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"A student of the game of life": Orlando Bowen's Influencers

On yesterday’s episode of Smashing the Plateau, Orlando Bowen described an extraordinary story of overcome adversity. Currently the founder and Executive Director of the One Voice One Team youth leadership organization, in 2004 Bowen was seriously assaulted by two corrupt plain-clothes police officers. Following this, Bowen has dedicated his life to working with youth, helping them become future leaders. In his interview, he described the crucial importance of understanding one’s own values in order to move forward and make important decisions; in this follow-up, Bowen explains who has shaped his own values:

1. “My parents Leabert and Verona Bowen, and my Uncle, Henry Frazer”

“My parents struggled to make ends meet and to keep food on the table and a shelter over our heads. My dad worked 3 jobs, and my mom worked full-time and went to school full-time. They taught me the importance of having a game plan, outworking the competition and to respect EVERYONE. They also taught me to ‘leave no stone unturned in pursuit of your passion and desire to serve others’ and the fact that ‘education helps to facilitate life options’ .

“My Uncle Henry: We emigrated to Canada together (Uncle Henry, my mom and I). Through the lens of basketball, he taught me the value of a relentless work ethic and being a student of the game of life.”

2. Chuck Ealey (http://chuckealeyspeaks.com/new/)

“For over 40 years, he has held the NCAA record for the most consecutive wins (35-0) as a starting QB, but wasn’t drafted to the NFL due to the color of his skin. He took his skills to Canada where he won the 1972 Grey Cup Championship as a rookie QB with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He taught me the value of taking life one play at a time. I married his eldest daughter, Skye. We have been married for 13 years and have 3 sons.”

3. Michael “Pinball” Clemons (www.speakers.ca/speakers/michael-clemons)

“Pinball was a member of the Toronto Argonauts football team as a player (when I signed on)… and was later named our head coach. When I was working as an IT Consultant in corporate America and being wooed by the team, I had one simple question for him (as he was a player at the time): ‘If I make this team, will I have the opportunity to serve in the community?’ His answer was an unequivocal ‘Yes’. Based on that answer, I left my job in downtown Chicago and went back to Toronto in search of opportunities to make a difference.”

4. John Maxwell, author of Developing the Leader Within You

“This provided a new perspective for me in terms of what made leaders successful, and it came at a time when I was seeking to launch our charity (aka 501©3).”

5. Marcus Buckingham, author of First, Break All the Rules

“This book was in alignment with my thoughts on how to build a team… emphasize and leverage the talents and strengths of those on the team. Think about things from an asset management perspective, versus focusing on skills that people didn’t have. Another key concept was empowering people to be their authentic selves as they lead.”


About the author, David Shriner-Cahn

David is the podcast host and community builder behind Smashing the Plateau, an online platform offering resources, accountability, and camaraderie to high-performing professionals who are making the leap from the corporate career track to entrepreneurial business ownership.

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