Marco Kpeglo LeRoc: Omaha Author Motivates, Educates, and Empowers.Oct 01, 2021 01:19PM ● By Niz Proskocil
Photo by Bill Sitzmann
Marco Kpeglo LeRoc didn’t always make the smartest financial choices as a young adult. However, being bad with money turned out to be good for his career.
After immigrating to the United States from the West African nation of Togo in 2004, he settled in Omaha, where he struggled financially as a college student with debt. Back then, he lacked financial knowledge and money management skills. “I ended up making mistakes,” LeRoc said.
His situation started to improve when he turned to financial experts for help and learned about saving money, making a budget, and getting rid of debt. The financial literacy he gained and a desire to pass it along to others led him to write his first book, Cash In With Your Money, in 2011. The book, LeRoc said, aims to “help the everyday person to get ahead financially.”
These days, the three-time author, entrepreneur, and certified educator in personal finance enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience with others in Omaha and beyond. LeRoc, who has two daughters, Elizabeth, 7, and Victoria, 4, with wife Gina, is the founder of Marco LeRoc & Co, an organization that inspires people to succeed personally and financially.
Speaking to high school and college students, and other audiences around the country, he offers insight and tools to help people achieve goals and enjoy a better financial life.
In his 2015 book, Screw College Debt, he provides tips and guidance on planning and paying for college and how to avoid student loan debt. Although higher education can lead to higher earnings potential and opportunities for growth, many find themselves burdened with debt after graduation.
LeRoc encourages students to apply for scholarships and to consider more affordable options such as trade schools and community colleges. Although some universities may have the name recognition, they come with a higher price and may not be the best fit for everyone.
After a professor at Bellevue University told him tuition at a community college was cheaper than at Bellevue, the four-year university he had been attending, LeRoc switched to Metropolitan Community College.
“I’m a big fan of community college,” said LeRoc, who writes about the affordability and other benefits of two-year schools in his book. He earned his associate's degree in accounting from MCC in 2007 and went back to Bellevue University to earn his bachelor’s degree.
Earlier this year, Metropolitan Community College Foundation named LeRoc the recipient of the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award, an annual recognition given to an MCC graduate whose achievement, service, and commitment to the school and the community are exemplary.
LeRoc is well deserving of the honor, said Tom McDonnell, vice president for Academic Affairs at Metropolitan Community College and chair of the Distinguished Alumni Committee.
He has a compelling story of working hard, pushing through obstacles such as language barriers, and realizing his dreams, McDonnell said, adding that LeRoc has been a guest lecturer in a financial literacy course at MCC, and many students there and elsewhere can take inspiration from him. “He’s a really great success story.”
Passionate about helping others, LeRoc is the founder and president of The League for African Advancement and serves on the board of the Midlands African Chamber and the Hidden Talent Foundation. In addition, he volunteers for several organizations and was recognized as a Midlands Business Journal 40 Under 40 honoree in 2019.
He enjoys pursuing opportunities where he can make an impact. After releasing his third book, 2017’s Activate Your Untapped Potential, which focuses on self-leadership and living intentionally, he created the Global Leadership Africa Summit.
The event, which debuted in 2018, is a gathering of young professional African leaders, entrepreneurs, and those who cherish Africa and value diversity, LeRoc said. Held virtually and in-person in Omaha, this year’s conference takes place Oct. 22-23, and about 1,000 people are expected to attend, get inspired, connect, and learn.
“I feel like we need to engage more young professionals to be more involved in the community, whether that’s serving on boards, volunteering, or supporting your peers,” LeRoc said.
He also stays busy hosting Inside a Great Mind, an interview show on his YouTube channel, Marco LeRoc TV. He hopes viewers will be informed and inspired by his guests, which range from business owners and influencers to public officials and entrepreneurs, including Omaha Star publisher Teri Sanders and Hood Sommelier founder Toyi "Jack" Beguedou.
“I just love to do that,” LeRoc said of interviewing people on his show. “There are so many great stories.”
His list of future projects includes growing the Global Leadership Africa Summit, developing new business ventures, and writing a fourth book on the subject of resilience, all while continuing to inspire, engage, and connect with others.
“Speaking to people, coaching people about how they can achieve their goals—I just find joy doing this.”
Visit marcoleroc.com for more information.