Core Principles of Leadership with General Tommy Franks
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We'll release a new episode on the last Friday of every month at 8 a.m. CST. Episodes range from 20 minutes to an hour and sometimes more! Plus, we'll often have mini-episodes featuring Four Star Leadership alumni to get caught up on their achievements and hear how their experience at Four Star Leadership continues to impact their lives today.
Core Principles of Leadership is hosted by D'Lese Travis.
January 27, 2023 Season 2, Episode 24 - The Importance of Character, Work Ethic and Resilience with David A. Sampson In this episode, David Sampson offers sage advice for students and professionals to “listen to wise people who offer you advice, and take the hard jobs no one else wants.” He emphasizes that the character and commitment of whom you work for are vitally important as well as the people you surround yourself with. “It all begins with the tone at the top,” he says. David also shares a personal experience that was so empowering it became his north star for the last 17 years. This episode is packed with wisdom derived from experience and great inspiration that you won’t want to miss.
About Our Guest: David A. Sampson has served as the president and CEO of the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) since 2007. APCIA is the primary national trade association for home, auto, and business insurers, with a legacy dating back 150 years. Sampson has led the industry through some of the most consequential insurance issues of the last decade, including the COVID-19 response, preserving state statutory accounting during once-in-a-generation tax reform, and ensuring that the Dodd-Frank Act recognized the strong consumer protections already provided by state insurance regulators and the guaranty fund system.
As a respected industry voice and proponent of private markets, Sampson is a frequent keynote speaker at industry and business events. In addition, he is a leading spokesperson for the property casualty industry in the media.
Sampson also is the president of the Independent Statistical Service, Inc. (ISS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of APCIA and one of the industry's largest and most trusted statistical agents. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as well as on the Biden-Harris Administration's Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission.
Before joining the industry, Sampson served in the George W. Bush Administration in two presidential-appointed and Senate-confirmed positions. From 2005 to 2007, he served as the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce and was a member of President Bush's Management Council.
Previously, Sampson served in the Governor George W. Bush Administration as Chair of the Texas Council on Workforce and Economic Competitiveness and Vice Chair of the Texas Strategic Economic Development Planning Commission. He also led the Arlington, Texas Chamber of Commerce as the President and CEO.
Sampson graduated from Lipscomb University, where he serves as a distinguished professor of public policy. He earned his doctorate at Abilene Christian University. He completed the Program for Senior Executives at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1999. He and his wife Karen have two grown sons. Sampson serves on the vestry of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Gainesville, Texas and is an executive committee member of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association.
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Past Episodes & Guests
December 30, 2022 Season 2, Episode 23 -Reaching Improbable Heights in Business and Life with Bill Raaths In this episode, Bill shares his three principles of leadership; strategy, culture and execution, and how a positive attitude is critical in building a spirit of entrepreneurship. He encourages listeners to take chances, get out of their comfort zone, be resourceful, and how to create value in what you do by doing what others can’t or won’t do.
He discusses how growing up on a dairy farm in rural Wisconsin, his education, military service and early job experiences gave him the confidence to lead three companies and own another.
About our Guest: Bill Raaths is currently the Chairman of the Board of Great Northern Corporation (GNC), a significant player in the higher-end packaging industry. He had previously served as GNC's CEO as well as CEO/President of sizable companies in the food and tissue industries. He started his career as an entry level customer service employee after returning from Vietnam in 1971.
Bill received a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Wisconsin- Madison and later earned his MBA at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and Executive Program at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business while working full time. Bill is on non-profit and for-profit boards. He has taught a strategy course at the university level and mentors emerging leaders within family businesses.
Bill and his wife Natalie have been married 51 years with two adult married sons and four grandkids.
November 25, 2022 Season 2, Episode 22 -Insights to the Importance of Selfless Service in Developing and Leading a Teamwith Dr. James Carafano In this episode,Dr. James Carafano shares how being an effective leader requires that you never compromise the most important things: God, country, community and your stakeholders. The idea of selfless service is always to put yourself last, earning the respect and honor of your team because they understand that you're trying to do the right thing for the right reasons. In doing this, you are being true to what really matters, fulfilling the commitment to your mission and job. The notion of selfless service is a requirement for leadership or getting people together to accomplish difficult things.
About Our Guest: Dr. James Jay Carafano currently serves as The Heritage Foundation’s Vice President, Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy. He is a leading expert in national security and foreign policy challenges, an accomplished historian and teacher and a prolific writer and researcher. Carafano is a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point and served 25 years in the US Army, retiring as a Lt. Colonel. He holds a master's degree and a doctorate from Georgetown University as well as a master's degree in strategy from the U.S. Army War College. His recent research has focused on developing the national security required to secure the long-term interests of the United States — protecting the public, providing for economic growth and preserving civil liberties.
October 28, 2022 Season 2, Episode 21 - Inspiration to Achieve Your Goals with Four Star Alumnus David "Tre" Edgerton III In this episode,2018 Four Star alumnus speech and star leadership scholarship winner, David “Tre” Edgerton III, offers inspiration to students and adult listeners: “never quit.”
About Our Guest: David "Tre" Edgerton III is a J.D. candidate at the Howard University School of Law by way of St. Paul, Minnesota. He has dedicated his life to service and community action. He was named a Global Scholar and elected student council representative for the Council on International Education Exchange during his time abroad in Spain, Italy and England. An aspiring multi-vocational change agent after obtaining his law degree, he will pursue a career in civil rights law and young adult ministry. He believes that it is our duty as a nation to build up every child from every background and will not stop until this goal is achieved.
September 30, 2022 Season 2, Episode 20 - Insights and Advice From Four Star Alumna Riley Juenemann In this episode,2016 Four Star alumna Riley Juenemann shares her experiences since Four Star, the take-aways. Her top 3 pieces of advice: how to connect life experiences, share your why and how to use these experiences going forward.
About Our Guest: Four Star Leadership 2016 Alum and Alumni Advisory Board Member Riley Juenemann is from Firestone, Colorado, but currently resides in California where she is pursuing a Computational and Mathematical Engineering PhD at Stanford University. With this advanced degree, she hopes to contribute to research and development efforts in biotechnology. Outside of academics, Riley enjoys playing jazz and classical guitar and mentoring other students.
August 26, 2022 Season 2, Episode 19 -The Importance of Relationships with Martin Edelman In this episode, Martin Edelman, longtime friend of General Franks and hugely successful New York lawyer specializing in international real estate, offers insights from his personal journey on the importance of family and building relationships both personally and professionally, crossing cultures and borders.
About Our Guest: Martin Edelman specializes in international real estate transactions involving large, complex negotiations, acquisitions, dispositions and financing. He has been involved in the early stages of legal development of many pioneering financial structures including participating mortgages, institutional joint ventures in real estate and joint ventures between foreign financial sources and U.S. real estate companies. He has broad international experience in all asset classes, having done extensive work in Europe, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Japan, China and the Middle East.
Edelman has served as real estate advisor to Cypress Grove Real Estate Partners, Mubadala Development Companies, and is a member of the board of Aldar Property Group. He is a director of Avis/Budget Corp., Capital Trust and Ashford Hospitality Trust, and frequently lectures at institutionally sponsored seminars.
Edelman was one of the original lawyers to have worked on bringing the Intrepid to New York and continues to serve on the Intrepid Board as Vice-Chairman and on the Boards of the Fallen Heroes Fund, Fisher House Foundation and the Fisher Alzheimer Foundation. He is one of the founders of the Jackie Robinson Foundation and is a member of the board of the Tribeca Film Festival. He is also a founding member of Bridging the Rift Foundation, which has successfully instituted an academic project sponsored by Jordan and Israel with Stanford and Cornell Universities, and was awarded the Department of the Army Public Service Award.
July 29, 2022 Season 2, Episode 18 - Community and Leadership with Medal of Honor Recipient Jack Jacobs In this episode, we will learn about Jack’s childhood and sense of community that formed his character and the trajectory of his life.
About Our Guest: Jack Howard Jacobs is a retired colonel in the U.S. Army and Medal of Honor recipient for his actions during the Vietnam War. He serves as a military analyst for NBC News and MSNBC and previously worked as an investment manager.
June 24, 2022 Season 2, Episode 17 -Emotional Intelligence in Leadership with Byron Hogan Byron discusses emotional intelligence and the core principals of leadership. Learn how communication is created through the exchange of energy using wild horses as indicators.
About Our Guest: Byron Hogan, emotional intelligence coach and animal behaviorist says, “Emotional intelligence is the number one factor in personal and professional success. It keeps us connected in our disconnected world. It is the ability to read other people’s emotions while not being ruled by our own.”
Byron grew up riding and training horses. His interest in wild horses and self-improvement began when he was asked to develop programs for veterans and troubled youth. He quickly realized the missing link horses provide which is discovered through his workshops. Hogan now uses this knowledge for professional development workshops, including teacher in-service training, corporate teams, private family events, and at risk groups
Hogan has a vast background of success in multiple facets of the horse industry. He’s been a champion of the Extreme Mustang Makeover. An event producer of the biggest ever -wild horse competition, Mustang Million! He is a sensation in the performance horse arena and is a nationally ranked open finalist in several organizations, including ASHA and SHOT.
May 27, 2022 Season 2, Episode 16 -Give Back More Than You Take with Marsha Blackburn U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn shares how the community values she grew up with in rural Mississippi of “give back more than you take” shaped her future. Senator Blackburn was raised in a large family in rural Mississippi with parents who taught their children to leave things in better shape than you found them. That foundation, plus a 4-H scholarship to Mississippi State, led her to an entrepreneurial educational book sales position in college followed by a retail and special events position where she found an inspiring mentor. Her accountability, determination and realistic solutions while leading the Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission offered state government a genuine problem solver. Now a U.S. Senator, she offers sage advice for finding your way through determination, asking for help and a great mentor to find your way.
About Our Guest: U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn was sworn in to the Senate in January 2019. In 2018, the people of Tennessee elected Marsha Blackburn as the first woman to represent the Volunteer State in the United States Senate. She is a member of the Armed Services Committee, the Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee, the Veterans Affairs Committee, and the Judiciary Committee, and serves as the Ranking Member on the Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security Subcommittee. Before her election to the Senate, Marsha represented Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives, where she became a leader in the fight for a small, efficient federal government that is accountable to its citizens. Marsha dedicates her public service to promoting opportunities for women and making America a more prosperous place to live. A lifelong ally of entertainment industry professionals, Marsha began her career in public service in 1995 when she was named executive director of the Tennessee Film, Entertainment, and Music Commission. She continued her advocacy on behalf of creators and rights-owners in Washington, establishing the bipartisan Songwriters Caucus and fighting for passage of the Music Modernization Act, which revolutionized music licensing processes. In the Senate, Marsha has championed numerous initiatives on behalf of the creative community including the AM/FM Act and the HITS Act, as well as a tax classification fix for self-employed workers that was implemented as part of the CARES Act. Her in-depth work exploring the intersection of technology and culture has uncloaked the world’s most prominent “Big Tech” companies and introduced a new era of transparency into the platform-consumer relationship. In the 116th Congress, she led the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Tech Task Force, a roundtable-style working group dedicated to the examination of technology’s influence on American culture. Her in-depth analyses of the threats to American sovereignty posed by the Chinese Communist Party prompted Congress to examine legislation countering Beijing’s malign influence on global supply chains, in the technology infrastructure space, and within international organizations.
April 29, 2022 Season 2, Episode 15 - Hard Work & Focus With T.W. Shannon Successful leader, banker, executive, entrepreneur and now candidate for U.S. Senate, T.W. Shannon shares insights into how hard work, focus, authenticity and mental toughness have kept him pushing forward. Learn how to incorporate these assets into your leadership toolkit.
About Our Guest: A successful banking CEO, T.W. Shannon led his bank through some of the most historically difficult times in the banking industry, all while growing the bank's total assets from $130 million to just under half a billion in the first five years of his tenure. Additionally, T.W. has been an entrepreneur in his own public relations consulting operation for over a decade.
A former state legislator, T.W. Shannon made history, at the age of 34, by becoming the youngest Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, as well as being the first Chickasaw and first African American to hold the post. Speaker Shannon utilized his platform to champion common sense solutions. His signature legislative achievement was authoring thebill that reformed Oklahoma's workers' compensation system to an administrative system. T.W. was successful in Oklahoma’s fight to repeal affirmative action, and he also successfully led the effort to overhaul the State’s welfare system by mandating a 20 hour work week for able-bodied adult recipients. Additionally, T.W. passed into law legislation which made Oklahoma the first state in the nation to provide a $5,000 tax deduction for parents of foster children.
Before serving in the Legislature, T.W. worked as one of five C-level officers in the role of Chief Administrative Officer at the Chickasaw Nation, which boasted annual revenue of over $1 billion, and employed over 7,500 employees. In his role with the Chickasaw Nation, he led the support functions for the most financially successful tribe in the country.
T.W. has a Juris Doctor degree from Oklahoma City University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Cameron University. He is a Harvard University Kennedy School Fellow and a Rodel Fellow. T.W. has been married for more than 20 years to his college sweetheart, Devon, a college professor at the University of Oklahoma. They are the proud parents of Audrey Grace and Tahrohon Wayne, II.
April 1, 2022 Season 2, Episode 14 - Think BIGGER With Bill White Chairman & CEO of Constellations Group ATL-NY-DC, Bill White, talks about the networking opportunities afforded to him as a result of growing up in his family business and how those relationships catapulted his career to a national level by a prompt to “think bigger.”
About Our Guest: Bill has dedicated his career to honoring, advocating and supporting our nation's military personnel, veterans and their families. He served as president & CEO of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and the Intrepid Relief Fund. Under White's leadership, the museum emerged as a world-class education attraction welcoming almost 1 million visitors. As President of the Intrepid family of foundations and lead director at their sister organizations, Bill led its fundraising totaling more than $1.5 billion. He managed all operations, management, strategic planning and branding for the Intrepid Foundations, leading a team of over 250 professionals and thousands of volunteer personnel over his almost 25 years there. Bill spearheaded the $115 million capital campaign for the 2006-08 restoration of the museum, building the Intrepid brand to be internationally respected.
He served as a Founding Trustee of the Fisher House Foundation, which builds comfort homes for patient families at military and veterans’ hospitals. He has raised $75 million for the construction of Fisher Houses and its endowment and maintenance funding. Bill served as a founding member on the boards of the News Corporation Global Diversity Council Advisory Board, the Catholic Medical Mission Board, the Fisher Alzheimer's Disease Research Foundation at Rockefeller University and Intrepid Relief Fund.
He has visited the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and helped lead the first major entertainers visit to troops fighting in Iraq, featuring Robert DeNiro, Kid Rock and Wayne Newton. Bill organized a Christmas 2010 visit to Afghanistan with Mark Wahlberg for the troops to preview his critically-acclaimed movie "The Fighter." In May 2009, White was offered the opportunity to serve in Administration by Defense Secretary Robert Gates as the Pentagon's first Deputy Chief Management Officer.
In 1991, Bill established Operation Support, a volunteer charitable organization that raised over $400,000 for the families of military personnel killed in the Persian Gulf War.
He co-authored the book, Intrepid: The Epic Story of America's Most Legendary Warship, with Bob Gandt and donated all proceeds to charities supporting our veterans.
Bill has raised more than $3 billion for private equity, real estate and hedge funds including the City Investment Fund, Guggenheim Advisors, Grove International Investors and Palladium Partners and other US corporations. White is lead consultant for Aquahydrate, a premier purified alkaline sports water bottle company owned and led by Mark Wahlberg, Sean Combs and Ron Burkle. Bill raised funds within the sale of Blackwater/XE for Academi/Constellis Group which was subsequently sold to Apollo. Bill is humbled to be a regular on the Opinion Editorial page of the New York Post, the Daily Caller and Newsmax for his work with veterans. CG ownership is proud of its partner and advisor relationship with the Ghost (Lifestyle) Supplement Brand based in Chicago.
Bill founded Constellations Group in 2010. Constellations Group (CG), now headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is a well-positioned and respected strategic advisory and consulting firm. Clients include top fortune 100, 500 CEOs and entities, renown high net worth individuals, large family offices and international private equity groups. CG provides strategic fundraising counsel and advisory services. CG is also focused on the payment processing sector with its exclusive business development affiliation with FiServ (formerly with First Data Corporation (FDC) and now with Card Connect as well). Constellations Group’s subsidiary Hydra is a key ISO exclusive with Fiserv/FDC/Card Connect. CG prides itself on its business development victories for its treasured clients, truly a who's who of the most prominent successful businesspeople in the United States and abroad. CG is proud of its efforts in significantly lowering the credit card processing and bottom-line costs of its NFP’s and corporate clients such as Wounded Warrior Project and Vineyard Vines.
He is twice the recipient of the Meritorious Public Service Award for extraordinary service from the US Coast Guard and for outstanding support from the US Navy. Bill was honored by the Lifesaving Benevolent Association for placing himself at risk to rescue an individual drowning in the Hudson River. The President of Italy awarded Bill the title of "Cavaliere della Repubblica Italiana del Merito," an Honorary Knight of the Republic of Italy. Bill attended Chaminade High School. He holds a B.A. from Fordham University and a Culinary Arts Degree from the French Culinary Institute. Bill’s professional licenses include but are not limited to Series 7, Series 66, USCG Pilots license, NYC EMS EMT, Firefighter, Security Services Bonded NYS, Professional Fundraiser FINRA and NYS NFP as well. Bill and his life partner, Bryan Eure, who is a Senior Vice President at global insurance brokerage Willis Towers Watson, reside in the great State of Georgia.
February 25, 2022 Season 2, Episode 13 - Incorporating the Four Core Principles of Leadership Into Your Leadership Style With Mike Turpen Former Oklahoma Attorney General and current television host of “Flashpoint with Turpen & Lamb” and community servant, Mike Turpen, shares his thoughts on the Core Principles of Leadership: Caring, Communication, Common Vision and Character and the importance of incorporating all four into your leadership style.
About Our Guest: Michael C. Turpen was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, educated in Tulsa Public Schools, and graduated from the University of Tulsa earning a Bachelor of Science degree in History and a Juris Doctor degree. In 1982 Turpen was elected Attorney General for the state of Oklahoma. He served as Muskogee County District Attorney from 1977 to 1982. Since 1987, he has been a partner in the law firm of Riggs, Abney, Neal, Turpen, Orbison & Lewis in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
While no longer serving in public office, Turpen remains politically active. He appears weekly on KFOR-TV’s award-winning public affairs show, “Flashpoint with Turpen & Lamb.” He appeared twice on ABC’s “Politically Incorrect” with Bill Maher and was featured on PBS’s national documentary, “Vote for Me: Politics in America.” He had a long-running monthly column, “Turpen Time,” for the OPEA monthly newspaper and was a featured columnist for Microsoft’s internet magazine, Slate. Turpen is a nationally sought after public speaker, having keynoted conferences of the National Association of Attorneys General, the Fourth Federal Judicial Circuit, and the National Family and Juvenile Judges’ Association.
Turpen has received numerous awards, honors and appointments. In 2012, he received the Louise Bennett Distinguished Service Award. In 2010, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, the state’s highest honor. In 2008, he received the Oklahoma Arts Council Governor’s Award for Community Service; Treasures for Tomorrow Award from the Oklahoma Health Center Foundation; and the Urban Pioneer Award from the Plaza District Association. In 2007, Turpen received the Oklahoma Bar Association’s William Paul Distinguished Service Award; recognition from the Clinton Global Initiative for his work with Burns Hargis for Legal Aid of Oklahoma; the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Oklahoma Chapter; and the John F. Kennedy Award for Community Service, given by the Oklahoma City Knights of Columbus. In 2006, he received the John Kirkpatrick Award from Lyric Theatre for his leadership in chairing their successful $10 million capital campaign. In 2004, the courtroom at the University of Tulsa College of Law was named the Price-Turpen Courtroom to honor Mike’s service to his alma mater. In 2004, Turpen also received the National Association of Attorneys General Francis X. Bellotti Award for outstanding service to the association. In 2003, he served as Honorary Chairman of the Urban League of Oklahoma City. In 2002, he established the Melvin C. Hall Leadership Scholarship at Langston University. In 2000, he was named Outstanding Alumnus for the University of Tulsa. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the President’s Advisory Council on the Arts at the Kennedy Center in 1992. In 1986, he was the recipient of the National Foundation for the Improvement of Justice Award and was honored by the National Organization for Victim Assistance as one of Ten Outstanding National Leaders in the Field of Victim Rights over the past decade. Turpen was listed in Esquire Magazine’s 1985 Register: Men and Women Under Forty Who are Changing the Nation. In 1980, he was the winner of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Maurice Merrill Golden Quill Award for outstanding contributions to the Oklahoma Bar Journal. In 1979, Turpen was named Outstanding Young Man by the Muskogee Jaycees and Outstanding Young Oklahoman by the Oklahoma Jaycees. In 1975, he was selected by the Oklahoma Bar Association as Oklahoma’s Outstanding Young Lawyer.
Turpen’s interests are many and varied. He is President of the Lyric Theatre Board of Directors and on the boards of The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, Oklahoma State Fair, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and Allied Arts. He is a member of the Oklahoma Academy of State Goals, Rotary Club, Oklahoma Business Roundtable, The Economic Club of Oklahoma, Advisory Board for The University of Tulsa College of Law and The Creativity Project. He has served as President and board member of the CARE Center, OKC. He is the founder of The Young Men’s Poetry Club. Turpen argued before the United States Supreme Court in 1985. He served as President of the Oklahoma District Attorneys Association, Vice President of the National Organization of Victim Assistance (NOVA), and Vice Chairman of Oklahoma’s Crime Commission. Turpen is a member of the American, Oklahoma, Tulsa County and Oklahoma County Bar Associations, as well as being a Founding Fellow of the Oklahoma Bar Foundation and a faculty member of the National College of District Attorneys. He is married to wife, Susan, and has three children, Sean, Patrick and Sarah. He is a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City where he is currently active as a teacher for the confirmation class and on the WPC Foundation Board of Directors.
January 28, 2022 Season 1, Episode 12 - Annual Goal Setting A conversation among Four Star alumni. We'll discuss the critical why, getting clear on your goal, thought process, motivation, planning and tracking required to lay down the year's blueprint for success.
About Our Guests: 2018 Alumni Bruny Alonso Orama – Bruny is a senior at Swarthmore College majoring in political science and psychology. She is completing her senior thesis in political reform and aspires to teach in Armenia. She is involved in her own nonprofit, Project Global Story.
2016 Alumni Jesse Wren – Jesse is a senior at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. He is studying interdisciplinary education and is starting the masters program and capstone research. He aspires to teach abroad and obtain a PhD in educational leadership.
2020 Alumni Cross Fuller – Cross is a freshman at the University of Tennessee majoring in journalism and broadcasting. He has started his own podcast called Crosswalk, focusing on leadership for young adults, personal development, motivation and mentorship.
December 31, 2021 Season 1, Episode 11 - The Importance of Mental Toughnesswith John Lynch John Lynch, General Manager of the 49ers, shares the foundation of his youth, the advantages of being a former NFL player as a General Manager, his respect for General Franks, the importance of mental toughness and the fulfillment of giving back.
About Our Guest: One of the most respected players to ever play the game of football, and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021, John Lynch is in his fifth season as the team’s General Manager following a 15-year playing career and more than eight seasons as an NFL analyst.
Lynch joined the 49ers in February of 2017, and has been vigilant in seeking and acquiring the players that embody the team’s culture on the field and in the community. Following a 13-3 regular season record and a trip to Super Bowl LIV, Lynch was named the 2019 Executive of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America.
Lynch has faced many new challenges navigating adjustments and retained core players who played vital roles for the team. Lynch and the 49ers leadership steered their way through the COVID-19 pandemic, a situation that included the relocation of the team’s football operations to Arizona for the final month of the season.
Before coming to the 49ers, Lynch served as a color analyst for FOX Sports from 2009-16.
Prior to his time at FOX, Lynch constructed one of the all-time great NFL careers while with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Denver Broncos. A four-time All-Pro and nine-time Pro Bowl selection, Lynch also started all 12 playoff games. He was a Buccaneers team captain as the squad achieved the crown jewel of team sports, a victory in Super Bowl XXXVII, and has been inducted into the Ring of Honor in both Tampa Bay and Denver.
Lynch attended Stanford University where he excelled in both football and baseball. On the football field, he earned Second-Team All-American and First-Team All-Pac-10 Conference honors as a senior, while playing for Hall of Fame head coach Bill Walsh. Lynch was later selected in the third round of the 1993 NFL Draft by Tampa Bay. Following his career on the diamond for the Cardinal, he was selected in the second round of the 1992 Major League Baseball Draft by the Florida Marlins.
In addition to his stellar play on the field, Lynch is also a pillar of the community. He and his wife, Linda, formed the John Lynch Foundation, which is committed to inspiring young people to become leaders through scholarship, sport participation and community involvement. The Foundation is committed to developing leaders by encouraging dreams, providing programs that assist and motivate, and recognizing achievement and excellence.
Lynch was the recipient of the 2006 Bart Starr Award, which is voted upon by players throughout the NFL and recognizes a player who shows outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community. He was also presented with The Byron “Whizzer” White Award, which is given annually to the NFL player who serves his team, community and country in the spirit of Bryon Raymond White. In 2019, Lynch received the prestigious Wender Weis Change Maker Award, which is given annually to a current or former professional athlete who has used their sports platform to improve the lives of underserved youth. Additionally, Lynch was the 2019 recipient of the Excellence in Leadership Award from the Positive Coaching Alliance and the Ireland Funds 2020 Distinguished Leadership Award recipient.
John and his wife, Linda, have four children – Jake, Lindsay, Lilly and Leah.
November 26, 2021 Season 1, Episode 10 - Experiences and Valuable Insights for Leaders with Jim Wilkinson Jim Wilkinson shares his experiences and valuable insights on the past year, what makes great leaders and statesmen, and thoughts on the future of leadership.
About Our Guest: Prior to founding TrailRunner International, Jim served as SVP, Head of International Corporate Affairs for Alibaba Group, the world's largest online and mobile marketplace. At Alibaba Group, Jim played a key leadership role in the company's historic IPO in 2014. He also designed and led Alibaba's international communications strategy, and he built the company's international corporate communications and government relations teams.
Prior to joining Alibaba Group, Jim served as Executive Vice President, Communications for PepsiCo, a global food and beverage leader with net revenues of more than $65 billion. Jim joined PepsiCo from Brunswick Group, where he served in San Francisco as Managing Partner for International Business and Financial Strategy, providing strategic counsel on global corporate mandates spanning international operations, corporate and financial communications, corporate reputation, investor relations, crisis management and litigation. Jim also worked for Brunswick Group in Texas, where he established and built the firm’s Dallas/Fort Worth office.
Prior to Brunswick Group, Jim served as Chief of Staff for U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry M. Paulson, serving as Paulson's senior strategist and counselor, and working on matters of financial policy and crisis management. Prior to his work for Treasury, Jim served as Senior Advisor to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and worked with Rice in the White House as Deputy National Security Advisor for Communications. From 2002-2003, Jim was Director of Strategic Communications for General Tommy R. Franks at U.S. Central Command, and from 2000-2001 served in the White House as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Communications. Prior to working in the White House, Jim spent several years working in the U.S. Congress for House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) and the National Republican Congressional Committee. Jim served as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserves, and also taught international communications at The Johns Hopkins University. Jim holds degrees from the University of Texas at Arlington (BBA, Finance), The Johns Hopkins University (MA) and is a graduate of the Yale University School of Management’s Global Executive Leadership Program. He is an endurance sports enthusiast (including 26 marathons) and enjoys trail running, playing chess, skiing, snowboarding, and playing acoustic guitar.
October 29, 2021 Season 1, Episode 9 - Servant Leadership Through Caring & Common Visionwith Chris Sullivan As a founder and former Chairman & CEO of Outback Steakhouse, Inc. and successful restaurant and hospitality entrepreneur associated with many well-known brands, Chris Sullivan shares how a caring mentor made a difference in his life and his future successes. Sullivan practices servant leadership, from fundraising for the Flight 93 Memorial to providing Outback Bloomin’ Onions and steaks for soldiers in Afghanistan, and shares his experiences and leadership advice in this episode.
About Our Guest: Chris Sullivan is a founder and former Chairman & CEO of Outback Steakhouse, Inc. After eventually going public, he collaborated with the founders of five additional restaurants to develop and operate more than 1,400 restaurants worldwide, eventually developing Bloomin’ Brands, Inc. Although he is no longer affiliated with Outback, his current partnerships include Metro Diner, ConSul Hospitality Partners, Besito Mexican, Omnivore LLC, and numerous restaurant industry investments. He and his partners founded Old Memorial Golf Club in 1997.
Chris is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Science degree in business and economics and was inducted into the Hall of Distinguished Alumni. Currently, Chris serves on the Board of Directors of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Board of Directors for The First Tee of Tampa Bay and Board of Directors for Copperhead Charities. He is active in numerous charitable organizations focusing on education and catastrophic diseases and is Chairman of ART International, a PTSD-focused charity organization.
He is married to Sandi and has two adult children, Alex and Ashley, and two step-children, Julie and Milan.
September 24, 2021 Season 1, Episode 8 - Integrity, Attitude and Character with Dr. Jerry C. Davis As President of College of the Ozarks, Dr. Jerry C. Davis’ tenure is among the longest in the United States. He is the author of a dozen books and has led the college in emphasizing its goal of patriotic education. He has received many awards and honors for his significant and lasting impact on the field of institutional advancement. The success of this working college led the New York Times to nickname it “Hard Work U”.
About Our Guest: Jerry C. Davis, Ph.D. is President of College of the Ozarks. His tenure in the college presidency is among the longest in the United States. After graduating from The Mount Berry School for Boys in Mount Berry, Georgia, Davis attended Truett-McConnell University, received a B.S. degree from Mars Hill University, an M.S. degree from the University of Tennessee, and a Ph.D. from Ohio State University. He is the recipient of the prestigious Eisenhower Fellowship, as well as the Missourian Award, one of the state’s highest honors.
President Davis previously served as the President of AAPICU (American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities). The author of a dozen books, he has led the college in emphasizing its goal of patriotic education and founded The William S. Knight Center for Patriotic Education. Additionally, Davis was a Presidential appointee to the 1776 Commission. He and the College have received many recognitions such as the Above and Beyond Award for support of the Guard and Reserve and the Secretary of Defense Freedom Award. Davis is a recipient of the Lee Greenwood Patriot Award, presented by Helping a Hero. The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) awarded Davis with the E. Burr Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award for his significant and lasting impact on the field of institutional advancement.
August 27, 2021 Season 1, Episode 7 - Faith, Hope and Forgiveness with Immaculée Ilibagiza Immaculée Ilibagiza, Rwandan genocide survivor, motivational speaker and author, shares her experiences from her book; Left To Tell, about discovering God amidst the Rwandan Holocaust.
About Our Guest: Immaculée Ilibagiza was born and raised in a small village in Rwanda, Africa. She enjoyed a peaceful childhood with her loving parents and three brothers. Education was very important in her household, so it was no surprise that she did well in school and went on to the National University of Rwanda to study electrical and mechanical engineering. It was while she was home from school on Easter break in 1994 that Immaculée's life was transformed forever.
On April 6 of that year, the Rwandan President’s plane was shot down over the capital city of Kigali. This assassination of the Hutu president sparked months of massacres of Tutsi tribe members throughout the country. Not even small, rural communities like Immaculée’s were spared from the house-by-house slaughtering of men, women and children. To protect his only daughter from rape and murder, Immaculée’s father told her to run to a local pastor’s house for protection. The pastor quickly sheltered Immaculée and seven other women in a hidden 3 x 4 foot bathroom. For the next 91 days, Immaculée and the other women huddled silently in this small room, while the genocide raged outside the home and throughout the country.
While in hiding, anger and resentment were destroying Immaculée’s mind, body and spirit. It was then that Immaculée turned to prayer. Prior to going to the pastor’s home, Immaculée’s father, a devout Catholic, gave her a set of rosary beads. She began to pray the rosary as a way of drowning out the anger inside her, and the evil outside the house. It was that turning point towards God and away from hate that saved Immaculée.
In addition to finding faith, peace, and hope during those three months of hiding, Immaculée also taught herself English. Immaculée was always a good student and already fluent in Kinyarwanda and French. Using only a Bible and a dictionary, she spent countless hours in that cramped bathroom learning her third language.
After 91 days, Immaculée was finally liberated from her hiding place only to face a horrific reality. Immaculée emerged from that small bathroom weighing just 65 pounds, and finding her entire family brutally murdered, with the exception of one brother who was studying abroad. She also found nearly one million of her extended family, friends, neighbors and fellow Rwandans massacred.
After the genocide, Immaculée came face-to-face with the man who killed her mother and one of her brothers. After enduring months of physical, mental and spiritual suffering, Immaculée was still able to offer the unthinkable, telling the man, "I forgive you."
In 1998, Immaculée emigrated from Rwanda to the United States where she continued her work for peace through the United Nations. During that time, she shared her story with co-workers and friends who were so impacted by her testimony they insisted she write it down. Three days after finishing her manuscript, she met best-selling author Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, who, within minutes of meeting her, offered to publish her book. Dyer is quoted as saying, "There is something much more than charisma at work here - Immaculée not only writes and speaks about unconditional love and forgiveness, but she radiates it wherever she goes."
Immaculée's first book, Left to Tell; Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust (Hay House) was released in March of 2006. Left to Tell quickly became a New York Times Best Seller. To date, it has been translated into 17 languages and has sold over two million copies. Immaculée's story has also been made into a documentary entitled The Diary of Immaculée. She has appeared on 60 Minutes, The CBS Early Show, CNN, EWTN, CBS Evening News, The Aljazeera Network as well as in The New York Times, USA Today, Newsday, and many other domestic and international publications. She was recently featured in Michael Collopy's Architects of Peace project, which has honored legendary people like Mother Teresa, Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama.
Immaculée has received honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Notre Dame, Saint John's University, Seton Hall University, Siena College, Walsh University and the Catholic University of America. She has been recognized and honored with numerous humanitarian awards, including The Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Reconciliation and Peace, the American Legacy's Women of Strength & Courage Award and the 2015 National Speaker’s Association’s Master of Influence Award.
Left to Tell has received a Christopher Award "affirming the highest values of human spirit," and was chosen as Outreach Magazine's selection for "Best Outreach Testimony/Biography Resource of 2007." Left to Tell has been adopted into the curriculum of dozens of high schools and universities, including Villanova University, which selected it for their "One Book Program," making Left to Tell mandatory reading for its 6,000 students. Immaculée has written six additional books in recent years - Led by Faith: Rising from the Ashes of the Rwandan Genocide, Our Lady of Kibeho, If Only We Had Listened, Visit from Heaven, and The Boy Who Met Jesus, and The Rosary.
Today, Immaculée is regarded as one of world's leading speakers on faith, hope and forgiveness. She has shared this universal message with world leaders, school children, multinational corporations, churches, and at events and conferences around the world.
July 30, 2021 Season 1, Episode 6 - How Preparation, Authenticity and Listening Helps Me Lead with Brian Kilmeade Brian Kilmeade joins us to discuss how being prepared, being authentic and listening to learn allows him to continually grow as a leader, and stay at the top of his game on a national stage.
About Our Guest: Brian Kilmeade is the co-host of Fox News Channel's (FNC) FOX & Friends (weekdays 6-9 a.m. ET) alongside Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt. Additionally, he serves as host of The Brian Kilmeade Show, (weekdays 9 a.m.-12 p.m. ET) a nationally syndicated three-hour radio program on FOX News Radio. He is also the host of What Made America Great and America: Great from the Start on FOX Nation, FNC's online subscription-based streaming service. Kilmeade joined the network as a sports reporter in 1997.
June 25, 2021 Season 1, Episode 5 - Always Trying to Make A Difference, A Life Well Lived with Harry Rhoads Co-Founder of the Washington Speakers Bureau, Harry Rhoads joins us to talk about his life experiences and how showing others you care, fostering trust and showing that you are committed to excellence can allow other leaders to be a “force multiplier” in everything they do.
About Our Guest: Harry Rhoads, Jr., is the Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer of the Washington Speakers Bureau (WSB). Originally founded in 1980, WSB has exclusively represented many of the world’s most prominent figures including Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke. Jim Valvano was one of Rhoads’ first clients.
A four-time cancer (melanoma) survivor, Rhoads has served on the board of the V Foundation for Cancer Research since its inception. Currently, he is Chairman of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Born in Washington, D.C., Rhoads is a graduate of DePauw University. In his spare time, he can be found on the golf course or reading the latest book by one of the WSB authors. He is the proud father of two daughters, Mary Kathryn and Emily Ann.
May 28, 2021 Season 1, Episode 4 - Victory in High Risk Opportunities with Gary Harrell Major General Gary Harrell (Ret.) talks with us about his leadership experiences in high risk situations where supporting the person next to you is the most important key to victory.
About Our Guest: Major General Harrell officially retired as the Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Special Operations Command on July 1, 2008. MG Harrell’s distinguished career began when he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on Dec. 7, 1973 upon graduation from East Tennessee State University. He completed the Special Forces Qualification Course and served as Commander of an SFOD-A, SCUBA Team, and Commander of the first CINC, Inextremis Assault Team.
He assumed command of Co. C, 1st Bn., 505th Inf. in February 1981, and deployed as a member of the first multinational force to the Sinai Peninsula in 1981. MG Harrell was assigned as the G3 Air, 82nd Abn. Div., and deployed to Grenada for Operation Urgent Fury. In April 1984, he was assigned as the Operations Officer, 2nd Bn., 10th Special Forces Group (Abn.) in Ft. Devens, Massachusetts.
In December 1985, MG Harrell was assigned to 1st SFOD-D, (Delta Force) at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, as a Troop Commander. While in the unit he participated in Operation Just Cause. In March 1991, he was assigned to the Joint Special Operations Command as the Army Special Operations Action Officer. He participated in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In April 1992, he assumed command of C Squadron, 1st SFOD-D and deployed to Columbia, where he led forces in operations against Drug Lord Pablo Escobar, in support to the Government of Columbia. His next combat deployment was to Somalia for operations in support of Unosom II. In Somalia, he was the Ground Force Commander for combat operations that a portion of which were later depicted in the book and subsequent movie known as Blackhawk Down. On Oct. 9, 1993 he was severely wounded by enemy mortar fire and evacuated to the US where he began a long recovery process. He was assigned as the Deputy Commander, SFOD-D, in June 1995. MG Harrell commanded 1st SFOD-D from July 1998 to July 2000 and participated in numerous combat operations.
In July 2000, he assumed duties as Director, Joint Security Directorate, U.S. Central Command. As the JSD, he was responsible for all US Security operations within the 26 country CENTCOM area of operations, one of the most dangerous operational areas in the world. In October 2001, MG Harrell formed the USCENTCOM Joint Inter-Agency Task Force. He deployed the JIATF to Bagram, Afghanistan, as the Commander of Task Force Bowie on Nov. 25, 2001 and served as the Assistant Division Commander for the 10th Mountain Division during Operation Anaconda.
MG Harrell assumed command of Special Operations Command Central in July 2002. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, he commanded the largest special operations forces assembled since World War II, consisting of over 20,000 personnel. In April 2005, he was assigned as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations/Commander, deployable Joint Task Force, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Response Force in Brunssum, Netherlands, where he was responsible for NATO forces taking operational control of all of Afghanistan.
MG Harrell is a graduate of the Airborne Course, Ranger Course, Special Forces Underwater Operations Course, Military Free Fall Course, Pathfinder School, Military Free Fall Jumpmaster Course, Special Forces Qualification Course, Special Operations Training Course, the Armed Forces Staff College and the U.S. Army War College.
His awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Bronze Star Medal (with V-device and 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Joint Service Achievement Medal, as well as numerous service and campaign medals. He has also earned the Combat Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Master Military Free Fall Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge, SCUBA Diver Badge, Special Forces Tab and Ranger Tab.
MG Harrell served as the Director General for King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center in Amman, Jordan, from April 2009 to May 2012. He also served as the Senior Vice President of Special Operations and Intelligence Advisory Group for CUBIC Applications Inc. from September 2012 until December 2015.
MG Harrell is currently an owner and CEO of the Harrell Group which specializes in non-linear strategies for international risk security solutions.
April 30, 2021 Season 1, Episode 3 - What I Learned About Decision Making from Seven Years at the White House with Karl Rove Karl Rove joins us to discuss how aligning authority and responsibility, creating an environment where people can speak plainly, having a process and practicing humility allows all great leaders and teams make the best decisions possible.
About Our Guest: Karl Rove, an iconic political strategist and one of the most sought-after political brains of our time, is best known for his provocative and robust knowledge of the major political issues of the day. Mr. Rove served as Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush from 2000–2007 and Deputy Chief of Staff from 2004–2007. At the White House he oversaw the Offices of Strategic Initiatives, Political Affairs, Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs and was Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, coordinating the White House policy-making process. Before Karl Rove became known as “The Architect” of President Bush’s 2000 and 2004 campaigns, he was president of Karl Rove + Company, an Austin-based public affairs firm that worked for Republican candidates, non-partisan causes and non-profit groups. Today Mr. Rove writes a weekly op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, is a Fox News contributor and is the author of the newly released book, The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters, and the New York Times Bestseller, Courage and Consequence.
March 26, 2021 Season 1, Episode 2 - Leadership Principles for Today and Tomorrow That I Learned Yesterday with Todd Lamb Former Lt. Governor of Oklahoma Todd Lamb joins us to talk about how learning the importance of putting family first, planning, understanding surrender, attending the herds, being humble, saying yes, and being an encourager can help us all become a better leader today and tomorrow.
About Our Guest: Oklahoma elected Todd Lamb as Lieutenant Governor on November 2, 2010. An Enid native, Lamb played football at Louisiana Tech University, then returned to Oklahoma earning his bachelor's degree from Oklahoma State University and his law degree from Oklahoma City University School of Law. In 1998, Todd Lamb became a Special Agent with the United States Secret Service. He was elected president of his Secret Service Academy class and graduated with special recognition. During his U.S. Secret Service tenure, Lamb investigated and made numerous arrests in the areas of counterfeiting, bank fraud, threats against the President and identity theft. His duties included domestic and international protection assignments during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. In 2000, Lamb was a site supervisor for George W. Bush's presidential campaign. In early 2001, he was appointed to the national Joint Terrorism Task Force, where he received training and briefings at the CIA, FBI and Secret Service headquarters in Washington, D.C. After the terrorists' attacks, he was assigned to portions of the 9-11 investigation.
In 2009, Lamb became the first Republican Majority Floor Leader in state history. He has worked as a landman in Oklahoma's energy industry, and in addition to his Senate service, was General Counsel for an energy and wireless company in Edmond, Oklahoma. Lt. Governor Lamb currently services as Vice Chair of the Aeronautics State Association (ASA) and Chairman of the South Region for the National Lieutenant Governor's Associate (NLGA) Executive Committee.
Todd Lamb and his Monica have been married 15 years and have two children, Griffin and Lauren. The Lambs are active members of Quail Springs Baptist Church, where Lamb services as a church deacon. He has been a member of the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Athletic Association where he officiated high school football. He is active in many other civic and political organizations. In his spare time, Lamb enjoys fishing, hunting, reading and spending time with his family.
February 26, 2021 Season 1, Episode 1 - Standing on Patriotism with Neal McCoy Country music legend Neal McCoy talks about how implementing Caring, Consistency, Loyalty and Respect will not only allow you to continually Stand on Patriotism, but also become a more effective leader. Neal tells us some behind the scenes stories about why Standing on Patriotism is so important to him, how these experiences relate to leadership and how General Tommy Franks has inspired him to continue this good work. As General Franks always says, "Ain't this a great country."
About Our Guest: Neal McCoy has released 15 studio albums on various labels, and has released 34 singles to country radio. In 1993, Neal McCoy broke through with the back-to-back No. 1 singles No Doubt About It and Wink from his platinum-certified album No Doubt About It. His commercial success continued into the late 1990s with two more platinum albums and a gold album, as well as six more Top Ten hits. A seventh Top Ten hit, the number 10 Billy’s Got His Beer Goggles On, came in 2005 from his self-released That’s Life.
Music of Your Life, a big band jazz and country amalgam with Les Brown, Jr. recorded for a public television special, appeared in 2011, with a new studio album, XII, finally arriving in 2012. In 2013 he released Pride: A Tribute to Charley Pride, Neal’s long time friend and mentor. 2015 brought the Big Band Standards CD You Don’t Know Me. Neal has been on 15 USO Toursaround the world and continues to say it’s one of the achievements he’s most proud of. He is also the recipient of multiple humanitarian awards from The Academy of Country Music, The Country Radio Broadcasters and The Masonic Grand Lodge. In 2016 Neal has again made a move to continue his patriotic values by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance “Live” on his Facebook page every morning. He’s reached millions of viewers all over the country and around the world. Neal still maintains a very busy touring schedule all through the year. Make sure to catch a show when he’s near because as Neal says “No two shows are the same!”
Neal also supports his own charity organization, the East Texas Angel Network, which is committed to the enhancement of the lives of children of East Texas who are living with terminal or life-threatening diseases.
Four Star Leadership General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum