Longtime entrepreneur Charles (Chuck) Bender is the CEO of Attentus Technologies, a leading IT service provider in Bellevue and Seattle. He has a strong background in managed services and the internet industry, with expertise in business planning, operations management, and sales.
Chuck is a dedicated member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and currently serves as the regional chair for the US West region. In addition to his professional pursuits, Chuck is committed to ending generational poverty and is a follower of the philosophy of Stoicism.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Lessons Chuck Bender learned as a child
- Chuck reflects on his childhood struggles
- How the military gave him a life’s purpose
- Chuck shares his journey into the dating service
- Why did Chuck join the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO)?
- What does he enjoy most about his role as the regional chair of US West EO?
In this episode…
Having access to large sums of money creates a level of freedom – eliminating a great amount of stress – and affording certain luxuries. Unfortunately, not everyone is raised in affluence, as in the case of business leader Chuck Bender. Yet, his impoverished upbringing didn’t stunt his effort to acquire wealth as an adult.
So how did self-professed “poor boy” Chuck climb out of poverty? He says he played the cards dealt to him. He used his talents to create job opportunities, becoming an additional provider for his family. Chuck also had a massive drive to achieve greatness. But it was one pivotal moment that helped him discover his life’s purpose. Want to learn more about Chuck’s incredible story?
Tune into this episode of the Rising Entrepreneurs Podcast with host John Corcoran as he welcomes the CEO of Attentus Technologies, Charles (Chuck) Bender. The two discuss his upbringing and his passion for ending generational poverty. Chuck reflects on his childhood battles, the lessons they taught him, and how the military revealed his life’s purpose. Plus, Chuck shares his entrepreneurial journey and his role in the Entrepreneurs’ Organization.
Resources mentioned in this episode
- Charles (Chuck) Bender on LinkedIn
- Attentus Technologies
- Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO)
- EO Seattle
- EO Accelerator
- John Corcoran on LinkedIn
Sponsor for this episode…
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John Corcoran 0:13
Alright, welcome everyone, John Corcoran here, the host of this show. And if you have not listened to this program before I go check out the archives because we got all kinds of interesting interviews with smart CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs of all kinds of different companies. And I personally am also the co-founder of Rise25, where he help connect b2b business owners to their ideal prospects. My guest here today, his name is Chuck Bender, he’s the CEO of Attentus Technologies. He’s a longtime entrepreneur, big fan of ending generational poverty, which we’ll talk about what that means he, for those who have listened this program before, you know, I’m an active member, Entrepreneurs’ Organization(EO). Very big advocate of that organization. And he is, I’ll call him like the el jeffe, the president of the western region of the US, he’s technically called the Regional Chair for the US West of Entrepreneurs’ Organization, credibly well connected within that organization, and totally in his element, he should see the guy at one of these gatherings, he’s just You can tell he just lives it and soaks it up. And it’s a joy to watch him thriving in it. So we’ll talk about what he’s gotten out of that organization and why he’s gotten so deeply involved in it. This, of course, is brought to you by Rise25, where we help b2b businesses get clients referrals and strategic partnerships with done for you podcast and content marketing, and you go to Rise25.com, and you can learn all about what we do. Alright, Chuck, such a pleasure to have you here today. And in your words, you grew up a poor boy didn’t have a lot of money. And I’m really interested to know how that shaped you as you’re growing up, and some of the ways that you learned these lifelong lessons that obviously shaped the rest of the way that you operated. And the companies you started to tell me about your upbringing?
Chuck Bender 1:58
Um, well, I was I was born in California, Southern California, relocated to Arizona, when I was right at that middle school. Moving from sixth grade in the seventh grade, which was a really awkward transition. We always struggled financially, as a family, I think my my father’s highest grade, completed was maybe ninth or 10th grade. My mom was really intelligent, we’re hard working, but didn’t have a lot of opportunities. She was the oldest of six kids. And they got married, when they learned about me kind of coming along the way and tried to build a life together. So I would say that, for me, the most important things I learned growing up are probably what sticks with me the most in informed my decision making is that money equals freedom. And that’s about it. Right. And, you know, not having it. I just saw my parents struggle. Every every day, you know, everything seemed hard. And I remember my dad always talking about how life is so hard when you get out on your own. And, and that was this thing that that for me. I just watched how tough it was in my childhood. And I thought, man, it can’t be much harder than this. Right. So you know, it basically stripped back a lot of the, I don’t know if fears is the right word, but I didn’t have anything to lose. So you know, I’d go out and take a chance because I really didn’t have anything to lose, you know. So I think that really informed me quite a bit in terms of wanting to wanting to change that. As I’ve gotten older. What I’ve noticed is the people from my neighborhood that really escaped and have built really good lives for themselves and their families really had learned along the way, that it’s not really that hard to go out and get yourself into a good middle class opportunity in this country. But what they learned right away was that they had to take control of their own situation instead of making excuses for why they couldn’t do it. And I think for me, that was probably the the most valuable lesson that I’ve learned is that doesn’t matter what the what cards you’re dealt. You just got to play the hand. You got to play and the best you can. And you’ll get more hands if you play the one you got. You’ll there’s another deal coming right all the time. So what you have today isn’t what you’re always gonna
John Corcoran 4:26
have. And we Yeah, and you were you the kind of kid who was out there hustling, you know, working at a young age or starting little micro businesses at eight 910 years old.
Chuck Bender 4:37
I was always hustling. So my, I remember, probably my first gig beyond beyond a paper route was back in the late 70s. During the gasline. Crunches like a you know, it’s kind of funny, we were dealing with gas again today. But in the late mid 70s You had you could only get gas every other day. And then it basically was based on whether you had an odd or even number on your license. Let’s play and the lines would be miles long in the summertime. And I take my little brother and sister and my wagon wheel and I’d go by water and I was literally having my sister and brother go up and down the car line. You know, listen, I’m I’m eight, my sister’s five cute as hell, right? Just little girl. And we’re selling water and this gas line just trying to try to figure out how we could make a buck. Yeah. But I would say my first real business that I that I did was after we moved to Arizona, my dad was in the shoe repair business. So he was a shoe repair tradesman and minority partner in the shoe repair store. And, and he fired me because I was a terrible shoe repair kid. When I was 12, apparently, I was ruining more shoes than I was fixing. But he he basically I, he wanted me to come and work and learn a work ethic, right? So he suggested I build a shoe shine box and go shine shoes. And I’m like, Well, why not? I’ll try that out. Well, it wasn’t long before. Gosh, that was a 1979 8081 82. During the summers, I was making more money than both of my parents combined shining shoes. So I’m literally in Prescott, Arizona, there’s this place called Whiskey Row. Yeah, it surrounds the courthouse and the downtown center. It’s like a traditional old town, right. And I would I knew all the owners of the bars. And I would literally go in the front door, go through the bar, shining shoes, go out the back door and just be do this whole zigzag pattern up and down Whiskey Row. Then I’d hit all of the courthouse offices, all the judges, the police station was right there, the sheriff’s office right there. So all the attorneys, all the lawyers, all the judges, all the police officers, and most of the Cowboys knew me from the time I was a little like 12 1314 year old. So when I started getting into trouble when I was 16, it really served me well. But there were many times where you know that we’d have some financial struggle, because the economy inflation was 9%. You know, it was nuts. We’re kind of feeling that again, really interesting time.
John Corcoran 7:10
Did you end up having to help the family in some way, because you’re making money,
Chuck Bender 7:13
many times that we had a we had a single wide trailer, it was I think 60 feet long. And the mortgage was $123 a month on this thing. And there were several times where my shoe shine money, got it out of foreclosure. Wow. Because we were about to lose the lose the trailer. That’s how rough it was for a time.
John Corcoran 7:35
Well, you resentful of
Chuck Bender 7:36
that. Um, I think I was embarrassed by it. Resentful is probably the wrong word. I think I was just embarrassed. I think there was this. You know, when we lived in California, we at least had a house, it was a really small house. And I remember when we first moved to Arizona, and we moved into this trailer, I just remember thinking to myself that I’ve just never going to have any friends come to my house. Right? It was just embarrassing. And, and ironically, I’m a little ashamed to say that today because I know my parents are just doing the best they could. Yeah, I’m with the tools that they had available and what they had been taught, which honestly, I don’t think, you know, when we talk about generational poverty, I think that what what we’re often taught by our parents is how to think about opportunity. And if we’re taught by our parents, that opportunity doesn’t exist, because pick reason XYZ. It doesn’t really matter what the reason is, but if we believe that if we come to believe that, that there is no opportunity, we really limit ourselves in so many ways. And I think the difference between families that are a little bit more fluid, that have more opportunities that we’re always teaching about opportunity. Right, you know, your oyster, you can crack it open, every door is wide open. Yeah.
John Corcoran 8:55
It’s funny, I just put this poster on both my couple of my kids walls with growth mindset versus, you know, limited mindset and kind of like trying to teach them some of those principles.
Chuck Bender 9:07
Yeah, it’s I mean, it’s great. Like both of my kids when they started high school, I remember sitting them down and just saying, Hey, listen, today, every single door is wide open for the rest of your life. You’re starting your freshman year, and every door is wide open. And what you do over the next four years is going to close some of those doors. Right? Now it’s up to you to close those doors. And now it’s up to me, my job as your parent is to try to help you keep as many of those doors open as possible. So you understand my motivation is to help you with that. You know, you know what you decide to do with your time and how you focus your energy and, and the results and outcomes that you generate over this period of time, is really going to create a fork in the road for you in about four years.