Even as a child I was a natural leader, though I didn't realize it at the time.  When the neighborhood kids wanted to do something big, I was usually the one to figure out how, and convince the other kids to go along with the plan.  However, it wasn't until my middle teenage years that I began pursuing Leadership and Personal Excellence as a knowledge domain.  At 16 I signed up as an Amway distributor and began attending Seminars and small learning sessions provided by International Leadership Development.  While I had little interest in selling soap, the leadership training was invaluable and helped create a life-long study habit.

I had my first professional leadership opportunity at Spacelabs Healthcare (then Spacelabs Medical) in the clinical research division.  With our push to modernize and improve we saw steady growth, and the quantity of work required to assemble, configure, and ship cardiac monitoring equipment quickly outpaced the time available so we enlisted help.  My willingness and ability to make difficult decisions quickly and correctly soon resulted in my managing a team of 2 MCSE (System Engineers), 1 CCNA (Network Admin), and 5 Customer Service Representatives.  By focusing on effective and repeatable processes, we were able to reduce backlogs by 50% while increasing throughput by 100% in just 6 months.  I had a great team, and empowered them through 3 priniciples:  1, Ensure your team knows what's expected of them (and why);  2, Ensure your team has the ability (skills, tools, time, permissions, etc) to do what is expected of them;  3, Ensure your team does what's expected of them (review performance metrics, converse with team members to identify opportunities to improve, and remove obstacles as necessary).  When the division changed focus away from a boutique research we parted ways.  I moved on to Allied Trade Group where I managed a smaller team (myself +1) to stabilize the computing infrastructure and eliminate internal help desk calls.

I then took time to focus on building technical skills and pursue a couple of start-ups.  I returned to leadership in a de-facto capacity while providing support for Microsoft's Hosted Email and business solutions service.  By helping to create tools, and guide others in the troubleshooting of their assigned issues, I became the go-to guy for assistance.  Of particular aid was helping others find ways to communicate with customers in firm, but respectful and effective manner.  This was later rewarded with an official Shift Lead position.  Unfortunately process improvements and tools I originated and improved eliminated the need for our entire team (all 4 shifts).

My passion for leadership isn't about me.  It's about helping my teams to achieve results far beyond their own expectations.  I set high goals for myself and my teams.  I know they are achievable.  Often my teams need convincing, but in the end we always out perform our own goals and expectations.