Who is Mike Cornwell...

Over the past 18 years, Mike has founded and lead numerous successful projects. He worked with influential tribal leaders and politicians in Afghanistan, created a self sustaining farm with over 500 varieties of fruit, wrote a definitive treatise on leadership called "Influence & Leadership", and founded the leadership academy "Sanctuary Leadership" that helps people discover and train their leadership skills, while taking responsibility for themselves and others.
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Early Life

Mike from an early age has been leading groups. First it was skateboarding groups, and then it was music bands. 

During this time he was honing skills in digital audio and video production.

Military & Intelligence Career

Mike joined the Marine Corps in 2004 in order to become a fighter pilot. As a first occupation he chose intelligence analyst because "it seemed smart". 

After looking forward and seeing a near 20 year career of a combat lifestyle, he decided to leave the flight program, putting him eligible to deploy.

In 2009, along with the Economic and Political Intelligence Cell (EPIC), he deployed to Afghanistan's embattled Helmand Province. 

He was tasked with discovering influence and political connections.

While in Afghanistan, he attended and held "shady" meetings with "shady people". (Afghan governors, intelligence spies, warlords, tribal leaders, NATO state departments, etc).

After returning home, Mike then walked into the world of high tech intelligence. He became a proficient leader in cutting edge computing systems. Including (but not limited to), large scale intelligence processing, satellite communications, encryption, and enterprise testing systems.

Farming & Dixie Fruits

While developing software in 2013, Mike started a permaculture farm in SE Louisiana. By 2017, this farm had over 500 varieties of fruit across 25+ species of plants, chickens, pigs and goats.

In 2014, he started a fruit tree nursery and edible landscaping business named "Dixie Fruits" that he ran full time, starting with 100 trees by himself eventually turning into 15,000 with 3 employees. It was his explicit goal to reach 1m in fruit trees sold across the South East. Why? You may ask. To improve the resilience and increase the connection of people with the land that they occupy.

Over the next 4 years, Mike traveled the countryside making connections, accruing uncommon and unusual plant stock, all the while selling fruit trees.

After becoming thoroughly steeped in the (many) markets of people that buy fruit trees, Mike decided to close and switch businesses. He learned a great lesson in business, that you should select a specific market of customers, and then build around the needs of those customers, instead of "selling to anyone who buys". 

Mike then returned back to the world of building intelligence systems.

Sanctuary Leadership

While living in a wood stove heated cabin in Pennsylvania in 2019 and 2020, Mike decided to write a leadership book. After the collapse of Dixie Fruits, he wanted to unpack lessons learned. The biggest lesson learned, was that the problem that he was trying to solve, was at a deeper level than just plants in the ground.

In these snowy cabin fever months while writing the leadership book, he came to the realization that there was no schools dedicated to leadership. He decided that after releasing his book, he would take on the effort of starting a leadership academy.

In late 2020, the book "Influence & Leadership" was finished and was released under "Sanctuary Leadership Publishing", as the first document for the school.

In late 2021, "Sanctuary Leadership Education LLC" was created. 

In 2022, the many 4 am mornings and late evenings were used to build the ground work for opening the doors to Sanctuary Leadership. Mike created a course called "Leading the Person In Front of You".

Personal Life

Mike is a family man who is married to his college sweetheart. They have four children, (three girls and one boy). They currently live in the Appalachian mountains on their "urban" farm that is within "city" limits. 

This farm boasts multi-hundreds pounds of produce produced, nearly 100 apple tree varieties, and ~250 berry bushes on 1.5 acres. It produces most vegetables and fruit that they eat.

Mike's Books

Influence & Leadership:

The Definitive Treatise on Earning and Expending Influence to Become A Leader

Mike lays out, in plain english the foundations, strategies and tactics you need to develop leadership, in any context whether that is interpersonal, at home, in a workplace, or on a battlefield.

Stop leading unconsciously. Study and apply the fundamentals of leadership now in everything you do. Every person operates on influence, therefore every human action involves leadership.

The Leadership Academy

Sanctuary Leadership

The only school that helps you discover and train your leadership skills to take ownership of your own existence and those around you.

Sanctuary Leadership was created so that people like you...
...who aren't elected government officials or CEOs of major corporations
...who aren't masters of influence
...can easily become the leader, take ownership of your own existence, and make your world a better place.
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Copyright © 2022 - Mike Cornwell