Real Life Struggles of Starting and Growing a Business


In this interview with Barbara Stankowski, President and CEO of AMTIS, Inc., we discuss what it takes to get a business started, the real-life challenges of what it takes to grow, the meaning of persistence and resilience, and why it’s so important to invest in developing your people.


“There is no perfect plan.  There's a learn-and-do, fall. Pick yourself up, learn and do. Fall down, pick yourself up and do and keep on going.”

“So what looked like the darkest hour, the hardest time, the most sleepless nights produced a great result.”

“You can't underestimate the impact that you have as a leader.”

About Our Guest

Ms. Barbara Stankowski completed a distinguished 28-year career in the U.S. Navy in 1998. Prior to establishing AMTIS, Inc. she worked as a training and education consultant bringing over 30 years of program management, training development and IT operations experience to the company. She is a leader development expert, exceptional coach, speaker, and facilitator.

Barbara holds a Master’s of Science in Computer Science from the Naval Postgraduate School and an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Pennsylvania State University. She is a graduate of the Joint Forces Staff College, was a Senior Fellow at the Naval Postgraduate School 1998-1999 and was inducted as a Penn State Alumni Fellow in 1996.


Seth: Hey, everybody this is Seth here on Modern da Vinci. I want to welcome you to our interview series. We are speaking with business owners, leaders and experts to see what we can learn, what inspires us, and especially as we think about what matters to us in terms of leadership, and how to grow a business. And today, we're honored to have our guest on Barbara Stankowski, the President and CEO of AMTIS. AMTIS is a professional services and training company based in Orlando Florida. And, Barbara thank you for being on. You're approaching your ten year anniversary with AMTIS. Tell us a little bit about AMTIS and what it feels like to be approaching ten years?

Barbara: Unbelievable. Hard to think that it's been a ten year journey. But what a journey it's been. AMTIS is as Seth said a services company. We started off focusing predominantly back in 2007 on training development, developing products for customers. And doing a little bit of leadership development and we've developed into a multifaceted company delivering executive coaching, leader development facilitation in one area, doing training and evaluation, doing the entire ADDIE model (analysis designed development, implementation and evaluation) of products both web based, instructor led and blended solutions. And we do business processing services, as well as professional services. Today, we employ about one hundred seventy people located in twenty locations across twelve states. With the revenue of approaching twenty million dollars a year. Not the way we started off. But it's been a great journey.

Seth: So, Barbara these are impressive numbers when you talk about revenue and employees.  And I've had the benefit of working with you now for years and kind of being able to watch this happen. What kind of growth has that been over the past couple years?

Barbara: Well, I tell everybody it takes five years to get traction, to get started. And the first five years were okay but somewhat dismal.  I never thought I'd have more than ten employees. For the first five years we averaged probably in between five and ten employees making. Oh, one seven years, a little less than a million, other years a little over a million dollars a year. And then we hit the five year mark and we just took off. But you know if we hadn't been persistent and stayed the course, we never would've saw the outcome after five years.

Seth: So those are two words Barbara that I want to come back to because folks who are listening to this, many of them are curious about what does it really take to go from maybe starting something to a small company to one that's just it's going through this incredible growth like you guys are. So, I want to hold on to those two themes as we talk.  But before we go too far into AMTIS, I'm also curious. Just more about you, you truly had what I think is a unique career path leading up to where you are now. Can you tell us a little about that journey?

Barbara Stankowski  President and CEO AMTIS, Inc.

Barbara Stankowski
President and CEO