Authors and Contributors
Lee Ellis is Founder and President of Leading with Honor® and FreedomStar Media®. He is an award-winning author, leadership coach, and speaker in the areas of leadership and human performance. His past clients include Fortune 500 executives and C-Level leaders in a broad range of business and military sectors. His media appearances include interviews on CNN, CBS This Morning, C-SPAN, ABC World News, and Fox News.
Early in his career, Lee served as an Air Force fighter pilot flying 53 combat missions over North Vietnam. In 1967, he was shot down and held as a POW for more than five years in Hanoi and surrounding camps. For his wartime service he was awarded two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star with Valor device, the Purple Heart, and POW Medal. Lee resumed his Air Force career, serving in leadership roles of increasing responsibility, including command of a flying squadron and two leadership training organizations before retiring as a colonel.
Lee has a BA in History and an MS in Counseling and Human Development. He has authored or coauthored six books on leadership and career development; two of which have received multiple awards. One is now available as an online leadership and team development course for in-house training of teams and leadership groups.
In 2014, Lee was inducted into the Georgia Military Veterans Hall of Fame, and in 2015 was a DAR Medal of Honor Recipient for a lifetime of patriotic service.
Lee and his wife Mary celebrate their differences. By respecting each other and listening to the other’s perspective they make a great team. They are now celebrating 48 years of a very happy marriage. They reside north of Atlanta, near the Blue Ridge mountains. They have four grown children and six grandchildren.
Greg Godek is a #1 bestselling author, ghostwriter, editor and publisher.
“I had a girlfriend when I was in kindergarten. It simply seemed natural to me that people belong coupled-up.” And so the die was cast. Nine girlfriends and 30 years later, Greg wrote a #1 bestseller, selling three million copies. He taught romance classes on Oprah and Donahue, and Jay Leno joked in his monologue: “There’s a new book called 1001 Ways to be Romantic. That’s an awful lot of ways! I mean, guys—if the first thousand don’t work…what are the chances she’s gonna stick around when you say, ‘Oh wait! One more!’?!”
The themes and threads of Greg’s life are love and creativity, with a big dose of humor. In the world of love his guiding belief is that “Love is an emotion. Romance is an action. Romance is what brings love alive in the real world.” Greg retired from the romance biz at the turn of the millennium to teach creativity, based on his underground bestseller, How to be Mildly Brilliant. Recently he began coauthoring a unique take on romantic relationships, with Captured by Love: Inspiring True Romance Stories From Vietnam POWs. This, in turn led to his coming out of retirement from the romance biz, and to his upcoming book 1001 Ways to be Romantic: The Baby Boomer Edition.
Greg earned a creative writing degree…spent 15 years in “Mad Men”-like agencies…then got inspired and wrote and self-published his first book in three months…undertook the biggest book signing tour in history (two years aboard a custom RV, visiting 287 bookstores in 43 states) …and has never looked back.
Greg and his wife/muse, neurohumorist Karyn Buxman, both write and speak professionally. They live a never-ending honeymoon, they are two peas in a pod, and their motto is, “Nobody will ever be as entertained by us, as us.” Greg credits POW Tom McNish and his wife Yona for this motto. I saw this on a plaque in their home, and it resonated with me and Karyn instantly! They explained that it reflects their deep and intimate bonds—bonds that extend to their entire family, all of whom display this plaque in their homes.
Special thank you to these Vietnam POW contributors for giving us the opportunity to share their romance stories –
1. Everett & Tammy Alvarez
2. Bill & Suzy Bailey
3. Mo & Honey Baker
4. Bob & Anita Barnett, and “Percy” (Bob) & Suzanne Purcell
5. Dora & Jimmie Griffin—then Dora & Jim Bell
6. Dave & Karen Carey—then Dave & Sandy
7. Lee & Mary Ellis
8. Ken & Maggie Fisher
9. Paul & Phyllis Galanti
10. Carlyle “Smitty” & Louise Harris
11. Don & Cheryl Heiliger
12. Roger & Jackie Ingvalson, and Wayne & Booncy Fullam
13. Ralph & Bobbi Gaither
14. Carole & Steve Hanson—then Carole & Jim Hickerson
15. Tom & Yona McNish
16. Ben & Anne Purcell
17. Wes & Faye Schierman
18. Bob & Lorraine Shumaker
19. Gene & Rae Smith—then Gene & Lynn
20. Dick “The Beak” & Alice Stratton