Monday, October 24, 2011

Michigander Monday: Dan Mulhern

I'm pleased to welcome Dan Mulhern to Michigander Monday!  Dan is the author of Everyday Leadership and Be Real and the co-author, with his wife Jennifer Granholm, of A Governor's Story: The Fight For Jobs and America's Economic Future.  Both will be appearing at the Schuler Books in Okemos this Friday and at the Michigan International Book Festival in Livonia on Saturday; details are below.

Debbie:  Dan, please tell us a little about yourself.

Dan:  I am the father of 3, sibling to 6 and husband of one. I am trained as a teacher and as a lawyer, but I have done many many things in my life – from working in steel mills to caddying; from being a teacher and youth worker, to being a campaign manager and a fundraiser. Most of my career I have been working in the field of leadership – helping to guide individuals and groups to lead as best they can. I have written two books about leadership, coached many executives and executive teams, and hosted a radio show called “Everyday Leadership.”

Debbie:  And, of course, we want to know all about A Governor's Story.

Dan:  Our book chronicles an amazing eight years in our lives.  The “our” here is of course my wife, Governor Jennifer Granholm, but especially the people of Michigan who were struggling with our aching economy.  We learned that the old ways in Michigan no longer work.  That’s an easy sentence to write, but involved a huge number of painful truths for businesses large and small, for government, for labor unions, and for individuals and families.  A Governor’s Story is very much an “inside look” from the Governor who wanted to fix everything and her relationship with the people who wanted her to fix everything.  We tell the story of what it was like as Michigan faced first what the entire country is now facing:  a stubborn lack of jobs, deficit-ridden budgets, and warring ideas about how to fix things.  Jennifer and I have blended our perspectives – her analytical, systemic look at jobs and government, and my views as a leadership and business expert and a man cast in a whole new role – of supportive spouse and lead parent.  We didn’t want to write a book that pretended that she knew everything and never made a mistake, but instead a very personal story of what it was like to lead in such difficult times. There is challenge and drama, but there are critical insights for this presidential race, and some real signs of hope for a revitalized economy.  It’s also an inspiring story of a pretty amazing woman!

Debbie:  Do you have other books on the horizon?

Dan:  I am thinking hard about how to write a book about the enormous changes affecting boys and men.  Hundreds of books have been written about “women’s liberation,” but few about men’s “confinement” let alone their liberation. I think it’s a great untold story which I and an increasing number of men have happily embraced. It’s a story we need to tell our boys.

Debbie:  Upcoming appearances?

Dan:  A signing at the Okemos Schulers Oct 28 from 10:30am – 12pm (http://www.schulerbooks.com/event/book-signing-governor-jennifer-granholm-and-dan-mulhern-governors-story-okemos) and

A signing at the Michigan International Books Festival Saturday October 29 at noon (http://www.michiganinternationalbooksfestival.info/granholm).

Debbie:  Do you have favorite Michigan bookstore? And/or a favorite Michigan library?

Dan:  Jennifer (former Governor Granholm) and I spent many many “date nights” trolling through Schuler Books in Lansing, camping on the floor or in a great leather chair and reading.  John King’s rare books is a blast and always deserves more time than we can give it.  As a high school student I spent many hours doing debate research at the Southfield Public Library; since then it has been enlarged and it is a wonderful community gathering place.

Debbie:  How about a favorite place in Michigan?

Dan:  Michigan’s governor has use of a wonderful “cottage” on Mackinac Island.  I fell in love with Mackinac.  With the trails that I grew to know very well, to the pier from which I jumped into frigid waters, and of course to the smell of fudge and horse droppings.

Debbie:  Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?

Dan:  “The Joe” tops my list.  Hockey is an amazing sport and Wings fans are completely into the game.  Jeff Daniels’ Thanksgiving concerts and the Michigan Theater have been marvelous.  But my fondest memories are the Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Run.

Debbie:  A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?

DanJim Dreyer (yes, that’s his name) who was once afraid of water, but now owns multiple Guinness records, and has swam across all 5 of Michigan’s Great Lakes; he’s also a champion for Mentor Michigan. Joe Dumars is (like me) not “fun;” he’s a serious guy, but a fascinating person, smart, well-rounded, competitive and gentlemanly.

Debbie:  Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?

Dan:  Our Lakes are for all practical purposes as large as oceans. Our beaches are as warm and wonderful as Florida’s. And we are both a kind and a diverse and soul-filled people.

Debbie:  Finally, some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally, what’s the better term: "Michigander" or a "Michiganian"?

Dan:  If it’s good for the goose it’s good for the Gander!

Debbie:  Michigander it is!  We'll add it to our tally.  Dan, thank you for being here today!

To learn more about Dan Mulhern, visit his web site, "Everyday Leadership."  You can also find him on Twitter and on FaceBook.

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