Category Archives: About Us

Dad Practice

we're-godfathers-dad-practice
Written by Jason as a part of the We’re Godfathers Too series

Inevitably, I’m going to be a Dad one day, so it’s helpful getting lots of practice now.  I’m the Art Director at Step2 and we have dozens of mini models scampering in and out of our studio every month for product photo shoots. Some kids are cranky, several little ones really love being in front of the camera, others are afraid of the flashing lights and a couple won’t leave mom or dad’s side. And there are a few that are daredevils! Whatever the case, we always have to be on alert to ensure their safety.

I’m getting married this October 2015.  My fiancée, Lynsey and I have a little 16-month-old nephew (and godson) named Dominic. While mom, dad, grandma and grandpa see him everyday and know his abilities and limitations, we’re never quite sure what new tricks he’s picked up from previous weeks. His new skill is climbing everything and giving me a panic attack when I’m around.  I seem to be the most worried when he’s scaling his climber like King Kong. I know kids need to fall a few times in order to learn, but being a parent means keeping your head on a swivel 24/7! During our toy photo shoots, we only have to be attentive for the 30-60 minutes while the kids are in the studio….apparently, I still have a lot to learn.

were-godfathers-too-main

Step2 is headquartered in Northeast Ohio, and obviously it’s basketball playoff time. Dominic loves watching the Cleveland Cavaliers with us.  Even in the car or stroller he points out every basketball hoop in the neighborhood. “BALL!  BALL!  BOOM!”  His dad had to chase him down the other day as Dominic was waddling furiously to the hoop across the street.  Yikes!

But there’s no better dad practice than working with kids at your job and having a thrill seeking nephew/godson.  I’ll be a good dad one day, and by then I’ll be really good at swindling kids for smiles and laughs without having to give them sugary treats!

dominic-playing-on-step2-climber

About Jason
jason-bio-picutreJason is the Art Director at Step2.  He’s a science & astronomy nerd and thinks digital currency is inevitable.  He has a slight Beatles-like obsession with the band FOALS and thinks Elon Musk is too smart to be fully human.

My Journey to Step2

we're-dads-too-my-journey-to-step2

Written by Chris as a part of the We’re Dads Too series

Back in August 2014, a tragic event occurred that had a profound impact on my family, particularly my wife. My sister-in-law who lived in Northeast Ohio passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack. As we were grieving the loss of a loved one, we were also preparing to send my son Chris on a five country “technology detox” service program where his mission would be to help people using his hands and heart rather than a keyboard and mouse. Chris had been asked to take a year off from college as the result of his gaming addiction.

As we underwent this difficult time in our lives, I really wanted to bring my wife back to Ohio, where she grew up, so she could be closer to her family. By coincidence, I received a phone call in September 2014 asking if I was interested in interviewing for the President and CEO position at Step2 in Streetsboro, Ohio. I decided to look into the company, spoke to a number of employees and interviewed with what seemed like a hundred people over a span of four months.

were-dads-too

During the interviewing process, I fell in love with the culture and potential I saw at Step2. This company is like a family and it’s our goal to bring families together to play, laugh and enjoy childhood. Driving more social engagement and interaction between parents and kids is important to me. This hits home personally as I know I sometimes lose my son’s attention. However, I have faith my son will learn from his service program and reach his potential, just like I will learn and grow with the employees of Step2 and what it means to them to serve excellent products and services to parents and children.

My family and team members at Step2 motivate me each day to have a positive impact on families across the globe and I’m excited for the journey ahead.

About Chris
biography-picture-of-chris
Chris is the CEO and President at Step2. His most important roles also include being a husband and loving father of two. He enjoys spending time with his family and traveling. Chris is a big sports fan and active in community service.

Slobbery Kisses

we're-moms-too-slobbery-kisses-1

Written by Ashley S. as a part of the We’re Moms Too series. 

When my husband Patrick and I moved into together, we knew we wanted a pet to add to our family. We worked opposite shifts, so we felt getting a dog would offer both of us great companionship considering we wouldn’t see each other much more than every other weekend. Being a big guy at 6’1” and 250 lbs., Patrick has always wanted a big dog, an Irish Wolfhound named Regan to be exact, to match his mighty stature. At a mere 5’0”, I was not so sure about his aspirations, and luckily, we initially moved in to a townhouse where the weight limit on pets was only 20 lbs. We got right to work and scoured the local paper for puppies for sale, and we finally found an ad that caught our fancy – Puggles!

We called the lady up, and to our luck, she still had a few left. We were sooooo excited about this that we left right then and there to go pick up a new family member – a family member, as in singular. After spending just a few minutes with the three puppies that were left, Patrick literally begged me to say yes to leaving with two, reminding me that two of these guys were still smaller than one Wolfhound. And then the runt of the litter tugged my heartstrings, hard…he gave me those big, sad puppy dog eyes. I mean how could I say no to that teeny tiny guy?! I just couldn’t. So, we left with two new family members. And, in an ode to Patrick’s dream of one day owning an Irish Wolfhound, we gave them Irish names, Dublin and Finnegan; fitting, right?!

Fast forward five years. We bought a house, now have a decent sized yard, but we still work opposite shifts. Patrick started hinting that he wanted to expand our family, but with another pet, a big pet. A big pet that would only benefit me — that could protect me in our house when he is not home. (I’d like to think I can take care of myself just fine, but I got his point.) Patrick started looking at online ads for puppies, but I was still unsure about getting another dog; I felt two was good for us. So instead, he started looking at some rescue shelters, where he could go visit the dogs and play with them. He showed me couple of dogs he “just wanted to meet”, and I willingly said yes thinking that playing with some big dogs would get this whole “getting another pet” thing out of his system. WRONG. I should have known from that last time we came home with not one, but two puppies. He visited a shelter while I was at work, and about an hour after I knew he’d be there, I called him to see if he had fun. He didn’t answer his phone, OK, no biggie; I’d just call him on my lunch break. Noon came, and again, he didn’t answer…

I call again about a half hour later, and I hear an overly enthusiastic Patrick on the other end; in that moment, I knew I was now a mom to another dog. As it turns out, more like almost a dog – an 18-month-old puppy. I began to prepare myself for meeting a new family member. What I wasn’t prepared for was the tiny horse that came galloping out of Patrick’s truck, with drool hanging 18” off his jowels and a head as big as a watermelon — a 125 lbs. Bull Masstiff. I have to admit, I was initially intimidated by his massive size. I slowly walked over to him, giving my husband the “don’t’-you-dare-let-go-of-that-leash” look. Once I reached this massive puppy, I went over to pet him, and instead, ended up with slobbery mush- mouth kisses all over my pants and face. That was all it took, I was totally in love. We renamed him Frank the Tank, and we now have three loving dogs who keep us laughing at their very different personalities, keep us warm and snuggly in the winter and keep us forever cleaning up loving kisses of drool and slobber.

puppies

About Ashley S.
Ashley-s-dog-mom
Ashley is a Pinterest project-oholic, an avid crotcheter and a cake decorator wannabe. She is a “dog mom” to three precious pups, Dublin, Finnegan and Frank the Tank, and loves to come home to their wagging tails and slobbery kisses at the end of the day. Ashley is a Brand Manager at Step2.