Top Leaders of 2010

Most people are familiar with the myriad of celebrity leader lists that get published this time of year – Top 10 CEOs, Top 1o World Leaders, Top 10 Entrepreneurs, etc., but you’ll not find that here. In today’s post I’m asking you to nominate the everyday community leader – the soldiers, first responders, teachers, volunteers, student leaders, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, pastors, medical professionals, etc., who serve as inspiration to us all by the daily difference their leadership makes in our lives. You can nominate your unsung hero by leaving a comment explaning how their example of leadership touches the lives of others. From the comments submitted I’ll pick a winner who will receive a $500 dollar check, an Amazon Kindle, and a video interview to be hosted on this blog (anyone wishing to add to the prize package please send me an email). I’ll announce the winner via Twitter on Christmas Eve. Let’s not let this holiday season pass without recognizing those who make our world a better place. Let the nominations begin…

You Might Also Like

No Comments


    December 16, 2010 at 1:43 am

    Babar Ali – youngest principal/headmaster of a school at the age of 17. Started the school a few years ago to teach students who were too poor to attend regular school. First year, he had 8 children. Today his school has an enrollment of 922 students. He did this whole thing himself. His primary motivation, he says, is love.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8299780.stm http://theinkconference.com/speakersdetails.php?i


      December 16, 2010 at 10:13 am

      Thanks for the inspiring nomination. I look forward to reading more about Mr. Ali.

    Mark Oakes

    December 16, 2010 at 5:51 am

    Thank for giving us the opportunity to share about some of the leaders who have inspired us this year. I can think of two in particular.

    The first is a young salesman in our company. John Rego was a Ranger Team Leader in Iraq. He was clearing a building when it was impacted by an RPG. The abbreviated version of the story is that he died and was revived 3 times before they were able to medivac him to Germany. He now has a number of new shiney parts including bones, ribs, skull plates, etc. He lives in pain but ALWAYS has a smile on his face and is glad to be alive. He donates his time to countless community initiatives and inspires everyone he comes in contact with.

    The other leader is a young 12 year old man in our church by the name of Noah. For years he was on the donor list to receive a new heart. Despite his grave outlook, he, too, always had a smile on his face. He galvanized prayer warriors throughout our body and, by example, taught many what it meant to be grateful. This year Noah received his heart. He trained for and completed his first triathlon and has his sights firmly set on doing an ironman. I have no doubt he will achieve that goal.




      December 16, 2010 at 10:15 am

      Thanks for sharing these two great stories Mark, and please thank both of these young men for me.

    Christine Kennedy

    December 16, 2010 at 6:46 am

    Where to begin! My pastor and his wife, Pastor Joe and Shawn Horrell. My dear friend and mentor, Cheryl Smith. My CEO, Rex Hammond. My previous board chair, Bob Bowden. My accountability group members, Bob, Matt, Lynda Sue, Cliff. These folks are always doing the right (sometimes the unpopular or hard thing.) They offer prayer support, wisdom and allow you to find your own path in a situation. Very grateful for their presence in my life.


      December 16, 2010 at 10:15 am

      Thanks for sharing the names of those who add value to your life. I appreciate your comment Christine.

    Arthur Rasco

    December 16, 2010 at 6:50 am

    I would like to nominate Dr. Kara Gibson who is serving in Haiti right now with international relief organization Samaritan's Purse. Kara was down in Haiti in just days after the Haiti earthquake in January as a medical responder. Later, she was brought on as a staff member to help coordinate volunteer medical teams to help with basic medical needs that arose in the villages and tent camps, ie malnutrition, minor illnesses, heat exhaustion, etc. In her own words, she was pushing paper. But then the cholera outbreak hit. All of a sudden she was thrown into a whirlwind of response, trying to help the sick and (literally) the dying. She sent out nurses to existing clinics to help with the influx of patients. Then she built another tent clinic in "Bercy," and in November, in just 10 days, a massive 200 bed clinic was built in the slum area of Port au Prince called Cite Soliel. She as volunteer nurses and doctors working non stop 24 hour shifts. And they are literally saving lives with a less than 1% mortality rate (acceptable rate being 5%-8%). She's doing an amazing job, and she's extremely humbled, and today, very tired. Very tired. I nominate Dr. Kara Gibson.


      December 16, 2010 at 10:16 am

      Thanks Arthur – Dr. Gibson sounds like an amazing woman.


      December 20, 2010 at 2:26 am

      Actually Kara had been on medical teams that have gone to Cambodia, Rwanda, before she ever finished her residency in anesthesia. She lived in Haiti for 8 months before she ever went to medical school. She had her bags packed for Uganda when the earthquake happened and she decided to go to Haiti. She has only been finished her Residency in anesthesia for little over a year and is coordinating international WHO’s and the efforts of the likes of the Clinton Foundation, The UN and othe NGO’s. Sounds like a lifetime of accomplishments in leadership? She’s 37. Look for her in videos and stills on the samaritains purse website, all you’ll see is her in the background or teaching.


    December 16, 2010 at 7:07 am

    Myles Munroe

    Lance Martin

    December 16, 2010 at 7:36 am

    I would love to nominate Jason Young. Jason resides in the Atlanta area and is one of the most outstanding young leaders of today! He has recently aquired ownership of The Whiteboard Sessions (a conference designed for leaders & strategy). He was on the creative planning team for catalyst, works with leadership development of Chick-Fil-A, and is quarterbacking many projects for well known leaders. He is also founder of Orphan Epidemic, a nonprofit created to bring awareness to orphans all over the world. To learn more about Jason check him out @ http://www.JasonYoungLive.com


      December 16, 2010 at 10:17 am

      Hi Lance:

      Thanks for bringing Jason to my attention. He sounds like a tremendous individual.

    Mike Henry Sr.

    December 16, 2010 at 7:48 am

    Here in Owasso, OK there is an organization called Owasso Community Resources. Nadia Guevera serves as the executive director. She works, often without a lot of resources and only with volunteers to help meet the needs of hundreds of people in the Owasso area who need assistance with life issues, utility assistance, school supplies, Thanksgiving, Christmas, clothing, food and a host of other things. She's helped the organization stabilize after a few years of leadership transition both with staff and board personnel as well.

    Thanks Mike for taking this approach to the best lists. I appreciate it.


      December 16, 2010 at 10:18 am

      Hi Mike:

      Thanks for nominating Nadia and please thank her for what she does in your community.


    December 16, 2010 at 7:55 am

    I nominate my friend Ted Randall. Ted is an army chaplain stationed at Fort Campbell and in our church, but he's currently deployed to Afghanistan. He lives everyday in a dangerous environment. His wife and three children are here and we've adopted them as our family while he is away. Ted felt God calling him to this. He had a successful career in ministry and was in good churches, but he felt God calling him to this assignment.

    Ted is one of dozens of other soldiers I could have mentioned here, but he's due to come home for his R&R (rest and relaxation) this week, so I thought of him first.


      December 16, 2010 at 10:20 am

      Thanks Ron:

      It takes a special person to go to Afghanistan as a noncombatant whose sole mission is to offer service and support of others.

    Dan Collins

    December 16, 2010 at 9:24 am


    Leaders inspire us by their example. Those that we often most respect are simply acting on a core that resonates, drives and emotionally connects with us. Actions, words and behaviors that are ordinary to them provide extraordinary fuel to the rest of us. I recently watched the medal of honor ceremony and interviews with Staff Sergeant Sal Giunta and was humbled by the pure and selfless core of this man. In the ceremony President Obama went off script to say " You know what – I really like this guy!" Most of us truly like just a few people and often respect even less. That rare combination of human being that we like and have the utmost respect for is remarkable and unforgettable. It is the stuff of great leadership. My nomination is Sal Giunta. I have attached, below a link to a two minute video of his interview that sums up who this man is. http://bit.ly/akqT0L


      December 16, 2010 at 10:21 am

      Hi Dan:

      What a guy! I was in awe of both his heroism and his humility as I first heard his story. My admiration for his example has only grown with time. Thanks for sharing Dan.


    December 16, 2010 at 10:55 am

    hello Mike
    Its good to have high performers and when measure brings good challenge to those who are learing from the advanced ones.

    Tanveer Naseer

    December 16, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Hi Mike,

    I would like to nominate Madeleine Covey, the 1st grade teacher at my daughter’s elementary school. Watching how she instructs and interacts with the children in her class, I am reminded of many of the important skills a leader needs to demonstrate. For example, Ms. Covey’s understands that to get the children into learning how to read means first creating a love of reading within the child. To help this take hold, she reaches out to parents to get involved by reading to their children on a regular basis and then letting the children read to them as they progress. In other words, instead of viewing this as something to be kept under her control, she reaches out the parents to help participate in succeeding to reach a goal they both share – of helping their child learn how to read.

    Something else that Ms. Covey evokes about leadership is the manner in which she communicates with her children. Ms. Covey is the kind of teacher who you could never imagine raising her voice, and yet at the same time, you know she can demonstrate command over a situation or group of children. One reason I think for this is because Ms. Covey understands communication is not simply about words, but also our actions, our behaviour and that if she wants the children in her class to behave a certain way, she needs to exemplify it in her own conduct. In this way, Ms. Covey demonstrates that there is a lot of truth to the phrase that the best way to lead is to lead by example.

    Finally, as a result of her attention and focus on attending to the specific needs of each child, Ms. Covey has garnered the loyalty and love of her students, something that she still evokes in my daughters even though they have long since left her classroom. For me, Ms. Covey is a shining example of how loyalty is fostered among those under your care by ensuring you not only have their best interests at heart, but that you remain consistent in your message and your vision of what you want your team to accomplish.

    Unfortunately, we don’t seem to recognize just how important teachers are to our community. So, I’d like to thank you Mike for giving me an opportunity to shine a light on one of our communities’ selfless leaders.


      December 16, 2010 at 6:08 pm

      Thanks for the glowing endorsement of Ms. Covey. I think most people can point to at least one educator who had a significant impact on their life due to the passion and giftedness the educator so selflessly shared with us. Thanks for the comment Tanveer.

    William Powell

    December 16, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    My pastor Ben Hodges, hands down. He consistently rides under the banner of “I don’t want to be blessed until I have blessed someone else”. He lives this in his personal life and as a pastor.

    He and his wife have made it a point to always contribute to charity in the same amount as the most expensive gifts he buys at Christmas time. Last year he helped organize a donation of around $20k to build wells in a number of African countries that needed it most. That amount was matched by another organization. This year he is organizing $12k to help a pastor in India build a church and an orphanage to help serve that community. A community in which little girls are either abandoned or murdered because they are viewed 2nd class citizens simply because they are girls.

    He is purposeful to ensure that the amount of money donated overseas is the same amount used to help those who live in the same community as the church. He is transparent, authentic, and truly has the concerns of others at the forefront of his thinking. A nation of people like Ben would be a force that could transform the world. The beauty is he is doing this one life at a time.

    Very proud to see you willing to give so much to others who give a lot all year, Mike!


      December 16, 2010 at 6:11 pm

      Hi William:

      Thanks for sharing all the great work Ben has done. I'm glad you were able to tell his story so others can see what the fruit of one man's commitment can produce.

    Scott Eblin

    December 18, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Earlier this year, I spent an amazing afternoon with the wounded warriors at the Mologne House which is the long term lodging facility at Walter Reed Army Hospital. I spent some time talking with Peter Anderson, the manager of the Mologne House. He told me that the average stay for his guests is somewhere between 16 and 18 months. Peter has been the manager at Mologne since it opened 14 years ago. When he told me how long he had been working there, I noted that he had been in a position to see a lot of history come through the doors. He agreed and listed the different military engagements – large and small – that have led to wounded warriors coming to Walter Reed. I asked Peter what his job was like supposing that it must be both rewarding and emotionally difficult. He agreed but said it was mainly rewarding because of the opportunity to connect with his guests and see the progress they make between the time they arrive and when they leave. It was clear from watching him walk the lobby and work the dining room that Peter knows every solider and story at Mologne. Peter, to me, is emblematic of the unsung heroes who support the heroes who serve on behalf of all of us.

    You can read more about Peter and some of the heroes of Walter Reed in this post. http://scotteblin.typepad.com/blog/2010/11/the-he


      December 19, 2010 at 12:22 pm

      Hi Scott:

      Thanks for nominating Peter. Few things tug at the heart in the way the sacrifices of our veterans and their families do. I really appreciate you sharing about the Mologne House. Hopefully your comment will bring some added exposure to this very worthy cause. Thanks again for sharing Scott.

    Greg Waddell

    December 20, 2010 at 3:41 pm


    I think the greatest leader or leaders cannot be named because they are unknown, unseen, and too little appreciated. I'm talking about the first responders who enter into chaotic and catastrophic situations and know how to lead their team to not only avoid a larger disaster but also to save lives. I'm talking about the courageous fire fighters who must face completely unpredictable situations, takes charge, and bring order out of chaos. I'm talking about the Sargent of a Platoon under fire who must rally his men to keep moving with bullets zinging past their heads. I'm also talking about those individuals (and I have one in mind right now) who work tirelessly in some unknown village to help their own people rise up out of poverty and ignorance, without a budget and without recognition from the world. These are the leaders who go unnamed and unrecognized. Let's call them Mr. and Ms. X. They are real leaders and those who work next to them know this to be a fact. Unfortunately, our culture only recognizes the rich and the famous. I feel like when all is finally revealed, we will be surprised who God consideres the greatest leaders.


      December 20, 2010 at 10:43 pm

      Hi Greg:

      Thanks for your comment. Either you have confused the intent of the post, or I have misunderstood your comment. The purpose of this post is to honor precisely those individuals you mentioned in your comment. Celebrity leaders receive more than enough attention, but it is the everyday leader I'm attempting to salute with this post. Please feel free to nominate someone if you feel so inclined. Thanks Greg.


    December 22, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Hi Mike!

    I agree that the greatest heroes in our lives are the “quiet” ones who simply act from their passion and heart, and fueled by that fire, inspire those around them.

    I have found Maggie Doyne to be one of those amazing people. I met Maggie when she was only 19 and working as a baby sitter for a friend of mine. I soon discovered the power and passion behind this phenomenal young woman, for Maggie had only returned home to New Jersey to make money to continue her dream.

    Although Maggie was a superior high school student and athlete, unlike her other high school colleagues, she decided to defer her college acceptance and journey out into the world. Her journeys led her to working at an orphanage in India near the Nepali boarder, where she saw a constant stream of children flowing into the country. Curious and concerned, she decided to follow the stream of children and discover their source.

    Her trek took her to Surkhet, Nepal, where she saw hundreds of children in the streets — child laborers, child soldiers. homeless children, child prostitutes. The view before her was the devastating result of a 10 year civil war that had torn Nepal apart, and it gave rise to an innocent question for her – “Why aren’t these kids in school?”

    After confering with the elders and leaders in the town, she was told that it cost money to go to school. Tuition, uniforms, books, supplies. Money these children did not have, let alone the fact that some did not even have parents. When Maggie was told the amount of money that prevented these kids from going to school – roughly $10 – she got on the phone to her parents and declared, “Mom. Dad. Send me my baby sitting money. I am starting a children’s home.”

    What has flourished from that bold declaration has inspired her community here in New Jersey, the town of Surkhet, hundreds of school kids here in the States that are following her journey and the journey of the students in Nepal, and countless others around the world who have been inspired by her story.

    At the young age of 19, Maggie made good on her promise and built that home – Kopila Valley Children’s Home, that now 25 children call home — and they call Maggie “mom.” Maggie also started an educational outreach program for over 60 other girls in the town and a medical program. And, even more amazing, just this year, at the very young age of 23, Maggie opened her first school in Surkhet that provides over 100 students with a much needed education.

    I realize these are just the outcomes of her heart and actions, and I would love to share more of her heart and the absolutely AMAZING stories that recount her journey and fight for the rights. love and survival she has endeavored for the children of Nepal. But as you can imagine, that would easily require a book. So, I will simply give you the shortcut. You can read more about this magnificent woman on her blog at her website, http://www.blinknow.org. She named her organization BlinkNow because she blieves you can change the world in the blink of an eye.

    Thanks for letting me share Maggie with all your readers.

    I am happy to add a month’s worth of my coaching to your prize package if you wish to add that.

    Thanks for celebrating all the quiet heroes that surround us every day!



      December 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm

      H Rich:

      Thanks for the wonderful account of Maggie's selfless accomplishments. Whenever anyone mocks the younger generation this is a great story to recount…We should all be doing as much as Maggie. Thanks again Rich.


      December 25, 2010 at 5:42 pm

      Hi Rich:

      Congratulations…Maggie was selected as our winner. I'll let her know you were responsible for the nomination. Merry Christmas Rich…


      January 1, 2011 at 1:03 pm

      Hi Rich:

      Happy New Year! If you weren’t already aware of it, I wanted to let you know that your nominee (Maggie) was selected as the winner of our unsung leader of 2010 contest. The purpose of this communiqué is twofold: 1.) to thank you for the nomination, and; 2.) to let you know that I’m having trouble contacting Maggie.

      I have announced Maggie as the winner of the contest on Twitter, and have sent her 2 emails. I realize our contest was rather small and the awards are probably not that significant in the grand scheme of things, but I do want to complete my obligations by fulfilling on the delivery of the prizes. Anything you could do to help connect me with Maggie would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Rich…

    Susan Baganz

    December 24, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Unsung hero would be the Adult Ministries Pastor at my church, David Mundt. I have served under his leadership now for 7 years and have never once regretted it. He is often busy behind the scenes. He works hard and has been a great one to defend me against attacks as well as challenge me to help me grow as a leader. I work with Women and he has always validated my work and calling. I've seen him work with other leaders and provide training that not only equips us to coach and lead others – but to also help our own selves grow. I admire my Senior Pastor too – and he is more recognized at our church, but Pastor David has made it a safe, yet challenging place to serve.


      December 25, 2010 at 5:35 pm

      Hi Susan:

      Thanks for nominating David. He sounds like a great leader who benefits all those he comes in contact with. Thanks again for the submission.

    deborah nixon

    December 25, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Dave Williams- astronaut, aquantaut, doctor, jet fighter pilot, space photographer, Dad, husband, and the best leader I have ever encountered. He lives his values, is humble, appreciative of others. He leads by example, lives a meaningful life. Is generous, kind, inspirational. He can teach leadership because he has lived it- and still does. He is the most accomplished person I know but makes everyone around his feel special, valued, and appreciates your contribution. He is rare in the world of coaching and leadership development and I feel honoured that he has chosen to partner with me to deliver our leadership workshops.


    December 25, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Thanks to everyone for all the wonderful nominations. Every nominee was clearly capable of being selected as the winner – what a marvelous group of people to choose from. However there can only be one winner, and that person is….Maggie Doyne. I'll be in contact with Maggie this next week to make arrangements to award the prizes. Congratulations Maggie and Merry Christmas.

Leave a Reply

Most Commented Posts