Leadership and Race in the American Military

An interview with Mike Woody

July 24, 2020


I met the very down-to-earth Mike Woody in January of this year. I was decked out in my red beret, carrying my trusty magical box of questions meant to help people get to know one another better at a networking event, when he struck up a conversation with me. And then we coordinated a few weeks later at a coffee shop, as he told me about his leadership company and asked if I might be interested in working with him occasionally. He also told me I seemed like a French actress. (I can’t remember if I was wearing a beret that day.)

Well darling, it was winter, and raining, and I was missing France, and those words were music to my ears. So I said yes, sure, I’d be willing to work with him.

(It helped that there was a lot of substance to what Mike was saying, and that I liked him very much, too!)

Because of Mike’s military experience, I laughed when he told me about his predilection for music by women singer-songwriters like Tori Amos and Kate Nash. And we also connected over the fact that we both felt like gypsies in this life.

I find Mike easy to talk to, gentle, kind, and perspicacious. (Do you know this word? It’s a great one.) He can see through the layers and the bullshit of a situation and get to its essence and core, and that is the gift he brings to his leadership training. Leadership is not so much about methods, he stresses, but about accentuating a person’s strengths, and building on that. A lot of people in organizations spend time shuffling emails. Mike is a trainer who is all about substance and results.

Please enjoy this video where Mike and I talk about his experience in the military, his ability to navigate racism as a leader, and what he tells his kids when they get pulled over by cops.

You can also learn more about Mike Woody’s company, 360 Leadership, on his website, and hire him as a facilitator for your organization or business.

And I just can’t help myself by throwing in a little music by a woman singer-songwriter that I think Mike would like. This is for all the people who, underneath of their skin and bones, feel like a gypsy woman in a red dress, wanting some new records, walking through foreign towns, singing.

The sun is in the sky—oh why, oh why, would I want to be anywhere else? —Lily Allen