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What Spins the Wheel: Leadership Lessons From Our Race for Hope Paperback – May 12, 2014
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About the Author
Len Forkas is the founder of Milestone Communications, a Reston, Virginia-based company that owns and develops wireless towers in the mid-Atlantic region. Before forming Milestone in 2000, Len spent 15 years in the commercial real estate industry and held management positions at Bank of America, Weyerhaeuser Real Estate, and Oxford Development Company. Len earned an MBA from The American University and graduated from the College of Architecture at Ball State University. He lives with his family in the Washington, D.C. area. To contact Len, please email him at email@example.com.
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The book is the result of the Mr. Forkas' experiences when his son had cancer.
I think most parents can deal with their own adversities easier than those of their children. Mr.Forkas saw the need for his son to stay connected to his school/classmates and from that realization grew the non-profit Hopecam. The idea of Hopecam is simple. Even when children cannot attend school, they need the connection and support of their teachers and classmates. By putting a video camera in their classroom and one in their home, the child still has a connection to the outside world. This is therapeutic and keeps the child up to date with their school work.
The book is about Mr. Forkas participation in a marathon bicycle race across America - the race is aptly called Race Across America (RAAM) and how he used it to raise awareness for children with cancer, and to raise awareness and money the non-profit Hopecam.
RAAM has been called one of the most grueling athletic events there is. It requires that the rider finish the race - some 3,000 miles on a bicycle in 12 days.
The first part of the book is a summary of the leadership lessons learned by Mr. Forkas in putting together his team and riding the race. These 10 leadership lessons are key to the success of any team project.
The second audience for this book is anyone considering a marathon event such as RAAM. This is a day by day account of his RAAM. I must confess that I had no idea about all the logistics that need to come together to successfully compete/complete an event like RAAM. If you are considering any event like RAAM, then this book is a must read. You will greatly increase your chances of successfully completing the event.
The third audience that will gain from reading this book are those driven by a cause but not sure what they can do or how to go about taking their cause to a higher level. Mr. Forkas shows the way. Not in specific words but in being a role model.
For those who enjoy marathon cycle racing, this is a very interesting read. For those who are driven to help the less fortunate, this book will inspire you to greater heights. For those who would like to improve your leadership skills, the "executive summary" will provide some real insights.
The writing style is conversational. There are lots of detailed maps, you will meet some interesting people and the stories of some of the kids will remind you to be grateful for all you have and to do your part to help relieve the suffering of others.
I was provided a review copy of this book.
The Hopecam mission is woven through each page of this book. The challenges of the Race Across America serve as a metaphor to the challenges faced by children battling cancer, and the meaningful purpose that drove Team Hopecam adds a very powerful dimension to this story. What Spins the Wheel is about more than the Race Across America. Whether a business professional, endurance athlete, or someone just looking for a great story, you will be inspired.
In 2002 Len Forkas' nine year old son was diagnosed with leukemia. The isolation his son suffered due to his treatments was almost worse than the cancer. Len's search for a way to end his son's isolation, and help his son feel like a normal kid again, led him to found a non-profit called Hopecam. Hopecam uses video technology to link children suffering from cancer and other long term illness to their friends and teachers at school.
Fast forward to 2012. In an effort to bring greater awareness to childhood cancers, and raise funds to bring Hopecam to even more sick children, Len Forkas decided to compete as a solo rider in the Race Across America (RAAM) a 3,000-mile bicycle race starting in California and ending in Annapolis, MD. RAAM is a grueling endurance race that requires the rider to complete it in 12 days! Len had to assemble an all-volunteer crew to assist him on his journey. The book chronicles each day of Len's journey across America. It describes the physical and psychological challenges of such an undertaking, and the challenges Len faced in leading a team of volunteers who, for the most part, met each other for the first time at the starting line in California.
The leadership lessons Len Forkas shares on how he led and motivated his team should be required reading for anyone managing employees, coaching a team, or even parenting children. Len shows how you can be an effective leader by building up, rather than putting down, each member of your "team". He gets each team member to perform at their best by helping them see the importance of their individual role on the team. Ultimately, Len helped each team member see how taking responsibility for their unique, individual role and performing to the best of their ability would ultimately lead to the success of the entire team. It's hard not to see how Len's approach to leadership would lead to the success of any team (or company or family).