different than going to a therapist.

There’s no doctor’s office visits and  coaching is far more informal. He meets with clients in all sorts of different situations. And coaching is not meant to go on indefinitely he says.

Currently he has four clients and says he’ll cap his coaching at 12-15.

Cost ranges anywhere from $75 to $125 per hour.

Clients sign a consent form- not a contract. 

“If you thought you could change your life for $1000. Would you?” he asks.

Beazley poses the question to clients- “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”

Once goals are identified the plan is to work through the fears holding them back.

“Change is always going to happen,” he says

And how we perceive the change is key to success and transition. 

Beazley calls himself a “change agent”.

“Change agents don’t last long at places- they have to tell hard truths and deliver messages that the people bringing them on may or may not want be aware of,” he says.

So let’s talk “hard truths”.

I asked what advice “life coach Steve” would have given “CEO Steve” during the days of the ill-fated fairgrounds sale. 

“If I was advising the old Steve the first thing I would recommend is that because it was a public agency- it needed to be more of a publicly vetted process.” He said.

And felt it all went too fast.

Beazley has no regrets, but admits it wasn’t an easy time.

“The hardest time of your life is the most growth oriented,” he says.

Though now a life coach, Beazley has done some other interesting things since leaving the Fairgrounds when he retired at age 50 in May 2012.

His first venture was consulting with the Simon Foundation for Education and Housing in Fashion Island that year.

At the time the non -profit organization, founded by philanthropist Ron Simon in 2003, was giving away college scholarships of more than $13 million to those in need.

Beazley was hired to evaluate the organization, look for ways to increase the number of scholarships issued, and write a business plan for them.

With a doctorate in psychology, he’s always had a passion for education, so he enjoyed his time with Simon.

In 2013 he consulted for the Great Park getting the Clean Energy Expo’s Solar Decathlon off the ground. Former Senator Marian Bergeson, then a Great Park board member, says she thought he did a good job for them.

That year he also consulted for the Pacific Symphony and launched their Wavelength Festival of music.

Held that August at Beazley’s old stomping ground the Pacific Amphitheater, shows paired the symphony with such pop culture acts as Bonnie Rait, The Airborne Toxic Event and music of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

I heard ticket sales for the concerts fell far short of the approximately 8000 seat capacity of PAC Amp ranging about 2000 tickets or less sold per concert.

Beazley doesn’t see that as a negative.

“My goal was to get it started and not to perpetuate it. Any festival is hard to build a brand. Ticket sales were not high the first year but people liked it,” he said.

Then we talked about his recent stint as President of the Balboa Theater Foundation.

I was surprised he took this on. It had loser written all over it from the start.

Since the foundation formed in 1996 to renovate the theater, the project floundered.

“It was an against all odds project and at a point in my career I wanted one of those,” he said.

Beazley was tasked with creating a new board and raising money so the city would match funds.

In March 2014 I didn’t think he’d make a go of it.

He didn’t, and Beazley had to deliver several “hard truths” in this one.

“That project needed to be in the city hands a long time ago. So over the year I pulled them,” he said.

Beazley feels good about the fact that Newport will have to take it from here.  At least the project now has some direction.

Newport City Manager Dave Kiff tells me the outgoing city council picked an approach for it as “a Fine Arts Center for art class programming, local Balboa Village event hosting, some movies and more.   Construction is estimated at about $5.8 million right now, and that’s a rough estimate,” he says.

Now we’ll see what the 2015 council will do. 

But former Balboa Theater board member Evelyn Hart wasn’t happy with how this project ended and what Beazley was paid for it.

She says his original contract paid him $100,000 and the foundation didn’t renew the contact in the fall of 2014.

Beazley claimed his contract was renewed, thus he was entitled to another $100,000, even though the project was turned over to the city.

Hart took exception saying the contract was signed by a former board president without any other board members.

We asked for a written monthly work sheet from him so we could pay him by the month, I personally did not see that he spent more than 10 hours a month on his job. He had not brought in any new members and only spent money,” says Hart.

She tells me Beazley threatened legal action and the foundation settled for $50,000.00.

Hey, the guy did have a contract- no matter who signed it. Guess Hart got a dose of some that Beazley “hard truth.”

Like him or not, he’s certainly one of those guys who keeps reinventing himself- and my guess is life coach isn’t his last career.

  • David Zenger

    Say, wasn’t this the guy who worked for the old OC Fair Board members who tried to sell the Fair to themselves?