Gene Longobardi - Education

Irvine, California

Gene Longobardi is Chief Operating Officer of Online Trading Academy and in his twelve years with the company has helped develop a world-class financial education company operating in seven countries. He has over 35 years of senior executive experience with franchise, education and real estate companies. He served as Senior Vice President of Business Development with ELLIS, Inc., a Salt Lake City company that produced and distributed English language learning software for children and adults worldwide. As a senior executive with New Horizons Computer Learning Centers, Inc., he helped grow the company to become the world's largest information technology training company, expanding it from three locations and 1992 revenues of $7 million to over 280 locations with revenues exceeding $500 million by 1999. He began his New Horizons’ career as Chief Financial Officer and later became Senior Vice President of Global Franchise Operations, responsible for franchise development and support, product management and worldwide training. Gene has also been a successful business consultant and workshop facilitator, working with numerous companies in the education and training industries.



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Richelle Stevenson

Gene Longobardi has defined my understanding of family. This man is my uncle and has been a constant influence in my life. Uncle Gene has taught me that distance does not give an excuse for not staying connected with those you love. Although hundreds of miles away, I feel like he's just one city over. The encouragement he has shown me has pushed me to further my education. Throughout my masters degree he and my Aunt Babette checked in to see how I was doing and always shared an encouraging word when stressed. Uncle Gene could lift me up and keep me going. I think that is a key component of a true leader. He didn't do it through harshness or intimidation but pure love and support of the individual. At any family event, Uncle Gene is the beacon of humor. Everyone loves Uncle Gene! In addition to Uncle Gene's love, encouragement, support, and humor, he has come along side me and my husband during some of the most exciting and painful moments in our lives. While my husband was testing for various fire departments in California, Uncle Gene and Aunt Babette always had an open door to their home. During joyous occasions they were always there in person or through phone contact. Last Fall, I unexpectedly lost my father, his brother-in-law. Although my parents are divorced, Uncle Gene never stopped treating my dad like family. Within minutes of finding out my dad died of a heart attack, Uncle Gene was reaching out to me. Also, during the middle of Thanksgiving they left their traditional time and flew up to be with my family and support us through my dad's funeral. Although all this just sounds like a great uncle, I see it for so much more. Yes, Gene Longobardi is an amazing uncle! However, these characteristics are not just seen by family. These characteristics are his being; He lives and breaths them every moment of his life and to all those that come across his path.

May 27 at 11:46 AM
Eryn (Longobardi) Kraning

I am extremely blessed to have Gene Longobardi as my daddy. Over the years he's held many titles in business, most of which I didn't understand growing up. I just knew that when mom would take us to his office to visit him, I had to admit, it was pretty cool that everyone knew my dad. As we'd walk around to the various cubicles, offices, break rooms and mail rooms, strangers would give us hugs, congratulate us on a recent accomplishment (because dad kept everyone informed about how proud he was of us) and then they would proceed to sing praises about my dad. Even as a moody teenager I thought that was pretty cool, you know, dad being "popular" and all. Now being 32 years old and part of both corporate America and the free enterprise system, I'm constantly grateful and amazed by the integrity and passion with which my father has led people for decades. Dad just attracts people to himself with his big smile and positive attitude. We still go visit him at the office and bring his grandkids so people can gush over them, because he's now a proud dad and "Papa". What I've come to realize is that even more impressive than people knowing dad (everyone knows the name of the guys at "the top"), dad knows their names too. And not just their name, but their story, their family, what makes them tick. It's truly remarkable for someone who uses so much of their mental capacity to help run an extremely successful and thriving company to have enough emotional bandwidth to love on people in every department and position in the org chart as well. What I also think speaks volumes is dad is the same in the office as he is as a Sunday school teacher for 6th graders (and had been for over a decade), while giving children's sermons in "Big Church", on the softball field with the "Trinity Disciples", with my softball teams that he coached years ago, with a few young men he's mentored through the his life, with my friends growing up and in his home. Dad can't find a matching lid to a Tupperware container in their well organized kitchen, yet he can love on anyone within a 5 foot radius and make them feel important and vakued, no matter what their age, race, religion or background. He's such a lover of people, and I'm so grateful to have watched him take an interest in strangers and loved ones alike. On my first date with my now husband he genuinely thanked our waitress and used her name, something my dad taught me to do from a young age- and he taught it by modeling it everywhere we went. Dad is famous for wearing a red clown nose and passing them out to others. There was about a decade of my life that his actions were mortifying, but once I realized that the nose made everyone smile, I embraced the clown nose and the reason behind it. Dad just wants everyone to enjoy life, not take themselves too seriously, and spread some joy to others. On our wedding day we surprised him by having all of the guests put on clown noses during his speech, and everyone got to take home a little bit of Longo as I left my maiden name behind that day. I encouraged them to keep it on their car and wear it during traffic like dad did- the double takes followed by smiles we'd get from the car next to us were always classic. My dad is one of the most amazing men I know, and has been influencing people my entire life. I will let you hear about his tough upbringing from him directly, but for a man who grew up pretty much without a father in the home, he's been a father figure to dozens. From the girls on my softball teams (everyone tried to get their kids on the team my dad coached because we won with values and integrity), to the young man he mentored and taught to drive, to my cousin who had a great dad but he lived 3,000 miles away, to my friends who would disappear during a sleepover, only to be found chatting with my dad about a self development book he was letting her borrow (he couldn't get me to read them but for reasons I couldn't understand at the time my friends listened), to the children from broken families in the "Confident Kids" program he was passionately involved in for years, to his young coworkers who strive to climb the ladder with the same level of integrity dad has, to I'm sure dozens more I haven't seen. A lot of times men who have high profile jobs or are very involved in their church or community neglect the needs of their families or wives, but I've always known the three women in his house were top priorities to him. Dad's influence literally spans the globe. He's a leader within his home, community and church, but through business has also made friends in foreign countries all over the world. He's brought back souvenirs and gifts from exotic foreign countries, always accompanied by pictures and stories of the people who gave the gifts. You could always tell by the smiles on their faces, they weren't posing with dad for the typical "CEO photo" that'll end up on a company newsletter someday, but rather that the photo will serve as a momento of the wonderful time they had getting to know one another while conducting business and building a lasting friendship. I know my dad will tell you he had 2 great influences in his life: his uncle Gene who recently passed away but stood in the gap for my dad on many occasions, and our Heavenly Father, whom dad surrendered his life to when I was in kindergarten. Dad's heart for people, generous spirit, good nature, fun loving attitude, hard work ethic, and focused discipline have inspired thousands through the years, and with each friend he makes, they leave knowing dad loves the Lord. Eventually many of them have come to know the Lord as well something dad values way more than titles, bonuses, or awards. I could go on forever, and would be happy to do so, if it would help dad win this phenomenal award so people can be encouraged by his amazing story. A young kid from Brooklyn who drove across country with a few buddies with only pennies in their pocket went on to touch thousands of lives and become a high level executive... quite the story, which again, I urge you to ask him about yourself. As a side note, dad has an amazing sense of humor, and would be hilarious chatting with John on stage. They'd give each other a run for their money! Thank you for your time and consideration of dad for the John Maxwell Leadership Award!

May 27 at 2:01 AM