Praise for Leading with Honor
From the Book's Foreword by Senator John McCain -
“In Leading with Honor Lee draws from the POW experience, including some of his own personal stories, to illustrate the crucial impact of leadership on the success of any organization. His writings highlight lessons and principles that can be applied to every leadership situation.”
- Senator John McCain, United State Senate
“Rarely can a leadership book—usually stark and cold in tone, written with business school savvy—be called moving, but former Air Force pilot and leadership consultant Ellis culls lessons from his experiences as a POW in the infamous Hoa Loa Prison (the “Hanoi Hilton”) in North Vietnam and juxtaposes them with suggested strategies. Though many of the leadership lessons are interpersonal, dominant among them is the idea of self-reflection and showing leadership as a quality of character. Much more than a leadership text, Ellis offers an inspiring story that will engage readers.”
- Publisher’s Weekly (Read the full review)
"Ellis carefully weaves the story of himself and his fellow POWs throughout the book while relating their experiences directly to leadership lessons. He has a rare ability to cast a positive light on what he and his colleagues endured, turning it into fodder for an exceptionally well-constructed and well-written book. The reader is sure to learn about leadership from an entirely new perspective."
- ForeWord Reviews (Read the full review) | 2012 ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Finalist (Business and Economics category)
"If you want just another management book, Leading With Honor isn’t it. Ellis is a storyteller whether or not he intends to be. The management advice is solid but because so much of the management lessons are drawn from Lee’s experience as a POW the historical record commands your attention. For that reason alone, I want this book on my bookshelf."
- T. Scott Gross, Contributor, Prosper Now Blog @ Forbes.com
"Leading with Honor combines a gripping personal narrative with analysis of the events described [during his POW experience] and lessons that can be applied by leaders in a variety of organizations."
"Leading with Honor uses a pile driver to tell its story, making many points that today’s leaders can employ. If you read only one book this year, make it this one. You owe it to yourself and to those who so nobly served and will not be forgotten."
“Leading with Honor is required reading for anyone who wants to understand a little more about the art of leading. [It] is one of the best in the category of management and leadership [and should be] required for all regardless whether or not they occupy a position requiring these skills.”
- Fábio Jardelino, Blog de Jamildo - Brazil
“The book actually made me feel somewhat inadequate when it comes to leadership. It just goes to show that you’re never too old to learn a lot of things. Anyone who is in a leadership position, I don’t care how you have been doing it, you need to read this book.”
“Leading with Honor is a unique and outstanding book that seeks to pass on ‘leadership’ lessons from the ‘crucible of captivity.’ In truth, it is much more than that: it teaches lessons that are applicable to all of life. Ellis relates his experiences in a gripping, realistic way that is engaging without overwhelming the reader with the terror that was the life of daily torture. As a primer on leadership and reference on life, it’s an easy read, well worth the time, and highly recommended.”
“It isn’t often that you have a chance to read authentic leadership examples from real life. That is what Lee Ellis has provided through “Leading with Honor”. Lee gives us an inside glimpse at what makes true leaders great – selfless servanthood based on integrity and discipline. These real life heroes passed the test of true character – as these leadership lessons happened under the most difficult circumstances. This is a book you just can’t put down once you open the cover. Inside will well up a sense of pride in our country and those who serve as Lee takes us into the details of true leaders who bled red, white and blue!”
- Arlin Sorenson, CEO of Heartland Technology Solutions, Leader of Heartland Technology Groups
"Leading with Honor brings forth the characteristics of leadership like no other. No matter how successful one may become, there are always internal questions about leadership. Lee’s book not only strengthens my beliefs about leadership, it lifts my vision even higher through the examples of leaders under extreme circumstances. To me leadership under these extremes illustrates the epitome of 'great leadership.'"
- Thomas (Tom) Crawford, CEO of Crawford Corporate Coaching; Chairman of the National Organization, CEONetweavers; past President and CEO at Prudential of America, Crawford & Company, and Southern Heritage Insurance Company
“As I read Leading with Honor, I thought,'Imagine if ALL the leaders of our country—from the President, to the members of Congress, to our state government leaders were elected based upon their commitment to the standards and leadership qualities that Lee describes as hallmarks and guideposts for leading with honor’. How quickly the United States could re-assert its reputation not only as the envy of the world as a leading industrial nation, but as the brightest beacon of light and hope and honor on the planet."
- Bob Littell, Chief NetWeaver, NetWeaving.com
"The book captures the true essence of successful leadership principles in a precise, succinct manner as translated from the actions of the brave heroes at the Hanoi Hilton. We as civilian executives need to return to these basic principles of honorable servant leadership more so than ever given these turbulent times and a pervasive me-first short term thinking attitude that dominates our business and political cultures."
- Darryl W. Jackson, Managing Director, KMJ Partners LLC, Fortune 500 Senior Executive and Big 4 Partner
“Leading with Honor is an introspective read offering character and leadership parallels from prisoner of war (POW) camps to today’s challenging business environment. Lee does a thought provoking, masterful job sharing his personal experiences in captivity and integrating those into principles for leadership success. This book is a must read, authored by a unique individual who continues to give back to those he so courageously served and protected – the leaders of today and tomorrow.”
- Ed Day, President and CEO, Mississippi Power Company
“True leadership is that which surfaces when one is tested in the most severe of arenas. The leadership lessons Lee Ellis imparts in this compelling work come from just such an arena. Those lessons do much to inform all of us who lead in these challenging times."
- John R. Lough, EdD, Manager, Professional Development Programs, The BB&T Banking School, BB&T University
"Powerful and compelling, Lee Ellis does a masterful job of translating his experiences in captivity into thoughtful and thought-provoking leadership lessons applicable in all walks of life."
- Susan A. McLaughlin, President & CEO, VickPark Associates, LLC
“Imagine yourself in the most hostile environment possible, experiencing constant deprivation and even torture for not just a day, but for years. How is it that certain people in times of such crises never waver or falter, but instead exhibit remarkable endurance and faithfulness in accomplishing one’s mission? The answer is leadership that respects, dignifies, and serves others; leadership that stirs souls, heals hearts, touches lives. In these pages, Lee Ellis shares extraordinary stories of courage, resiliency, honor, and humility from which we can learn about such transformative leadership and apply these insights to today’s workplace.”
- Michael Montelongo, SVP & Chief Administrative Officer, On-site Service Solutions, Sodexo North America
“In Leading with Honor, Lee Ellis shows us that the principles of leadership he experienced during some of the most difficult situations as a POW are applicable to leaders everywhere. Lee’s candid narrative is compelling, giving us an appreciation for the importance of leading with honor and courage, even in the face of the most difficult adversity.”
- Ralph de la Vega, President and CEO, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, Author of Obstacles Welcome: Turn Adversity into Advantage in Business and Life
“Col Lee Ellis is an excellent executive coach, a great presenter, but more than that, a true American Hero. He has paid the price to be heard, and does so in a very powerful, yet humble way. His book should be required reading for everyone. It was an honor and privilege to have him present his memorable message of ‘Leading with Honor’ at our recent event.”
- Steven S. Hall, CFP®, Senior Partner, Retirement Planning Services
“In Leading with Honor, Lee uses gripping stories from the POW camps to engage the reader and teach invaluable principles of leadership. I highly recommend this book for developing leaders at all levels in any organization, military or civilian.”
- William R. Looney III, General USAF (Ret)
“I first met Lee Ellis in a North Vietnamese Prison. Leaders emerged of course, and Lee was among them. He seemed to understand, better than most, what was required to maintain harmony and cohesion in that naturally tense environment. Now Lee has written a book that captures many of the principles that made that complex prison organization work. Anyone seeking a better understanding of how to lead and manage others, in any kind of organization, will profit from this book.”
- General Charles G. Boyd, USAF (Ret), Former President and CEO, Business Executives for National Security (BENS) 2002-2009; Center for the National Interest, Starr Distinguished Fellow for National Security, Director at BENS, DRS Technologies, and I-Q-Tell; Board of Visitors, Air University, USAF
“A wonderful book! Leadership advice obtained and forged from the burning fire of captivity and adversity at the Hanoi Hilton. This book offers great wisdom and advice about leadership. The wisdom was earned with suffering, sadness and pain. I am pleased to recommend this book to you."
- COL Jim Coy (Ret), Author, The Eagles Series books - Prisoners of Hope – A Gathering of Eagles
“Lee Elis has captured the essence of what leaders do and the guiding principals they use that places them ahead of the pack. He skillfully uses his experience as a five and half year POW during the Vietnam War. He tells what it takes to build an underground civilization with its laws, rules for survival, and a covert communication system. The leaders stepped forward and led 500 fellow POWS home with honor.”
- RADM R. Byron Fuller, USN (Ret)
“As a former POW, Lee's book is a truly outstanding explanation of what we witnessed, describing great examples, naming names and incidents that had such a spectacular effect on our morale and survival. I thank Lee from the bottom of my heart for doing such a great job in analyzing and conveying the message of what moral and effective leadership is all about. I will use this book as a standard from now on in relating to everyone I know the leadership lessons learned in North Vietnam!”
- Guy D. Gruters, USAF POW 12/1967 to 3/1973
"It's a brilliant piece of work - one that I feel sure will be valuable to many for years to come. Let's hope that it will fall into the hands of some of our current political leaders."
- Col Jay Jayroe, USAF (Ret), Vietnam POW 1967-1973
"WOW! Col Lee Ellis has given us a true gift – real solutions to today's leadership issues against a backdrop of real human survival in Prisoner of War status. This wonderful book is a must read for all who aspire to any leadership job! An absolute 'page turner' and tribute to our warriors of a by-gone era, with lessons for today."
- Lt Gen William Lord, USAF
“Successful leadership involves both fundamental principles and their practical application. In Leading With Honor, Lee Ellis identifies bedrock principles of leadership which, like tempered steel, were forged in the crucible of a North Vietnamese Prisoner of War camp. He then clearly and artfully applies them to contemporary leadership situations in an eminently practical and engaging manner. In short, there are thousands of leadership books and leadership ‘experts,’ but few can hope to approach the authenticity which Lee Ellis brings to Leading With Honor. Highly recommended for leaders of all ages and experience levels!"
- Hon. John Scott Redd, Vice Admiral, U. S. Navy (Ret), First Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Founding Commander of the U. S. Fifth Fleet
“A great read on integrity, character, and leadership. Those of us that shared the crucible of the 'Hanoi Hilton' learned much about ourselves, but more importantly, what God, country, and freedom really means. Lee captures the essence of what it takes to provide strong leadership, as well as followership, in some of the most difficult conditions ever faced by our military men.”
- R. E. “Gene” Smith, Past President and Chairman of the Board, Air Force Association, Pow 25 Oct 67- 14 Mar 73
“Lee has captured many powerful lessons through his many years of experience in this gripping read. He has used those lessons with us as our team has evolved over the past several years. His leadership and facilitation have helped us to grow as leaders individually as well as become a strong team.”
- Carol Burrell, President and CEO, Northeast Georgia Health Systems
“Your ability to share your personal experiences in Vietnam’s POW camps and weave them into leadership lessons is quite powerful, and your knowledge of Rex’s healthcare culture helped you hone in on the issues that we are challenged with in today’s environment. In particular, your wisdom on culture and communication reverberate with our team, and I look forward to relying on your wisdom as we continue our healthcare journey.”
- Bernadette Spong, Chief Financial Officer, Rex UNC Health Care
“I have admired Lee Ellis for years. Lee has done a superb job of drawing from the deep well of his unforgettable experiences as a POW to bring us a refreshing cup of wisdom for life and leading. Our culture desperately needs to hear his inspiring story, and even more so these fourteen lessons on leading with honor. I wholeheartedly recommend it!”
- Howard Dayton, Founder, Compass—Finances God’s way
“Lee’s remarkable journey and ability to take what would for most be considered a dark time, and turn it into an opportunity to teach leadership is a genuine gift. Transforming prison life experiences to leadership learning surpasses others attempt to write on leadership.”
- Bob Pedersen, Chief Visionary & Storyteller, Goodwill NCW
"I am personally inspired and challenged by the stories and leadership lessons in Col. Ellis' book, Leading with Honor. I've also given a copy to all of my national directors, and I'm recommending Leading with Honor to other leaders."
- Debra Minotti, President, Operation Exodus USA
“Lee’s painful and humorous stories touch deeply, reminding us of the sacrifices that POW leaders made to serve our nation with honor. From those dry bones, he brings life and light through case studies and stories from today’s workplace, showing us how authentic leaders in every generation lean into the pain to do the right thing.”
- Laurie Beth Jones, Author, Jesus CEO and Jesus Life Coach
“In the crowded world of books on leadership, Lee Ellis's unique contribution, Leading with Honor, rises well above the standard fare on this topic. His book is so authentic in that he has personally experienced most of the lessons he promotes. In short, he's "been there, done that" in terms of "knowing himself" and "knowing others." The book strongly provides keen insights on the subject and he persuasively integrates leadership with such vital values concepts such as conscience, trust, principles and honor -- topics too often lost today. This book far exceeds anything I've seen and it's story telling style woven into strong, practical wisdom makes it hard to put down. I enthusiastically commend Leading with Honor to leaders seeking to synchronize their personal styles with the challenges of managing diverse people and tasks.”
- Archie B. Carroll, Director, Nonprofit Management & Community Service Program and Professor of Management Emeritus, Terry College of Business, University of Georgia
"Leading with Honor will be a treasured read for many young people at Troy University where Lee Ellis received His Master’s degree and where many outstanding young men and women are now developing their ability to be character-based leaders. Lee has used his POW experiences to teach important lessons of leadership in a meaningful, memorable, mighty way to aspiring young leaders—and to old ones like me."
- John A. Kline, PhD, Distinguished Professor and Director, Institute for Leadership Development, Troy University
“Duke Energy and Progress Energy recently merged, bringing two of the best electric utilities in the country into one organization. During this process, it became evident early on that we had an opportunity to establish a new culture for the combined organization. Colonel Ellis spoke to a group of about 140 key leaders within the Power Generation Operations and Central Engineering and Services groups and did a masterful job of relating his experiences in combat and as a prisoner of war in Vietnam to the challenges that Duke Energy is facing as we stitch our two companies together. He has helped us ‘lean into the pain’ and provide clarity as we face our mission head on. His presentation was masterfully done and left a permanent positive impression on those that attended.”
- Jeffrey J. Lyash, Executive Vice President – Energy Supply, Duke Energy
“One of the primary objectives of a presenter is to make the event organizer look good. This you did with spades yesterday. I have received numerous thanks and expressions of appreciation for inviting you as a speaker. You have added positive value to the reputation of our organization, and your message is an excellent melding of actual events and principles that can be applied to leading a business. An organizational psychologist friend of mine is fond of the expression, ‘There are theories of action and there are theories in action.’ Your presentation was about leadership in action, courage in action, honor in action; lessons today's executives can apply it to their everyday leadership. You spoke from the heart with knowledge and conviction. You were superb.”
- Dan Davies, Executive Director, National Association of Chief Executive Officers
"Lee's message of character, courage, and competence in leadership resonated perfectly with the objectives and goals of Dasein Executive Search, so we hosted him as a keynote speaker in two special events here in Brazil. His Vietnam POW story and leadership lessons learned inspired and informed key executives in these regions, and we look forward to hosting Lee again in the future."
- Adriana Prates, Founder and President, Dasein Executive Search, BRAZIL
"Col. Ellis inspires others to elevate and demonstrate leadership under all circumstances through his personal story of courage and honor as a POW in the Vietnam war. His engaging speaking ability, exemplary leadership experience and lessons detailed in his book, Leading with Honor, are inspirational and impactful."
- Tom Beaty, President and CEO, InSight Sourcing Group
"Lee is an inspirational speaker who reminds us all of the cost of our freedom and what courage and service is all about. He was a highlight at our conference and we will use him again with still larger audiences."
- Kenneth Daly, President and CEO, NACD
“Recently, Lee Ellis facilitated a leadership training event for 35 rather independent company managers, and I can speak on behalf of all our managers who were present in the meeting that each had a very enriching moment with valuable practical take away in several ways: in a better knowledge of self, in a better understanding of the other managers of the Denis Group and in having a clearer view on how to relate and work best with each other. More importantly, the managers of Denis Group had a clear view that there is no stereotype leader personality, but find that a richness in a diversity of leadership profiles provides opportunities for all as long as the team spirit is encouraged. We were thankful that Lee Ellis was able to share his experience and knowledge in leadership and to relate with our managers in a very meaningful way.”
- Francois de Moulliac, Managing Director, Denis Asia Pacific Pte Ltd – Singapore, France
“I had the pleasure of attending a presentation by Col Lee Ellis (ret.). His ability to take the horrific tale of his imprisonment during the Vietnam War and transform it into invaluable lessons in leadership is nothing less than remarkable and inspiring. Whether you are looking to help guide your family, business or community, the stories Col Ellis told us from his experience in Vietnam illustrated that high character, clarity and commitment to mission, and an unyielding devotion to members of your team are vital to your success as a leader. I was particularly impacted by Col Ellis’ poignant explanation of how effective and continuous communication between organization members is the mortar essential to building a great team. When he explained how the prisoners at the Hanoi Hilton courageously overcame life-threatening obstacles to keep in touch with one another, building the trust and the esprit de corps essential to their survival, I realized that any obstacles that I might face in communicating with my colleagues or family just pale in comparison. I am certainly a better organization leader and father for having spent time with Col Ellis and reading his book.”
- Christopher A. R. Brice, Chief Marketing Officer, Northwestern Mutual - Louisville
“I have nothing but the highest compliments for Lee’s presentation--both for his keynote presentation and workshop training. Lee’s book and leadership model were an excellent addition to our Leadership Development program. His personal stories brought the leadership concepts home in a very real and thought provoking way. Participants especially enjoyed discussing these leadership lessons as a team where they were able to apply what they were learning to their own real world situations. Additionally, the senior leadership team resonated with Leading with Honor values and their alignment with our values.”
- Janis Steblay, Sr. Specialist Employee Development & Organization Effectiveness, Orbital ATK Armament Systems Division
“Lee Ellis has been a highlight of the Crystal Visions Enrichment Program on board our luxury vessels. His unique and dramatic story is a terrific match with our itineraries, values and the high quality of enrichment that our travel savvy guests expect to experience on a Crystal cruise. It is my pleasure to recommend Col. Ellis to anyone who is looking for an inspiring, informative keynote speaker."
- Bret Bullock – Vice President, Entertainment – Crystal Cruises, Worldwide
“The remarks I heard from people who attended our CPCU Society event were over-the-top favorable of your speech, and that you were the best speaker in 10 years. I share those views.”
- Harold A. Weston, JD, CPCU, RPLU, ARM // Clinical Assistant Professor of Risk Management and Insurance, Undergraduate RMI Program Advisor – Georgia State University
“I hired Col. Lee Ellis to speak on Leadership at a couple conferences as his story of being a P.O.W during the Vietnam War has lessons for all. Through his experience we learn how to adapt, survive, persevere and have courage in the face of adversity. Col. Lee’s story inspired attendees and equipped them with a new paradigm on dealing with challenges. I highly recommend Col. Ellis as a speaker for your corporate and government clients. He is a true American Hero that I feel fortunate to have crossed paths with.”
- Michelle Bartolone, CMP, CEO, MEETING SITES PRO, INC. / GLOBAL MEETINGS GROUP
"Lee Ellis spoke to our HFMA-SC Chapter last October in Greenville, SC at our Fall institute. He was so well received, and I know the audience was attentive to every word he spoke! He presented his book, Leading with Honor, to me as Chapter President. I would definitely endorse him to anyone considering Lee Ellis as an event speaker."
- Ronnie Hyatt, Sr Vice President-Finance/CFO, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System
"Col. Lee Ellis spoke to our board of directors and guests. He was right on target for the audience, and there were long lines to buy his book afterwards. He did an excellent job, and we highly recommend him."
- Dan Wheeler, National Adjutant,American Legion
“Thank you so much for your inspiring and insightful remarks at our Annual Meeting. They were met with universal acclaim and appreciation. The recounting of your experiences as a POW provided a current day reminder of the sacrifice, courage, and loyalty demonstrated every single day by those who protect us, our freedom, and the freedom of others all around the world. The principles of leadership arising out of your experiences were equally profound. We could not have asked for anything more as a fitting conclusion for our program.”
- Roy Bowen, President, Georgia Association of Manufacturers
"As a graduate of The University of Georgia, Lee Ellis fully encompasses the University’s motto: 'To Teach, To Serve, To Inquire into the Nature of Things.' Lee’s dynamic speaking engagements teach the understanding of integrity, character, and the meaning of selflessness. By drawing from his personal experiences, Lee is able to develop a successful model of character building that is beneficial to any company, organization, or institution. If you are looking for a captivating and enriching seminar, we give Lee Ellis our highest recommendation!"
- Chantel Dunham, Director of Development, UGA Libraries, UGA Press, and The Georgia Review, University of Georgia
"When presenting to alumni of the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, Lee Ellis’ matter-of-fact and sometimes humorous style provided clear examples and illustrations in the lessons of honor as a basis for making major corporate decisions. These lessons also carry over to everyday choices. Across the board, attendees expressed their appreciation of the very personal and meaningful lessons Lee shared with the group."
- Mackie Horton, President, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Atlanta Alumni Club
"As an event coordinator for the National Guard, my biggest fear is hiring a keynote speaker who doesn’t relate to or hold the attention of my audience. In working with Col Ellis, this fear is tenuous at best and subsides just a few words into any of his presentations. As Col Ellis teaches, he allows the audience sagacious glimpses into his life as a prisoner of war. In what could be just another hour of veteran "been there, done that" stories, Col Ellis erupts like a an oil mine gracefully spewing his insightful leadership prowess. If I could invite every Airmen to absorb Col Ellis' instruction, I would. No matter where you are in your career or on the totem pole we call rank; leader of one hundred, leader of one thousand or leader of one's self, Col Ellis and his lessons of leadership from Hanoi bode well for all."
- Amy Laree Schmid, Oregon Air National Guard, Contractor, Yellow Ribbon Program Event Coordinator, Military Personnel Services Corporation
"Thank you for speaking to the recent Georgia Association Police Chiefs conference. I have read and heard many speakers on the topic of leadership. While many have given me tools to use, not many have struck me personally as you did. Your message made me reflect even deeper than normal, and I hope to become a better leader because of that. Thank you for sharing your experiences and the lessons learned."
- Thomas N. Culpepper, Chief of Police, Cartersville GA Police Department
"Home Medical Professionals had our first leadership and team building workshop, and it was better than we could have hoped for! We had 22 managers, including our owners, in a room for six hours and Col. Lee Ellis managed to keep everyone engaged during the meeting. We learned a lot about ourselves as well as our peers. It was encouraging to see that even though we were such a diverse group that we all had common strengths and struggles. It has been about two weeks since our workshop and everyone that participated has really strived to hold each other accountable for the “gifts” given to the group, which has really allowed us to work more efficiently as a team. I really cannot thank Col. Lee Ellis enough for all he has taught us and we look forward to many more workshops!"
- Heather Tow, Director of Marketing and Patient Education, Home Medical Professionals
“Everyone here was extremely impressed with Col Ellis and several stated that it was by far the best speaker that we have had on campus since we started the [Character Development] program!”
- LTC Anthony E. Fritchle, Executive Assistant to the President & Director for Planning, Riverside Military Academy
“We cannot thank Lee enough for his presentation [at BathFitter]. I heard nothing but great comments [at our annual event]—it was wonderful. The passion he brings is critically important for American business leadership. And, his move into entrepreneurial business after his military service is an inspiration.”
- Joyce Hrinya, Managing Partner at A&R Strategy Partners, LLC
“I asked Lee Ellis to speak at our annual sales conference this year. I watched the audience, which comprised about 90 people, listen very carefully and watch Lee as he spoke. They were engaged and almost mesmerized by his story. Lee’s delivery style was excellent. He spoke from the heart, mixed in the occasional joke or one liner to keep the audience loose, and was given a standing ovation when finished. I had dozens of attendees comment on how moving Lee’s story was. This is exactly what I wanted. I selected the right speaker. I couldn’t have asked for better and highly recommend Lee.”
- Jim Murphy, Vice President - Eastern Region, Matrix Professional Services
"Lee recently spoke to a group of 150 senior business leaders and was terrific in relating his experiences in facing adversity and stress as a prisoner of war in Vietnam to the challenges facing leaders today across virtually all industries and sectors. Through his own experience, he encourages others to 'Lead with Honor', and have courage to do the right thing--a rare commodity these days! Having invited Lee to present to a number of different groups and in a variety of situations, both large venues and smaller more intimate settings, I can attest his presentation is always masterful, poignant, and leaves a permanent and very positive impression on attendees."
- Thomas J Fuller, Managing Partner – Epsen Fuller Group
“…Lee’s presentation was exceptional. We had a very high turnout for the event, both in person and through video conference, and the feedback from the event was very positive. Everyone who approached me had many great experiences to take away…The level of engagement through the entire presentation was very high, and several people remarked that they would have enjoyed an even longer presentation…our team was moved by him and his experience.”
- Dennis W. Lahmann, Research & Engineering Team Leader, Design & Drafting Services, Kimberly-Clark Corporation
“I had so many positive compliments about the [keynote speech]. I sum it up like this: The POW story was very interesting and powerful. It made people very appreciative of Lee’s service to our country. Most importantly Lee took that POW experience and applied it to everyday job leadership principles that people could take away and apply today. I took away the challenge to have the courage to do what is right even when is doesn’t feel natural or safe.”
- Darwin Hollingsworth, SNC IT Group Manager, Southern Company Services - Information Technology
“Every American, especially the younger generation, needs to hear Colonel Ellis’ inspiring message, which reaffirms that freedom is not without sacrifice.”
- Jerry C. Davis, President, College of the Ozarks
“Thank you so much for addressing our members at the GAM 2014 Human Resources/Plant Management Seminar. Your remarks were of the highest quality and were incredibly inspirational to our members. Time after time we heard through the rest of the event how impressed the attendees were. Thanks also for your time and attention to detail, which added tremendous value for the attendees. We could not have been more pleased.”
- Charles B. “Clay” Jones III, Vice-President and General Counsel, Georgia Association of Manufacturers
"I've been greatly convicted about the need for Honor for some time now. I'm convinced it was through a divine connection that he came to speak at our church. The concept he presented on 'Return with Honor' captured it all for me. It imbues purpose and defines our mission here on earth. Our young people were enthralled by Lee's story and greatly challenged by the need to 'return with honor'. Lee's message is something young people and indeed our nation needs in this hour. Thank you for being such a huge blessing to us."
- Pastor Martin Tang, Lead Pastor, Changi Christian Fellowship Church, SINGAPORE
“It was our honor to have Col. Lee Ellis, USAF ( Ret) speak at the 2015 Region III EMS Awards. When Col. Ellis began telling his story and tying it to Leadership skills you could have heard a pin drop. Given the average age of the those in attendance many had never had the opportunity to meet someone who had been a POW much less have the opportunity to hear their story. Col. Ellis is a small man in stature, but he left that night with a large group of people seeing him as a GIANT in their eyes. I was truly amazed at the people who lined up to have the opportunity to buy his book and even more so thank him for his service. Should you ever have the opportunity to hear him tell his story, I say take it; you will be glad you did. You will walk away with a new view on how to lead your organization and you will look at what we call ‘a stressful day’ differently.”
- Janet M. Schwalbe, CMPE, VP President Physician Services, Gwinnett Hospital System, Inc.
“We selected Col. Ellis to be a keynote speaker at our Leadership Club event in May. My club council and I really enjoyed conversing with Lee during the dinner learning about his passion for leadership. His presentation to the club did not disappoint. Lee covered some of his key leadership points based on what would be most impactful for our audience. His ability to tell his story of being a POW in Vietnam and relate that to how you can lead with honor and be more effective in your job was riveting. I've already received feedback from numerous club members who have now read his book and started applying the core principles. Lee was definitely our best key note speaker in 2014 and I would highly recommend him to anyone looking for a dynamic speaker with a passionate message on leadership.”
- Amy Dolash, Sr Manager - Enterprise Sourcing, Leadership Club President, Rockwell Collins
"Lee’s inspiring message was timely and on target. The Leading with Courage theme resonated well with the audience and all of his key points had significant impact. One of the post-event survey questions was, 'What was the most meaningful statement to you?' One participant answered with, 'Return with honor. I would like to think every night I return home to my family from work, I return with honor. Knowing everything I accomplished at work that day was completed with honor.'"
- Edmond Hughes, Vice President, Human Resources & Administration, Ingalls Shipbuilding
“Col. Ellis spoke to 650 Air Force Reserve Yellow Ribbon families at our event, and his overall rating was a 4.88 out of a possible 5. That is the highest score we have seen for any of our keynote speakers. Thanks to Col (ret) Ellis and his entire staff. He is still consistently home runs with his audiences!”
- David Schoch, Program Analyst, Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program
“Col. Ellis spoke about his experience as a POW and the lessons he learned. His bravery, courage and determination are inspiring. His thoughtful connection between his experience and what he learned about himself and what makes up a good leader made his insights real for his audience. He left us all with much to think about, both professionally and personally. What an inspiration.”
- Virginia Cartmell-Martin, Commercial Leader, G.E. Capital
“Lee was well received by 200+ tourism professionals who really did not want the presentation to end. Comments were more than favorable from attendees, and we will encourage any of our members to book Lee for their meetings and retreats. I believe that his message is particularly pertinent to boards and politicians overseeing tourism budgets and other stakeholders.”
- Chuck Bonelli, TMP, VP Marketing, Southeast Tourism Society
“Lee Ellis provided excellent training for my leadership team. We gained valuable insight about our personal leadership styles as well as learning about each other. Each member of my team took a vow to change something about himself/herself in an effort to improve the entire team. We definitely plan to use his services with other staff members at my school.”
- Sherry K. Rivers, Ph.D., Principal, Heyward Career and Technology Center
"Col. Lee Ellis did a masterful job in combining his story with the principles of leadership outlined in his book, Leading With Honor. He has a natural gift for connecting with people. I would recommend him as a speaker or presenter for any venue. He lives what it means to lead with honor."
- Mike Thompson, Jefferson Public Library, Jefferson GA
“It was our pleasure to include [Lee Ellis] as a plenary speaker at FCCI’s International Conference in Amelia Island this past September. The conference participants were blessed by your breakout lecture on ‘How to Win’ every time with an emphasis on engaging a team rather than withdrawing or dominating. As a plenary speaker, you communicated the importance of knowing oneself and guarding your character to live authentically. Thank you for taking the time to speak to our business leadership community, and I would highly recommend you for future conferences.”
- Terence Chatmon, President & CEO, Fellowship of Companies for Christ International (FCCI)
"When faced with immense adversity, Lee Ellis turned what could have been devastating into an opportunity. In his book ‘Leading with Honor,’ he details a unique approach to leadership shaped by his experience in a Vietnamese POW camp. These decisive strategies are just as relevant to aspiring leaders as they are to seasoned professionals who have held leadership roles for many years. By focusing on honor and what that means each and every day, readers from all backgrounds will be compelled to live better and lead stronger.”
- Jerry Hendrix, VP Human Resources, Mohawk Flooring
- Robert Stevenson, Director Human Resources, Mohawk Flooring
“My team and I here at Polaris would like to thank you for the outstanding leadership training. It was an absolutely positive [experience] on how to lead with honor. While we have had many other guest speakers in the past to come in and talk about leadership, there is no doubt in our minds that your leadership lessons from the Hanoi Hilton overshadow the past speakers. The team has already asked to have you return next year as a followup on the progress we have made on our commitments and to learn better ways to lead.”
- Mike Santiago, CEO, Polaris Aviation Solutions
“Lee Ellis recently spoke at our Health & Safety Summit, as with all guest speakers you never know what to expect. Wow is what I can say. Lee’s message was unbelievable that still have guests talking of how influential his speech and story was. Having Lee as our guest speaker brought a new dynamic and highlight to our summit as well as bringing our teams together. I would highly recommend having him at future events.”
- Lindsey Wallace Van Wingerden, Manager, Board Relations – CB&I
“Lee was remarkable. He was engaging and so informative about leadership. The participants loved his stories and how he applied them to the lessons. We have received ‘Thank you’ and ‘Great Session’ from many participants verbally and via email.”
- Monita Outland, MPH, Training Specialist III, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) University
“The Colonel's presentation was wonderful and warm and I love that his leadership lessons speak to each individual and can be applied to all aspects of everyday life. Our audience included retirees to full-time workers, and lots of incredible volunteers. All were so impressed and moved and went away with a great message and valuable lessons to implement in their lives.”
- Kim James, Branch Manager, Madison County Library
"Wow! Col. Ellis' presentation to our Veterans Entrepreneurship Program was truly inspirational. He provided some valuable lessons for leadership and life."
- Sheb True, Ph.D., Professor and Director of GAVE (Georgia Advancing Veterans Education), Coles College of Business, Kennesaw State University
“Thank you for giving such an excellent, inspiring presentation! The physicians hear so many clinical lectures that your topic was truly special! The physicians responded with really wonderful comments and very positive CME evaluations.”
- Anne Kramer, RN-BC, MN, Director, Medical Education/Medical Library, Gwinnett Medical Center
“He is a superb speaker who captivates an audience, even 3800 women! Upon his recognition as the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution’s 2015 DAR Medal of Honor Winner, he was received with cheers and a standing ovation after his heartwarming and inspiring speech. Not only was he awarded this highest Medal given by the National DAR, Col Ellis was also recognized as the Georgia Society Daughters of American Revolution’s Distinguished Citizen Award as he truly exemplifies the qualities of honor, service to country, courage, and leadership. Col. Ellis is a Patriot by example, an example of leadership in service to his country and service to his community as well as all over the world.”
- Phyllis King, Georgia State Chairman, Daughters of the American Revolution
“Col. Ellis had a direct link to the audience as he was speaking to Vietnam Veterans and their guests. His ability to take his experience as a POW to the world of leadership is remarkable. Listening to Col. Ellis speak about his USAF career, and his experience in the Hanoi Hilton was very moving. We would welcome him back anytime.”
- Dave Hambrick, President – Chapter 1, Georgia Vietnam Veterans Association
“Col. Ellis was one of our Distinguished Lecturers at Harding University during the 2014/2015 academic year. We were so pleased and honored to have him on our campus. The student’s response was overwhelming. He was very engaging with them and the entire audience. We received positive feedback on his visit for weeks. The students loved him. Col. Ellis was able to visit one of the business classes in the College of Business, and we had to interrupt the question and answer session so that he would be ready for the evening lecture. I just can’t say enough positive words about his visit. We would always be honored to hear Col. Ellis again and again.”
- Karen Edmonds-Friar, American Studies Institute, Harding University
"Col. Ellis’s presentation embodies the YPO Ideal: Leadership through Education. His presentation provides (i) historical education of the Vietnam War, (ii) emotional focus on overcoming seemingly unbeatable obstacles, and (iii) true take-home value on leadership skills all YPO members may use in life and business."
“This is the first time I heard Lee speak, and I was in awe. His message on leadership and courage draws in the entire audience. He packs the room full – not an empty seat! Lee’s inspiring sessions are not to be missed! I would give him 5 out of 5 stars.“
- Dana Halvorson, Senior Director, Not for Profit and Constituent Services, American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living
“Lee Ellis is one of the most inspiring speakers and leaders of character I’ve ever had the privilege of hearing. At our recent seminar attended by professionals from many of Atlanta’s top companies, Lee captivated the audience with his personal story of courage and resilience and his compelling lessons in leadership. Not surprisingly, he also received the highest possible scores for his presentation.”
- Susan Hitchcock, Executive Director of Women’s Initiatives, Board Member, Turknett Leadership Group
“Lee Ellis’ presentation of ‘Leading with Honor, Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton’ does exactly what you would want for your team—it makes you a better leader and shows how a group can work together no matter what difficulties lie in front of them. His book provided complex ideas in a simple way and is a good read. I highly recommend Lee for your next function, and his book and workbook can be used as a grindstone to sharpen your leadership skills.”
- Juancarlo Rendon - LUTCF, FSS, Agency Manager, Texas Farm Bureau Insurance
“Lee Ellis spoke to the Atlanta Estate Planning Council this past November, and he knocked the ball out of the park. His message was inspirational, motivating and relevant to our group. Lee’s service to our country during a tumultuous time in our history is commendable. I recommend Lee as a speaker to professional groups such as ours.”
- Dave Polstra, CPA, CFP®, CIMA®, Partner | Co-Founder | Wealth Advisor, Brightworth
“Lee Ellis is a national treasure! A courageous warrior who has served his country with Honor and distinction, he has continued that passion for service in helping to develop the hearts and minds of leaders throughout. Lee’s powerful presentations and transformational thinking provides practical and impactful value for leaders and teams at any level.”
- Randy Walton, CEO and Managing Partner, The Walton Group, Inc.
“Lee Ellis is one of the most insightful people I know when it comes to leadership and management and how those principles work with the different personality styles and behaviors. He is also an excellent communicator who helps people like me to translate those principles into concrete actions. I have the utmost respect for Lee, and can wholeheartedly endorse him.”
- Dean Harbry, PCC, Executive Advisor & Coach, Internal Innovations LLC
“Hearing about his experience as a POW and the lessons learned on principled leadership were very moving and inspiring. I was even more moved and inspired after reading his book Leading with Honor. While his own experience as a POW was extreme - literally risking death with every decision and act as a POW - his unwavering commitment to his core principles and comrades are shining examples of how people and organizations can survive and thrive in their daily mission and pursuit of excellence. Lee’s inspirational message and principles on leadership, courage, and honor translate across industries and professions.”
- Kelley J. Kash, Colonel, USAF, MSC (Retired), Chief Executive Officer, Maine Veterans’ Homes
“One of the primary reasons for the success of [SPESA’s Executive Conference] was your participation. As one of our attendees said, ‘The meeting opened with a speaker who engaged the attendees completely as he delivered real life lessons on true leadership. He is a true American hero.’ There wasn’t a person in that room that won’t be re-examining their leadership qualities and skills.”
- Benton Gardner, President, SPESA (Sewn Products Equipment & Suppliers of the Americas)
“The Georgia State Council for the Society for Human Resources Management had the distinct honor of hosting Lee Ellis as our key note speaker at our annual conference. He is a talented story teller with the ability to set the scene enabling listeners to get a glimpse of the hardships he and his fellow soldiers endured. He inspired those who heard him as was evident as the audience showed their appreciation with a standing ovation. If you are looking for a speaker to inspire your audience, I strongly recommend Lee Ellis!”
- Sally Roberts SHRM-SCP, SPHR, Human Resources Director, Morris Communications Company, LLC
“Col. Ellis was an excellent speaker at our annual leadership breakfast with almost 1,000 civic leaders and administrators. He provided real life experiences through his life journey and applied it to our audience. It was a simple yet powerful message on the importance of leadership.”
- Nathan Ballantine, Principal, North Gwinnett High School
“Lee Ellis has spoken for us on two different occasions and he’s terrific. He takes the time to understand the audience to whom he’s speaking and delivers an on-target message that is truly phenomenal. His storytelling ability coupled with his lessons on leadership make for a winning combination. I highly recommend Lee to anyone who is looking for an engaging speaker.”
- Dan Oswald, Chief Executive Officer, BLR (Business and Legal Resources)