Profiles in Leadership: Sebastian Guthery

by 12:32 PM
Sebastian Guthery makes a monkey friend in Thailand

From an early age, entrepreneur and business leader Sebastian Guthery demonstrated a natural leadership talent. His work launching several lucrative business ventures is a testament to this leadership; without solid foundations of personal drive and the ability to look to the future, Sebastian would not have achieved the success he enjoys today.

Sebastian resides in San Diego, California, where he is involved with business management and advocacy work on a daily basis. He has launched several new ventures in 2017 alone, including a luxury car rental firm and an investment operation.

Sebastian’s Leadership Styles

Like many of today’s most influential leaders, Sebastian does not adhere to one leadership style; rather, his flexibility and experience in business is the product of blending several different styles. Each of these styles complements the others.

Primarily, Sebastian is best known as a transformational leader (such as Elon Musk). In the transformational style, a leader is able to identify a problem or something that needs to be changed. Then, he or she develops a solution to that problem, implements the change, and inspires others to complete the transformation.

In Sebastian’s case, he identified that the ethnobotanical retail industry was under attack from government regulators. As someone with over a decade of experience in the botanicals retail market, he knew that many misconceptions surrounded the use, importation, and safety of a number of natural herbal product from Southeast Asia.

Working closely with a small group of like-minded individuals, he not only shaped the future of his own business but created a powerful lobbying group in the process. In this way, he transformed the ethnobotanical industry, showing business owners and regulators the need to have a unified lobbying voice.

Inspirational leadership is another one of Sebastian’s key leadership traits. In this style, a leader brings together a group to work on a common goal. The leader is able to inspire others by getting them invested in the process, whether it is a new business venture, a process improvement, or a humanitarian cause.

Throughout his business career, Sebastian has been able to work with a wide range of people with different interests and goals. Through his ability to inspire others, he has been incredibly successful in getting others on board with his ideas, resulting in the launch and growth of several multi-million dollar business ventures.

Keep reading: Sebastian's Journey to Giving Back

Autocratic vs. Democratic Leadership

Sebastian’s leadership traits take many forms. As illustrated above, he has demonstrated expertise in both transformational and inspirational leadership styles. In each of these styles, and in many other leadership roles, the concept of autocratic vs. democratic leadership bears scrutiny.

A democratic leader is one who seeks out the insights and experiences of others before making decisions. Some of the greatest leaders of our time used this technique to ensure that the decisions being made were in the best interests of the company or organization.


An autocratic leader, on the other hand, is one who may listen to others but is ultimately responsible for the decisions being made.




Sebastian has demonstrated skill in both of these styles. In launching several of his ventures over the years, he has had to work closely with others, gaining their insights and making informed decisions based on the feedback he was receiving.

At the same time, many tough decisions required him to forge ahead on his own. Sebastian knows that failure is potentially part of any business venture; being afraid to fail is simply not in his leadership DNA. When called upon to do so, Sebastian makes difficult, but smart, decisions that affect his company, his business future, and the future of the industries in which he works.

Sebastian embodies what it means to be a leader in today’s business world. By remaining flexible, looking to the future, and making smart decisions, he has positioned himself for continued success in years to come.

To learn more about Sebastian, follow him on Tumblr or contact him on his Website

Profiles in Leadership: Yor Health CEO Dennis Wong

by 10:48 AM
Dennis Wong 2014 Yor Health Conference

Dennis Wong is an internationally-known business leader, entrepreneur, and purveyor of healthy lifestyle products. Dennis founded YOR Health in Irvine, California, in response to his own failing health. Now, the company enjoys worldwide market penetration and success, thanks to Dennis’ expert leadership.

The Leadership Styles of Dennis Wong

Dennis Wong embodies two of the most important leadership styles: transformational and inspirational. These blended styles have helped shape the business ventures and success that Dennis has worked so hard for since founding YOR Health.
In order to understand his blossoming into a transformational leader, it is important to learn a bit about his story before establishing YOR Health. After immigrating to the United States as a child, Dennis and his family struggled to make ends meet. Despite overcoming some of those challenges, enrolling in college and completing a degree in electrical engineering, Dennis continued to seek direction in his life. By a stroke of luck, Dennis and his sister met a group of businessmen who would mentor the pair. In just a few years, they had made a small fortune in real estate and later in an Internet technology firm. Dennis neglected his health, and at the age of 40 was diagnosed with heart disease. It was time for fundamental changes to his health and lifestyle.
A transformational leader is characterized by the ability to identify a common problem, then develop a solution to overcome that problem, thereby completing a transformation. YOR Health was the solution to the health problems plaguing people around the world. In fact, the company and its products served as the transformation for Dennis. In a very short time, he was healthier than ever before. Then, his natural leadership abilities took over and he began to transform others. Under his guidance, the company continues to develop innovative health and nutritional products that allow people to take charge of their own health.
In a similar vein, Dennis Wong is known for inspirational leadership. He has assembled a worldwide team of sales people, product developers, and YOR Health Promoters. Dennis’ passion for clean, natural living inspires others in the team as they formulate nutritional supplements and healthful products for the company. From humble beginnings, the company now enjoys a robust market share on a global scale. Inspirational leadership is critical for a forward-thinking business venture. Investing a work team with goals, then tackling the challenges as they present themselves, is part of the formula for success that Dennis has used throughout his professional business career. Whether it is his leadership as an up-and-coming real estate mogul, his extensive and lucrative work in specialty Internet technology services, or his ever-growing nutritional empire, Dennis Wong and his leadership have proven time and again to be invaluable.

As a leader, Dennis remains humble. He credits good fortune and hard work as keys to his success. Although he can qualify as a self-made success story, he shares his origin story with others in the hopes that they, too, may overcome the challenges they face as they reach for improved health and financial success.

Profiles in Leadership: Joseph Davis, Morgan Hill Philanthropist

by 11:46 AM
Joe Davis Morgan Hill Philanthropy photo

Inventor and business leader Joseph E. Davis has enjoyed a long career filled with triumphs. From establishing technology companies to developing innovative products, he has demonstrated a keen leadership ability over the past 35+ years. Joe Davis lives and works in Morgan Hill, California, where he continues to consult with technology firms on matters of patents and patent infringements.

Leadership Traits

Joe Davis epitomizes two of the most common leadership styles: transformational and inspirational. Over his career in the technology industry, he has been awarded over 35 U.S. and foreign patents in a number of specialized fields. Each patent came from identifying a problem, then developing a solution to overcome that problem. This is the key characteristic of transformational leadership – the process of discovering, then overcoming a challenge.
In Joe’s career, he has worked with some of the biggest names in the technology sector, such as Seagate, Maxtor, ISS Sperry-Univac, Atari, and SyQuest. Throughout his professional life, he has brought together teams that were able to create lasting solutions to everyday tech issues. In 1999, Joe was responsible for co-founding Capella Photonics, Inc., a company that would eventually be sold to Alcatel-Lucent. He served as the company’s CEO and later as its Chairman before retiring in 2008. Although the company’s operations were sold, Capella retains the intellectual properties he co-developed during his tenure there.
Of particular interest in Joe’s impressive collection of patents is a wavelength-selective switch designed to increase Internet throughput speeds. This enabled online streaming video for the first time. Joe was co-inventor of this innovative technology. He and his team anticipated the rise of streaming online video services, then set out to create an elegant solution that would facilitate streaming in a way that benefitted the end user dramatically.
Prior to his work with Capella Photonics, Joe was the co-founder of Quinta Corporation. Working as the company’s Vice President of Product Development, he put together a team that tackled data storage issues. The result was a multi-disk storage device that combined the best aspects of magnetic and optical storage technologies. Joe’s leadership, combined with his ability to inspire others, was instrumental in developing this technology. Quinta was sold to data storage giant Seagate in 1997.

What Does it Take to be a Leader?

Joe’s career in the digital technology sector is one of innovation and problem-solving expertise. He knows, however, that coming up with new products and systems is only part of the equation. Being able to guide a team toward success takes a strong leader, and Joe has demonstrated that quality time and again. In each of his roles as a product developer, inventor, and business executive, he has created an atmosphere of collaboration and innovation. Each member of his teams understood what needed to be addressed and carefully laid out the foundation to solve problems. Joe has an ability to inspire others around him; this ability has served him well, and each company he has worked with has been able to achieve unheard-of success.

Joe Davis' leadership extends far beyond his professional career. Since 2014, he has worked closely with charitable organizations in the Morgan Hill and Santa Clarita County regions of California. In addition to his hard work on behalf of the homeless, he has been a tireless advocate for homeless rights and safety concerns. With his help, several government and non-profit organizations have established safe parking areas and legal campgrounds for homeless individuals and their families. He continues to provide his leadership and his expertise in solving problems, both for humanitarian efforts as well as further advances in technology.

Profiles in Leadership: EZ-Level

by 2:44 PM
ez-level cabinet leveler banner


In this week's Profiles in Leadership, we cover the very unique Brooks Barrington Courtney, the CEO & Founder of the transformational cabinet leveling system EZ-Level.

Brooks & his company are no strangers to leadership. The company and its products have revolutionized the home improvement industry by identifying problems, then developing elegant solutions to conquer those problems. The company quickly became known in the remodeling industry as a transformational leader as a result.

EZ-Level.com’s leadership extends to their popular YouTube channel, which boasts thousands of subscribers and over two million views. The channel serves as a guiding light to do-it-yourselfers and professional home improvement contractors alike.

EZ-Level’s YouTube Leadership


Creating video content is a great way for a company to let the world know about its products and services. Many companies take advantage of video sharing services like YouTube to reach a global audience. EZ-Level itself launched its YouTube channel in 2009 and quickly gained prominence, both on the video sharing platform as well as in the home improvement industry. 

What makes this channel a leader? In simple terms, the channel empowers others. No matter what industry or business, a good leader excels at sharing information with others. This sharing can be with coworkers, subordinates, or customers. By creating insightful videos, the EZ-Level company had two goals in mind: to demonstrate the effectiveness of their revolutionary cabinet-leveling system and to give viewers a complete understanding of the processes and installation involved. This is empowerment at its very essence; customers of the company not only have the very best system for installing cabinetry but now they are able to follow step-by-step instructions on the best ways to implement those systems. 

A Look at the EZ-Level Channel

On its YouTube channel, EZ-Level focuses on several aspects of cabinet installation. First, they approached video content development by identifying common problems contractors and DIYers faced when hanging cabinets in kitchens and baths. Next, they set out to offer video-based guides. Starting with base cabinets and moving to wall cabinets, islands, and countertops, the channel’s videos give customers the information they need to hang cabinets perfectly. Each video gives step-by-step instructions and gives viewers tips and tricks for success. Finally, the company created videos that showcase the strength and ease of use of the leveling system

Although the EZ-Level cabinet leveling system is the premier system, the company also thought its channel viewers needed to see its advantages as compared to traditional cabinet hanging methods. Several of the videos on the channel illustrate such leveling products as shims and leg levelers – both methods in common use in the home improvement industry. A great leader identifies issues with current solutions, then creates something better. This is exactly what the company has done here. The videos show how traditional cabinet hanging methods are fraught with problems and how their innovative leveling system alleviates those problems. 

Continuing Industry Leadership

EZ-Level is not content to rest on its laurels. The company continues to develop tools and methods to help others with home improvement projects. YouTube is an important part of the company’s commitment to sharing knowledge with others, a critical component of the role of a leader. 

As the company adds new videos to its channel, it serves as a tremendous information resource for professional contractors and homeowners. And, the proof is in the numbers: The EZ-Level Cabinet Leveling System has an incredible 4.9/5 star rating on ekomi, with hundreds of satisfied customers.  
Contact:

MorningStar Innovations & Design, Inc.
Brooks Barrington Courtney, Pres.
https://www.ez-level.com/

Brooks@ez-level.com
5519 Garrison Ave
North Port, Florida 34291
800-726-5550 (toll free main)
866-284-3321 (toll free fax)

941-284-6849 (local)

Leadership in History: Dwight D. Eisenhower

by 1:34 PM
dwight d eisenhower great leader
Born in 1890, Dwight D. Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States and a celebrated Army General who helped mastermind the Western Front offensives of World War II. Despite his incredible achievements as a leader, he was known for remaining humble. He came from simple origins and returned to his roots at retirement. Mr. Eisenhower passed away in 1969, leaving a legacy of truly great leadership.
It goes without saying that Dwight Eisenhower was one of the greatest American leaders of all time. As the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe during WWII, he was responsible for several major offensives, including the invasion of North Africa, the invasion and liberation of France from Axis forces, and the Western Front invasion of Germany. Later, his leadership as our nation’s President was a time of prosperity and achievement. In addition to supporting civil rights movements, he authorized the creation of NASA and kicked off the “space race”.

Eisenhower’s Leadership Traits

Dwight Eisenhower was characterized by leadership traits that spanned several styles. Of foremost importance was his likeability. Even though he was one of a small handful of 5-star Army Generals, troops and subordinates could relate to him. He actively sought out the advice of his staff and was known for taking into consideration the observations and thoughts of combat soldiers. In this way, he demonstrated Democratic leadership traits. With bravery, devotion, and impeccable leadership, he asked a lot of his troops while remaining grounded in the realities of the war effort.
At the same time, he was not afraid to take the reins and make tough decisions. Some of these decisions influenced the direction of the war effort in North Africa and Europe, while later decisions shaped the U.S. economy, foreign relations, and the space exploration program. In some ways, many of his decisions can be viewed as coming from an autocratic style of leadership, but Eisenhower reserved this style for only the most difficult times of his career.
Mr. Eisenhower was also known as an optimist. As a leader, his vision of a greater America was shared by the staff working with him and society at large. His passion, coupled with his kind, caring disposition, inspired others around him to bring his visions to life. He was able to “sell” his ideas and his mission to others; in many ways, he was a salesman of the highest caliber. Here, those traits are typically found in transformational leadership styles.
Throughout his career, both as a politician and as an Army leader, he took responsibility for the failings of his team. Many “leaders” are quick to take the credit when things go right, but in politics as well as in war, even the best-laid plans can lead to failure. Mr. Eisenhower stepped in whenever things didn’t go as planned; he was unafraid of failure and knew that it was simply a part of life.
Finally, he was able to bring together diverse personnel into strong teams that got the tough jobs done. He was an expert at managing the egos of the team members he worked with, inspiring them to put aside any personal and professional differences to achieve their goals as a team.

Profiles in Leadership: Sonya Dudley

by 10:54 AM
Sonya Dudley and Helen McFadden


Sonya Dudley is an internationally‐recognized motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and leader. She is a Diamond Ambassador for Plexus Worldwide, managing a team of over 30,000 members scattered throughout the United States and into New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. Sonya’s many talents are apparent in her speaking engagements. She has a natural leadership ability and an engaging personality, both of which work together to inspire and motivate people. Sonya believes in leading by example. In just five years, she has grown her Plexus team by helping others achieve their potential. 

Sonya’s Leadership Style 

Sonya Dudley does not fit into a neat leadership category. Rather, she combines elements of many leadership styles into her approach – styles like transformational, inspirational, autocratic, and democratic, just to name a few. Over her years as a sales professional and entrepreneur, she has discovered that flexibility is the key to continued success. 

As a transformational leader, Sonya identifies problems, then brings her team’s expertise to bear on that problem to develop a solution. She has served as a change agent in several business ventures, particularly in her work with Plexus. Because she has such a large team of affiliated sales people scattered across the globe, she must often take responsibility for hard decisions that affect the company. This is part of her autocratic style, but she also balances that leadership approach with a more democratic style. In the democratic style, Sonya leans on the talents and experience of many people in her team. With their input, she is able to make informed decisions that benefit the entire team’s work. 

It is perhaps her inspirational leadership attributes that have served her best. In any organization, an inspirational leader has the ability to share goals and aspirations with those he or she leads. The team becomes invested in reaching that goal and works together to achieve it. By inspiring others, Sonya has built her sales team to encompass four countries. That inspiration has also helped her to achieve great heights at Plexus in a relatively short time. 

Inspirational Leadership Events 

Sonya Dudley is eager to share her stories with others. She runs a popular YouTube channel, where she posts videos dissecting leadership traits and techniques for business success. She also spends a considerable amount of time traveling around the country to deliver motivational speeches at events and seminars. In March 2017, Sonya presented her coaching expertise to a rapt audience near Houston, Texas. Her seminar, entitled “Change Your Mindset Houston”, blended motivational and transformational topics. She believes that the cornerstone of success is one’s mindset; that mindset colors all decisions, business actions, and planning efforts. By modifying one’s mindset, he or she can achieve successes never before thought possible. Beginning in June 2017, Sonya will host a series of virtual motivational seminars (more information can be found on her website). Audience members from around the world will be able to attend and to interact with others in the online sessions. Sonya is an expert at helping others take charge of their own futures. Her inspirational work and her leadership abilities have brought her the success she deserves, but it has also empowered thousands of others across the globe.

Leadership Spotlight: Vladimir Putin

by 4:11 PM

As the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin has been somewhat of a controversial leader. Born in 1952, Mr. Putin has served as both President and Prime Minister of Russia. During his second term as Prime Minister of the Federation, he also served as the Chairman of the United Russia Party.

Mr. Putin studied law at the Saint Petersburg State University. Following graduation from law school, he joined the KGB, the Soviet Union’s intelligence organization. He worked as a foreign intelligence officer for sixteen years, eventually rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. His first work in the political theater came when he was chosen as part of President Boris Yeltsin’s administration, eventually becoming Acting President when Yeltsin resigned in 1999. Under Putin’s leadership, the Russian Federation has grown not only in economic prowess, but as one of the primary world leaders.

Vladimir Putin’s Leadership Style

Vladimir Putin has a leadership style that is autocratic. This style is characterized by one person having complete control over an organization or project, and is a hallmark of Russian leadership going back to the Czars of the 15th Century. In Putin’s Russia, tough decisions need to be made quickly and with real authority. While he has assembled a team of subordinates that help him manage the daily tasks of the country’s administration, he relies on his quick thinking and his command of risk vs. reward strategies.

His goal as President of the Federation was to show the world that Russia was capable of being a reliable world ally, both in economic as well as in military terms. He contrasted his country’s leadership against that of Western leaders like American President Barack Obama, who he saw as someone too cautious and too wary of long‐term commitments to be an effective world leader. Putin, on the other hand, demonstrated that he is willing to risks in order to advance the principles of his country’s government.

Studying Putin’s Leadership

On the world stage, Vladimir Putin is seen as a rugged individual. In the West, he is perceived as a bit of a “tough guy”, often appearing shirtless and engaging in outdoor activities that Western leaders normally shy away from.

The reality, though, is that Putin tends to be rather secretive in his leadership. While he may be a rugged man, he is also often vague and difficult for other leaders to assess. With a tightly‐knit team of advisers around him, he has earned a reputation as one who believes in what he says and as one who follows through on achieving the goals he has set out. Over the years, he has steadily moved away from collective or democratic leadership to the autocratic style we know him for today. He is ready to make hard decisions and does not wait for others before doing so. The result is that the Russian Federation appears stronger than ever.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Putin http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/russia/putin‐style.htm

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