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IN THE STUDIO: Kurt Theobald, CEO of Classy Llama Studios, is launching leadership training videos and an app for married couples.
SBJ photo by Wes Hamilton
IN THE STUDIO: Kurt Theobald, CEO of Classy Llama Studios, is launching leadership training videos and an app for married couples.

Classy Llama CEO takes on leadership in next venture

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Serial entrepreneur Kurt Theobald is in the midst of two new projects, one of which just went live.

The CEO of Springfield digital commerce firm Classy Llama Studios LLC, Theobald has launched Original Leadership, a video training series designed to grow leadership qualities in individuals. He said the idea “is for every person to know and fully express who they really are.”

Theobald and his team have produced 23 Original Leadership videos since launching March 7 on YouTube.

“We say the first team you have to lead is yourself, so there’s a lot of things that get out of whack internally just because of how we grow up, the different influences we have in our lives,” Theobald said. “There’s so many things that create what we call incoherence inside of us.”

A website, OriginalLeadership.com, is also live. Posted videos are titled, “The Lies That Bind Us,” “Saying No to Bad Investment” and “Don’t Worship Growth.”

“I think most of leadership is just unleashing what’s true in a person and disassembling or breaking down what’s false in them. And if you do those things, then naturally good things are going to flow out of that person,” Theobald said. “You’ve got to stay connected to the people around you in order to be effective.”

He enlisted the help of Springfield-based content creators Rift Theory to develop and structure content along with video production.

“I’ve personally gone through a lot of leadership courses,” said Jeremy Bartley, co-founder of Rift Theory, which provides photography, podcasts and video production for clients. “The content Kurt is producing is truly different.”

Theobald said the Original Leadership videos aim to teach participants how to manage their feelings through self-alignment, relationships, honorable living and team coherence.

“When you learn to lead yourself that way, then when you lead others, you’re just training, equipping and mentoring others to do that for themselves,” Theobald said.

He said a target market would be identified through content engagement.

“What we’ve decided to do is put out content that generally expresses what we’re about. Then, we’re going to watch and see where the hotspots develop of who’s drawing on this,” Theobald said.

He said there are no fees for Original Leadership as it develops, but monetization methods are in the plans.

Justin Skinner, co-owner of Prixel Creative LLC, attended The Big Idea event hosted Feb. 28 by Longitude LLC, where Theobald teased the idea for Original Leadership.

“I was really interested in it,” Skinner said. “He’s had a lot of experience in the leadership role working through successes and failures, and I think there’s a lot to be said about that.”

The biggest takeaways Skinner had from the event was Theobald’s message about trying to grow and constantly learning and adapting. Skinner said he has not yet watched any of the videos posted online.

Theobald’s started over a dozen companies.

“I’ve got two operating profitability and I’ve had nine that were hideous failures,” said Theobald, who’s also CEO of Nucleus Commerce LLC, an e-commerce support firm for small businesses. “Every person has to come to the end of themselves to become successful. So much of what I did in that early period was being broken.”

Among his past companies are taxi-top advertiser Emphasis Marketing Corp., interactive computer stand-distributor Xponix Inc. and Chameleon Painting, his first business venture at age 19.

Theobald’s other latest venture, currently titled Good-to-Great, is a marriage-focused app in early-stage development.

Theobald said he’s looking for content partners and exploring what practices and exercises would be designed in the app help make good marriages great.

At Classy Llama, where Theobald also is chief strategist, the firm moved last year to businessman Bob Noble’s Chesterfield Village offices. The property, which Classy Llama purchased, is now called the Llama National Capitol Building, Theobald said.

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