Suffield, CT. While serving as a U.S. Marine in Vietnam, Steven Mundahlcame face to face with a Vietnamese soldier whose weapon was trained on Mundahl’s head.
“The soldier pulled the trigger, but it only clicked. He panicked and ran,” said Mundahl, the president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Pioneer Valley in Springfield and an adjunct professor at Bay Path College. “That was a life-altering event for me. After that, I knew I could do just about anything in life. It’s been a helpful tool as a leader to have that feeling of inner empowerment.”
Mundahl’s wife, Sharon Massoth, also had a life-changing experience, in 1982, just as she completed a holistic healing program in the Berkshires. “I was trying to help a friend who had been turning to alcohol in her grief. We meditated together, and as soon as my eyes closed, I felt immense loving energy,” Massoth said. “Out poured a beautiful message of love and hope that helped her to believe in her purpose for living.”
A longtime psychotherapist, Massoth discovered then that she had a gift for receiving intuitive messages for her clients in areas of relationships, health, career and life fulfillment; she has since used that gift to counsel leaders worldwide.
In a new book the couple has written together, The Alchemy of Authentic Leadership, Balboa Press, they combine their knowledge and experience and present a volume that weaves the principals of becoming whole with true leadership abilities.
The premise of the book is that people who live ethical lives and have healthy “inner rooms” –areas around finance, leisure, spirituality, career, family and physical health – can take on leadership and guide others with authenticity.
“To become a giver, a mentor, a guide – that’s the outcome of authentic leadership,” Mundahl said. “That’s a journey that all of us should be on, whether you’re the mom in a family of four or you run a $50 million company.”
The couples’ book offers teaching and techniques on becoming a better leader of your own life. It blends how-to instructions, chapters with a self-help workbook approach and knowledge of various therapeutic techniques with rich anecdotes.
Readers learn about “BeOUTEDtudes,” or attitudes that lead to risky behavior, found in well-known leaders such as politician Anthony Weiner and rising GOP Herman Cain, who sabotaged their own careers. Also noted are anecdotes of unnamed business leaders who faced and overcame obstacles. Throughout, Mundahl shares his own personal challenges and successes at Goodwill.
Mundahl grew up in Minnesota and led what he calls a “Tom Sawyer kind of childhood.” His mother died when he was 17, however, and his father let him down by being absent and emotionally unavailable and by losing his own job as a leader through unethical behavior.
It was a painful, yet formative lesson for Mundahl, who became determined to lead a proud, clean and ethical life, although, he admits that his own journey has had bumps in the road.
He holds a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina and is a graduate of the Goodwill executive development program. Before taking over the reins of a then-struggling Goodwill Industries in 2005, he earned a Bronze Star in Vietnam, led a career as a journalist and built a successful publishing company. He has two grown daughters.
When he took over the nonprofit, then $4 million in debt and “limping along,” he said his attitude was, “Sure, throw me a big curve ball, and I’ll see if I can hit it.” Since then, Mundahl, with solid leadership from his Board of Directors, built up Goodwill’s retail arm, sold assets, reduced staff and increased the number of stores from three to eight.
“Today we have a very ethical and profitable organization that serves about 400 people with disabilities a year with employment and residential services,” he said, noting that the organization succeeded because he led by “empowering a strong leadership team.”
Mundahl is also an adjunct professor in the graduate program of nonprofit management at Bay Pay College.
Massoth grew up on a rural Kansas farm in a Catholic family of seven children. They recited the rosary together every night and studied the spiritual life of saints. This prepared her for later opening to her gift of hearing what she calls “a higher voice.” Her mother also died young, when Massoth was 16, and she found herself in charge of four younger siblings.
She holds a master’s in social work from the University of Kansas. Her prior experience included directing a family therapy training program at the University of Massachusetts before she went into full time private practice in 1985.
As a psychotherapist with 38 years of experience and a trained professional coach, Massoth counsels leaders worldwide on how to listen to their own inner spiritual voice for taking next steps in life and living their life purpose.
She has combined her gift of intuition with using evidenced-based therapies to change negative beliefs, build self-worth and support the life purpose of her clients. She is trained in Mindfulness, Eye Movement Desensitization and ReprocessingTherapy(EMDR) and the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).
Mundahl and Massoth met on an airplane in 2010, instantly connected and have been married since 2011. Mundahl said the two “sculpted” the book, taking turns working on the manuscript, each contributing their own expertise.
“It got testy at times,” he said with a smile, “but, in the end, we created a book that can help shape leaders as well as organizations.”
“We need strong self-evaluation and a committed spiritual practice to become good leaders of our own lives,” Mundahl said. “Don’t take charge of a company or organization unless your own life is in order. You’ll bring the disorder with you.” The Mundahl/Massoth team is busy writing a companion book entitled “The Alchemy of a Heart-Centered Company.”
The Alchemy of Authentic Leadership is $14.95 and can be purchased at any bookstore, through Balboa Press or Amazon. The Kindle version of the book is available for $3.95.
For more information, contact:
Steven Mundahl, author: 413-265-6348 or email@example.com
Sharon Massoth, contributing author: 860-386-6272 or firstname.lastname@example.org