Meet the Expeditionary Leaders: Tom James

Shortly after my new book, Outward Bound Lessons To Live A Life of Leadership, was under contract with Berrett Koehler Publishers, I flew to New York City to talk with Tom James about the book. Tom, who at the time was serving as the Provost, Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs of the Teacher's College at Columbia University, spent several hours with me discussing the book. In addition to a remarkable career in higher education Tom is one of the most knowledgeable experts on Outward Bound and its founder Kurt Hahn. 

His thoughts, guidance and encouragement were instrumental to me as I took on this project. An occasional encouraging email or suggestion along the way also helped. And after the book was published I received these words from him:  "I am impressed that you have found a new approach to illuminating what Outward Bound and its kin are able to do for human performance and self-knowledge.  Congratulations, and I hope you enjoy the many avenues of dialogue that will follow as you engage with the audiences you will find.  I'm glad I got a chance to know you along the way."

Tom epitomizes Expeditionary Leadership. In particular the lines from Outward Bound Minnesota's founder Bob Pieh: "be humble but bold." Columbia characterized his tenure as provost and dean as one of "innovation and civility." Tom practices the expeditionary leadership model of empowering others and stepping aside to let them lead. He has spent a lifetime contributing to the betterment of education and guiding Outward Bound, always leading from behind and without seeking attention. In 2016 Outward Bound honored him with the Kurt Hahn award for his lifetime of service to Outward Bound's mission. 

It's my honor to introduce you to Expeditionary Leader Thomas James!


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