Corporate Trainer Empowers Teens To “Own” Their Success

Corporate Trainer Empowers Teens to “Own” Their Success

Corporate Trainer Empowers Teens to “Own” Their Success

After more than 20 years as a corporate trainer, Dennis Deaton, now teaches principles of “ownership thinking” to teens, equipping them for success through an online accountability and empowerment course called Own It! Photo by Aubrey Startin Photograhy.

By Cecily Markland

Corporate Trainer Empowers Teens to “Own” Their Success

Dennis Deaton, nationally known as a corporate educator and popular convention speaker, has trained thousands of businessmen and women over the past 25 years.

Now, his message is making a dramatic difference for teens across the country.

That message of personal responsibility and accountability, unique in the business world, is almost unheard of among some teenagers today. Dr. Deaton calls it “Ownership Spirit.”

Ownership Spirit is his trademark and the topic of his fifth book, the 2009 Best Books Award Winner in the Business Motivation category, titled Ownership Spirit: The One Grand Key that Changes Everything Else. 

“Ownership Spirit is a way of managing our thoughts, so we think like an owner, rather than a victim, and create a winning situation for everyone,” Dr. Deaton says.

A member of the Thayer Park Ward, Mountain View Stake, Dr. Deaton has taught similar principles in church settings as well, encouraging accountability and “tough-minded ownership” in adult education courses for the Church Education System and as a regular speaker at BYU Campus Education Week for 25 years.

He says it’s been gratifying to see the effect these principles have, especially in the workplace. Employees who embrace ownership “are healthier and more productive, and the company prospers as employees become more engaged in their work and promoting company success,” he says.

Yet, while grateful for his many past opportunities, he sees his latest endeavor as the culmination of his life’s work.

“It is so interesting how the Lord leads us along. I’m realizing that all the work I’ve done in the business world was to prepare the way and hone the message so sorely needed by young people today.”

Case in point: the large percentage of high school students who struggle to finish, many dealing with chronic challenges they’ve had throughout their school years. Statistics show more than 8,000 students drop out of high school every day. Among those who do begin some form of post-secondary education, one-third quit in the first year.

“What is missing for many young people is a particular skillset. More specifically, they are missing a set of thought processes that produce successful skills and traits. They are missing the Ownership Spirit,” Dr. Deaton says.

Education leader Dana Van Deinse recognized the same thing when she first heard a presentation by Dr. Deaton in 2010 and immediately realized what a difference this message could make for high school and college students.

Their desire to help young people succeed led Deaton and Van Deinse to join forces. Together they formed Grand Key Education (GKE) and created an exciting new online course called Own It!. Based on principles taught in the business world, Own It! is the first-ever teen empowerment and accountability course.

Own It! instills real-world success skills, including mind management, problem-solving and goal setting. It teaches students to overcome mental barriers and ineffective habits and replace them with traits of tough-minded owners—all in a format that resonates with today’s students,” Van Deinse says.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive, Van Deinse adds.

Own It! opens a new world for students,” Deaton says. “Suddenly, they see that they can have success. They can develop the skillset and thought processes that lead them to realize their hopes for a quality education and a meaningful career.”

Just months since its launch, the course is already being used by more than 6,000 students. It is being implemented as part of the required curriculum of online schools like the Atlanta, Georgia-based Provost Academy, used in traditional classrooms and by homeschoolers, and was recently released for individuals to purchase for their own use.

For more about Own It!, visit and like them on Facebook at

The Beehive

The Arizona Beehive is a complementary East Phoenix Valley LDS lifestyle and living publication, published six times a year, featuring content on people to meet, places to explore, events to attend and businesses to patronize.

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