Focused Passion - Finding Yourself in Paradise

Steve Snyder

Steven Snyder

Steve Snyder is one of the world's foremost experts on Accelerated Learning and Personal Development. A pioneer in the Human Potential movement, Steve co-founded Live and Learn, a non-profit (501C3) Educational Foundation in Sherman Oaks, California in 1978.

By 1987 Steve began providing seminars for corporations and business leaders, and soon focused on working with the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and TEC, now Vistage International.

Steve has made several thousand presentations in more than 90-countries worldwide, and is the recipient of the coveted TEC Speaker of the Year award.


Steve Snyder was a most unusual kid and grew up to be a most unusual man who has literally changed the lives of tens of thousands of people.

For starters:

By the time Steve Snyder was three, he was reading a book a day. In first grade his teacher asked the class if anyone already knew how to read. He was the only one who raised his hand.

"How many books have you read, Steve?" she quizzed. "About 1,400," Steve answered quite innocently. Did she believe him? Only after he named about a dozen titles of which he knew the plots. Did the woman faint? Her knees probably went a bit weak.

What would she do with him while she taught her class to read? Guess what. She literally put him in the corner to ó read! He got set apart, and apart is how the kids kept him, which fact was the initial catalyst that would determine his lifeís direction.

This happened in Los Angeles where he was born and lived with his mother and father and his grandmother and uncle. "Four parents instead of two," he smiles. When he was almost three, the four-parent team moved to the San Fernando Valley. At that same time his only sibling, a brother, was born. This added up to major changes: a new house, a new school, and a new rival for time and attention.

What was his refuge? Books.

When Steve was eight, he learned about self-hypnosis and was introduced to the concept of altered states of consciousness. He was instantly fascinated and it quickly became his hobby. He began to read everything that he could find on any related topic.

Then one night, when he was just 12 years old, Steve woke up from a dream that suggested he take his two hobbies, reading and self-hypnosis, and do them at the same time. Over the following three years, he created and developed a unique teaching program, HypnoReading, which transformed his life. No longer the odd man out, he began teaching his friends and has been teaching it professionally since.

But also, when Steve was 12, his father left ó suddenly, never saying good bye. Steve never heard from him again. It had an amazing impact of the darkest kind.

"Dealing with my fears of abandonment I spent many years both in and out of therapy searching my soul for the lessons that this experience offered," he admits. "And, as painful as it has been, it has also been a valuable agent for growth and change."

A successful student in high school ó good grades with little effort ó he didn't really get turned on scholastically until college. His undergraduate work was in psychology and several years of graduate work that lead to certification as a Hypnotherapist. Throughout, these years, he supported himself teaching HypnoReading and other self-hypnosis techniques to assist people with such things as changing eating habits and quitting smoking.

In 1978, Steve co-founded Live and Learn, a non-profit (501C3) Educational Foundation in Sherman Oaks, California. Staffed by 15 to 20 employees, the Foundationís focus was to teach enhanced living and accelerated learning skills through counseling, workshops, and seminars to people (especially school teachers) interested in maximizing their potential. Successful fund raising allowed them to provide scholarships. "Live and Learnís corporate mission," Steve explains, "was to help facilitate the gentle overthrow of our Industrial Age public school system and to assist society's transition into a system of 21st Century Information Age Education."

In 1987 Steve began doing corporate seminars and by 1991 was in such great demand that he closed Live and Learn to focus on his corporate work. In 1988 he began working with the Young Presidentsí Organization (YPO) and in 1990 he began his association with Vistage, previously known as TEC: The Executive Committee. Steve has made close to a thousand presentations for those two organizations and their member companies alone, and has presented in countries worldwide.

In 2000, Steve became a founding partner in BestQuest Teaching Systems, creating comprehensive animated digital video programs (DVDs) to help educators of middle school and high school students teach Algebra and Geometry classes along with critical thinking and problem solving skills.

During his tenure at Live and Learn, Steve appeared many times as a guest on Michael Bennerís radio talk shows and was so impressed with his understanding of the process and his philosophic approach to life, that he asked Benner to become a presenter at Live and Learn. Much to the studentsí enthusiastic delight, he agreed.

Now, some 30 years later, the two friends have created a way to enhance their own lives and the lives of countless others by forming Breakthrough Enterprises, and the website.

Steve is married (in 1999 for the first and only time) to Teresa Allred. A beautiful and accomplished woman, Teresa was the CEO of Ontic Engineering and Manufacturing Inc., the nationís largest licensed manufacturer of aircraft parts for both military and commercial aircraft. She successfully sold her business, and now Steve and Teresa live with their two Golden Retrievers in Maui Hawaii.

Michael Benner

Michael Benner

Michael Benner is best known for his popular talk radio programs originating in Southern California. Since 1977, he has hosted news, commentary, and talk shows in Los Angeles on KABC-AM, KLOS-FM, KLSX-FM, KCBS-FM (Arrow 93.1), KRLA-AM, KWST-FM, KNAC-FM and KPFK-FM.

In 1987 Michael left broadcasting as a full-time profession to begin his own business. Personal Development Strategies (PDS) provides counseling, training, and mentoring to individuals, couples, and businesses. As presented by Michael, the strategies include stress and anger management, relationship management, motivation (élan & esprit), goal-setting, problem-solving, accelerated learning, leadership & teamwork, continuous improvement, and character-building modules.


If you were in love with the idea of writing a nostalgic story about an idyllic boyhood in average town USA, highly regarded Los Angeles radio broadcaster Michael Benner could tell you his. Picture this ó Michael grew up in St. Joseph, a small town in southwestern Michigan (population 9,000) bounded on three sides by endless miles of fruit orchards and on the west by the sand dunes and broad beaches of Lake Michigan.

As a boy, his greatest love was baseball. He and his friends played constantly when there was no snow on the ground, and, occasionally, even when there was. There were also countless adventures in the deep ravines and along the St. Joseph River where Michael and his boyhood pals acted-out their secret Huck Finn fantasies. Shades of the All American Boy.

And high school? A standup, standout kid. From age 14 until he left for college, he worked part-time in a small, local grocery store (Schneckís Market) as a bag and carryout boy. In his Junior Year, Michael was elected Class President as well as President of the school's Hi-Y Club (a YMCA program). He played bass clarinet in the high school band and also lettered in both Junior Varsity and Varsity football. A smart student, athlete, musician, and a popular leader among his peers.

Michael graduated from St. Joseph High School in 1966 and from Michigan State University in 1970 with a BA in Television and Radio Management. Shortly thereafter he moved to Detroit where he worked in radio doing news, talk shows, and progressive rock DJ work (WDRQ-FM, WRIF-FM, WWWW-FM).

If the story were to continue in typical All American boy-to-man stages, Michael might have stayed in Detroit, married his college sweetheart and had 2.5 children. But thatís not how this story ends.

Mind Science

In 1974, Michael took a 40-hour training called Silva Mind Control ó essentially a class in meditation and self-hypnosis. He'd long been interested in such things, especially after reading in college about Edgar Cayce. Now he became fascinated with developing his hidden potential and teaching others to do the same.

One year later, Michael moved to Los Angeles intent on finding a way to use his impressive broadcasting skills to pursue his new passion ó helping people open their minds and hearts to discover their true selves.

He did just that, which is possibly the most All-American accomplishment of all. As stated in the California Institute of Technology "Tech" newspaper: "Benner is known both for his very non-conventional, independent politics and his authoritative views on human potential development. Both of these subjects he discusses and argues for in an extremely articulate manner, which makes listening to him an experience in itself."

Michael Benner is best known throughout Southern California for his popular talk radio programs. Since 1975, he has hosted news and talk shows on KABC-AM, KLOS-FM, KNAC-FM, KLSX-FM, and KCBS-FM (Arrow 93.1). Currently heís heard on KPFK (90.7-FM) Thursdays at 11 P.M. and on KRLA (870-AM) and KRLH (590-AM) each Saturday evening from 10 P.M. to Midnight.

Career Change

In 1987 Michael left broadcasting as a full-time profession to begin his own business, Personal Development Strategies. With offices in Glendale, he provides consulting and training to individuals, couples and businesses. As presented by Michael, Personal Development Strategies include stress and anger management, conflict resolution and sensitivity, motivation, goal-setting, problem-solving, accelerated learning, leadership, teamwork, and character-building modules. Michael hosts public seminars such as: Creativity, Confidence and Courage; The Power of Self-Respect; Through the Looking Glass, and Integrity, Adventures in Personal Truth. He has also served as the Sports Psychology Consultant for the U.S.C. Womenís Tennis team and Burbank Burroughs High School Baseball Team.

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors has granted Michael a permanent, lifetime certification as an instructor of Communication Arts. He has served as a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Educationís Radio Broadcast Advisory Committee and the Pasadena City College Broadcast Advisory Committee.

Michael is a federally-licensed amateur radio operator, N6IJR, and the Deputy City Radio Officer for the Glendale Emergency Amateur Radio Service (GEARS). He is the past Chairman of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce Disaster Preparedness Committee, a past member of the Board of Directors for the Glendale Family YMCA, and currently volunteers as a Community Development Educator and Public Affairs Officer for the Glendale-Crescenta Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross where he is also a member of the Board of Directors.

Michael has received formal accolades and awards from the United Nations Association, the American Red Cross, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the Live and Learn Foundation, the National Leukemia Broadcasters Council, the Glendale Family YMCA, and the Glendale Jaycees. His biography can be found in Marquis Whoís Who in the West, 27th edition.

Michael has been married to his lovely wife Doreen for ten years, and they live with their two cats Huxley and Alice in Kula, Hawaii.


Additionally, Michael and Steve have worked together for more than 25-years, facilitating seminars, workshops and intensive training programs. Besides their hugely popular webcast, Finding your Self in Paradise, the duo has also produced and co-hosted the Breakthrough Radio Show on KRLA, 870-AM in Los Angeles and KRLH, 590-AM in San Bernadino, California.