Entrepreneurship Keynote Speaker


When Dave Zilko speaks, it comes from the heart. Maybe that's why it resonates so well with keynote audiences large and small. Everyone can relate to the struggle to "live the life we've imagined for ourselves," as Dave likes to put it. Laced with humor and completely devoid of pathos, he talks in poignant detail about finding his way in the "dark room" that is both the terror and the hope of the true entrepreneur.

Keynote audiences will laugh as he describes an unlikely journey, and an entrepreneurial persistence will that can only be characterized as irrational. They'll sigh wistfully as he paints a vivid picture of his early days as a food entrepreneur, his chance meeting with Jack Aronson, co-founder (with his wife, Annette) of Garden Fresh Gourmet, and their long, often painful struggle to make it America's #1 fresh salsa brand. Ultimately, though, audiences will come away with a fresh sense of hope—inspired by his only-in-America story. Who knows? Maybe Dave's unique journey can help the listener avoid some of the mistakes and pitfalls he encountered along the way. Perhaps they'll never have to suffer through what Dave calls his "Lost Decade." One thing's for sure: Audiences will not soon forget Dave's circuitous path to success, and the Irrational Persistence that propelled him along the way.

Keynote Speaking Topics


What’s it like to take a bankrupt startup and eventually sell it to a Fortune 500 Company for almost a quarter-billion dollars?
And more importantly, what lessons can be imparted from such an experience that will help you live the life you’ve imagined for yourself?

As an entrepreneurship keynote speaker Dave Zilko guides his audiences through an only-in-America story that details how he and his partner, starting with literally “less than nothing,” launched a fresh salsa company from the back of a tiny restaurant just outside—of all places—Detroit. Despite incredible odds they eventually built the premier deli supply company in the United States that the Campbell’s Soup Company recently purchased for $231 million. 

Presented in an authentic and often humorous manner, Dave Zilko inspires and informs.  It’s a genuine “rags-to-riches” adventure that also conveys lessons regarding the role of entrepreneurs in an organization, how values affect a business, a counter-intuitive sales and marketing approach, and corporate strategy insights that are invaluable to both any upstart organization or established corporate entity.