Living off food stamps in a run-down, inner-city Baltimore neighborhood isn’t the childhood you’d expect of one of Maryland’s Most Admired CEOs, but this is exactly how Joe Mechlinski got his start—and why he’s made “beating the odds” his life’s work.
After completing high school, where he graduated with less than a fourth of his class, Joe lost his mother. And by his early 20s, he’d attended more funerals than most people do in a lifetime. But instead of letting these challenges bring him down, Joe channeled them into action.
First, at 19, Joe started a contracting company to pay his way through college, and employed fellow students. In only three years, Joe grew the venture to 150 employees.
Then, while earning his degree from the Johns Hopkins University, Joe founded three additional ventures—with varying degrees of success, and failure. At 23, he co-founded his fifth company, entreQuest (eQ), a management-consulting firm that the Baltimore Business Journal has named one of the “Best Places to Work” for five consecutive years.
Since founding the business, Joe and eQ have been featured on Bloomberg Radio, as well as in publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur and The Wall Street Journal Online. And in 2014, Joe was invited to sit on the White House Small Business Council.
A decade after eQ’s inception, Joe compiled the lessons he learned from his early life experiences, and his work with more than 500 organizations across the country, into the 2013 New York Times bestseller: “Grow Regardless”.
But one of his biggest passions remains giving back—especially within communities like the one where he got his start.
He co-founded the B4Students Foundation, which linked corporate mentors and at-risk Baltimore students for their entire high school careers. He has served on the board of NextGen Angels, Betamore, Conscious Venture Labs, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake and the Community-University Collaboration Committee (CUCC).
Outside of Baltimore, he’s worked with Opportunity Village in Las Vegas, Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, Virgin Unite in the United Kingdom and the Ford Foundation headquartered in New York.
In 2016, Joe founded SHIFT—a localized network of executives and entrepreneurs creating a new standard for business. The group focuses on innovation and impact to transform city ills for good.
to help build 10,000 mission-driven growth organizations. These are companies who want to grow regardless of their size, industry or the economy and care about their employees, clients and community.
Whether he’s teaching the Grow Regardless concept to an entire organization, motivating sales professionals to take his “Growth Challenge,” or imparting concrete ways employers can attract and retain the best and brightest talent, Joe’s keynote presentations and breakout sessions have informed and inspired audiences from coast to coast and across a wide range of industries.
Join Joe on this journey and get started today!
Challenge your team to be more, do more, and give more back to organization.
An entire organization, client facing, sales, large group of managers
Grow your organization regardless of its size, industry, the economy, and despite the government.
Executive team, CEOs, board of directors, management team
Deliver continuous value to your clients by providing remarkable experiences at every turn.
Customer Service Representatives, Sales people, and all client-facing professionals
Create sustainable change within an organization
Human Resources professionals, cross-functional committee of change oriented professionals, management teams, executive teams