2007-06-09 / News

First Gentleman Mulhern Offers Advice on Leadership in Book

By Eric Fish

Dan Mulhern with his book, "Everyday Leadership: Getting Results in Business, Politics, and Life," at The Island Bookstore May 31. The book is derived from Mr. Mulhern's experience as an executive consultant, husband to Michigan's governor, and father of three children. Dan Mulhern with his book, "Everyday Leadership: Getting Results in Business, Politics, and Life," at The Island Bookstore May 31. The book is derived from Mr. Mulhern's experience as an executive consultant, husband to Michigan's governor, and father of three children. Dan Mulhern was greeted by admirers, friends, and family Thursday, May 31, outside The Island Bookstore on Mackinac Island where he signed copies of his book, "Everyday Leadership: Getting Results in Business, Politics, and Life."

This is his first book, and comes from his experience as an executive consultant, supportive role as husband to his wife, Governor Jennifer Granholm, and a father to three children.

"The book really kind of grew out of my two-fold experience," he said. "The unusual experience on the one hand of sort of being in a position of authority and trying to lead in that way," is one role. "The other role is this supportive role. The principles really aren't different."

Mr. Mulhern is the oldest of seven siblings and his leadership qualities, he notes, were acquired at an early age. He was graduated from Yale with a bachelor's degree in religion and became a high school teacher in Florida, and community organizer and social worker in New Orleans. Since then, Mr. Mulhern has received a law degree from Harvard Law School.

Now serving his second term as the "first gentleman" of Michigan, and as the father of three children, Mr. Mulhern's leadership skills have continued to evolve with time.

"There's a lot of life situations in there," he said, referring to the book. "There are people I've coached. There's certainly a bunch of stories about our kids and raising them, and stories from Jennifer's political life."

Aside from life experiences, "Everyday Leadership" is based on what he has learned from others, said Mr. Mulhern. From his parents to teachers, priests, and professors, Mr. Mulhern offers stories that attempt to shape the individual.

"It's a very readable book, I think, in the sense that I try to write pieces that you can read at different times," he said. "It's really a very timeless book. It's not something that's going to get stale. The ideas are sort of eternal ideas."

While Mr. Mulhern is a Democrat, like his wife, he said the book will appeal to all political persuasions.

"There's nothing partisan about it," Mr. Mulhern said. "The stories may have a context and may be told through my eyes, but issues of leadership in culture cut across political views. Democrats and Republicans don't care what their bosses' political strengths are, but they care a lot about being treated with respect and about growing and learning on the job. That's what it's really about."

Originally, 2,500 copies were printed by the University of Michigan Press, but "Everyday Leadership" is now in its second printing.

Mr. Mulhern said that he would like to begin work on a few more books when time permits.

He and Governor Granholm arrived on Mackinac Island Thursday, May 31, for the annual Detroit Regional Chamber conference at Grand Hotel. The family, he says, enjoys every visit.

"What is not to like about Mackinac Island?" he asked. "The pace is so much different. Once you get on the ferry, it kind of just blows the stress right off of you. It's great being here."

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