Steve Tasker Self-Leadership Experience Camp for High School Students

Ask any leadership expert and they will tell you that leaders aren’t born, they are made. This summer I have the great opportunity to work with some of Western New York’s best and brightest leaders as the head leadership coach at the Steve Tasker Self-Leadership Experience, at Canisius College from August 4th – 6th. There are still spots available, so register today. Also, there are FULL SCHOLARSHIPS available as well.

The camp will be a high energy, three day camp filled with leadership coaches from all different walks of life. The coaches include:

Steve Tasker – Best known for his time as a member of the Buffalo Bills Super Bowl teams and currently as a NFL broadcaster, Steve will share stories of the skills and habits that he used to build two extremely successful careers.

Adam Page – Born with Spina Bifida, and unwilling to let that be an obstacle in his life, Adam has won two gold medals as a member of the USA Paralympic Sled Hockey team. He has also set several national records including most points in a game and most points in a tournament. Adam will share his story and the skills and self-discipline he used to achieve great things.

Brynne Harrison – A researcher and lecturer at the University at Buffalo, Brynne is an expert in the field of communications. She will share her knowledge of public speaking and conflict resolution, two essential success skills in today’s competitive market.

Ajitpaul Mangat – A PhD candidate at the University at Buffalo, Ajitpaul has also worked as a graduate assistant at SUNY-Buffalo’s Center for Excellence in Writing. He will be sharing the importance of writing skills and coaching campers in a short daily exercise designed to improve written communication skills.

Tamara McMillan –  An award winning professor, TEDx speaker, and blogger, and the Chief Empowerment Officer at McMillan Empowerment Enterprise, a company energized by creating and supporting platforms of empowerment. Tamara will be coaching on goal setting and making a daily commitment to those goals.

Mike Seege and Elizabeth Carey – Mike and Elizabeth are partners in the Team Building Team, and will focus on skills essential to being a good team member. No leader can lead effectively without being apart of the team. Mike and Elizabeth will focus on the skills needed to be a part of a team.

Zandra Cunningham – is a 15 year old entrepreneur from Buffalo, NY. When not creating products to make you look, feel, and smell good, she is busy with her studies. Zandra will share the story of how she created a successful business at age 14 and how she manages to fit it all into her busy day.

Danielle Delmonte – Danielle is the owner and founder of PrepStart Consulting LLC, an independent college admissions and career development consulting practice based in Buffalo, NY. With a unique background in public relations, marketing and college counseling, Danielle provides a wide range of innovative college admissions and professional development services to high school and college students. Danielle will be discussing personal branding, personal PR and how students don’t use social media in a way that will help them achieve their goals.


The camp will feature a mix of instructional sections and hands-on activities to teach the following skills:

Making good choices, getting along with others, being a good team member, managing your time, speaking out effectively, making good decisions, self-confidence. writing effectively, making good 1st impressions, how not to ruin yourself on social media, increasing your self-awareness, forming good habits, setting goals, and many more.

Every camper will also receive a copy of my book “10 Things We Should Teach You In High School and Usually Don’t”which is all about success skills for school, work, and life.

The camp runs from August 4 – 6, 2015 , so time is running out. Register today.

When Inspiration Hits, Take Advantage

bloomsburyshelfIt was a good week for the “10 Things We Should Teach You In High School and Usually Don’t” book. We picked up three retail locations, and our first book signing. You can get your copy at Bloomsbury Lane Toy Shoppe and Books in Lancaster, NY in the east. On the west coast you can get copies at both the Ballard and Greenwood locations of Sip-N-Ship in Seattle, Washington. I am talking to two other bookstores in the Buffalo area and hope to have some more retail locations soon.

I’ll also be signing copies at Bloomsbury Lane at 1. W. Main Street in Lancaster on “Small Business Saturday”, November 29, from 11 am- 1 pm. 

I’m not sure why, perhaps it is because I often think about the things I am thankful for during this time of year, but this week I was thinking about what it was that inspired me to write “10 Things We Should Teach You In High School and Usually Don’t”. The truth is, it was kind of the perfect storm of events that inspired me.

It was February of 2012. I had just read two different books that really inspired me. Carrie Wilkerson’s “The Barefoot Executive” and Brendon Burchard’s “The Millionaire Messenger”. Reading those two was absolutely the tipping point for me.
Here’s a picture of my two copies. burchardwilkersonbooksYou can see they are dog earred and filled with Post-it tags. I still look back to both of them for inspiration or for ideas for lessons for my students. Generally, books that I love are very well used. I get my money’s worth.

I read Brendon’s book first and I found the most important inspiration right on page one. (That, by the way, is awesome. There is no better hook than having a huge pearl right up front.) Brendon says “You are here to make a difference in this world, and the best way to do that is to use your knowledge and expertise (on any topic, in any industry) to help others succeed.”

That quote sums up my entire career. I am a teacher, at a Catholic high school. I certainly didn’t do it for the money. I do it everyday, because I think that sharing with my students the lessons that I learned is a good way to pay forward my gratitude for all of the successes I have had in life. I like to help people find the things they need to succeed. No matter where my career takes me from here, I know that I will always be teaching in some capacity. Brendon nailed it….”use your knowledge and expertise to help others succeed.” I thought to myself, “I can do that”.

Carrie Wilkerson’s book inspired me through her style. Her easy does it, laid back approach to writing was exactly what I needed. I absolutely knew that I couldn’t write in the stodgy, expert style that so many books are written in. It was intimidating. Carrie, however, wrote in a style that screamed “I work from home in my bare feet”. As a life long Jimmy Buffett fan, I really appreciate…nay….yearn for the barefoot lifestyle. I definitely thought I might have a chance at writing in the easy does it, laid back style that Carrie writes in. I think I did OK in that regard. Don’t get me wrong, there are so many other nuggets of wisdom in this book. The worth goes well beyond her writing style. Very worth the read if you want to be your own boss.

Both books taught me the importance of good titles. That is for certain. I bought Brendon’s on the recommendation of a good friend. I bought Carrie’s because I looked at the title and said, “Oh yeah. That’s the life I want.”

I’m a fan of mentoring and having mentors. I consider both Carrie Wilkerson and Brendon Burchard to be mentors even though I’ve never met either of them. Mentoring doesn’t have to be face to face. You can be mentored through a book or social media or a video series.

The third inspiration came in the form of a leadership conference for school that, at the beginning, was the worst professional development I had ever attended. I was anywhere but mentally present at that conference. It was mostly for elementary school teachers. After lunch, however, they took the handful of high school teachers and put us in a room with some college professors who asked “What do you want to learn today?” I said, “What are our kids lacking when they get to you?” Without a moment of hesitation they said “writing, skills, time management, independence, and critical thinking skills”. I remember walking out of that session and thinking “I wonder what else these kids need to be successful in life”.

So, in February of 2012, looking only to cross “write a book” off of my bucket list, I outlined “10 Things We Should Teach You In High School and Usually Don’t”. Now it is on the shelves in several book stores and available through Amazon. I’ll consider that a success. I’ve always got my eyes open for things that inspire me. Books, movies, walks in the park, people I meet. Inspiration comes in strange places and often when you least expect it. Make sure that you keep your eyes and your heart open to whatever inspiration may come knocking.

What unexpected thing inspired you to do something you are proud of? Share some inspiration below.


Some of the links in the above article are affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you purchase the book or product through these links. I, however, would never recommend a book or product I haven’t read or used, or don’t think you will find value in.



Youth Summer Leadership Development Boot Camp

For over a decade I have had the pleasure of teaching leadership to high school students. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the light bulb go off, the “a-ha” moment when they understand exactly what it is that I am trying to say to them. That’s why I was so excited to accept the invitation of the Canisius College Center for Professional Development to distill my lessons down to a four-day intensive, a boot camp, if you will, on leadership for the high school student.

My first rule of leadership has always been “leadership is a choice”. Step number one is to decide that you want to be successful and happy and a good leader. Once that decision is seriously and sincerely made, there is no stopping you. Over the four days of this workshop we’ll cover the most important skills that can help high school students be successful in school, in their leadership roles, and in developing rich relationships with family, friends, and co-workers that ultimately drive our successes. Notice I said the “skills” we need, because there is nothing about leadership that you need to be born with. Every single skill can be learned and developed.

We’ll look at our strengths and weaknesses, and see how they can fit into a successful life. We’ll look at how we can train our brains for success. We’ll discuss time management and the essential skill of goal setting, complete with strategies to make sure you can achieve them. We’ll talk about personal and professional communication, one of the most important skills of successful people. We’ll discuss your personal brand and the steps you need to take to create and control the image you want in the digital age. We’ll talk about organizational leadership – the skills you need to lead the team to success. Finally, we’ll discuss the steps you need to take to be a success for your whole life.

Sound intense? It will be. We’ll cover all of that in a four day camp on the beautiful Canisius College campus, in Buffalo, July 15-18, 2013. Leaders are not born, they are made, and this camp will provide a strong foundation in the skills needed to stand out in this very competitive world. Who can attend? High school juniors and seniors and recent graduates. This would make an outstanding graduation gift for the student just entering college. One thing is true, hope is not a strategy, you have to take action. Join me at the Youth Summer Leadership Camp to begin your journey or to hone your skills.

For more information or to register for the camp, follow this link to the Center for Professional Development Website.

If you have more questions, you can reach me here, or contact the Center for Professional Development.

Who Cleans Your Dorm?

At Mass today, Father John had a great homily. I thought I’d share the message because it is so appropriate for any good leader. I’m paraphrasing, but it went something like this.

The students in a Leadership class in a college business program worked hard to learn all of the skills that good leaders have. When it came time for the final exam, they all studied hard for days in preparation for the exam. On exam day they worked hard on the test until they got to the last question which was – “What is the name of the person who cleans your dorm?”

After they all struggled, one student finally spoke up and asked the professor “Does this question really count?” The professor said yes, and explained how important it is for a good leader to recognize that the team is always bigger than just the people in the room. There are so many people that contribute to the success of any business, school, team or project. Many of the people are often unsung heroes. Are the guys and girls that are athletic trainers and tape up the players and help them stretch out any less important to the success of the team than the players? Aren’t the office staff just as important to the success of the play as the actors? If there aren’t people in the seats to see the play, then the production is certainly not a success.

Any great leader recognizes that the team is big, and that each member is important. Could those college Leadership students be as successful if they were living in a dormitory that was always dirty and filled with germs? Maybe, but this is one more worry off their plates so that they can concentrate on their studies.

Every member of the team is important. Good leaders take time to get to know all the people that make the organization work. Good leaders recognize the contributions of all team members, even if it is just by getting to know their names and saying hello, or talking about their weekends, or asking about their kids. It is a little gesture, but it pays big dividends. Team members that feel like they are important bring big value to the table.

One of the other things that is important is that these people know how to do their job better than you do. So, if you are looking for input on hiring new employees, or writing operating procedures, or finding better ways to do jobs, these are the best resources. I always like to see how bosses on the hit show “Undercover Boss” react when an employee shows them that they know more about the working of the business than the boss. The best bosses recognize it and take it back to their team in order to make changes to better serve the customers. The very best bosses recognize the people who came up with the suggestion.

So…..who cleans your dorm, or bathroom, or board room, or office?