Posts Tagged ‘Tom Gegax’

My Most Unforgettable Person

September 21, 2009

For a story for Twin Cities Business magazine, I asked prominent Twin Cities businesspeople this question: Who is the most unforgettable person you have ever worked with? This person may have been a boss, a subordinate, a peer or an external business partner (but not a family member). He or she may have been a mentor, a tyrant or an inspiration. Here are four compelling stories from a former governor, a best-selling author, a world-renowned investor and CEO, and the founder and chairman emeritus of one of the top retail tire chains in the country.


Chairman of the board, RiverSource Funds
and former two-term Governor of Minnesota

arne-carlsonIn the Fall of 1956, I was invited by Professor James MacGregor Burns of Williams College to join him at a dinner with Eleanor Roosevelt at a hotel in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Obviously, I was deeply flattered. She was the most deeply respected woman in the world and even though her husband had passed on eleven years earlier, she was immensely active in the United Nations and had a nationally syndicated column entitled My Day. She was a relatively large woman wearing a long shawl, but when she came into the room it was her captivating smile that instantly drew me towards her. During the conversation I was so impressed by her level of candor, lack of ego, and deep concern for the future. Although advanced in years, her thought process reflected energy and creativity. If there is anything I took from that moment it was her enormous sense of decency. Today’s more polarizing world clearly needs more Eleanor Roosevelts who have the ability to reach beyond the moment and embrace the realization that our world is one.


New York Times #1 best-selling author (more…)

Out With Type A and Type B . . . In With Type E!

June 19, 2009

tom-gegax-michael-levinWhile writing The Big Book of Small Business with Tires Plus founder Tom Gegax, I challenged myself to come up with a fun, descriptive way to describe enlightened business leaders. Then it hit me—instead of Type A or Type B, enlightened leaders were Type E! Here’s how we described them in the book:

big-book-of-small-business-coverSeat-of-the-pantsers typically come in two types: Type A, dictator, hard-driving, self-centered, gets results but leaves a trail of human debris; or, Type B, doormat, passive, people pleaser, tolerates less productivity. Enlightened leaders—let’s call them Type E—produce uncommon, sustainable results through firm, but caring, leadership coupled with “best practices.” Type E leaders are ever alert and nurturing. They leverage intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being to deepen connections and inspire achievement.

The good news is, Type E leadership is (more…)

Tom Gegax Glimpses the Treasure That Awaits Us All

March 15, 2009

Tom Gegax

I made sure to interview Tom Gegax for my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything. Tom and I had coauthored a book, The Big Book of Small Business, and I knew he had a great experience to share. Here is an excerpt from Tom’s story:

I took a meditative trip to the Greek islands with the express purpose of getting more in touch with myself, something I wasn’t able to do amidst the busyness of everyday life. I had heard the Greeks had the worst phone system in the world, so I decided to go there for a retreat. I did a little sightseeing but most of my time was spent meditating day and night in my room. There was no schedule for when I would eat or sleep. I wanted to get lost in not thinking and just being.

Remember in the movie Cocoon when two people were across the pool from each other but were having virtual orgasmic, bliss-like experiences? That’s how I felt. I was able to get in trance-like states that were incredible, just sitting there meditating, not thinking about any of life’s challenges, feeling a deep sense of connection with everything. It was a unique state of feeling grounded, yet being one with the universe. I had meditated before but had never been in such a deep state.

One night, after a particularly blissful meditative day, I woke up in the middle of the night. On the pillow next to me was a bright, glowing treasure chest. I was wide awake; this chest was definitely not a figment of my imagination. I stared at it for ten or fifteen seconds, and finally thought, I’ve gotta try to touch this thing. As my hand drew closer to the chest, (more…)

Tom Terrific

December 2, 2008

Tom Gegax

When Tom Gegax asked me to help him write a comprehensive guide for small business owners, I jumped at the chance. Tom had founded Tires Plus, a regional chain of upscale tire stores that he built from scratch into a $200 million industry leader by the time he sold it in 2000. I had previously interviewed Tom for two magazine articles and a video and knew that we would work well together.

Tom was the all-too-rare CEO who “gets it.” Thirteen years earlier, in a six-month span, life had dealt him not one, not two, but three knockout blows. The one-two punch of divorce and cancer sent him reeling against the ropes, and a cash-crisis uppercut left him sprawled on the canvas. This triple trauma was a spiritual wake-up call that led him to reinvent both himself and his business. (more…)