The Skateboarding Kid from Corona.
My belief is that there truly is leadership in all of us and by relating easily accessible personal stories, from my life experiences and well known concepts, to the role of internal and external leadership, I hope to help you become the best version of yourself.
True leadership is not as tidy as you read in books. It happens like it happens.
While my upbringing has shaped me to be appear as a casual, surf and sleep leadership guru with a penchant for long hair, amazing Mexican food and traveling around the world living out the seeker’s quest, there is much more to me than meets the eye. A very big part of my journey includes a highly successful career in the corporate financial world.
As I have taken this journey, I have learned a very important thing: All of the sophisticated complicated systems that make up today’s global world are nested in the stories that gave us our start.
When I was 10 years old, I was very excited about my very first skateboard. That skateboard allowed me to surf anywhere I could see in front of my eyes. All I had to do is put a set of wheels on what I had always seen as a surfboard.
And so I ask you, “where’s the boy with the skateboard?” Where are you in this complicated world that you you live? In the journey of awakening, it is in your version of the boy with a skateboard that you will find your answers.
After completing a missionary program in Peru, I graduated from BYU and began my long and arduous career in mergers and acquisitions. In 1977, I accepted my first big corporate position at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (now PwC), where I was responsible for negotiating and structuring merger and acquisition transactions. Among my clients were IBM, Sunkist, Beckman Instruments, and Toyota Motor Sales. In 1984, as the senior partner of Shelton, Smith & Townsend, CPAs, I joined a CEO resource group called The Executive Committee (TEC), now known as Vistage, and remained a member until I sold my firm in 1990. This group included CEOs from Pacific Mutual, Allergan, Landsdale Carr, Vision Streetwear, and Quicksilver.
After a lifetime of managing organizations, I found myself naturally migrating to the leadership-coaching arena. My current leadership assignments include VF Corp., University of San Diego, and Celgene. In 2012, I published my first book, Awakened Leadership: Beyond Self-Mastery.
My house is a refurbished fire station in Oceanside, California, where I have lived with my wife Justine for seventeen years (you can become a fan of her on Facebook here). She is a yoga therapist and healer who works with cancer survivors and individuals with chronic illness. I have two children, Kristin and Michael. They graduated with business degrees from the University of Southern California and the University of Arizona, respectively, and are both avid entrepreneurs.
In my free time I love to spend time at Wisconsin Street beach near my house or chowing down on one of the many amazing local Mexican restaurants near me. I have a long-standing relationship with my USC Trojans. Fight on! Feel free to contact me just about that if you’d like and we’ll talk. I also have a long love affair with rescued dogs; as you are reading this, it is likely that I am in my office counseling with clients while the three family dogs are playing at my feet.
Make a ruthless assessment of where you are on your journey. Thanks to inspiration from my mentors, such as Stephen Covey, I looked back on my life and highlighted certain events that helped shape ‘who I am’. I look at this exercise as a primer for anyone. Assess where you are now, but look back on your own life and all the momentous occasions that lead you to where you are today. Step inside my shoes and note some tips that should get you going on your path towards personal development.
In my work I constantly ask the leaders that I teach to locate and hold the deepest passionate story that they know. And they are constantly asked to revisit and draw inspiration from that story. In addition to that grounding in the original story of passion, I ask leaders to continue to hone the harder skills that they need such that they have complete mastery of their own leadership playbook.