Hi, I’m Ken Downer, proud husband and father with a passion for sharing what I’ve learned about leadership. I’ve had some great leadership schooling, but like most people, I learned a lot the hard way too. I’m living proof that leaders are made, not born.
If you want to be a leader, or a better leader, I hope to help speed your climb up that steep learning curve by giving you clear and immediately useful tips, techniques and strategies that worked for me and the many successful leaders I’ve worked with over the years.
I am a 26 year veteran of the United States Army Infantry, where I rose to the rank of Colonel and had the honor and privilege of leading, and being led, by some of America’s finest.
One of my very first assignments was leading a 45-Soldier infantry platoon in the demilitarized zone on the Korean peninsula. Later I led a 120-man Parachute Assault Company in the jungles of Panama.
Near the end of my career I led a composite Task Force of several hundred people at a Combat Outpost in Iraq. In between, I had lots of other leadership experiences including training, recruiting, college level instruction, counter drug operations, and of course the inevitable time working and leading in a staff and office environment.
I am an Eagle Scout from “back in the day,” so after retiring a few years ago, I volunteered to be the Scoutmaster of a local Boy Scout Troop. Teaching the Scouts what I could about leadership and helping them learn and grow into confident, capable leaders in their own right was immensely satisfying and a great way to give back to the community.
Ultimately I realized that I could magnify that impact and leave a longer-lasting impression if I recorded what I was teaching so it could be shared. That led to a few experimental YouTube videos and then a channel. The idea grew from there to become a full web site, which I launched as RapidStart Leadership in September of 2015.
I hope you take a moment to browse the site; I’m constantly adding new posts and features, including an inspirational quotes gallery, and collections of recommended books. Recently I’ve begun adding on-line leadership courses (some are free, and some help to pay the bills).
I believe that leaders are also dealers in hope, and do their best to make life a little bit better for those around them. The Giving Back page highlights some of the ways I’m trying to do that.
Right now, producing content for the site fills my days and challenges me to learn and be creative. But it’s good to stay balanced. Of course family is a top priority. We recently became empty-nesters and it’s been fun to watch our kids develop, test their wings, and begin to make a dent in the world.
In any remaining spare time, I play a little guitar, love to read, and I like the swim/bike/run challenge of triathlon, so I manage to work in a few races a year; so far I’ve done nine full Ironman races including the World Championships in 2019.
Let’s Get Connected
So that’s the short version of my story and the reason for the web site. I appreciate your interest in it and hope you find it useful. For even more, be sure to connect on the social network of your choice.
Every couple weeks I send out an email to my subscribers that offers additional resources and tips you won’t find on the web site. Click the sign up form below and I’ll get you on the list too!
Wherever you are on your leadership journey, I’d love to hear what you think. Please comment, ask questions, and share ideas on the blog posts, on social media, or send me a direct note via the contact form. For instance, I’d love to hear from you what leadership topics you’d like to know more about.