Chris Valletta is an All-American athlete and former NFL player who has turned his uncanny drive, skill, and leadership into terrific business success.
After winning two state high school football championships and numerous individual honors, Chris accepted a scholarship to Division I powerhouse Texas A&M University, where he became a four-year letterman under Hall of Fame coach R.C. Slocum, the winningest coach in Aggie history. During Chris’s tenure, the Aggies won both the Big XII South Championship in 1997 and the Big XII Championship in 1998. After earning degrees in Speech Communication/Rhetoric and Political Science, Chris went on to a career in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans and New Orleans Saints, finishing his career as a member of the eventual 2002 Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers under first-year coach Jon Gruden.
Chris retired from the NFL at age 23 and moved to Dallas, TX where he launched his entrepreneurial career. By day, Chris worked as an advertising sales executive. He broke a 79-year company record by generating $2 million in new revenue in his first year. By night, Chris launched his first company, a real estate firm specializing in transacting residential properties using electronic media outlets like eBay. Chris’s new company transacted over 20 residential properties with values in excess of $4 million in the first year. The success of the real estate business quickly caught the attention of billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump, who selected Chris from a pool of over one million applicants to be a contestant for the hit NBC reality show The Apprentice, Season 4. It was clear from the beginning that Chris’s understanding of the successful inner workings of an athletic team translated to the business environment with perfect synergy.
Chris sold his real estate firm in 2005, and moved to New York City to join fellow entrepreneur and Apprentice contestant Josh Shaw at GoSMILE, a startup oral care company carving a new niche in the prestige sector of retail. Charged with building the company’s Direct Response division and launching on television, web and the Home Shopping Network, Chris’s efforts helped pave the way for explosive success. GoSMILE became the one of the fastest-growing prestige brands in HSN’s history, selling over $1.2 Million in the first 24 hours on air. Chris has been featured in various publications for his work in the Direct Response industry, including a cover story in trade flagship Direct Magazine highlighting his success at GoSMILE.
After his homerun at GoSMILE, Chris joined forces yet again with Shaw and fellow entrepreneurs to establish a new standard in the world of athletic retail with the launch of MISSION Athletecare, the first line of performance and recovery products designed and developed by the world’s best professional athletes, including Dwyane Wade, Serena Williams, Sergio Garcia, Mia Hamm and more. In the company’s first 5 years, retail sales have already exceeded $50 Million.
Chris is a Special Advisor to Texas A&M University’s “Startup Aggieland” organization through the Mays Business School, which offers 24-7 access to student-startup offices and co-working spaces for student collaboration, as well as free business counseling, business programs and networking events for up and coming entrepreneurs. Chris is also the Chairman of the Health & Wellness Committee for the NFL Alumni Organization (NY/NJ), a charitable organization that serves as a passionate advocate for greater quality of life benefits for all former NFL players. He lives in New York City with his wife, Liliana, and son, John David.
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