Leadership sought me out early in life. As I entered my sophomore year in high school, the faculty chose me to head the school's largest student organization. From there I went on to lead a variety of campus organizations and to be a student body president in both high school and college. That began a pattern of leadership responsibilities which has never stopped.
In adulthood, my major leadership roles have usually centered on one of two challenges. Either standing up an altogether new initiative (often the very first of its kind). Or turning around an organization in serious trouble.
At an early age, therefore, I developed a deep interest in understanding they dynamics of corporate culture and the process of effecting large-scale organizational change.
In parallel with my naval reserve service, I pursued dual careers in education and ministry. In my early 30s, I launched a highly successful K-9 private school. A short while later, I became a university dean and then, at age 37, a college president. I also doubled as president of a K-12 private school affiliated with the college.
Years after leaving education administration, I returned to the classroom to teach MBA courses on coaching for the School of Management at Texas Woman's University.
Overlapping my time in higher education, I maintained long-term ministerial positions with fast-growing urban churches in Kentucky, California, and Texas. In all three states I hosted regional television programs which used an interview format to address topics related to religion. I also chaired multi-million dollar fund-raising campaigns and served as a strategic planning consultant for numerous faith-based organizations.
My passion for executive coaching developed during three decades of ministry with large churches in San Jose, Los Angeles, and Dallas. These congregations drew dozens of professionals, entrepreneurs, and managers who regularly sought my counsel on thorny organizational or leadership issues.
I found this type of work so rewarding that in 2001, I began fulltime work as an executive leadership coach. I started by establishing a firm named Strategic Leadership Development International (SLDI) in Dallas, and I've been the managing principal of SLDI ever since.
From 2005-2010, while managing SLDI, I doubled as the CEO of an international humanitarian organization operating in Eastern Europe and Asia. One of my principal roles was to help Russian and Ukrainian ministries of education create comprehensive character curriculum for their schools and universities.
In 2011, based on SLDI's success in the U.S. and Europe, the Rwandan government urged us to open a subsidiary in Kigali. For the next few years, much of my time was spent in East Africa conducting leadership training programs for governments, businesses, and NGOs, including top officials from Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, and the People's Republic of Congo.
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My academic journey took me through five degree programs, with specializations ranging from math to philosophy to diplomacy to theology to history. I capped it off with a PhD in European cultural and intellectual history from UCLA and also did post-graduate work in strategy and economics at the Naval War College.
Since early adulthood, I've found special fulfillment in writing. Today over two million copies of my books are in circulation, and I'm currently published in more than twenty languages.
My partner in everything I undertake is my wife Fran. We have been blessed with three children and ten grandchildren. We live on a golf course just north of Dallas, where we both maintain an active interest in community and political affairs. I serve on the Board of Trustees for York University in Nebraska and ran for Congress in the months following the 9-11 attack.