The name Leadership voler was something unique I came up with to reflect my passion for aviation. You may not immediately notice the aviaton tie-in, allow me to explain. I was very fortunate to be a guest of the US Navy on the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis for a a five day "Tiger Cruise" from Pearl Harbor to San Diego in 2013. In my opinion, no finer way to cross the Pacific ocean.
The carrier designation for the Stennis was CVN 74. During the trip, I learned that C designates "Carrier", V designates "Fixed Wing" aircraft and N designates "Nuclear". My immediate query to my host was, "how does V designate fixed wing, that doesn't compute?" It turns out that V was originally used from the French word voler, which means "to fly." That is a piece of US Navy trivia that many officers aren't even aware of. Feel free to win a bet with that priceless nugget of wisdom. With that knowledge, the name of my company literally means Leadership to fly.
When I was enrolled in the Engineering Management program at the University of Colorado, Boulder, I was fortunate to take a Leadership class offered by Dr. Barb Lawton. It was, and still is, the single most important class I took in my graduate studies. This was a life changing event for me, and I immediately knew I wanted to learn more. I became obsessed with consuming information on the topic; books, magazines, blog posts, seminars and classes. You name it, I soaked it all up like a sponge. Why these skills are not taught to students at all levels of our educational system is a travesty in my mind, and I set out to do something about it.
So here I was, 43 years into my journey through life, having my eyes opened to these vital life skills. I immediately had an alarming thought, "why did it take so long for me to be exposed to what I could only describe as essential skills for success?" I then switched gears and asked another question, "are there others out there like me?" With the people I have coached, the resounding answer is yes, there are many others who have not been exposed to leadership training of any kind!
You don't have to be a CEO, a manager at your workplace, or otherwise in a position of formal authority to benefit from leadership skills. That is key, remember this point, because it was my personal light bulb moment. Leadership is for everyone, and I mean everyone, even if you are leading only yourself. In fact, leadership skills start with self awareness as the foundation. You cannot lead others until you have mastered leading your own life. Are you squared away?
You can be a better version of yourself from learning and practicing leadership skills. It will make you a better parent, a better partner, a better friend and family member, a better individual contributor at work and most importantly a better citizen and neighbor. I sometimes daydream about what politics in America might be like if we had the listening skills and empathy to have healthy discussions about different points of view. Most of us are never taught these skills, and that's a shame. Those are traits I think we can all agree, are desirable.
There are literally thousands of leadership coaches out there, why choose me? One of the most important lessons in leadership is to realize we are all unique, we all bring a different perspective to the discussion, and that perspective is valuable to advancing critical thought. I'm sure you're wondering, what's unique about Ron Duren?
I undertook a life changing five year journey to build and fly my own airplane, which I now use to travel all over the United States. It taught me many things, primarily delayed gratification and hard work. In addition, I have voluntarily strapped myself to an angry 1500 lb. bull at a rodeo and lived to tell about it. I have experienced the crush of G-forces in competition aerobatics, high in the sky. I have felt the pressure of playing semi-pro baseball in front of 30,000 fans, broadcast on national television. I have stepped out of my introverted comfort zone and given a motivational speech in front of hundreds of paying customers.
As you can see, I hope you would agree, much like you, I bring a leadership perspective that no one else possibly can. My lifelong background in organized team sports, my graduate degree in management, my passion for aviation and tackling the daunting task to build and fly an airplane are all things I hope you find compelling. I'm not your typical Leadership coach, my views will come from a fascinating new angle.
Let's strap in, push the throttle to the firewall and experience the g-forces of excitement as we accelerate down the runway and take flight together.