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 Jace Zacharias and D'Lese Travis.
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.
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.
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Past Episodes & Guests
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