Craig Coleman

Financial Industry Disruptor and Entrepreneur

Craig Coleman


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Craig Coleman is a highly experienced entrepreneur and chief executive. Over a 20-year period, Craig has built and grown successful companies in both the finance and payment processing industries. Craig believes that the key to success at an individual as well as the organizational level is combining passion with focus and discipline. He is also a true believer in the value of coaching, having been a client for six years before joining CEO Coaching International as a coach himself.

Business Highlights:

  • Co-founded ForwardLine Financial, a nationwide small business lender, and ForwardLine Payment Services, a nationwide full-service payment processor.
  • Served as ForwardLine’s CEO for 15 years achieving 15 consecutive years of growth and steady profitability after the 4th year.
  • Grew operations to $100 million in loan volume and $300 million in payment processing volume.
  • Led the successful sale of the ForwardLine businesses to a private equity firm in 2015.
  • Raised a combined total of more than $125 million in capital over the course of his career.
  • Prior to founding ForwardLine, Craig served as COO of a boutique finance company specializing in bridge loans and minority equity positions in emerging companies. Led fundraising from limited partners as well as all aspects of the investment process including due diligence, initial investment, and exit transactions.
  • Began career as a corporate attorney for O’Melveny & Myers, as well as Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Legal experience included mergers and acquisitions, recapitalizations, public equity offerings, syndicated leveraged borrowings, formation of legal entities, and preparation of public company reporting documents including proxy statements, 8-Ks, 10-Qs, and 10-Ks.
  • B.A. in economics with high honors from Boston College.
  • J.D. with honors from Georgetown University.
  • Vistage member from 2006 to 2017.
  • CEO Coaching International client from 2011 to 2017.

Personal Highlights:

  • Happily married to his wife Molly since 1998.
  • Proud father to three sons, Jack, Bill, and Jim, as well as a chocolate Labrador named Buzz.
  • Served on the Corpus Christi Parish School board, as well as the Western Los Angeles County Council for the Boy Scouts of America.
  • With beach volleyball no longer a realistic option, Craig enjoys hitting the gym and getting outdoors for skiing, ocean kayaking, sailing, and camping, among other pursuits.
  • Other hobbies include travel, reading (particularly on the topic of U.S. history), and just enjoying time with family and friends.

Featured Podcast:

Listen to this episode of the CEO Coaching International podcast, with Craig as one of the guests: “These CEO Coaches Literally Wrote the Book on Making BIG Happen

CEO Coaching International

Make BIG Happen

CEO Coaching International works with CEOs and their leadership teams to achieve extraordinary results quarter after quarter, year after year. Known globally for its success in coaching growth-focused entrepreneurs to meaningful exits, CEO Coaching International will Make BIG Happen for you and your organization. The coaches at CEO Coaching International are former CEOs, presidents, or executives who have led profit growth in businesses ranging in size from startups to over $10 billion. Many have led their companies through successful eight, nine and ten-figure exits.