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For over 30 years, Dean has demonstrated his ability to accelerate companies, stimulate business development, and improve operational efficiency. In 1981 he started his career at Merrill Lynch within Computer Operations, helping to launch the first telecommunication systems to delivery trades from all over the world, and clear through the Chicago headquarters.

He left to start his own technology firm, to then develop call center technologies for Sears, Discover, Blue Cross, MBNA and others in the insurance and credit card industries. Then as technology evolved, he transferred his skills from the back office to the front office, applying his skills to CRM and front line online automation. He quickly adapted and found ways to assist clients with channel sales development with the use of technology, digital education and onboarding methodologies. In 2002, he developed a channel support platform that was used by companies like Baxter Labs, Computer Associates and other Fortune 500 companies.

Even today he is consistently utilizing a unique blend of relationship marketing, digital education, influencer development and social selling, Dean harnesses the ever-evolving power of technology, paired with consulting, coaching and training, to implement sound business practices around building culture and community.

In 2012, Dean launched the leading Influencer Development Platform, Social Jack™. It combines the coaching and training of Forward Progress with industry-standard tools and mobile technology, equipping organizations and professionals to rise above the noisy digital world and stand out as an influencer. The platform has served over 120,000 professionals globally including GE Global, Nationwide Insurance, Well Fargo, Merrill Lynch, American Family Insurance along with many other organizations, associations and universities.
Dean also hosts a popular LIVE podcast – The Influence Factory – interviewing Business Influencers from all over the world. His recent book FIRST, The Street Guide to Digital Business Influence, contains a proven step-by-step formula that fuels professional to accelerate their influence and cultures to humanize their brand with the power of their network.

Initial Interest

Since he was young, online networks have fascinated Dean. He caught his first glimpse of the power of online networking while leading the night shift at Merrill Lynch’s first data center in Chicago. With instant online access to hundreds of people in financial data centers across the globe, Dean quickly found them to be sources of new friends, valuable connections, and unmatched power to get business done. Since discovering the influence of online networking, Dean has been passionate about helping his clients build “Community” for the purpose of retention and a long-term resource for referrals. During this exciting time of increasing power of the Internet and Social Networks, he can truly help clients take it to the next level.


As an experienced CEO and business owner, Dean coaches senior executives in publicly and privately held companies, using his proprietary Power Plan System to identify the appropriate strategy, map out a clear direction, structure the team, and execute the plan within an aggressive timeframe. Dean has many milestone projects to attribute to his success, with innovations that grew from his projects still being widely used by companies. As the chief architect on a call center marketing project for Sears, labeled the Call-to-Activate program, Dean spearheaded the revolutionary idea where credit cards were mailed and consumers were required to call in to activate their card. Once they called in, customers were presented with an opportunity to buy a variety of insurance products offered by Sears, Discover, and AllState. Dean and his team were responsible for the technology, data routing, call handling, script, training, and hiring along with conversion of calls to insurance purchases. This was a successful project that ran for over 4 years and Dean and the team saw this grow from a pilot call center of one hundred people to over 4,000 team members with multiple locations and is still used throughout the credit card industry today.

In 2000, Dean launched a very successful online B2B university,, where he raised private equity to launch the school. The valuation drove to over 100 million dollars, securing contracts with the companies Computer Associates and Baxter Laboratories.

Dean’s four-year initiative for General Growth Properties consisted of a series of projects to create one of the largest valued lead generation programs in the company’s history. He then worked with the senior officers of General Growth to architect, develop and implement the first automated deal flow system, Deal Maker, so that national contracts could be controlled by the centralized Chicago Operations. This system allowed senior management and board members to have immediate access and complete visibility to the flow of deals and all associated financial data for the first time in the company’s history.

In 2003, committed to online marketing and conversion, Dean launched Forward Progress, a company with a unique blend of online marketing services including website development, online advertising, social media, and content creation, all with an underlying theme of influencer marketing. Having an extensive background in coaching and training, Dean was dedicated to allowing people to benefit from the fast paced movement of online marketing and incorporated training and coaching to all clients as an independent or blended service. Product, service, and training offerings include but are not limited to,,, to name a few.
Dean uses every tool available, weaving in aspects of every medium to achieve the end goal and accelerate his clients’ business growth.

Giving Back

The Internet can be an incredible tool for today’s youth. With billions of pages of trusted information and credited sources, it is easy to find almost anything. Once “send” is pressed, that information becomes cemented into the wires and tubes of the Internet, and it is very difficult to recover. Dean reinforces this idea to students, addressing safety concerns and tips to stay above the gossip and drama that can be so tempting to entertain. Instead of focusing on what’s being said in a friend’s Facebook thread, Dean steers students’ attention towards more professional and beneficial sites liked LinkedIn. By viewing sites as tools towards employment, students are able to harness the power of Social Media and use it for their advantage when searching for jobs. By making connections and smart choices early on, Dean teaches students about the importance of their online footprints, and how to control their public image.


Dean’s extensive list of clients and professional relationships have included: Sears, Blue Cross Blue Shield, State Farm, Allstate, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, General Growth Properties, Baird & Warner, Keller Williams, Dream Town, BOMA, BDO Seidman, Mitsubishi, Cardinal Health, 1st Farm Credit Services, The Popcorn Factory, Envestnet, CBOE, Con Agra, ReMax, Cendant, Chicago Realty Advisors, Lee Publications, Fast Heat, Robinson Steel, Buona Beef, Striker Securities, Worldwide Association of Business Coaches, AAM, Merrill-Lynch, Moody Bible Institute, Center for Christian Life Enrichment, The Wright Institute, Jupiter Communities, Learning Enhancement Corp, American Family Insurance, Brillante Multi-culteral Marketing, Vision Integrated Graphics, MBNA,, Bridgeview Bank, First Eagle Bank and The Private Bank.

Connect with Dean and start working together to build your business today.

Specialties – Dean and the Forward Progress Team can assist with:

  • Influencer Marketing
  • Relationship Marketing
  • Building Social Communities
  • Architect Social Networks
  • Launching National Brands
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Social Network Sales Training and Coaching
  • Social Media Project Management
  • Campaign Development and Management
  • eMarketing
  • Online Marketing
  • Webinar Production
  • eMail Marketing
  • Referral Network Building
  • Channel Sales Development
  • Strategic Planning


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