Lon Haber: “Here Are 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became A CEO”

The major challenge of being in the main leadership role is that everything eventually falls on you — it becomes your responsibility. What I have learned is to be as discerning as possible in everything I do. As part of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lon Haber. […]

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The major challenge of being in the main leadership role is that everything eventually falls on you — it becomes your responsibility. What I have learned is to be as discerning as possible in everything I do.

As part of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lon Haber. Lon Haber (born June 22, 1977 in Miami, Florida) is an American actor, writer, producer and public relations expert He is a graduate of Phillips Academy Andover, Florida State University and the University of Southern California. He is the son of jazz musician and broadcasting executive Les Haber and public relations guru Geri Haber. He began his acting career while in elementary school on Broadway in hit shows from Fiddler on the Roof, 42nd Street, Little Shop of Horrors, Gypsy and more. From ages 11–14 was the host of Notebook News, a for-kids broadcast news show on WBFS-TV in Miami. Broadway, Off Broadway and Regional credits include Cabaret (Viktor/Kit Kat Boy), ‘ (Orin, The Dentist), The Taming of the Shrew (Grumio), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Joseph), The Lion in Winter (John), Rent (Mark), Ragtime (Tateh), Victor Ullman’s “Der Kaiser von Atlantis” (der Lautsprecher) at LA Opera, under the direction of James Conlon. Lon is active in a number of theatrical improvisation troupes. Lon has worked on such illustrious, multiple-award winning on-screen projects and with industry icons that include but are not limited to: Entourage, Oscar-winner for Best Film The Shape of Water, Law and Order, Brüno with Sacha Baron Cohen, The Florida Project with Willem Dafoe, Paul Schrader’s First Reformed with Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried, Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, Predestination with Ethan Hawke, First Man with Ryan Gosling, and Captain Marvel. Proficient in dialects and voices, he can be heard on numerous commercials and television shows, and in feature films in the US, South America and Europe. Lon is a board member of artistic and non-profit organizations like the Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company, Kids for Kids, Clifford Bailey Fine Art, The Young Storytellers Foundation, and The New Warrior Mankind Project, and also works as a public relations counselor for a number of artists, corporations large and small, and community-outreach organizations. Lon is the Class Secretary for Phillips Academy Andover’s Class of 1995 and a member of the Andover Alumni Council. Lon is an avid musician with extensive classical and jazz vocal and piano training, and is schooled in the arts of Brazilian and Afro-Caribbean percussion. Plays piano. Studied Afro-Cuban and Brazilian percussion in Miami. Plays bongos, congas, surdu, tamborim and ganzá. Was in a samba band, “Samba Oba” throughout college at Florida State University. He is fluent in English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Pig-Latin and Gibberish. He is well-versed in Mandarin, Farsi, Arabic, Hebrew and the Scandinavian languages. Haber is of Austrian, Bavarian and Spanish descent on his paternal side, and German, Scottish, Swedish and Czech (formerly The Kingdom of Bohemia) descent on his maternal side. His maternal side of the family arrived in the US as early as the late 1700s. His father’s side around the turn of the 20th century. He holds a number of hereditary and courtesy titles in Austria, Hungary, Bavaria, Spain, Scotland, Sweden and England. He spends his time between New York, Los Angeles and Miami and also frequents Toronto, London, Vienna, Munich and the Cote d’Azur. Lon Haber & Co is a full-service public relations, marketing and branding firm that bridges the gap between filmmakers, sales companies, production companies, and film festivals, distribution outlets and the international press, public and marketplace. We specialize in the promotion, production, sales and distribution of films, VIPs and special events at all stages of the filmmaking, sales, festival and distribution processes. Lon Haber & Co. maintains a highly visible presence at all major film festivals and markets worldwide including but not limited to Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Toronto, Sundance, Tribeca, Hong Kong, Busan, AFM (American Film Market), EFM (European Film Market) and the Asian Film Market. Lon additionally teaches filmmaking, film sales and marketing, the business of being an artist as well as on-camera acting classes at various schools and universities worldwide.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Divine intervention or an accident. I had been an actor since the age of six, mostly on stage from Broadway to regional theatre, and I was now in mid-twenties, acting in a film that made its way to Cannes. When we got there, the actors ended up on their own, as our film was so low budget, a few people couldn’t make it. Yet the business side of me said, “no one knows we’re here — what do we do” and someone reminded me that my mother has a PR firm. I asked her what to do, she told me to write a press release, I FAXED it to her, she redlined it, we finalized it, translated over a thousand into french, stuffed the press boxes, sent out emails, and we were overflowing with interviews for days…and I now was not only a film publicist on top of being an actor, and a barista in Los Feliz at the time, I was the CEO of a Film centric PR firm. Voila.

Can you share one of the major challenges you encountered when first leading the company? What lesson did you learn from that?

The major challenge of being in the main leadership role is that everything eventually falls on you — it becomes your responsibility. What I have learned is to be as discerning as possible in everything I do.

What are some of the factors that you believe led to your eventual success?


What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO”? Please share a story or example for each.

1. Have a lot of money in the bank for when clients pay late and you have to keep payroll going, the lights on, etc.

2. Keep your QUALITY OF LIFE a top priority.

3. Find a perfect assistant ASAP (lucked out there).

4. You’re in charge for better or worse; be ready for anything.

5. ASK YOURSELF OFTEN: IS IT WORTH MY TIME/EFFORT/ENERGY — if so, how much, and what is the cost; financially, energetically, spiritually, physically.

What advice would you give to your colleagues to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?


None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

There are so many, but there are two who come to mind. One is producer/director and activist Peter Jay Brown along with Captain Paul Watson of Shepherd who showed me I could do anything I wanted to do, and that divine timing and “coincidences” have a major impact on our lives. This also, to me, means — trust your gut and have faith in yourself and doors will open and you will succeed in anything you want.

Peter, with his first film, Confessions of An Eco-Terrorist, opened up an entirely new division of our firm which focuses on not only documentaries, but hands-on, “we were there”, meaningful projects of all sorts that benefit our planet and every human, plant and animal on it.

The other, I will never forget, was Robbie Little, film industry sales veteran who helped to shape the industry — he told me two things: 1 — while walking from a packed screening in Cannes, on a film on which I was running PR with one assistant and hundreds of people to look after, “I hear you are an actor! Be proud of that. You don’t have to hide it. Loads of people want to act and work other jobs to make it happen, maybe you are doing a bit of both, but whomever told you to hide that was a fool. I am proud to tell my clients that when my PR is not writing press releases and organizing interviews for us, he’s on set with Helena Bonham Carter or Adrian Grenier or Al Pacino!

He also made me unafraid to take risks; i.,e., when you have A-list talent who need lunch for 10 at a very expensive restaurant and two new film festival cars because someone “borrowed” your other cars … and you are a young 20-something, with your own business but still in it’s first few years of major operation, and you think, “this could cost me $5000, what do I do?” So I asked him, he told me to put in on a credit card and I would be reimbursed right away. I paid for everything, tipped really well, went on faith, and not only was I reimbursed, I was given a bonus and also invited to dinner by some amazing actors and directors I had been wanting to work with since I can remember.

A moment of fear turned into a moment of immense growth.

What are some of the goals you still have and are working to accomplish, both personally and professionally?


What do you hope to leave as your lasting legacy?

That I was real, down-to-earth, friend/associate/leader/group participant who did what it took to get the job done in a way that people remember; that I was able to communicate important messages in ways that audiences around the world could all hear them.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would enhance people’s lives in some way, what would it be? You never know what your idea can trigger!


How can our readers follow you on social media?

I’ve stepped back a bit from social, but I can be found here:







Thank you so much to Carly Martinetti For this wonderful opportunity.

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