Nice Guys Finish First: Marc Schulman, Eli’s Cheesecake

Marc Schulman, Eli's Cheesecake proves Nice Guys Finish First

Why do people always say nice guys finish last? People shout and cheat and they are mean and they think it’s “me first” to the finish line. I even had a conversation about this last night in my own home (I love you honey’s!)

So I went to my “go-to” shining example of someone who is the nicest person on earth and also a fabulous and successful business person:  Marc Schulman, owner of Eli’s Cheesecake.

Marc Schulman is the nicest person you will ever meet.

He is generous beyond measure. He donates gift certificates and cheesecakes to causes and organizations and schools across Chicago. He provides factory tours to seniors. He is involved on committees. He is synonymous with Chicago Celebrations, providing the biggest cakes and cheesecakes ever to launch many a celebration. He hosts farmers markets and events in his parking lot….so nice, so community connected…and so successful.

Eli’s has grown from a local favorite to one of the country’s largest specialty bakeries, turning out 20,000 cheesecakes and desserts daily. Eli’s goal is simple: to create the best cheesecakes and desserts possible, using the finest ingredients available, and to share the company’s success with its talented associates and the community.

Can you combat the current lack of civility in the US by eating cheesecake? Obviously there are deeper issues. But we can, even if it’s with $30, make decisions with where and how we spend our money, and who will benefit from it.

Why not have it be with someone who is genuinely nice?

Reaching the 80% of People who Listen  

I presented a workshop on Everyday Engagement for Law Enforcement at the Midwest Police and Security Conference last week. One Police Chief talked about reaching out to the people in “the middle” that were not settled into a particular camp, and perhaps just hadn’t been invited to engage. It’s the same idea when you are presenting or leading a training. You can usually safely assume that 10% of the people there already like you and/or your ideas, no matter what you say. 10% of the people already don’t like you or your ideas, no matter what you say. And then there’s the 80% in the middle, who haven’t decided. They will listen to your training, to your ideas, and then make a decision.

To those people, I say, bring on the Eli’s cheesecake! Something sweet and creamy and delicious and presented by someone who is earnest and goodhearted.  Eli’s encourages their associates to make donations of cheesecake to organizations important to them, and as a company they team up to make donations to events, efforts or causes they feel are important to the community as a whole. And there’s nothing wrong with being playful and having a sense of humor to boot (I just saw this DIY Eclipse Projector and Eclipse Blackout Cake…funny!)

Support Nice People

Amidst the overwhelming evidence that we are doomed to extreme opinions that can never be reconciled, with the interculturalist’s heart that yearns to understand and blend ideas (remember—diverse teams still out perform homogenous ones…and that has to do with diversity of ideas); and after seeing the Bill Clinton-George Bush Presidential Leadership Scholars interview I am going to remain optimistic that hate will lose, kindness will win, and that people of different beliefs will come together to create new ideas that will build community.

Looking for Role Models that Nice Guys Finish First

In the meantime, I want to believe that being kind and considerate and helping others in need can be part of a successful business strategy. So, if you believe that too, please go eat some Eli’s Cheesecake. This is not about dieting…this is something you can do for the world.   You can simply email the President (seriously, when most companies make it impossible to email them, he has an “Email the President” link on his website) and thank him for being so nice, visit Eli’s if you are in Chicago, visit your local grocer (check the freezer section) or order online.

p.s. Nice wins the girl, too!

I googled “nice guys finish last” just to see, and, well…they still finish first.